Things to do in Sydney

Eat dinner under the stars in this Sydney Harbour Cruise

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Sydney is a beautiful city with its glorious harbours and spectacular beaches. In fact, a city like Sydney with its mesmerizing skyscapes and vibrant culture is hard to find elsewhere. The city is vibrant, full of life and welcoming to tourists, making it the perfect destination for travelers who enjoy outdoor socialising and indulging in adventure activities. If you're planning a trip to Sydney, you must consider exploring the city through a harbour cruise. A harbour cruise allows you to discover Sydney from a fresh new perspective aboard a luxury boat with a tantalising dinner to boot. While a local would recommend opting for a cheaper ferry to discover the Sydney harbour, the experience is definitely not the same as a dinner cruise. The shimmering lights, slower pace, live music all come together beautifully to create a memorable experience for you.

Here's our curation of the best Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruises and tips on how you should choose a cruise that suits you best.

Why You Should Take A Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise?

Considering a Sydney harbour dinner cruise to make your time in the city special? Here's why you should!

  • Unlike a regular ferry which is crowded and has restricted space to move around, a harbour cruise offers you more deck space and consequently better views of the Sydney harbour and skyline
  • Since the ferry system is a means of transport in Sydney, the ferries have to always be on time, which is why they don't slow down to allow for a more relaxed ride. A harbour cruise is designed for an infinitely more tourist friendly experience and travels at a slower pace. This not allows for more photo opportunities but gives tourists a better look at the city
  • Some of the best Sydney Harbour dinner cruises come equipped with an actual or audio guide, offering interesting insights about the sites you'll be passing through during the cruise
  • There a variety of Sydney Harbour dinner cruises available for you to choose from, each offering unique additional services, including 6-course dinner, dinner and drinks, sunset dinner, live music and dancing and much more!
  • Sydney is a fun city which really comes alive during the night. Your dinner cruise will occur aboard a premier sightseeing vessel with huge windows through which you can watch the city lit up in all its glory.

Best Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruises

Captain's Dinner Cruise With 3 Course Dining

The Captain's Dinner cruise offers you a fabulous dining experience on the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Hop aboard a premium sightseeing vessel and indulge in fine dining, complemented perfectly with an exhaustive wine list, live music and dance and the aura of nighttime Sydney.

Timing & Duration

  • Captain's Dinner cruise departs from Circular Quay Wharf No. 6 at 7:00 PM and from Darling Harbour King Street Wharf No.1 at 7:30 PM.
  • On an average, the cruise lasts for approximately 2.5 hours. On Saturday, throughout the year, and Friday (Nov-Mar), the cruise has a duration of 3.5 hours.

“ Celebrated Our 7th Anniversary On A Captain Cook Cruise Dinner At this lovely Cruise cruising along the bay of Circular Quay & Across Darling Harbour. Lovely Ambience within the cruise of lovely people. Had a live band and singer. The whole mesmerizing awesome journey in the cruise took around 3 hours cruising while dinner inside our anniversary overlooking the bay and wharf . Thankful and grateful for the opportunity a day to be grateful for. “ ☺️☺️

- x96lee26, August 2019 Tripadvisor

Gold Dinner Cruise With 6 Course Dining

Get a golden cruise experience on the Sydney Harbour with the Golden Dinner Cruise. You'll enjoy a luxurious dining experience aboard a premium cruise ship and priority boarding as well! The Sky Deck is the perfect place to enjoy a six-course dinner, along with live music and the stunning Sydney night sky as the backdrop.

Timing & Duration

  • The Gold Dinner Cruise departs from Circular Quay No. 6 at 7:00 PM and Darling Harbour King Street Wharf No. 1 at 7:30 PM.
  • The cruise lasts for 2.5 hours from Sunday to Thursday. On Saturday and Friday (November to March), the cruise has a duration of 3.5 hours.

“ Well where do I start? From boarding the boat to disembarking, this experience was a 10 out of 10! My family went on Sunday 29th June and experienced the Gold Dinner cruise. This involved a 6 course degustation with accompanying wines. Champaign and canapés on the top deck on arrival with great hospitality. Our waiter named Bimo was awesome, had excellent service and could have a good laugh. Every meal was delicious and this cruise was well worth the money. We boarded at circular quay and got off at darling harbour. The whole cruise was over two hours. The sights at night were breath taking. This cruise is a must if visiting Sydney.“ ☺️☺️

- clancey87, August 2019 Tripadvisor

Gold Penfolds Dinner & Drinks Cruise

Hop aboard one of the most luxurious sightseeing vessels in the Harbour City for the ride of a lifetime. Priority boarding, a welcome reception, a scrumptious 6 course dinner, upper deck seating and Penfolds gold selection of private bin and vintage wines all await you on this remarkable journey.

Timing & Duration

  • The Gold Penfolds Dinner & Drinks Cruise leaves from Circular Quay Wharf No. 6 at 7:00 PM and departs from Darling Harbour King Street Wharf No. 1 at 7:30 PM.
  • The cruise has a duration of 2.5 hours on Sundays to Thursdays. On Fridays (March to November) and Saturdays (all year round), the cruise lasts for approximately 3 hours.

“ On June 24 my family and I went on the Penfolds Dinner Cruise to celebrate my 70th birthday. It exceeded my expectations. We all had a ball. The food, wine and service were of the highest quality. I didn't want the evening to end and my family agreed. I would definitely recommend this cruise to others.“

- Prossend, July 2019 Tripadvisor

Luxury Cruise - Platinum Penfolds Grange with Dinner

Explore the beautiful Sydney Harbour on one of the finest sightseeing vessels in the city and enjoy magnificent views of nighttime Sydney. Your cruise will include a glorious six-course Australian meal with a fine selection of vintage wines, priority boarding, a special welcome reception on the Sky Deck and live music as well!

Timing & Duration

  • Platinum Penfolds Grange with Dinner departs daily from Circular Quay Wharf No. 6 at 7:00 PM.
  • The cruise lasts for 2.5 hours on Sundays to Thursdays. On Fridays (March to November) and Saturdays (all year round), the cruise is approximately 3.5 hours long.

“ We went during Vivid Sydney, and selected the Platinum Penfolds Grange so as to be able to guarantee window seating. The food was very good, but nothing I would rave about. The wines were quite good, but I say this knowing nothing about wines! The live piano player was a nice touch, but I think it was bit distracting IMHO. As noted above, we payed for guaranteed window seating. The views are great, you see and have some time cruising slowly along all the major downtown sites.Very happy we did this. “

- Neshera, September 2019 Tripadvisor

Sunset Dinner Cruise

Witness a magical sunset overlooking the beautiful Sydney Harbour aboard a premium sightseeing vessel. Your cruise experience also includes a fancy three-course contemporary Australian meal, along with a fine collection of wines and beers. Your experience is heightened by the mesmerising views of Sydney as the city winds down after a lovely day.

Timing & Duration

  • The Sunset Dinner Cruise departs from Darling Harbour King Street Wharf No. 1 at 5:00 PM. Ensure that you arrive at least 10 minutes before departure time.
  • Your cruise will last for approximately 1.5 hours.

“ Really enjoyed our sunset dinner cruise. Magical moments. Food enjoyable coupled with a splendid view. Lovely few hours spent!“

- Mauragarrod, September 2019 Tripadvisor

Tips For Choosing The Right Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruises

Cruise Company Reputation

The company organising the Sydney Harbour cruise has an important role to play in your overall experience. There are many companies organising these tours including Captain Cook, Harbourside Cruises, Magistic Cruises, Australian Cruise Group and many others. Make your pick depending on your budget, requirements and online reviews.

Route Chosen

The route is one of the most important considerations when booking a Sydney Harbour dinner cruise. Most cruises cover the east side of the harbour starting Circular Quay and ending at Rose Bay. There are cruises which go further down the western side towards Gladesville Bridge. When booking your cruise, try and find one which also covers the Middle Harbour, which is a less visited but equally exceptional part of the Sydney Harbour.

Departure Point

Generally, Sydney Harbour cruises depart from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour and sometimes from the small wharf near the Opera House. Check the departure point and its proximity to your accommodation before booking a cruise.

Duration of Tour

Depending on how much time you can spare for a leisurely cruise on the Sydney Harbour, you can opt for a half hour, one hour or even a three hour cruise.

Vessel Type

The whole point of opting for a cruise is that you get discover the Sydney Harbour aboard a luxury vessel. There are boats with two levels, ones with three levels and even boats that have an entire glass side. Depending on the type of company you have, you can opt for a big or a small boat. For a romantic, intimate experience, go for a small boat and if you're with family or friends, a big boat is better suited.

Cruise With Meal/Drinks or Without Meals/Drinks

There's something special about watching the Sydney skyline from a boat while enjoying a delicious meal. You can opt for a dinner cruise, a lunch cruise, or even an afternoon tea cruise. Depending on how much time you have, you can pick a cruise without dinner as well.

More Sydney Guides

Check out more detailed guides on Sydney attractions and plan your visit better.