A short-break cruise is just the thing for first-timers,
time-poor and seasoned cruisers alike and Sydneysiders have lots to choose from,
pretty much year-round. Just think – no flights involved and no traffic to
battle on the way to your weekend getaway – you turn up at the cruise terminal,
board the ship and get straight into relaxing cruise mode.
Australia-based P&O Cruises, which operates five ships
– Pacific Aria, Pacific Eden, Pacific Dawn,
Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl – has the lion’s share of
this sector of the cruise business, while Carnival Cruise Line’s two Australia-based
ships, Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit, sail about one short
cruise (two to five days) a month. Dawn
Princess has one cruise, a two-day Sydney to Brisbane jaunt, departing onApril 20.
During the 2015-16 summer season, Royal Caribbean is
offering four sampler cruises on its visiting ships Explorer of the Seas (three) and Radiance of the Seas (one).
P&O SeaBreaks cover a range of different experiences.
The shortest are two-day Classic
cruises, which set off from Sydney and sail to a destination such as Wilsons
Promontory without stopping at a port. Similarly, three- and four-night Classic
cruises don’t stop anywhere – ideal if you enjoy sea days and are in the mood
for sleeping in, lazing by the pool and generally lapping up some much-needed
R&R. Pacific Eden has a two-day departure
on Sunday February 14 – why not book in for a romantic Valentine’s Day escape?
Three-night Food and Wine cruises are a popular option and
there are about one a month leaving Sydney between November 2015 and August
2016. Held on board Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden,
Food and Wine cruises host a selection of activities such as live culinary
demonstrations by top chefs, wine-tasting, cocktail classes and barista workshops.
Don’t miss a special lunch or dinner at Salt grill by Luke
Mangan – it’s a good idea to book a table as soon as you board the ship. Pacific Aria, Eden and Jewel now
feature the new Pantry venue, which has replaced the traditional buffet –
cuisines include Indian, Mexican and Asian as well as meat-lovers’ dishes at
Fat Cow and good old-fashioned fish’n’chips at Hook’s.
Laughter is the best medicine, as the saying goes, and
there’s nothing as therapeutic as having a good belly laugh. P&O SeaBreaks
include regular three-night comedy cruises that have plenty to entertain both grown-ups
and kids. You’ll meet some of Australia’s best comedians around the ship as
well as seeing them perform on stage, enjoy adults-only and family-friendly
shows at the Sit Down Comedy Club – and budding comedians can join workshops
led by the pros to hone their skills for the Comedy Wave Gong Show.
Check out Sydney round-trip departures on Pacific Jewel, Pacific Aria, Pacific Eden
and Pacific Pearl. There’s also a
four-night comedy cruise from Sydney to Auckland on board Pacific Pearl, leaving on January 31.
If you can stretch a long weekend to four or even five
days, you could head to Queensland’s Moreton Island and Sunshine Coast or Victoria’s
Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne on a P&O Cruises’ four-day SeaBreak. Carnival Spirit also operates four-day
cruises to Moreton Island and Mooloolaba during the winter months.
Moreton Island is one of the few places in Australia where
you can hand-feed dolphins in the wild; other adventurous sea-based activities
include snorkelling, parasailing, catamaran cruising and fishing. On land you
can take quad-bike tours and Segway safaris on the beach or go sand tobogganing
on the dunes.
Sunshine Coast cruises call at Mooloolaba, which is
renowned for its beautiful beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Swimming with
whales and a day-trip to Australia Zoo are among the shore tours on offer – or
you can just enjoy a dip in the sheltered waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Cruising south of Sydney, discover why Mornington
Peninsula has long been a holiday playground for Melbournians. Highlights of
the picturesque region include the Peninsula Hot Springs – one of three natural
hot springs in Australia – and its vineyards and cellar doors. Craft breweries,
cider-makers and distilleries are relatively recent additions to the
Peninsula’s thriving food and wine scene.
Keen shoppers always enjoy visiting Melbourne, but there’s
a lot more to Victoria’s capital city than fashionable boutiques. A two-hour
tour by electric bike takes you along comfortably flat harbourside bicycle
paths, kids will love a trip on the steam train Puffing Billy through the
Dandenong Ranges and a colonial tram tour of the city includes a four-course
lunch served on board the tram.
offers two five-night cruises to Tasmania in January and one in April. The ship
docks in Hobart and Port Arthur for a day each, so there is ample opportunity
to explore one of Australia’s most picturesque harbour cities as well as the
country’s most historically significant convict site.
One popular Hobart tour goes to the Cascade Brewery, five
minutes’ drive from the CBD in the foothills of Mount Wellington. The brewery
has been operating continuously since 1824 and the two-hour visit takes in all
aspects of the beer-making process – including tasting at the end.
At Port Arthur you can join a tour that gives an overview
of the site’s ruins and restored buildings as well as a drive around the Tasman
Peninsula. Chocolate tasting at Federation Chocolate Factory and a traditional
Devonshire cream tea at Dunalley are also on the menu.
Radiance of the Seas
has a four-day Tasmania sampler cruise, departing Sydney on December 11; it
spends one day in Hobart and three at sea, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy
the ship’s many facilities.
One of the best places to celebrate Australia Day is on Sydney
Harbour. Festivities include the annual Ferrython and Tall Ships races, sailing
regattas and spectacular parachute displays. Concerts will be performed from a
roving waterborne platform and in the evening the skies will be alight with
P&O Cruises has two ships sailing out of Sydney that
will be docked right at the heart of the action: Pacific Pearl and Pacific
Eden. Pacific Pearl’s three-day Sydney
round-trip cruise leaves White Bay Cruise Terminal on January 24 and Pacific Eden’s three-dayer leaves on
If you’ve never set foot on a ship before, this is a great
time to sample a cruise – but be quick, cabins are filling fast!