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Special Event Cruises 2020

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by Irenke Forsyth (subscribe)
A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published February 17th 2020
From music to comedy and food festivals to light shows, there's a lot to enjoy in and from Sydney and what better way to do it than via a cruise. Lunches, dinners, overnighters and longer cruises offer a different perspective in which to revel in a special event.

In date order, here are some different occasions in which you can celebrate by boat:-

Sapphire Coast Food Festival

Hop aboard P&O's Pacific Explorer on 13th March for this short break (3 nights) from Sydney that heads south to Eden, where you'll enjoy hand-picked local delicacies from the finest chefs in the Sapphire Coast region.

Sapphire Coast Food Festival, P&O Cruises
www.pocruises.com.au


Learn about oyster farming, sample the world-renowned Pambula Lake Sydney Rock oyster and have a go at shucking oysters on the Ultimate Oyster Experience. There's plenty to taste in this sensory event.

Amongst the food there is plenty of entertainment and activities on offer, such as Bhoja stand up paddle boarding yoga, a photography tour up to Eden's Lookout and a Wilderness Explorer visiting Davidson Whaling Station and Boyd's Tower.

Foodies should get in quick as cabins are selling fast. Starting from $402 per person (quad share), bring your friends and soak up the atmosphere with a wine or beer in hand. You can book it here. If you miss out, don't despair as there is another one departing later in the year (13th November).

Sydney Vivid Festival

Sydney Vivid Festival
Writer's image


There are many charter boats and cruises on Sydney Harbour that run specific trips during the Vivid light festival. From Darling Harbour to Circular Quay, they circle around the water and stop alongside the Sydney Opera House so that you can get your photos up close. Most will include dinner in the price and, because there are so many companies offering this during the festival, they are relatively cheap.

Hubby and I did one such cruise with Rhythmboat and enjoyed it immensely. It's a great way to do Vivid with the bonus of avoiding the crowds. You also get a light show on the water with boats lit up with LED lights.

If you want to make the experience more unique, then step aboard one of Sydney's Tall Ships to enjoy the sensational views and light show as you discover history on the vessel.

Sydney's Tall Ships
Writer's image


Most of these cruises run every night during the festival, usually for 1.5hrs and up. The 2020 dates for Vivid are 22nd May to 13th June. Prices start from as little as $35. Even cheaper is getting a ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour (or vice versa), which goes very slowly for you alongside Sydney Opera House.

The Big Laugh Comedy Festival

The Big Laugh, P&O Cruises
Facebook - The Big Laugh


They say laughter is the best medicine and The Big Laugh on the Pacific Explorer is sure to distract you from any woes you may have. Over 3 nights at sea (no port calls), you'll catch your laughs with different genres of comedy from headlining comedy acts on this cruise departing Sydney on the 5th June.

P&O doesn't release the line-up of comedians until a couple of months before departure but generally, there is a wide variety of comedians that bring shows from family-friendly to raunchy adults-only, late-night specials. Last year, saw the likes of Dave Hughes, Tom Gleeson and Mel Buttle participating and no doubt there will be big names again in 2020.

The gigs take place in different venues on the ship where you can enjoy either a full theatre experience in the two-deck Marquee Theatre or intimate shows in the small bars and lounges.

Cabins are available from $390 per person (for quad share).

If you can't make this cruise, don't worry as P&O operate many comedy and special event cruises from Sydney that include Dark Mofo in Tasmania and the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Cruisin' Country

Cruisin Country Music Festival
www.cruisincountry.com.au


It's the biggest country music festival at sea and it's back for its 10th year in 2020. Departing Sydney on 5th October and cruising to the South Pacific, it showcases the best of Australian country music over 8 nights.

Featuring the likes of Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Gina Jeffreys, Adam Harvey and a heap more in the biggest line-up to date (over 50 artists), you will set sail on the Serenade of the Seas and head to Noumea, Isle of Pines and Lifou.

Onboard activities include guitar and songwriting workshops, open mic, Schooner Bar jam, line clogging and square dancing, and an artist signing.

This non-stop music experience is a must for enthusiasts of this genre and starts from $2899 per person twin share. Secure your cabin here.

Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup, Carnival Cruises
Facebook - Carnival Cruise Line Australia


The race that stops a nation won't stop horseracing fans from getting to Melbourne and Carnival Cruises Carnival Splendour departure from Sydney on 1st November 2020 is one way to get there, in style.

Kick back and relax, pick your horses and set your sights on the winning post with this 6-night roundtrip journey that includes general admission into Flemington on the big day, as well as entry on Kennedy Oaks Day, and all transfers.

Interesting activities on the ship include betting masterclasses, racing trivia, fascinator making workshops, Q&A sessions with racing personalities, Mad Hatters Spring Racing High Tea, a Bloody Mary Recovery Brunch, and more.

Priced from $1349 per person (twin-share), you can book here.

Travelling Film Festival

Travelling Film Festival, Princess Cruises
Facebook - Princess Cruises


This journey at sea on Princess Cruises' Majestic Princess sees the best of the Sydney Film Festival presenting a unique program of screenings and events tailored to film lovers. Hosted by acclaimed film critic Richard Kuipers, it sets sail from Sydney on 18th November for a 10-night roundtrip taking in 5 ports Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Yorkeys Knob (Cairns), Port Douglas and Willis Island.

Priced from $1599 per person (double occupancy), there's plenty of entertainment, activities and off-shore excursions to enjoy as well. For more information, click here.

Christmas Day Lunch Cruise

Take the stress and hassle out of Christmas Day and let Sydney Showboats feed you lunch on their luxury paddlewheeler. With no mess to clean up afterwards, you'll enjoy a 3hr buffet cruise on Sydney Harbour with waiter service, beverages, picturesque views, family photo opportunities and entertainment from a jazz duo playing Christmas carols.

Christmas Day Lunch Cruise, Sydney Showboats
Facebook - Sydney Showboats


This festive outing boards at noon from Darling Harbour's King Street Wharf and will see you indulging in seafood, hot traditional dishes of roast turkey and honey glazed ham, medallions of tenderloin, Indian butter chicken, potato au gratin, salad selections, warm bread rolls and delicious desserts that include traditional Christmas pudding with custard, pavlova, fruit mince pies and lamingtons. Visit the website for the full menu and pricing.

This is just a snippet of what is available. There's an abundance of cruise providers offering cruises that celebrate Halloween, New Year's Eve, Boxing Day and many other events.
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