Carnival Cruise EA Sports Bar

Australians love their sport and depending on how their team is performing, a cruise holiday can sometimes get in the way of a big game or finals match. Often, travel agents and cruise lines hear the question: “I am a massive fan of xyz event/sport – will I be still be able to see it on my cruise?”

Thankfully, cruise lines have responded. Gone are the days where passengers would be forced to miss critical sporting fixtures involving their favourite team due to insufficient technology providing coverage of the event while at sea. Satellite coverage, upgraded network connections and even super high speed internet have allowed for full live games to be shown in marvellous HD quality, even in some of the world’s most remote locations.

Many ships now broadcast major events straight into your stateroom with live feeds, and in the case of the really major events (think AFL/NRL Grand Final for Australians, the US Super Bowl or Major League Baseball World Series), it can be a jostle for space in a ship’s theatre as fans gather en masse to watch an event on the big cinema screen.

US Super Bowl screening on a cruise ship
Passengers prepare to watch the US Super Bowl while at sea

In addition to the game itself, some lines go all out to make a ship-wide event for the occasion, putting up decorations for the representing teams and creatively altering food menus to suit.

Take Princess Cruises as an example. For special game days such as the AFL Grand Final, Princess uses its ‘Movies under the Stars’ screen to televise the game via satellite. During the telecast, servers distribute pizza, popcorn and chicken wings to the masses.

Princess shows Australian sport on voyages with large contingents of Australian passengers all around the world where satellite coverage permits. This includes Sea Princess’ world cruise which, commencing in May and finishing in September, takes over a large part of the Australian winter sporting season.

Rugby fans have scored more than tries onboard this year, with both MSC Cruises and Ponant broadcasting matches during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Ponant showed the major games such as the finals in the lounge onboard its five ships, while MSC allowed passengers to tune in on one of the in-cabin TV channels.

It’s not just football fans who are in luck – cricket fans will also catch games such as the Boxing Day Test Match and other key cricket matches with P&O Cruises Australia screening these on all summer voyages. Sister line P&O World Voyages, bring inherently British, also relishes the opportunity to show a spot of cricket in its sports bars on Arcadia and Aurora on their world voyages to and from Australia.

For sports tragics, it can get even better. If all the broadcast sport isn’t enough to quench your thirst for the game, P&O Australia run several main events voyages to key sporting events here in Australia and New Zealand. Next year will see voyages set sail once again to the Australian Open tennis in January; Emirates Melbourne Cup in November, which will be joined by the first ever cruise to the 2016 Rugby League Auckland Nines in Febuary.

Fancy costumes on an Emirates Melbourne Cup P&O cruise
Where else would you see outfits like these but on a cruise heading to the Emirates Melbourne Cup horse race?
Image: James Morgan

The eight-night cruise/tour package sees guests enjoy a Trans-Tasman crossing aboard Pacific Pearl before disembarking in Auckland and transferred to the stadium to enjoy the roster of games. Prices for the voyage start from AU$1,765 per person twin share.


  1. You should be a little more specific here instead of just saying ‘cruise lines’. I was on a Celebrity cruise heading for Australia last October and noone on board had even heard of the NRL, let alone televising it.