Anzac Day is one of several occasions celebrated at sea on these true blue cruises.
As more Australians become cruisers, more cruises become Australian. These are Cruise Weekly’s six most Aussie adventures afloat.
1. Anzac Day
The locally based Carnival Spirit and all of P&O Australia’s ships host dawn services and family-friendly games of two-up on Anzac Day (25 April).
This year, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel also screen the movie Gallipoli and throw a deck party pumping with Australian and New Zealand music.
Anzac biscuits, commemorative cakes and Australian flags can be found across the P&O ships, creating a special Aussie atmosphere.
Brisbane was the site of an unusual Anzac Day commemoration in 2012 when Pacific Dawn (pictured above) wore a giant Australian flag while in drydock at the Forgacs Cairncross Dockyard in Morningside. A dawn service was held in recognition of the sacrifice of Australians and New Zealanders at war.
2. Australia Day
Of course, the “Aussiest” day of the year is 26 January, which has its own maritime connections, marking the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson (now known as Sydney Harbour).
This year, on the same harbour, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl displayed massive ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ decals and flew Australian flags from the decks to mark the nation’s special day. It was the first time two P&O ships had celebrated Australia Day in the harbour, perfectly positioned to watch the Ferrython, Harbour Parade, Tug and Yacht Ballet, a ‘tinnie muster’, Tall Ships Parade and fireworks.
Next year, get ready for all three P&O ships to meet on Sydney Harbour for the first time.
3. The Kimberley
It doesn’t get more ocker than outback. The landscape ranges from red cliffs to rainforest and white-sand beaches. Barramundi fishing, swimming under waterfalls and treks to Aboriginal rock art are among the fair dinkum experiences.
For the most local flavour, North Star Cruises’ True North and Coral Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess and Oceanic Discoverer have all-Australian crews, who can share their personal stories about their homeland and, most importantly, lead a game of beach cricket.
4. Australia theme parties
Visiting international ships will often host a party in tribute of the local destination. It can be interesting to see what an American company thinks is typically Aussie. On a Seabourn cruise this year, the crew handed out free VB and Tooheys New and placed fake sharks in the pool. Nice try.
5. Aussiefied ships
Carnival Cruise Lines prides itself on the “Aussification” of Carnival Spirit and, coming soon to Sydney, Carnival Legend. On top of adding Australian meals, beers and wines, a BBQ was installed, power points were changed and a waterslide was named Green Thunder. The cruise director is also Australian, which is highly unusual, so an Aussie accent is often heard over the PA system and leading the dance parties. Oi oi oi!
6. Gallipoli cruises