The European summer cruise season is about to kick with great news – the airline deal is back, thanks to the return of the Chinese airlines like Air China.

And Air China is not alone. For example, Turkish Airlines will start flights between Melbourne and Istanbul in 2024, with economy fares starting from just $1499 return.

Scoot has just announced a sale, with flights to destinations such as Athens from as little as $395, one-way from Melbourne. 

If you want to squeeze in a cruise over the coming season, chances are you’re flying to one of the big cruise destinations below. Cruise Passenger has also found the cheapest day to set off for each of the below destinations. 


To fly to sunny Barcelona, the absolute best price for a one-way ticket would be to fly with Air China for $615 on June 11. However, if you want to avoid the heavy layovers of an Air China Flight, you could instead opt to fly with Qantas the same day for $1655 one way. 


To find an absolute steal for getting to Athens, you’d want to look towards the 2nd of May, right at the start of the shoulder season. Flying here with Air China starts from just $606. However, once again you’ll be looking at long layovers. For a more direct option you can fly with Qatar Airways from $1695 on the same date.  


While London isn’t a cruise port, it provides easy access to Southampton, one of the most active cruise ports in the region. If you fly to London on June 2, you can get a flight as cheap as $588 one way with China Eastern, or shave off more than 10 hours of layovers on a $606 flight with Air China. To go more direct, the ebay option is with Singapore Airlines, starting from $1543.


While Venice has a controversial recent history as a cruise port, cruises are still running and it remains one of the most attractive destinations across Europe. Unfortunately finding a cheap flight isn’t the easiest, you can fly from $745 one way on May 21, but you’ll be subjected to more than two days of layovers and self-transfers. For a better option on the same day, you can fly with Thai Airways, for $1314 with two stop-overs, or Emirates from $1552, with one stop-over.


To get to the canals and culture of Amsterdam, a great destination to prepare for your ocean or river cruise, the cheapest day will be June 4. From only $523, you can fly from Sydney to Amsterdam with Xiamen Airlines, although your journey will be 39 hours in total. You can cut this down to 28 hours with China Southern, and rather pay $731. For something more direct you can opt for $1525 with Emirates and just 24 hours of travel.


For access to Oslo and a range of cruises across the landscapes of Northern Europe, your best day to fly is going to be May 28. There a few nightmare self-transfer flights starting from $738, but your best bet is probably flying with China Eastern for $1078, with a total of 32 hours of travel, or opting for Emirates from $1707. 


Copenhagen has a reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities and is a great place to kick off a Northern Europe cruise. It also has surprisingly reasonable flights for its location. On June 4 you can fly to Copenhagen for just $606 with Air China, with a reasonable transit time of 29 hours. For something a bit speedier, you can fly with Thai Airways for $1031 and 24 hours of travel. 


Istanbul offers a great base to set off and explore on a Mediterranean cruise. Look at June 19 for your cheapest day, with China Eastern offering flights from $588, but with a significant transit time of 43 hours. For something more comfortable you can opt for just 23 hours of transit with Turkish Airlines, starting from $1214. 

All flights are from Sydney and accurate per day of publication.