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Value for money cruises for Aussies who don't want to break the budget

Contrary to what you may believe you may not need to push out the proverbial boat to enjoy a holiday cruise.

With the cost of living still high, many Australians are understandably cautious about where they spend their money, and going on a cruise is probably the last thing that comes to mind when planning a budget-friendly holiday.

Contrary to what many may believe, there really is no need to push out the proverbial boat to enjoy a holiday cruise. Cruise fares generally cover food, drinks, room service, shows and entertainment on ships, as well as onboard activities.

Some even offer better value for money than traditional holidays, which would include things such as flights, accommodation, food, and other transport costs.

Cruises don't have to break the bank and allow you to relax as your taken between beautiful tourist destinations.
Cruises don't have to break the bank and allow you to relax as your taken between beautiful tourist destinations, like American Samoa. (Supplied)

Thankfully, there are many wallet-friendly cruises available – from weekend getaways to month-long trips. Here are three cruises that offer great value for money and all conveniently sail from Aussie shores.

1. South Pacific on the Brilliance of the Seas

11 nights from $2,043

Sailing from Sydney via the Brilliance of the Seas, you can explore the Isle of Pines, otherwise known as the Jewel of the Pacific – a beautiful island in the archipelago of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia.

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This trip will also take you to sunny Noumea, New Caledonia’s capital city, before heading to Mare – the second-largest of the Loyalty Islands - which offers breathtaking scenery with its white sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons.

The cruise also takes you to the uninhabited Mystery Island, before stopping off at Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila.

Holidaymakers are then taken to Lifou Island – the largest of the three Loyalty Island coral archipelago – before heading back to Sydney.

The cruise ship also has plenty to offer, starting with a champagne bar, grills, coffee shops, restaurants and cafés, fitness and sports centres, an art gallery, children’s play area, theatre, spas, and a number of activities.

Cruise ship docked.
Cruising on the Brilliance of the Seas can be an excellent and affordable holiday option. (Source: Getty)

2. Fiji, Moorea and Vanuatu on the Norwegian Spirit

13 nights from $2,554

This trip on the Norwegian Spirit kicks off from Sydney to Noumea, New Caledonia and Mystery Island, but takes a different course from there when the ship steers toward Lautoka, the second-largest city in Fiji. The city, which has come to be known as Sugar City, lies in the heart of the sugar-cane-growing region.

The cruise then takes you to the idyllic Dravuni Island – a very small island that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, with no vehicles or anything to suggest we are living in 2024.

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The next leg of the trip takes holidaymakers across the International Date Line (IDL), which leads to Pago Pago – the capital of American Samoa - known for its lush rainforest, coral reefs and emerald waters. It is also frequently visited by humpback whales, porpoises and sea turtles.

The last leg of the journey takes cruisers to French Polynesia, starting with Raiatea – the second-largest of the Society Islands - recognised as the most sacred island in the region.

A trip to Mo’orea, another island known for its jagged volcanic mountains and sandy beaches, follows. From here, the cruise takes passengers to Papeete in Tahiti – the capital of French Polynesia. Famous for its world-class surfing and Tahitian black pearls, there is plenty to do on the last stop of this cruise.

The Norwegian Spirit also offers great dining, entertainment and recreational options while onboard.

3. New Zealand on the Ovation of the Seas

10 nights from $3,077

This cruise from Sydney on board the Ovation of the Seas takes guests to seven ports in New Zealand.

If you’ve always wanted to holiday in the Land of the Long White Cloud, this is one cruise that may appeal.

This trips’ first stop is Picton, a picturesque port town in the Marlborough region with plenty of activities to offer, from bush walks to fishing trips.

Cruisers are then treated to a stop at Napier, a coastal city on New Zealand’s North Island known for its Art Deco landmarks, which stems from the city being rebuilt after an earthquake in 1931. But if Art Deco isn’t your thing, you’ll be happy to know it's also home to many fine wines and fabulous food.

Unlike traditional holidays, the cost of a cruise already includes meals, accommodation and many other expenses. Credit: Getty
Unlike traditional holidays, the cost of a cruise already includes meals, accommodation and many other expenses. (Source: Getty) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Third on the list is Wellington, New Zealand’s capital best known for its café culture, followed by a stop at Port Chalmers in Dunedin, the country’s oldest city.

The highlight of the cruise, however, is sailing through three New Zealand sounds – Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound – located at the southwestern end of the South Island.

Guests can expect breathtaking views and plenty of interesting activities when visiting the three sounds before returning to Sydney.

Just like other cruises, the Ovation of the Seas also offers several dining and entertainment options for passengers, as well as many onboard activities in between port stops.

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