Sydney Harbour Cruises

A guide to Sydney Harbour cruise boats

Set sail on a memorable Sydney Harbour cruise

Whether you are big on adventure or just want to relax, a Sydney Harbour cruise is available for all occasions. Sturdily built and packed with amenities, Sydney Harbour cruise boats are designed to give you a safe and comfortable experience.

Book your Sydney Harbour Cruise

The right vessel for your Sydney Harbour cruise

With a variety of options available for Sydney Harbour cruises, each cruise vessel is specially designed to cater to the needs of your cruise. Here are some boats used for various types of cruises.

Sightseeing cruises

Boats used: Catamarans, Tall ships, Luxury cruisers

Sightseeing cruises are usually short-duration cruises and last about 90 minutes to 2.5 hours. Depending on the number of spots that the tour covers, the boat speed is also of great importance. Catamarans and cruisers make for good sightseeing vessels for that matter. While Tall Ships are comparatively quite slow, their steady pace and large sails make for a special experience.

Lunch & dinner cruises

Boats used: Luxury cruise liners, AC super-cruiser Sydney 2000, Tall ships 

Lunch and dinner cruises need stability, amenities and power, therefore the super cruisers, luxury cruisers and other first-class vessels work great. The slower and grander Tall ships, too, make for a sturdy cruise.

Whale-watching cruises

Boats used: Cruisers, Luxury cruisers, Custom dolphin cruisers, Custom whale-watching vessel

Whale and dolphin-watching cruises need sturdy vessels with good viewing areas, both indoor and outdoor. Therefore, cruisers and catamarans are good choices. Custom vessels are useful for providing a safe environment for whales and dolphins.

Ferries or HOHO cruises

Boats used: Catamaran, Rocket catamaran

Catamarans are great for HOHO cruises or as ferry vehicles because of their stability. They travel fast, have capacities of 40-60 people and are great for those who are sensitive to the rolling motion of most boats, making them the perfect transportation vehicle.

Luxury cruises

Boats used: Luxury cruiser, AC super-cruiser Sydney 2000

The AC super-cruiser Sydney 2000 is filled with amenities like a galley, stage, dance floor, bar, private balconies, open-air decks and much more. These boats are spacious, remain sturdy atop waters and have multiple decks for views from various vantage points.

Vivid cruises

Boats used: AC cruiser, Luxury Catamaran, 

Luxury vessels like the AC cruiser and luxury catamarans are also great for the Vivid Festival cruises because of the opulence and atmosphere they provide. These vessels are spacious with both indoor and outdoor decks and are perfect for glamorous parties with fireworks, drinks and food.

Sydney Harbour cruise boat types explained


Ideal for: Small groups, sightseeing, whale-watching
Av. cruise speed: 12 knots

  • Catamarans are twin-hull boats that can accommodate about 20-70 guests on average, although there are catamarans with larger capacities as well.
  • These boats often make for good vehicles for first timers and those with motion sickness because of their relative stability.

Rocket catamaran

Ideal for: Sightseeing, big groups, whale-watching
Av. cruise speed: 12 knots

  • Rocket Catamarans also have twin hulls and come with both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements. 
  • The boats are eco-friendly, fuel-efficient and provide great stability on water.

Luxury catamaran

Ideal for: Sightseeing, big groups, parties
Av. cruise speed: 12 knots

  • Luxury catamarans will give you the stability of a catamaran while being filled with several amenities like restrooms, wifi, wheelchair access and more.
  • They are great for parties and meals on board as their design allows them to remain stable without too much rolling.


Ideal for: Sightseeing, whale-watching
Av. cruise speed: 14 knots

  • These boats are smaller than a full-fledged yacht but can accommodate about 20-30 people on average.
  • Cruisers usually need lower maintenance in saltwater but a higher level of skill to operate. They have spacious seating and lounging areas, which is great for sightseeing.

AC cruiser

Ideal for: Parties, sightseeing
Av. cruise speed: 14 knots

  • These vessels have everything a cruiser has along with an enclosed cabin area that remains air-conditioned.
  • They are great all-climate vessels so they provide a comfortable experience to guests all year round.

AC super-cruiser Sydney 2000

Ideal for: Sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises
Av. cruise speed: 24 knots

  • The AC super-cruiser Sydney 2000 is a best-in-class luxury vessel that can seat up to 700 guests.
  • It’s larger and more stable than almost all other cruises and has 5 separate dining areas to serve customers.


Ideal for: Sightseeing, small groups, whale-watching
Av. cruise speed: 30-50 knots

  • Speedboats are small but mighty motorboats that can achieve great speeds and give you an adventurous ride.
  • These have a high power-to-weight ratio and the travel time is also cut down significantly due to its speed.

Rocket ferry

Ideal for: Whale-watching, sightseeing, transfers
Av. cruise speed: 12 knots

  • The Rocket ferries, with indoor seating and open-air viewing spaces, are great for a stable and high-speed cruise.
  • These can accommodate around 148 guests and have great amenities, including toilets.

Dolphin and Whale-watching cruiser

Ideal for: Sightseeing, whale-watching
Av. cruise speed: 14 knots

  • These are usually cruiser boats that have been adapted specially for whale and dolphin watching, some of which include reduced noise and speed to avoid startling the fish.
  • Whale and dolphin-watching cruisers usually have large viewing windows in the enclosed area and open decks for easier spotting.

Tall ship

Ideal for: Parties, lunch and dinner cruises
Av. cruise speed: 6 knots

  • Tall ships are traditionally rigged sailing vessels that may accommodate 100-120 people and give you a taste of yesteryear nautical adventures.
  • They are usually older vessels that have been restored and re-rigged using modern technology and materials.

Frequently asked questions about Sydney Harbour cruise boats

What kind of boat will I sit on my dinner cruise?

Dinner cruises can be set up on many different kinds of boats: First-class vessel, AC super-cruiser Sydney 2000, Tall ships, Luxury cruise liners, etc. are a few examples. The boat you will get to cruise on will be mentioned in your voucher.

I’m looking for a luxury cruise. What boat will it have?

Luxury cruisers and super-cruisers like the Sydney 2000 usually have luxury cruise tours. There are also luxury catamarans that can offer an opulent experience.

What is a mid-range boat type I can pick for a cruise?

Catamarans, cruisers, speedboats and tall ships are some mid-range boats that will give you a memorable experience without breaking the bank.

How fast will the ferry go?

Ferries are fairly fast vehicles with cruising speeds of about 12 knots. However, they can sometimes get as fast as 50 knots.

Which are the fastest among the Sydney Harbour cruise boats?

Among the Sydney Harbour cruise boats, speedboats are the fastest. Their average cruising speed is about 30-50 knots but they can go much faster full throttle.

I have motion sickness. What kind of boat should I pick?

If you have motion sickness, you may want to pick a larger boat as the rolling is less prominent in large vessels. Apart from that, catamarans are great options because of their relative stability provided by their twin hulls.

What is the most unique Sydney Harbour cruise boat experience?

For the most unique Sydney Harbour cruise experience, go whale-watching in a Tall Ship. This is a bang for your money because not only can you see whales in their natural habitat but you will also be able to experience sailing in a restored boat that once sailed during the golden era of nautical adventures.

Do the Sydney Harbour cruise boats have toilets?

Most Sydney Harbour cruise boats have toilets in them. Rocket ferries, Sydney 2000 and a number of others even have accessible toilets.