Swan Hellenic Cruises

The Kimberleys, Australia

Planning a trip to the Kimberley? Here is our guide to the top luxury cruise lines in the Kimberley, a bucket list destination.

Where is the Kimberley?

The Kimberley is located in the far north-western region of Western Australia. It is one of the largest wilderness landscapes in the world. Thousands of visitors are drawn to this fascinating region for its incredible natural wonders. Hot, arid landscapes bask in glorious sunsets where thundering waterfalls contrast the brilliant red cliffs and soaring plains.

Natural phenomena like Horizontal Falls and rivers brimming with crocodiles, pristine beaches and spectacular reefs lie within this remote and indigenous landscape.

Due to its remote location and extreme climate, one of the best ways to appreciate the Kimberley is by cruising.

When to travel to the Kimberley?

The best time to visit the Kimberley is mid-May to August, where the daytime temperature sits at around 28-30°C and evenings are a balmy 19°C. This is just outside the wet season. However, some cruise operators run waterfall cruises from mid-March to mid-April where visitors can appreciate nature in all its glory with thundering waterfalls and spectacular light storms in a more humid climate.  

Choosing the right ship for your Kimberley Cruise

Expedition /smaller cruise vessels can get into areas where larger vessels cannot access allowing for a more intimate and close-up experience. These vessels come with multiple smaller zodiac / adventure boats to propel you right into the heart of these untouched gems of the area. Some of these vessels have helicopters on board too, providing an even more exhilarating adventure and birds eye view.

It’s important to consider the type of Kimberley adventure you are looking for. Some of the larger vessels offer pools and day spas with multiple restaurant choices whereas the smaller vessels like True North, whilst still very luxurious, have limited onboard facilities and focus mainly on experiences in the region off the main cruise vessel.

Iconic highlights of the Kimberley region

  • King George Falls – one of the most photographed icons of the region. These 260-foot all twin cascades are phenomenal against the burnt red cliffs. Vessels like True North can get right up close to the foot of the falls.
  • Horizontal Falls and Talbot Bay – The Horizontal Falls are fast moving tidal currents that flow through two narrow gorges in Talbot Bay, located in the Buccaneer Archipelago. Most of the cruises will take guests on fast jet boat rides through the currents.
  • Mitchell Falls – a breathtaking waterfall at its height at the end of the wet season. Fly over the falls via helicopter or take the hike in – that is well-worth the journey.
  • Baccaneer Archipelago – the Kimberley is home to one of the highest
    concentrations of islands in the world. Some harbour ancient rock art dating back to Aboriginal times like Bigge Island.
  • The red rocks of Cape Leveque contrast the turquoise sea, the northernmost point of Dampier Peninsula.
  • Montgomery Reef – Australia’s largest inshore reef that rises from the ocean with an incredible sound as the tides wash over it.
  • Kuri Bay – Nestled within the untamed Kimberley wilderness in Western Australia, Kuri Bay is a remote coastal haven which boasts pristine beaches, secluded coves, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life.
  • Vansittart Bay – Vansittart Bay beckons adventurers seeking rugged beauty. Marvel at cascading waterfalls and discover the haunting wreckage of WWII aircraft.
  • Some activities available such as barramundi fishing trips, crocodile spotting cruises, whales off the coast of Broome, and camel rides on Cable Beach in Broome

Comparing Cruise Operators

Silversea

The Silversea Silver Cloud is an elegant luxury cruise ship offering an intimate and sophisticated travel experience. With world-class amenities, exquisite dining, and spacious accommodations, the Silver Cloud provides guests with unparalleled comfort and adventure.

  • Capacity: Accommodates up to 254 passengers and 212 crew members, ensuring personalized service and attention.
  • Dining: Four gourmet restaurants offering diverse cuisines, including Italian, French, and regional specialties.
  • Bars and Lounges: Multiple bars and lounges serve premium drinks, including a piano and poolside bars.
  • Entertainment: Evening shows, live music performances, and a full-service casino.
  • Spa and Fitness: A state-of-the-art fitness centre, luxurious spa, and wellness programs.
  • Pool and Sun Deck: Outdoor heated pool, whirlpools, and a sun deck with comfortable loungers.
  • Library and Internet Cafe: A well-stocked library and internet cafe for guests to stay connected.
  • Observation Lounge: A quiet space with panoramic views, perfect for relaxing and wildlife spotting.
  • Excursions: Curated shore excursions, adventure tours and Zodiac excursions, cultural experiences, and wildlife expeditions.
  • Enrichment Programs: Expert-led lectures, workshops, and activities to enhance the cruising experience.

2 Itinerary Offered:

  • 10-night – Broome to Darwin (or reverse Darwin to Broome) — Featuring all the iconic Kimberley sites including Montgomery Reef. (Darwin to Darwin can be an alternative for guests not wanting to enter international waters to return home).
  • 17-night – Cairns to Broome — Discover stunning natural wonders, and cultural experiences.

Ponant

Ponant is a luxury, French cruise line with a fleet of vessels and French crew on board.

Le Lapérouse—Blue Eye Underwater Lounge.
  • Ponant offer 3 vessels in the Kimberley Region Le Lapérouse or Le Soléal and the Le Jacques Cartier.
  • Le Soléal—264 passengers, 11 zodiacs, 2 restaurants, 24-hr room service, exterior bar, pool, wellness area, 2 lounges, theatre and spa
  • Le Lapérouse—one of the Ponant Explorers fleet has 92 staterooms. 184 passengers, 118 crew, 2 restaurants, the Blue Eye – a unique underwater lounge unlike any other in the world. Day spa, gym, 2 lounges, theatre, pool, hydraulic platform making for easy embark & disembarkation, inflatable zodiacs, kayaks & paddleboards.
  • Le Jacques Cartier—boasts a modern, eco-friendly design, its décor, reflects PONANT’s ethos, features light tones and open spaces, evoking a serene ambience inspired by visited destinations. The Blue Eye lounge offers mesmerizing undersea views and sounds.
  • All-inclusive meals, open bar and activities offered during expedition cruises.
  • Ponant’s iconic sailing yacht, Le Ponant, will debut its Kimberley voyages from April to October 2023, with cruises from the northern and southern Kimberley regions.

1 Itinerary Offered:

  • 10-night – Broome to Darwin (or reverse Darwin to Broome) — Featuring all the iconic Kimberley sites.

Scenic Eclipse II

Scenic, An Australian owned company, offers Scenic Eclipse a 5-star luxury experience, with all-inclusive dining, shore excursions and onboard amenities, while exploring the stunning rugged landscapes of Australia’s northwest region.

  • 228 passengers with 176 crew
  • Scenic has one luxury 6-star ship the Scenic Eclipse – with a second vessel due for completion in 2024.
  • Australian founded company
  • Scenic are the only company with 2x Helicopters and Submarine onboard the Scenic Eclipse (bookable 3 months in advance of departure- not included in price)
  • Every suite has a veranda and all have ocean views
  • Butler service for all guests
  • All inclusive – food, select premium beverages, shore excursions (except Helicopter and submarine), tips and gratuities.
  • 12 inflatable zodiac boats + kayaks & stand-up paddle boards
  • Up to 10 dining experiences including 24hr in-suite and 9 restaurants & bars on board from casual to fine dining
  • Senses Spa, theatre, Gym, Pilates studio, 3 outdoor vitality pools

1 Itinerary Offered:

  • 13-Day – Broome to Darwin (or reverse Darwin to Broome) — Featuring all the iconic Kimberley sites.

Seabourn

Seabourn Pursuit is the epitome of luxury travel on the high seas, offering a world-class journey filled with opulence and unforgettable moments. The latest addition to the ultra-luxurious Seabourn fleet—purpose built to explore remote destinations where larger vessels are unable.

With a maximum 264 guest capacity and with a passenger-to-crew ratio that ensures personalised attention throughout your voyage. Guests enjoy luxurious accommodation and in-suite service with a choice of Veranda, Panorama Veranda, and Penthouse Suites.

Onboard Amenities

  • World-Class Cuisine: Two fine dining restaurants, an american grill, buffet and sushi bar.
  • Discovery Centre: Insightful lectures, briefings and enrichment programmes
  • Observation Bar: Enjoy a beverage with uninterrupted panoramic views.
  • Pool: Spend a day unwinding.
  • Fitness Centre: Treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and weight machines.
  • Dancing: Let your hair down and spend an evening dancing  under the stars.
  • Salon and Spa: Reward yourself with a new hairstyle, manicure or pedicure.
  • Card Room: Enjoy lot’s of onboard activities including a game of bridge
  • Bars: Enjoy a refreshing tropical beverage day or evening.
  • Shopping: Stay in the moment, shop for fashion, cosmetics, jewellery souvenirs.
  • Activities: 24 Zodiacs, Kayaks and two custom-built submarines, plus land excursions and expert expedition team.

2 Itineraries Offered:

An adventure of a lifetime, visiting all iconic stops, exploring pristine wilderness, witnessing stunning landscapes and immersing yourself in rich indigenous culture.

  • 10-Day Darwin to Broome (or reverse): Waterfalls & Wandjinas with five sail dates in 2024 commencing June through to August.
  • 10-Day Broome to Darwin: Discovering the Kimberley Inaugural Voyage, commencing June, 2024.

True North

The TRUE NORTH has been safely navigating the Kimberley Coast’s many shallow river systems for over 35 years. Their purpose small ship cruises provide guests with a luxury experience and intimate access to the region’s iconic natural features.

Kings Cascade Falls, Kimberley, True North
King George Waterfall, Kimberley Australia, True North
  • 36 passengers to 22 crew
  • One of the only luxury vessels to cruise right into King George Twin Falls
  • Australian owned, been in business 35 years and all Australian crew
  • All-inclusive meals, destination-inspired dining and non-alcoholic refreshments throughout the day. Complimentary café style coffees and tea are also available all day.
  • All adventure boat excursions & activities, All fishing & snorkeling equipment and cylinders & weight belts (on dive trips).
  • 6 Adventure boats – made of aluminum. These adventure boats provide guests with greater opportunity to do “what they want, when they want". These boats are spacious with comfortable seating and guests to walk around. They sit high out of the water unlike the inflatable boats, and passengers have commented they felt incredibly safe when out spotting crocodiles.
  • Helicopter – gaining a whole new perspective on the region. Most guests find they purchase multiple helicopter opportunities at each of the iconic sites – so keep this in mind when planning your budget. The 13-night cruise offers approximately 20 different helicopter flight opportunities and 17 on the 7 & 10-night cruises. Helicopter flights are not included in the price.
  • 1 spectacular restaurant with large panoramic windows ensures that guests never miss any of the action, even when they are enjoying the finest in fine dining.
  • TRUE NORTH also features a sun deck, observation lounge, ship’s lounge, alfresco bar, sports deck
  • No balcony suites

5 Itineraries Offered:

  • 7-night – Snapshot Cruise — for those pressed for time. Featuring all the iconic Kimberley landmarks.
  • 10-night – Waterfalls Cruise — starting at the end of the wet season, showcasing thundering waterfalls, fantastic light storms & swollen billabongs. (Mid-March to mid-April).
  • 13-night Ultimate Cruise — all the icons of the Kimberley and more, at its very best done at a leisurely pace.
  • 13-night Coast & Coral — combines the very best of two equally stunning destinations – the Kimberley coast and the Rowley Shoals, world-class snorkelling at its very best. Brilliantly coloured corals, giant clams and more than 600 of the world’s most beautiful fish species to be explored.

Comparison chart of luxury cruise lines and their points of difference.

Cruise ShipsAvg. Guest
Capacity
Excursions
Included
Fitness
Centre
HelipadNo. of
Restaurants
/ Bars
Personal
Butler
Prepaid
Gratitudes
Airport
Transfer
All Meals
Included
Drinks
Included
Internet
Silverseas Silver Cloud254YesYesNo6YesYesYesYesYesYes
Ponant Le Lapérouse184YesYesNo3NoYesYesYesYesYes
Ponant Le Soléal264YesYesNo3NoYesYesYesYesYes
Ponant Le Jacques Cartier184YesYesNo5+NoNoYesYesYesYes
Scenic Eclipse II228YesYesYes10YesIncludedNoYesYesYes
Seabourne Pursuit264YesYesYes8YesYesYesYesYesYes
True North36YesNoYes1NoNoNoYesYesYes

How to get to the Kimberley

Most of the cruises we featured start and finish in Broome or Wyndham (via Kununurra), however Darwin is also another port for some itineraries.

What to pack when visiting the Kimberley

A diverse landscape that is dry and arid with lush rainforest and stunning waterfalls requires careful packing to ensure you have the right clothing and gear for different activities and weather conditions. Light-weight cotton clothing ideally with long sleeves for sun protection. Pack layers to accommodate the dry heat and slightly cooler evenings.

Good walking shoes as well as wet shoes for shore excursions and reef landings are a must. A hat, sunglasses, swimmers and sunscreen are also essentials for the suitcase. A spray jacket, water bottle and lip balm with SPF is also a good idea. Depending on where you are planning to visit, gaiters will protect your ankles and legs if you are planning to do the Kunmunya Hike. Many cruise vessels have a smart casual dress code for evening dinners on board, so pop in a few outfits for dinner.

 

2024 Scenic Eclipse Discover the Kimberley Coastline Cruises: An Ancient Wilderness

2-Helicopters & a Submarine on the World's first discovery yacht

29 Jul 24, 18 Aug 24   10 nights

Scenic Eclipse 2

Darwin Broome

From $15,295*/person

Darwin To Freemantle (Perth)

Western Australia in the Silver Cloud Expedition

8 Aug 24 25 Aug 24   17 nights

Silver Cloud

Darwin Fremantle (Perth)

From $22,600*/person

2024 Scenic Eclipse Uncover the Kimberley Coastline: An Ancient Wilderness

2-Helicopters & a Submarine on the World's first discovery yacht

28 Jul 24, 08 Aug 24   10 nights

Scenic Eclipse 2

Broome Darwin

From $16,795*/person

Pond Inlet To Reykjavik

Purpose-Built Expedition vessel with Expert-Led Expeditions and All-Inclusive Luxury Amenities

18 Aug 24 3 Sep 24   16 nights

Silver Endeavour

Pond Inlet Reykjavik

From $22,155*/person

Fremantle To Darwin

25 Aug 24 11 Sep 24   17 nights

Silver Cloud

Fremantle (Perth) Darwin

From $21,950*/person

Australia to Fiji

25 Aug 24 2 Oct 24   38 nights

Silver Cloud

Fremantle Lautoka

From $37,200*/person

Reykjavik To Reykjavik

Purpose-Built Expedition vessel with Expert-Led Expeditions and All-Inclusive Luxury Amenities

3 Sep 24 19 Sep 24   16 nights

Silver Endeavour

Reykjavik Reykjavik

From $19,755*/person

Seward (Anchorage) To Tokyo

12 Sep 24 26 Sep 24   13 nights

Silver Muse

Seward (Alaska) Tokyo

From $6,750*/person

Valparaiso To Puerto Williams

Ultra-luxury experience with personalised service and all-suite accommodations

18 Nov 24 8 Dec 24   20 nights

Silver Wind

Valparaiso Puerto Williams

From $19,755*/person

Sydney To Auckland

22 Nov 24 6 Dec 24   14 nights

Silver Muse

Sydney Auckland

From $9,946*/person

King George Island to King George Island 1st Dec 2024

1 Dec 24 7 Dec 24   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $28,900*/person

34 Nights|India|Silversea|Silver Whisper|4 Dec 2024

Suite sale

4 Dec 24 7 Jan 25   34 nights

Silver Whisper

Mumbai Singapore

From $14,505*/person

King George Island to King George Island 7th Dec 2024

7 Dec 24 13 Dec 24   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $29,300*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 8th Dec 2024

8 Dec 24 18 Dec 24   10 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $19,400*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 9th Dec 2024

9 Dec 24 19 Dec 24   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $21,300*/person

King George Island to King George Island 13th Dec 2024

13 Dec 24 19 Dec 24   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $27,800*/person

Mawson’s Antarctica: Along the East Coast

Breathtaking Voyage Alongside East Antarctica

15 Dec 24   24 nights

Scenic Eclipse 2

Queenstown Hobart

From $41,846*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 18th Dec 2024

18 Dec 24 5 Jan 25   18 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $33,400*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 19th Dec 2024

19 Dec 24 29 Dec 24   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $22,100*/person

Puerto Williams To King George Island departing 22th Dec 2024

Antarctica Cruise

22 Dec 24 6 Jan 25   15 nights

Silver Endeavour

Puerto Williams King George Island

From $46,305*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 29th Dec 2024

29 Dec 24 13 Jan 25   15 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $29,005*/person

Puerto Williams To Puerto Williams departing 5th Jan 2025

Antarctica Cruise

5 Jan 25 15 Jan 25   10 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $21,600*/person

King George Island to Puerto Williams 6th Jan 2025

6 Jan 25 21 Jan 25   15 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island Puerto Williams

From $52,700*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 13th Jan 2025

13 Jan 25 23 Jan 25   10 nights

-

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $22,400*/person

Silversea Antarctica Expedition Cruise departing 15 Jan2025

Antarctica Cruise Expedition

15 Jan 25   10 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $21,600*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 23rd Jan 2025

23 Jan 25 7 Feb 25   15 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $28,000*/person

King George Island to King George Island 24th Jan 2025

24 Jan 25 30 Jan 25   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $40,600*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 25th Jan 2025

25 Jan 25 12 Feb 25   18 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $36,005*/person

King George Island to King George Island 30th Jan 2025

30 Jan 25 5 Feb 25   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $34,900*/person

King George Island to King George Island 5th Feb 2025

5 Feb 25 11 Feb 25   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $34,600*/person

Puerto Williams To Puerto Williams departing 7th Feb 2025

Antarctica Cruise

7 Feb 25 17 Feb 25   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $22,300*/person

King George Island to King George Island 11th Feb 2025

11 Feb 25 17 Feb 25   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $31,900*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 12th Feb 2025

12 Feb 25 22 Feb 25   10 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $20,400*/person

King George Island to King George Island 17th Feb 2025

17 Feb 25 23 Feb 25   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $33,600*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 17th Feb 2025

17 Feb 25 27 Feb 25   10 nights

Silver Cloud Expedition

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $20,900*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 22nd Feb 2025 18Days tour

22 Feb 25 12 Mar 25   18 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $30,900*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 26th Feb 2025

26 Feb 25 10 Mar 25   12 nights

Silver Endeavour

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $24,300*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 27th Feb 2025

27 Feb 25 9 Mar 25   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $20,500*/person

Puerto Williams To Ushuaia departing 9th Mar 2025

Antarctica Cruise

9 Mar 25 19 Mar 25   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Ushuaia

From $18,100*/person

Puerto Williams to Valparaiso 9th March 2025

9 Mar 25 31 Mar 25   22 nights

Silver Cloud

Puerto Williams Valparaiso

From $25,100*/person

Puerto Williams to Valparaiso 10th March 2025

10 Mar 25 31 Mar 25   21 nights

Silver Endeavour

Puerto Williams Buenos Aires

From $32,300*/person

Circumnavigation of Japan: Cultures & Traditions

04 May 25   16 nights

Scenic Eclipse 2

Seoul Otaru

From $31,495*/person

Darwin To Darwin

12 Jun 25 22 Jun 25   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Darwin Darwin

From $14,900*/person

Darwin To Darwin

22 Jun 25 2 Jul 25   10 nights

Silver Cloud

Darwin Darwin

From $14,900*/person

Darwin To Bali Via the Kimberley

2 Jul 25 18 Jul 25   16 nights

Silver Cloud

Darwin Benoa

From $20,900*/person

Benoa To Darwin

18 Jul 25 3 Aug 25   16 nights

Silver Cloud

Benoa Darwin

From $19,900*/person

2025 Scenic Eclipse Discover the Kimberley Coastline Cruises: An Ancient Wilderness

2-Helicopters & a Submarine on the World's first discovery yacht

21 Jul 25, 10 Aug 25   10 nights

Scenic Eclipse 2

Darwin Broome

From $21,460*/person

Silversea – Northen Europe Summer Time Cruise

Unlock Northern Europe's summer secrets with our cruise promotion

22 Jul 25   23 nights

Silver Shadow

Hamburg Reykjavik.

From $26,200*/person

2025 Scenic Eclipse Uncover the Kimberley Coastline: An Ancient Wilderness

2-Helicopters & a Submarine on the World's first discovery yacht

31 Jul 25, 17 Sep 25   10 nights

Scenic Eclipse 2

Broome Darwin

From $16,215*/person

Darwin To Fremantle

3 Aug 25 20 Aug 25   17 nights

Silver Cloud

Darwin Fremantle (Perth)

From $20,900*/person

Fremantle To Darwin

20 Aug 25 6 Sep 25   17 nights

Silver Cloud

Fremantle (Perth) Darwin

From $21,900*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 5th Oct 2025

5 Oct 25 26 Oct 25   21 nights

Silver Wind

Buenos Aires Puerto Williams

From $28,000*/person

King George Island to King George Island 26th Oct 2025

26 Oct 25 1 Nov 25   6 nights

Silver Endeavour

King George Island King George Island

From $27,200*/person

Puerto Williams to Puerto Williams 26th Oct 2025

26 Oct 25 5 Nov 25   10 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $18,400*/person

Puerto Williams To Puerto Williams departing 11th Dec 2025

Antarctica Cruise

11 Dec 25 21 Dec 25   10 nights

Silver Wind

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $22,600*/person

Puerto Williams To Puerto Williams departing 12th Dec 2025

Antarctica Cruise

12 Dec 25 22 Dec 25   10 nights

Silver Endeavour

Puerto Williams Puerto Williams

From $25,300*/person

 
Image Credit : Silversea, Scenic, Ponant, Swan Hellenic, True North & Tourism Australia