Regardless of your personal viewpoint (and we respect all of them), 26 January is a day to celebrate everything that is great about Australia and to be thankful for living in this country.
Taking place smack bang in the middle of cruise season’s busiest period, Australia Day in Sydney Harbour is hotly contested territory, with many of the major international cruise lines eager to show off how Aussie they can be and to get amongst what is usually thousands of private boats getting about at the same time.
So what did the major cruise lines up to for Australia Day?
P&O Cruises Australia
Australia’s home grown line P&O Cruises marks itself as the official partner of Australia Day in Sydney and Pacific Eden, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl took pride of place at anchorage points in Sydney Harbour.
The three ships were in prime position to witness the spectacle of the annual ferry “race” around the harbour, while guests on Pacific Eden enjoyed a special concert by Aussie rock icon Jimmy Barnes.
Those on other ships enjoyed the show from fleet-mate Pacific Eden through Channel Nine’s TODAY breakfast show, which had entertainment guru Richard Wilkins broadcasting live from the ship. Guests then tucked in to a traditional Australian barbecue lunch on the open decks and participate in fun outdoor activities.
Carnival Cruise Line
The quintessentially American cruise line has spared no expense to fit in with Australian culture since its first ship, Carnival Spirit, arrived here in 2012. And Aussies have embraced both it and sister ship Carnival Legend wholeheartedly.
True to its “Fun Ship” ethos, Carnival went all out to celebrate Australia Day. Both ships were adorned with decorations, with guests given temporary Australian flag tattoos and pins. Additionally, every guest received a souvenir miniature Australian flag, with cabin attendants also creating Australian towel animals such as kangaroos and koalas.
Carnival also proudly incorporated Australia into its itineraries for Australia Day, with Carnival Spirit tying up in Port Arthur, Tasmania, while sister ship Carnival Legend spent the day at sea on its way back to Sydney. Menus on both ships featured Australian flair, with large quantities of steak and lamb brought on especially for the occasion.
With a record five ships in Australian waters this season, Royal Caribbean was another line making a big fuss of January 26th.
The festivities, which the line promised would be “true blue”, was all that and more as the line put on a full smorgasbord of Aussie food, drinks, music and games. Ovation of the Seas was decked out in Australian flags and green & gold decorations.
During the day, family-friendly parties took place on the pool deck, complete with belly flop contests and prizes handed out for the guest dressed in the most Australian way. The line’s casual Windjammer Buffet eatery and main dining rooms was brimming with classic Aussie fare such as lamingtons, meat pies and prawn skewers.
Each ship had its own twist on festivities, with Explorer of the Seas hosting “The Aussie Olympic Games”, with events including novelties such as “kangaroo racing” and “thong throwing”. Radiance of the Seas boasted the world’s largest pavlova at sea.
One of the largest cruise lines in Australia, Princess Cruises, also takes pride in celebrating Australia Day by putting on a special onboard programme each year.
Guests traveling with the line yesterday engrossed themselves in Australian focused events such as wine tastings with numerous well-known local labels. Dining room menus included more Australian ingredients such as lemon myrtle and local seafood.
The ever popular Movies Under The Stars screen showcased popular Australian films, among which were classics including Baz Luhrmann’s Australia and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Guests on vessels which spent Australia Day in port also enjoyed an Australian themed sail-away party loaded with Australian music and decorations.
Were you onboard a cruise ship for Australia Day yesterday? Tell us all about it below!