Although my husband and I have explored most of Sydney CBD, we have not seen much of the harbour apart from quick ferry trips between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. That changed though, when one Sunday in September last year, we were invited by Sea Sydney Cruises to well, cruise like locals.
Our royal escape commenced on Commissioners Steps, on the left side of Circular Quay, adjacent to The Museum of Contemporary Arts. As if on cue, the 52-ft MV Calypso appeared in the docks in perfect timing for the 1230H departure.
We were greeted by Terry, a middle-aged gentleman with the swag of a true Sydneysider. Our skipper, Ben, waved from the captain’s deck. Apart from another couple, honeymooners from London, the boat was all ours.
From the get-go, Australia’s power landmarks, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge framed our route as if a postcard has sprung to life. Settling on a corner lounge at the back of the boat, we marvelled at the city we thought we’ve already seen much of, from a new vantage point. What with a foreshore of cerulean waters and a blanket of cyan skies, the bustling Sydney metropolis spread its arms in the middle like a silver lining.
As we passed through other points of interest: the botanical garden Governor’s house and Mrs. Macquarie’s chair to name a few, Terry took us to back in time, to the rich history and culture of what is now the modern-day Sydney.
Speaking of modern-day, we also cruised past prime waterfront real-estate properties, some of which were owned by famous celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.
In between chit-chats, a 3-course meal (Black tiger prawns, Tasmanian Salmon, Steak, Fresh Salad etc.), all showcasing fresh Australian produce, was served. To top it off, overflowing Australian beer and wine were also served.
Come lunch time, Ben dropped the anchor for a quick break at Taylor’s Bay. I did not miss the chance to swim, while the photographer husband took snaps of everyone. Consistent with our royal treatment, Terry offered if we were keen to fish or take a kayak out.
After swimming, my husband and I retired to the front of the boat and sunbaked a bit, while enjoying wine and cheese, and a few hearty conversations with the people in the neighbouring boats.
Terry indulged us in a few more stories on our way back to Circular Quay. He was gracious enough to ask about our lives too! And just like any other good Sydney Cruise, conversations really boil down to romance.
Other than pointing out the chapel where Sir Elton John first got married, the love story between Aboriginal greats, Benellong and Barangarro (whom the present-day Bennelong Point and inner city suburb of Barangaroo were named after) tugged our hearts the most.
Sea Sydney Cruises Quick Facts
WHARF. Commissioner’s Steps, Circular Quay, adjacent to The Museum of Contemporary Arts. Best access is from The Rocks.
COST. $185 -$285 depending on the type of cruise. We did the Cruise Like a Local.
DURATION. 2-4 hours depending on the type of the cruise. Cruise Like a Local lasted for 4 hours.
RAVE. First-class service and superb experience. It is not one of those tacky cruises with big bargain signage that herd tourists. The boat was REALLY ours for the duration of the cruise. And Terry, I could not stress enough at how the man is so great at his job.