We round up some group-friendly cruises to Australia and New Zealand, after the first two episodes of the new series of Cruising with Jane McDonald aired on Channel 5. 

The latest series of Bafta award-winning travel documentary Cruising with Jane McDonald began last Friday. In the first episode, presenter Jane McDonald, a former cruise ship entertainer, explored the best of Australia and New Zealand, with the second concluding the tour last night (Friday 15th June).

For those groups inspired by the programme, here is a selection of cruise lines that sail to this part of the globe, and welcome groups on board…

Holland America Line will run a 14-night Australia and New Zealand itinerary from 24th February to 10th March 2019. Departing Sydney Harbour on the ms Noordam, this itinerary visits the cultural hotspot of Melbourne before heading to Tasmania’s Hobart, followed by New Zealand’s Milford Sound, historic Dunedin, Picton, the capital of Wellington, Napier, Rotarua, and finishing in the cosmopolitan city of Auckland. Various packages are available for groups, themed from wine to wellness activities.

Pictured: The Noordam at sea.

P&O Cruises offers Classic Southern Hemisphere Journeys, giving groups the choice to fly directly to, or home from, Australasia. Plus there are cruise departures from Southampton. On holidays from 41 to 61 nights long, you’ll visit as many as 20 ports including classic cruise destinations. As an example, Southampton to Sydney in January 2019 will see you set sail for Sydney, via the mighty Panama Canal and the Caribbean delights of St Lucia and Aruba. Group rates are available for parties of 16 or more people.

Royal Caribbean International’s Australia and New Zealand cruise takes in everything from the fjords at Milford Sound to the buzzing arts and entertainment scene of Melbourne. Diving the Great Barrier Reef, spotting Darwin’s saltwater crocodiles, and discovering Aboriginal and Maori heritage are also highlights. Opt from sailings onboard Ovation of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, plus other ships, on selected dates both this year and next. GTOs booking eight or more staterooms will receive group benefits.

Tunnel Beach, Dunedin
Pictured: Tunnel Beach, Dunedin.

Celebrity Cruises will run a 13-night cruise onboard the Celebrity Solstice in January, with the itinerary including stops and excursions in Sydney, Hobart, Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin, plus others. The latter, for example, is home to New Zealand’s only castle, and you’ll get to see architecture just like that in Scotland. Days at sea can encompass everything from fine dining and live entertainment to wellness activities and spa experiences. 

Viking Ocean Cruises has released dates for both 2019 and 2020 for its 15-day Australia and New Zealand Tour that takes in the highlights of both countries and includes nine guided tours. In Australia, you’ll visit Sydney, the Gippsland Coast, Melbourne and Hobart, before heading over to New Zealand to stop at Christchurch, Wellington, Napier and more. Early booking discounts are available before September 2018.