Travelling to New Zealand on a cruise ship
Information about travelling to New Zealand on a cruise ship including prohibited and restricted items, declaring items, and bringing money into New Zealand.
Before you travel to New Zealand
Before you travel to New Zealand on a cruise ship you must:
- Check your passport is valid. Check its expiry date to make sure it meets the rules for acceptable travel documents. Read more on Immigration NZ’s website.
- Check your eligibility to travel to New Zealand and if you require a visa or NZeTA on Immigration NZ's website.
- Check if you need a visa or an NZeTA. Travellers who are not New Zealand or Australian passport holders need a current visa or NZeTA to enter New Zealand. For more information visit immigration.govt.nz
- Check what you can and can’t bring into New Zealand. Visit our prohibited and restricted items page and the Ministry of Primary Industries website to find out more.
- Complete other requirements from the cruise operator.
If you are flying to New Zealand to join a cruise ship, you must meet all the requirements to enter New Zealand by air. Find out more on our Travelling to New Zealand page.
Arriving into New Zealand – what to expect
Border officers can check the bags you are taking from the ship at any port in New Zealand. You must carry identification with you, even if you are only daytripping off the ship and will be returning to the ship later.
If you are permanently disembarking, and leaving the ship to either stay in New Zealand or to fly out of New Zealand, you will need to complete an arrival declaration (either the Passenger Arrival Card, or New Zealand Traveller Declaration if invited on a trial basis).
The Passenger Arrival Card will be provided to you before you reach your last port. On it you will declare what you are bringing into the country.
If you are transiting New Zealand (meaning you will visit ports in New Zealand but will return to the cruise ship), you do not need to complete an arrival declaration.
Note: The Passenger Arrival Card is a sample only and cannot be presented to Customs or Biosecurity staff upon arrival.
New Zealand Traveller Declaration
The New Zealand Traveller Declaration is currently being trialled with some travellers on cruise ships. The system allows travellers to complete a digital arrival declaration instead of a paper Passenger Arrival Card.
If you are travelling on a cruise ship which is trialling the digital declaration, your cruise ship company will share information with you about the trial.
Find out more at www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz/travelling-by-sea.
Prohibited and restricted items
You won’t be able to bring prohibited items into New Zealand.
You may be able to bring some restricted items into New Zealand, but only if you have a permit for them.
Find out more on our Prohibited and restricted items webpage.
Note: you can’t bring pepper spray into New Zealand – we consider it to be a weapon.
New Zealand's biosecurity law prohibits the removal of certain food items from a cruise vessel, whether the items were available on board or brought onto the ship personally.
Food items that cannot be removed from the cruise ship include:
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- meat of any kind
- prepared meals (including sandwiches)
- dairy products
- flowers, seeds, or plants.
Only commercially bottled drinking water, chocolates, confectionery, and biscuits are permitted to leave the vessel.
Passengers and crew going ashore are requested to present their hand luggage, including backpacks for inspection if requested. Leave it on the ship or risk a $400 instant fine.
Find out more on the Ministry of Primary Industries' website.
Bringing money into New Zealand
You are required to complete a Border Cash Report if you carry NZ$10,000 or more cash (or foreign equivalent) into or out of New Zealand.
If you have not completed a Border Cash Report before reaching New Zealand, a Border Officer will provide a form to you to complete. If you have completed the online Border Cash Report you will receive an ID receipt for presenting to Customs at the port.
Note: the online Border Cash Report form can only be completed within 72 hours of your trip to New Zealand.
- physical currency
- travellers’ cheques
- money orders, postal orders, or similar
- bearer bonds
- a bill of exchange
- promissory notes
- any instrument prescribed by regulations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.
It’s a criminal offence to fail to declare cash on your report or to avoid making the report. If you do either, you could:
- be fined
- be imprisoned
- have your cash seized.
Translations of the Border Cash Report are available in the following languages:
Your Border Cash Report must be completed in English.