Australian Cruise Documentation Requirements

A cruise to Australia is high up on our bucket list! To visit Sydney and sail by the Sydney Opera House and see the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a dream! Plus Brisbane’s koala sanctuary, Airlie Beach, Moreton Island, and all of the other Australian sites draw us back to research Australian cruise options regularly.

In October 2022, our friends Jeff and Jarod headed out to see Australia aboard one of our favorite ships: Carnival Splendor. What they didn’t know, until late September, was that they needed to have their Electronic Travel Authority – essentially an Australian travel visa that’s tied to your passport.

In this special-edition video, we cover both the travel requirements for an Australian cruise along with the key things you need to consider when applying for an ETA.

The Rest of the Story

It was only after joining a Facebook group where someone mentioned their visa being approved that our friends even realized they needed to complete this step in mid-September. Unfortunately for them, Australia recommends completing this step 3-4 months PRIOR to your arrival! Upon calling Carnival, they were informed that it’s “in the cruise contract” and that if they were denied the visa, they would lose their entire paid cruise amount. Their airline was a bit more gracious and would “only” charge a $500 penalty to rebook.

Fortunately, the ending is a positive one: just days before the sailing, they were approved for their ETA and are onboard the beautiful Carnival Splendor (the main article picture is courtesy of Jarod).

While we are not experts in foreign visas and travel requirements, our goal is to bring more visibility to this requirement when cruising Australia. We want to save you the stress, headache, and pit-in-the-stomach feeling by making this information more visible and readily available!

Now, let’s head down under and enjoy some Oliva Newton-John and beautiful sites!

Disclaimer: we do not provide legal and/or visa guidance. Each traveler is unique and you should refer to your cruise line website or speak to your travel advisor for specifics.

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