In­dulge in a feast of at­trac­tions

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - CRUISE -

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

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