Everything is different about a cruise holiday and a normal holiday. You will notice the moment you are heading towards the departure terminal. Sydney Harbour cruises (from Sydney) that head to the Fiji Islands, the Great Barrier Reef or New Zealand depart regularly. Your holiday starts before you get on your cruise ship.
I don’t know about you, but there is a lot that has been lost in flight travel. September 11 changed everything forever. In the good old days, going to the airport was a fun and enjoyable experience. Nowadays, you don’t even want to be smiling, laughing and doing anything other than breathing slowly, staying calm and having a numb expression on your face. God forbid you say something that is heard incorrectly or misunderstood. It is amazing how much the mind can create out of words that have been said. Someone can say to a friend, “Where is Tom?” and airport staff, a cleaner passing by, or even another traveller will hear, “There is a bomb!” Airports, and just as bad, the time spent on flights, are turning into paranoid places. When you are leaving for your holiday, you can’t be cheery or excited about it until you have left the airport at your destination. When you are coming home from your holiday, the buzz-kill starts from your flight back. Getting on Sydney Harbour cruises out to the Great Barrier Reef and the Fiji Islands, well it is a little different. It probably has something to do with the location of departure. The destination is not really hot on any terrorist list, and, well, the whole atmosphere is different. This definitely has an impact on the way you feel about your holiday, especially because once you are on that ship, your holiday goes from zero to whoa-yeah, and you are having a great time from the ‘get-go’! This article focuses on what to expect and a guide about getting on your ship to the fun, sun, beaches and seas in Sydney.
- Getting there. The cruises leave from Darling Harbour just about all of the time. In some cases, they can leave from Circular Quay, but that is only in extremely rare cases. Darling Harbour is a great place to leave from. You feel like you are on holiday already. If you are coming by car into the city, the best way is to avoid the centre of the city, and go directly to west side of the city, where it is easy to find a place to get down from your ride. After which, you will only have a short walk across the pedestrian bridge (heading East into the city). You will see the cruise ship on your left hand side on the East side of Darling Harbour. If you want to avoid the traffic by using rail into the city, get off at the Town Hall station. From there, just walk North on George St about 300m, and turn left on Market St, and it is 300m to Darling Harbour (also called Cockle Bay on maps). Don’t cross the pedestrian bridge, and your cruise ship will be on your right. It is a little further walk north along the edge of the water towards King Street Wharfs (about 500m). The atmosphere is pleasant and rather enjoyable. Even if you are going on a 7-day cruise or more, you should only have a small suitcase because it is like you are going to be needing anything more than a few clothes for dinner and your swimwear. In the case of Circular Quay, well it is as simple as going to Circular Quay, and heading to the (OPT) Overseas Passenger Terminal. This is another delightful area.
- Immigration and Check. You will have the usual immigration and security checks, which are similar to the airport, but there is certainly not the feel that exists in an airport. There is not the 3-hour advanced check-in as there is with the airports, and you should be ready to check-in 1 hour before departure. I would get there 2 hours before, so you can start enjoying your holiday earlier.
- Passenger Responsibilities. There are the usual conditions, no alcohol to be brought on board, 20kg of luggage (which you will probably not need), be prepared to have a great time.
Cruises from Sydney leave on a regular basis. The best thing about your holiday is the fact that it starts straight away, and lasts until the very minute you get back. This information is a guide, and check with your cruise operator on the details of your departure.