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Cruises to Christchurch

Christchurch (Photo:Evgeny Gorodetsky/Shutterstock)

About Christchurch

Editor's Note: Cruise ships have not called at Christchurch since the 2011 earthquake that destroyed its pier. Ships now dock at Akaroa, more than an hour's drive away. A new cruise berth at Lyttelton Port is expected to be rebuilt in time for the 2019-2020 summer season.

Christchurch could qualify as a template for the perfect small city. With a population of around 350,000, it's the largest of New Zealand's South Island cities -- it's also the most English looking in appearance. Unsurprising, when you realise that Christchurch was envisioned as a planned community for the Church of England in the 1850s.

Nearby, the stunning gold and green Canterbury Plains, back-dropped by mountains and with a web of indigo streams, are so familiar that many "The Lord of the Rings" fans now recognise them as Middle Earth.

Visitors to Christchurch don't need to consciously avoid the subject of devastating earthquakes that hit the city between 2010 and 2012. Many reminders remain, but residents are stoically independent, and Kiwis (the people, not the bird) tend to be a positive lot.

Rebuilding began almost immediately but progress was slow. Extensive plans for the next decade or more aim to create an accessible and liveable city. Shops, cafes and bars have returned in force, as have visitors.

Remaining intact, of course, is the languidly winding Avon River, its banks flanked by parks and gardens. Punts still drift along it -- along with their punters in waistcoats and straw boater hats.

As always, the seasons come and go, with spring and autumn each a delight in this leafy city, which is often accurately referred to as the Garden City. Much still remains from the past, and the many new additions to the city are fascinating and well worth seeing.

  • Why go to Christchurch?

  • Christchurch Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

2,026 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Regatta
Regatta

15 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Feb 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Grand Princess
Grand Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

13 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Carnival Splendor
Carnival Splendor

12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
Feb 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Caribbean

14 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Oct 29, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Apr 5, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

1,835 Reviews
Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jan 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Sep 26, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Mar 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Mar 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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19 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Feb 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Feb 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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39 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Dec 23, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

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

Leaving:Brisbane
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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13 Night
Cruise to ChristchurchDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Christchurch?

Pros:

This small city is home to pretty and serene attractions such as the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, one of the largest parks in the world

Cons:

Cruise ships must dock at Akaroa, which is more than an hour's drive from Christchurch.

Bottom Line:

Spend a leisurely day exploring art galleries and parks in endlessly charming Christchurch.

Christchurch Cruise Port Facilities?

A new $56 million cruise ship berth will be built in Lyttelton, expected to be completed in time for the 2019/2010 season.

Good to Know?

As you should in any travel destination, be aware of your surroundings, and leave all unnecessary valuables onboard in your cabin's safe.

Getting Around?

From Lyttelton to Christchurch: When the port is in operation, most cruise lines offer shuttle service to the centre of Christchurch. From Lyttelton, independent travellers can take one of two public bus routes (numbers 35 and 28) to Christchurch. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes. Taxis are also available.

In Christchurch

On Foot: Christchurch is an easy city to navigate on foot. All of the major attractions are within easy walking distance from Cathedral Square, locally known as the Square, in the heart of the city. Stroll the city's many pedestrian areas, riverfront areas and impressive gardens. Allow time to stop in at the many shops, art galleries, museums, artisan workshops, cafes and restaurants. The Christchurch i-SITE Visitor Centre is located adjacent to Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Avenue and offers free city maps.

By Bus: Metro bus service is available to most suburbs and outlying areas. A station can be found on Lichfield Street.

By Tram: An historic tram does a 17-stop loop throughout the city centre, providing a fun way to get around to see the sights. The tram runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. September to March and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April to August.

By Taxi: Taxis, including Blue Star Taxis and First Direct Taxis, all have meters and most accept credit cards.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the New Zealand dollar. ATMs and foreign exchange offices are abundant in the city centre.

Language?

The official language is English. People who have travelled in the north of New Zealand might find the Kiwi accent is not as pronounced in the South Island. Some of this is because of the higher proportion of Scottish and English residents who settled the area.

Where You're Docked?

Many ships anchor and tender to Akaroa, a 1.5-hour drive from Christchurch. However, more ships are calling at Lyttelton (population 3,100), about 20 minutes (eight miles) from Christchurch's city centre. Lyttelton is a working port city with its own character and charm and serves as a commuter community for Christchurch.


Christchurch Cruise Reviews
Port of Akaroa. It takes about 1.5 hours by road to get to Christchurch from Akaroa. Beware shops selling “NZ Jade”. Some of them (including the one where I was trapped) don’t tell you that they are selling... Read More
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Antechinus
We did the tour on our own taking the provided transportation into town and walking around. Amazing to see the devastation still evident from the major earthquakes they experienced a few years ago.... Read More
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Povertu2
Booked a dockside scenic bus tour of Akaroa and its environs. Stopped at a pub for coffee and a good spot to take in the views.Also stopped at a cheese making establishment. I bought some delicious cheese. On return... Read More
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lyndarra
Visited Christchurch Cathedral on our own.... Read More
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JJSheldon

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