There has been a lot of excitement at WOTM headquarters because I was offered a trip to Sydney in order to spend some time on board the Sun Princess cruise ship for a tour around and a culinary immersion experience! Say what? How exciting is that?! Of course I didn’t hesitate to accept!
I had never been on board a cruise ship before so this was a very exciting and interesting prospect indeed. On Friday 10 June off I flew to Sydney and on Saturday 11 June I spent some time on board the Sun Princess. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen a few photo’s posted there during the day.
The Sun Princess is one of Princess Cruises ships that was built in Italy in 1995. She’s 261 metres long, 32 metres wide and 49 metres in height above the waterline! She can carry 2010 passengers and 924 crew and is looking very pretty I must say due to a recent April 2016 refurbishment. She is the first Princess ship to be based full-time in Australia. When she arrived in Sydney in 2007, the Sun Princess became the largest passenger ship to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and along with sister Princess ships, remains the largest ship to cruise under the bridge.
The Sun Princess sails year round from Brisbane, Sydney and Fremantle to New Zealand, the South Pacific, South East Asia, Papua New Guinea and around Australia.
Check out some of the views from the Sun Princess while she was docked in Circular Quay, Sydney.
So the big day arrived and there we all were at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay ready to go through several security checks, armed with our passports which had to be handed over for the duration of our stay. I can assure you that security on Princess cruise ships is very tight and you will be very safe! They even took our photo!
I have to be honest, not only had I never been on a cruise ship before but I was not sure I ever would be on board a cruise ship because of several reasons: 1) I get sea sick, 2) I get claustrophobic, and 3) I don’t like crowds of people. I was very interested to see if this tour and experience would change my mind about cruise ships.
Once on board, wow! It is like it’s own little city with multiple levels and lifts and stairs and elegance and grandeur! Guests are spoiled for choice on what to do. There’s a sanctuary retreat, Movies Under the Stars outdoor movie screen, duty-free shops, deluxe health centre and spa, beauty salon, sports deck, sports court inside the funnel, business centre, photo shop, art gallery, youth centres, library, card room, casino, two main show lounges, seven lounges/bars, entertainment, dancing and live sport including the Wheelhouse Bar and Legends Bar, and more!
We had morning tea – tea, coffee and Norman Love pastries and a beautiful cake was brought out but we had run out of time (and room in our tummies) to eat any of that! We spoke to the man who does the grocery shopping for the ship. I can’t remember his exact title but you can see him pictured in the 3rd photo below. Can you imagine doing grocery shopping for 2934 people (guests & crew)?!! Every seven days, Sun Princess guests consume 40 tonnes of food and drink; 10,000 bottles of wine and champagne, 10,000 cans of soft drink, 2500 litres of milk, 2400 bottles of water, 25,000 eggs, 500kg of bacon, 1.4t of chicken, 500kg of lettuce, 1.3t of rice and 375kg of coffee!!
There are plenty of choices of where to eat! The Sun Princess has two main dining rooms, SHARE by Curtis Stone (more on that later), Sterling Steakhouse, Kai Seafood Bar, Horizon Court dining area with Italian-style Amuleto Cafe, International Cafe, Hamburger and hot dog grill, New Zealand Natural Ice Cream outlet, and 24 hour room service including Ultimate Balcony Dining.
The Sun Princess has 975 passenger staterooms (cabins is what I call them – probably comes from years of watching ‘The Love Boat’ haha) made up of 6 suites, 32 mini-suites with private balconies, 372 balcony staterooms, 193 oceanview staterooms and 372 interior staterooms. 19 of those staterooms are wheelchair accessible which is awesome! We had a little peep at 1 balcony stateroom and 1 interior stateroom. This little claustrophobic me would prefer the balcony stateroom (cos windows, fresh air and my weirdness) but as rightly pointed out you really wouldn’t be spending much time in your room! Sorry to say I only got a couple of quick photo’s because there were 10 or more of us squished into the room which made photo taking a little difficult unless of course I snapped shots of all of us – at close range!
Did you know that the Sun Princess has 4 pools and 5 whirlpool spas and that she features an outdoor wrap-around promenade deck, enabling passengers to walk right around the ship. Two laps of the ship equals 1km. That means that I would need to do around 14 or so laps to equal the distance I generally do on my waterfront walks. No problemo!!
Finally it was lunch time and our group split in two – half of us going to SHARE by Curtis Stone for lunch and the other half going to Lotus Spa for a spa treatment (then we would switch – oh someone pinch me!!).
Let me tell you a bit about SHARE by Curtis Stone. SHARE by Curtis Stone is his first Australian restaurant and it debuts on the Sun Princess! SHARE by Curtis Stone has been added to select Princess ships with Sun Princess being the first to offer the signature restaurant down under. Emerald Princess, which arrives in Sydney in November for its first Australian season, also features Chef Stone’s SHARE restaurant. As the name suggests, the SHARE menu and restaurant has been designed to encourage diners to connect with each other and share holiday memories over a delicious meal – and oh my goodness, that is exactly what we did when we ate there. Ok we didn’t share holiday memories but we did connect and have wonderful conversations whilst sharing the most glorious food! The food was so delicious in fact that most of us were too busy eating the beautiful food to be bothered taking photo’s of it!
After we’d eaten it was time to switch! Here come the spa goers with a glow to their skin and a lazy, chilled out smile on their dials. There was a brief exchange “oh the food is sooooo good”, “oh the spa – oh my God” and the switch was made. I found myself in the Lotus Spa having my whole body exfoliated with a chocolate scrub. Imagine that – loads of chocolate and not one calorie consumed – yes!! Next I was treated to an insanely divine massage in chocolate oil. You know sometimes these gigs are hard but hey someone has to do it and I did it for you! I put my investigative hat on, went into the spa trenches, and I can report that yes – um .. it was ok and um yes I would recommend .. highly .. very highly!!
And then we all reconvened and it was time to go back through the security checks, have our passports returned to us and go on our merry way but not before we were given a goodie bag and guess what was in there? Curtis Stone’s recipe book ‘Good Food, Good Life’ and a Elemis sp@home Hand and Body Wash and Hand and Body Lotion. So, so spoilt! Thank you to Princess Cruises for such a fabulous day!
Image Credit: Dymocks
It was time for me to now return to my hotel to collect my bags and then make my way to my sister’s house for a few nights with her on the northern beaches, the next episode of my Sydney getaway. There will be another post to cover my stay at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel on the Friday night, my walks around Circular Quay – including Friday night viewing of Vivid and my stay at my sister’s house.
So in conclusion, did the tour and experience on board the Sun Princess change my mind about cruise ships? Well, I’m still not sure how I’d go with sea sickness because we were docked and not sailing while I was on her but apart from that, I think if I stayed in a room with a window of some sort (balcony even better) and knowing now that there are lots of nooks and crannies and places one can go to escape the crowds then YES I think I could quite enjoy a cruising holiday very much!
Ciao for now,
P.S. The photo’s are not the best as most of them were taken with my iPhone. The cruise ship’s ambient internal lighting combined with the fact that the tour was quite fast paced (e.g. no time to spend adjusting camera settings or changing lenses for each different lighting and scene situation) meant that it was more practical to snap away with my phone.
P.P.S It was awesome to meet the seven (7) other bloggers who were in the group: Sonia from Life, Love & Hiccups, Ingrid from Fabulous and Fun Life, Deauvanne from Mama Stylista, Kirralee from Escape with Kids, Glen and Leo from Sydney Chic Blog, and Jenny from A Taste of Travel. They were all so friendly and lovely as bloggers generally are!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT