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Vivid Sydney Buffet Dinner Cruise with Harbourside Cruises

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by Linda Moon (subscribe)
... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home: https://www.instagram.com/the_soul_home/thewildemoon: https://www.instagram.com/thewildemoon/
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A cruisy way to see the Vivid Light Festival
Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
Exclusive close views of the Opera House on Harbourside Cruises

As the sky darkens over Sydney Harbour, we're waiting with a crowd of excited others at the Casino Wharf, Pyrmont.

It's Vivid Festival time again. And, with the key annual Sydney event marked by chilly winter evenings, seeing the lights by boat provides a popular alternative to walking about in the cold battling the crowds.

I've done that twice over previous winters of the Festival. This year I decided to try something different and with an 8-year-old in tow, I thought a cruise might be easier than trying to stay together amidst hoards of others.

Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
The Harbour Spirit cruising Sydney Harbour by day.

Despite the crowd, boarding the Harbour Spirit was a straightforward experience. After squeezing into a seat on the two level catamaran, we left without delay on our two-hour cruise.

After standing in queue for a preliminary drink, a buffet dinner was available. The latter was managed efficiently by staff calling groups of people up to serve themselves one at a time.

As the sky darkened into an inky blackness, the lights of Vivid sparkled along the shoreline. At the forefront of the Botanic Gardens stood a line of glowing flowers. Luna Park's face and the amusement park's foreground glittered over the dark sea like a fantasy land.

Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
Vivid Festival from aboard Harbour Spirit

Overhead, the Harbour Bridge lights melded into different hues as we approached Circular Quay. Stands of purple buildings hemming the Quay and a neon section of the highway rose in the distance like a futuristic fantasy cityscape.

Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
Vivid Festival from aboard Harbour Spirit

One of the highlights was watching the light show on the façade of the Opera House. Harbourside Cruises do their best to provide prime viewing of the site. While the Harbour Spirit floated nearby we were able to enjoy the light show over the Opera House and take many photographs.

Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
Vivid Festival from aboard Harbour Spirit

And, with the catamaran circling the area a few times, there's opportunity to see everything more than once from different angles of the boat. Guests had access to two different levels and could sit indoors or walk out onto the deck.

Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
Vivid Light Festival from aboard Harbour Spirit

Overall, for the budget price, the cruise was value for money. A complimentary drink and buffet dinner was included in the price.

Impressively, the food – which consisted of two pastas, salads, coleslaw, rolls, chicken, baked potatoes, bread rolls and delicatessen goods (like olives, cheeses, dolmades and roast capsicum) – was delicious and hot. And, with the chance to go back for more, my fussy 8-year-old topped up with a second helping.

Having to eat with food propped on our laps was a bit of a concern – there were only a limited number of tables available - but it turned out to be less of a worry than imagined. The boat cruised comfortable without lurching and the wooden plates were large, sturdy and accommodating – not those drooping paper kinds.

Vivid Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
The Daughter on her second helping of buffet food

How to book your cruise

For those interested in booking a Vivid Cruise on the Harbour Spirit, click here for more info on their website, or call 61 2 9002 5778. Watch out for regular promotional discounts.

Alternatively, email them on info@harboursidecruises.com.au

Vivid ends on June 17. However, Harbourside Cruises offers a range of different lunch and dinner cruises all year round including NYE cruises. You get what you pay for. So, pick the cruise option that suits you best – whether that's a budget special or something more luxe.

Larger groups can also book the boat exclusively for Birthdays, Christmas Party's & Weddings.

Vivid Light Festival Cruise, Harbouride Cruises, Sydney Harbour, Sydney NSW
Vivid Light Festival from aboard Harbour Spirit

Getting there and parking

For those driving, it's best to park at The Star Casino carpark at Darling Harbour. The Casino is directly opposite Casino Wharf. Too easy. For me, the parking fee (I was parked about 3 to 4 hours) was only $15.

On public transport, take the light rail to Star Casino. It's less than five minutes walk to the Casino Wharf.

Enjoy! And rug up in a warm coat, scarf and more, while waiting at the wharf.
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*Linda Moon was invited as a guest
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Why? It's a cruiser way to see the Vivid Light Festival
When: Vivid Light Festival is on each year in June during winter.
Phone: 61 2 9002 5778
Where: Meet your cruise at Casino Wharf Pyrmont
Cost: Varies - check for regular discounts and specials
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