Indulge in a feast of attractions
Shore excursions can make up for a lack of warm weather on a cruise of the Apple Isle, writes Briar Jensen
HAIR flicks into my eyes and spray tingles my face as we sink low into the water’s warm embrace, evading the wind that has whipped my towel into the pool.
The Seaview Bar behind us is closed by inclement weather and there are only a few hardy souls braving the hot tubs.
This is not the sunny cruise we had anticipated but, to be fair, it is the first cruise of the season to Tasmania, where the locals quip, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes”.
Despite the intermittent chill factor, the six-night cruise aboard the Sea Princess proves an ideal week-long getaway, conveniently leaving and returning on a weekend.
The round trip from Sydney means no airports, though White Bay terminal is not public transport-friendly.
On board we unpack workday tensions along with our clothes in the ample storage space in our balcony stateroom before heading to Topsails Bar for departure bubbles.
Casting off at 7pm, the ship reverses into Darling Harbour, offering an intimate view of the city donning its evening bling.
Sailing under the filigree necklace of the Harbour Bridge the skyline glistens like myriad sequins, reflecting in the water as an Impressionist painting.
At 1990 passengers the Sea Princess is one of the Princess Line’s smaller vessels, but it is our first big-ship cruise and we’re grateful for the pocket map as we attempt to sample all the bars and restaurants.
My favourite spot though (apart from Premier Cru champagne bar) is sitting on our balcony mesmerised by the ocean. Seabirds glide gracefully over the waves and ships come and go on the horizon. At night we leave the sliding door open, drifting off in the salty air, the water whispering us to sleep.
Any ideas about this being a lazy, do-nothing cruise are soon scuttled by enticing onboard activities and interesting shore excursions.
On a bridge tour English captain William Kent talks with such enthusiasm you’d think