Friday 4 October 2013

Review: Sydney Harbour Tall Ships Family Pirate Lunch Cruise

My home city of Sydney is abuzz at the moment with the International Fleet Review happening 3-11 October.  This is celebrating the Australian Navy's arrival in Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913. There have been arrivals of international Navy boats (I heard on TV that there are navy ships from 17 nations so far!), a Festival of Tall Ships, Fly-overs, fireworks and even Prince Harry is visting Sydney this weekend.  It's a BIG deal!

So, when Rochelle of WordStorm contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if we would like to go on a Harbour Cruise on one of the Sydney Tall Ships, the answer was a resounding yes.  Especially seeing as Sydney Tall Ships offers a Family Pirate Cruise, and the idea of taking in the breathtaking views of our beautiful harbour, while providing piratey (I just made that into a word) fun for the kids is just my cup-of-tea.

Now wouldn't you know it, that the day before our cruise (which we were very excited about) we all came down with a nasty flu.  We tried to decide whether or not to take our sluggish, sniffly kids and equally as sluggish Mummy and Daddy out on the day or not, but in the end we decided that a harbour cruise might just be what the doctor ordered, and that a day out of the house and with some fresh air would do us all some good.
So yesterday morning, we packed our Panadol, throat lollies, tissues, nose spray, sea sick tablets and more tissues, and off we went to gorgeously sun-drenched Circular Quay to board our pirate ship, the Southern Swan.  She's an absolute beauty of a ship, (built in 1922 in Denmark and originally named Our Svanen) with all of that tall ship charm. 

As we, the pirates, boarded our ship, we were informed that we had to eat an ice-cream to trick the captain of the boat into believing we were just tourists, so that he wouldn't suspect we were planning a takeover of the ship to steal the captain's gold.  Oh, OK ... any excuse for an ice-cream I guess! So, munching on our ice-creams, we climbed aboard.  As we set sail, the kids were encouraged to take some chalk and draw pictures of things they were seeing on the decks. 

The kids were then invited to the front of the boat, where the pirate-i-ness (yep, I made that word up too!) was revealed to the captain with lots of "Yo-Ho-Ho"'s, the pirate flag was raised and the kids were herded down into the lower-deck to find the "captain's gold" (and play some games), before lunch was served.  During this time, some brave adults also participated in a mast-climb ... yeah, I was happy sitting on the deck ... the view was just fine from there, thanks!!

Unfortunately, a little boat visit from our friendly maritime police resulted in a quick take-down of our pirate flag, and the signage on the outside of our ship, as apparently with the International Fleet Review being a "non-commercial" event, any advertising or signage is strictly not-allowed ... whoops!  It did make for a bit of excitement though, and the staff were very professional, quickly did as they were told, and then continued with the fun onboard.  No harm done!

Meanwhile, the adults (and 2 sluggish, sniffly kids) lazed in the beautiful sunshine on the upper deck, enjoyed a drink from the open bar and generally enjoyed the scenery ... and boy ... what scenery! It really was super-relaxing, and Hannah even caught some much needed zzz's on Mummy's lap as the waves gently rocked her back and forth.  

Here's a few gems from our beautiful morning on the harbour.
The Sydney Opera House.

Admiralty House.

We were lucky enough to see a fly-over as part of the International Fleet Review celebrations.

Naval Ships preparing for the festivities.

Luna Park

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Going under the bridge.

Oh, and the kids were encouraged to dress up all pirate-like too.  Our kids weren't into the dress-up spirit on that day unfortunately due to our untimely lurgy, but here is an amazing little pirate enjoying the sites.

Sydney Tall Ships offers this Family Pirate Cruise and many other brunch, lunch and dinner cruises, so be sure to check them out.  I reckon it would make an awesome gift for a special occasion!  And cruising on a tall ship has got to be one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the scenery of our harbour!  If you can make it during this week of the International Fleet Review, I would highly recommend this front-row seat option to all the action!!  If not, any day is a beautiful day on our Harbour!
This post is with thanks to Rochelle of WordStorm who provided us with a Family Pass to attend the Family Pirate Lunch Cruise.  All opinions are my own.


  1. Awesome! The photos are wonderful!

  2. Oh what a coincidence, we saw the flyover too as we were on the bridge heading to the Parliament House Family Fun day, thank you for a great photo reminder! The cruise looks great, hope everyone feels better now for a day on the sea!