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Cruises to Wellington

2 Awards
Wellington (Photo:Victor Maschek/Shutterstock)

About Wellington

You can't beat Wellington on a good day, so the saying goes. But New Zealand's cosmopolitan capital city, located at the southern tip of the North Island, rolls out the 'fun carpet' even when that legendary wind is blowing. Located in the centre of New Zealand, all roads lead to Wellington -- as do all ferries cruising over from the South Island just three hours sailing away across Cook Strait.

According to Maori legend, the two main islands of New Zealand are actually the great canoe of Maui (the South Island) and the giant fish he caught (the North Island). Wellington Harbour is the mouth of that huge fish. So where did the city's name come from? From Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and British Prime Minster from 1828 to 1830.

Though a geographic hub, Wellington is surprisingly compact -- it's nestled between the harbour and steep, forest-clad hills -- and wonderfully walkable. The revamped waterfront area leads from the cruise dock at the eastern edge of town to the must-see Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in the west. A stroll along the quay is filled with surprises. There's a grassy playground for kids, large-scale sculptures and fun wooden walkways. Cross the street, and you'll have your choice of cafes and shops.

Foodies will love Wellington for its wide range of dining options. There are close to 800 restaurants and counting -- per capita that's more than New York City. Another thing Wellingtonians are obsessed about is coffee. Kiwis, as New Zealanders are known, along with their Australian neighbours, have their own lingo for styles of coffee -- flat white (coffee with milk), short black (espresso) -- though cappuccinos remain constant and servings won't be supersized.

  • Why go to Wellington?

  • Wellington Cruise Port Facilities?

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Carnival Splendor
Carnival Splendor

10 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

1,412 Reviews
Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
Mar 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Oosterdam
Oosterdam

14 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 31, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Eclipse
Celebrity Eclipse

12 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

1,835 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jan 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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MSC Poesia
MSC Poesia

127 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Marseille
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 6, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise118

13 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Mar 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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127 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 7, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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130 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 4, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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125 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 4, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jan 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jan 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 31, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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19 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Adelaide
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 5, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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29 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 31, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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32 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 31, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Brisbane
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Feb 6, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 3, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 3, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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39 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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72 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Genoa
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 5, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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116 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Genoa
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Jan 5, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to WellingtonDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Wellington?

Pros:

Lots to do, vibrant port area, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Cons:

The weather is haphazard and it's a different town when it's windy and raining

Bottom Line:

The nation's capital has lots to explore and you need Plan A and Plan B depending on the forecast

Wellington Cruise Port Facilities?

The big ships dock at Aotea Quay, an industrial area, where disembarking passengers are met by coaches to transport them into the city -- a short, five-minute journey. Small ships dock at Queens Wharf, just a few steps from Wellington Museum (formerly the Museum of City and Sea) and a couple of blocks from all the downtown shops and restaurants.

Good to Know?

New Zealand's capital Wellington is the home to many of the country's cultural institutions, which are well worth seeking out. From the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to the National Library of New Zealand and, of course, New Zealand Parliament's Executive Wing, universally known as The Beehive (that it resembles) you can select an interest and pursue it here.

Getting Around?

Wellington is relatively small. You can walk to most of the major sights in town.

By Taxi: Wellington Combined Taxis accept debit and credit cards. You can also call them on 04 384 4444 (within NZ). Uber and Ola operate in Wellington, too.

By Bus: Metlink is Greater Wellington's Public Transport for buses, trains and ferries. Go to the railway station for buses traveling beyond the city centre and harbour area. If you are going to be travelling quite a lot on public transport, it may be worthwhile buying a Snapper card for $10 as the fares can be almost half that for cash.

By Rental Car: For out-of-town exploration, rental cars are available from the usual outlets -- Avis, Budget, Hertz and more. For more information, visit the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Information Centre at 111 Wakefield St.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The New Zealand dollar is about 1.50 to the US dollar, which is good news for cruisers. The easiest way to get local currency is from an ATM, found throughout the city and attached to just about every bank. Shoppers using debit cards can ask for 'cash out' the Antipodean term for money back.

Language?

English is the national language though there is a vowel-shift going on, so that 'ham' becomes 'hem' and 'best' sounds more like 'bist'. Australians have been known to unkindly say that the Land of the Long White Cloud would be better named the Land of the Long Flat Vowel.

New Zealanders are extremely proud of the nation's Maori heritage so you will hear Maori words being used in everyday speech. A few handy, commonly used Maori phrases are kia ora for 'hello' and ka kite ano for 'see you again'.


Wellington Cruise Reviews
Unfortunately I found Wellington a very boring city and surprised that it was their Capital. I thought Canberra was dull but Wellington was worse. Apart from an excellent coffee at Mojo's and lunch at David Jones... Read More
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ozpen
A lovely city. Everything is close. Great views from Mt Victoria and Cable Car. Maritime and TePapa museums are well worth seeing. It was a little windy on the day we were there, but you can't beat Wellington on a... Read More
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blokartphil
We independently booked a friendly, private driver to take us to visit fur seals, and give us a tour of Wellington that focused on the things we were eager to see/do.... Read More
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SeasideLady
This was not on the original itinerary. The inclement weather at the Fjords forced the change. So Wellington replaced Port Chalmers/Dunedin. The ship docked around 6 p.m. on the third night. We rode the free shuttle... Read More
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