5 Best Sydney Harbour Cruises (Afternoon and Evening)

Last updated: April 29, 2022

The incredible Sydney Harbour is one of Australia’s biggest tourist drawcards, and perhaps the best way to take in all the popular sights and the natural beauty of the Harbour is by doing a cruise.

While a Sydney Harbour Cruise may not be for everyone, it is without a doubt a fun and exciting way to fully appreciate all the beautiful things our Harbour has to offer.

We have tried and tested some of the best Sydney Harbour cruises, and have shortlisted five that we think will deliver the most memorable experiences.

Top 5 Sydney Harbour Cruises:

Cruise Price
1 Harbour Cruise with 3-Course Premium Dinner
2 Captain Cook A La Carte Lunch Cruise
3 Harbour Cruise with 2-Course Premium Lunch
4 Tall Ship Afternoon Harbour Cruise
5 Captain Cook Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Top 5 Sydney Harbour Cruises

The below five Sydney Harbour cruises are selected based on reputation of the tour operator, value for money, duration, inclusions, public reviews and overall quality.

We’ve picked a variety of different cruises, some with lunch or dinner included, others purely focussed on sightseeing.

Before you make a booking, consider the following:

  • Do you prefer daytime or nighttime?
  • Would you like to have a meal with your cruise?
  • How long do you wish the cruise to go for?
  • Do you want to see just the major highlights or also a few hidden gems?
  • Would you like the cruise to also include music or a show?

1. Harbour Cruise with 3-Course Premium Dinner

Harbour Cruise with 3-Course Premium Dinner

This evening cruise offered by Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney is a three hour Harbour adventure that includes a premium dining experience. It departs from Darling Harbour just when the suns begins to set, and travels past all the major Harbour and city highlights, including Luna Park and Taronga Zoo.

The spacious vessel has various decks with plenty of room to move around for the best 360 degree views of the surrounding scenery. The dinner experience consists of three courses using fresh and regionally sourced ingredients.

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Summary
Provider: Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney
Time of day: Evening
Duration: 3 hours
Inclusions: Dinner

2. Captain Cook A La Carte Lunch Cruise

Captain Cook A La Carte Lunch Cruise

This relaxing afternoon lunch cruise hosted by Captain Cook Cruises is suitable for those looking for an uplifting Harbour experience, while enjoying a two or three course lunch meal. It’s a three hours afternoon cruise, perfect for on a sunny day.

The boat features several dining areas with large windows, and a viewing deck for the best views of the city and the Harbour. It also features a comfortable bar lounge where you can enjoy a selection of drinks. And if you want to have guaranteed window seating, you can include that in your booking.

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Summary
Provider: Captain Cook Cruises
Time of day: Afternoon
Duration: 3 hours
Inclusions: Lunch

3. Harbour Cruise with 2-Course Premium Lunch

Harbour Cruise with 2-Course Premium Lunch

This premium Harbour lunch cruise experience is the second cruise offered by Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney, and is very similar to the first one with the key difference being that this is an afternoon cruise. This is a 2.5 hour cruise that includes a delicious a la carte lunch plus dessert, with a range of beverages to choose from.

You will be cruising on a 78 feet long luxury vessel with a large top deck where you will have plenty of space to take in the beautiful 360 degree Harbour and city views. Departure is from King Street Wharf in Darling Harbour, travelling all the way to Watsons Bay on the other side of the Harbour.

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Summary
Provider: Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney
Time of day: Afternoon
Duration: 2.5 hours
Inclusions: Lunch

4. Tall Ship Afternoon Harbour Cruise

Tall Ship Afternoon Harbour Cruise

If you’re looking for a more unique Harbour cruise experience where you may even be able to help steer the vessel, this tall ship afternoon Harbour cruise might be a great choice. You will indeed be sailing on an authentic 1850s style timber tall ship for 90 minutes, cruising past all the major highlights of Sydney Harbour.

The best part is that you have the opportunity to help with the sails, steering, heaving on a rope, or otherwise just sit back and relax. This interactive cruise is a fantastic experience where you will not only get to take in the best views of the Harbour, you will also learn a thing or two about Sydney’s rich history.

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Summary
Provider: Sydney Harbour Tall Ships
Time of day: Afternoon
Duration: 1.5 hours
Inclusions: Opportunity to help with sailing the boat

5. Captain Cook Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Captain Cook Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Concluding this list of best Sydney Harbour cruises is a casual dinner cruise experience offered by Captain Cook Cruises, where guests can choose between a 3-course a la carte meal or a 6-course tasting menu.

This 2 hour evening cruise also includes live music and even a modest dance floor which makes it a great night out on the Harbour, with a summer sunset as a welcome bonus.

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Summary
Provider: Captain Cook Cruises
Time of day: Evening
Duration: 2 hours
Inclusions: Dinner, live music

Harbour Cruise vs Sydney Ferry

A more affordable way to explore the natural beauty of Sydney Harbour is by using the public Sydney Ferries and do one or more of the many scenic Sydney Harbour ferry trips.

By far the most popular ferry ride is the half hour Manly ferry trip between Circular Quay and Manly Cove, which crosses the Harbour on the eastern side of the Harbour Bridge. It’s a truly wonderful experience, for tourists as well as for locals.

Travelling by ferry is of course much cheaper than booking a cruise, and you can simply use your Opal Card to hop on as many ferries as you wish. On the weekends, you even get to enjoy a daily travel cap which can turn ferry hopping on a Saturday or Sunday into a fun day out on the Sydney Harbour.

Benefits of Doing a Cruise

However, there are some advantages of going on a Harbour Cruise compared to using a ferry. Especially for tourists, a good quality cruise can easily become one the highlights of their holiday.

Here are some benefits of booking a Sydney Harbour Cruise:

  • A cruise travels at a slower pace so you have more time to enjoy the scenery and take good photos.
  • A cruise takes in all the popular Sydney sights and tourist attractions in one trip.
  • You can choose to have a nice meal or a cold drink while on the boat.
  • You can choose to go on a big boat, on a smaller vessel, or even on a classic tall ship.
  • There are often extras included and options to choose from, such as live music and a bar.
  • Depending on the vessel, there is typically lots of space to wander around and enjoy the scenery from different angles.

Mind you, not all of the above benefits apply to all Sydney Harbour cruises, but most do. Choosing the perfect cruise will ultimately depend on your personal expectations and budget.

 

Best Sydney Harbour cruises

 

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