Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cruising Sydney Harbour

Written by: Marie Rea

Sydney Harbour AUSTRALIA
Cruising the world's largest natural Harbour is not just the best feeling. It is the ultimate in fun, entertainment and getting acquainted with the best that Sydney has to offer! This coming from someone who's cruised the Mediterranean, South Pacific, New Zealand, and many more. Yet there's nothing like sailing around this lucky city!

I booked our three hour, three course dinner with ABBA tribute show just a few days before the actual sailing. It came via a deal from Deals I love which I saw through an email sent to me. Both my husband and I haven't had the chance to shop for presents for each other. Hub gallantly said, I could "get" his gift for me. To which I did! So he couldn't complain.

The rest you will hear about ..now!

It is one of those spur of the moment things that has really paid off! Sometimes being spontaneous is a good thing. Despite the dodgy weather in Sydney, I feel it will still be going to be a good cruise, you cannot go wrong with an ABBA show anyway!


Sydney Harbour AUSTRALIA
So the deal was for $49 per person. We would have loved for our two boys to come with us but teenagers as they were, they declined. Great! Some time for us then!

After paying through Paypal which was also handy, I printed our vouchers and made the reservations required by phoning. At first I was a bit skeptical as there must be a catch with good deals like this one. So it remains to be seen, I was told just turn up with the voucher and we would be given our tables there.

The tricky part was going to the city, to the Pyrmont Bay wharf. I did tell my husband before hand where we would be embarking, he said he knew where it was. My worry was the GPS would fail and he would end up getting lost! Now, was I being a psychic?

So after a few bickerings on where to go, which street to turn, etc., we found a parking at The Star's parking which was really my original plan. It was easier to get to than the car park at Darling Harbour. In the past, we just park there going to the city, like visiting the Australian Maritime Museum and other spots in the Harbour with the most!



A Tribute to ABBA at Rhythmboat Cruise
The embarkation point was also not so assuring as the instruction just adjacent to the Maritime Museum which was huge! So we figured it would really just be in that area. But we eventually saw a few people milling about before 6 so we were relieved. It helped that I asked a cleaner at the area where the Rhythmboat cruises would be embarking.

Hence, we queued up for the sail. Met a few nice people and at first I wasn't too happy with the seating arrangement. A little tight squeeze as there were 6 chairs to a table on both sides making 12 for each table. Luckily our table wasn't full so I was glad about that!

Food was nothing spectacular but still good and filling and served hot. I was warned by a friend who had cruised with the same company before not to expect too much by way of the food but it was pleasantly fine. As I predicted I was pretty sure our experience would be different, and it was!
Iconic Sydney Opera House AUSTRALIA
For one, the weather was perfect! Not too hot (though the dining area was a bit humid). No rains so far which was also a blessing. It was still very bright when we embarked and we could see fabulous views of all the iconic places Sydney was famous for- the Harbour bridge which never fails to take my breath way, the Sydney Opera House with its glittering sails as our boat move slowly through the calm and serene waters, some buildings brightly lit with Christmas lights, rich people's homes which made me feel a bit jealous and many more. We passed by Cockatoo island and saw lots of colourful tents perched along the water's edge, Fort Denison, etc.

Foodwise it wasn't that great but it wasn't bad either. It was just right for us, no wastage. The nibbles were crackers and cheese, cabanossi slices, with a dip and choices of julienned carrots and cucumbers and some foaccacia cut into finger sizes. If these are not to your liking, it doesn't matter, you are there for the views I tell you!

The main course was a choice of pork and mashed potatoes and gravy with steamed veggies or chicken breast with boiled potatoes with mushroom sauce and zucchinis, carrots and green beans. Dessert was a simple chocolate or sponge cake as far I have seen as we both got each a small serve of chocolate cake on a plastic plate. It was fine for me as I do no really eat a lot of sweets.

I am not expecting seafood, I am allergic to it! Sorry to seafood lovers, this cruise is not a buffet extravaganza the key is the view and the entertainment!

For entertainment, I cannot complain! ABBA has always been one of my favourite groups as their songs are universal. People would always love their songs and so it was a truly great evening for us. Our table mates were friendly Australians. So it was worth what we paid for and probably more with the million dollar views before us!



Cockatoo Island in Sydney AUSTRALIA

So I shall recommend you try this, not for the food but for the fantastic views, fun entertainment and potential great people you will meet. As always, it helps if you keep an open mind indulging in a cruise like this!

As of this writing, I have made quite a few new acquaintances and will be keeping in touch with some of them. Particularly as I have discovered the part owner of Rhythmboat is a fellow countrywoman. Marisa Seagg is a fine hostess, not overbearing and she and her friendly business partner Allan Berkopec have been operating it for the past 14 years. This is a testament that with wholesome entertainment, good organisation, decent food and good value for money, the enterprise is bound to be enjoyed by many for years to come.

As proof, I had the pleasure of speaking to its Captain, Tony who said he loved working for Rhythmboat and had been with them for the past 12 years! How was that for a glowing testimony? 


The author and hubby enjoying the fab view of Sydney Harbour

Dress Code: Wear comfortable shoes, silly people still wore their stillettoes and looked really tired and uncomfortable! Smart casual is also great for both ladies and men. Young children are not recommended to join this cruise.

Address: near Australian Maritime Museum, Pyrmont Bay Wharf
Website: http://www.rhythmboat.com.au/


Author Bio: 
Marie is a Tasmania-based columnist whose writings appeared in journals and community newspapers in Australia. Her work "If I were a flower" won in a writing competition held in Melbourne. She is the founder of Global Citizens Care Movement helping needy children of her native country, the Philippines.