Wow! Wow! Wow!
We had no other words to say. We were standing on the open deck of Carnival Spirit as she reversed out into Sydney Harbour.
It was even hard to hear those words over the din of her honking horn and the music blasting from the band below, but we could tell that each of us were saying it.
Craig and I looked at each other, cocktails in hand, amazed at how beautiful the harbour looked and how surprised we were by it. We all grew up with this harbour, it’s not like we haven’t seen it before.
We’ve seen the harbour from a helicopter, from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, from many of its suburbs, beaches and coves, from its botanical gardens and viewpoints, from sea cruises, kayaks, the masts of tall ships and ferries.
Yet standing on Deck 10 at almost 53 metres high, it felt like I was seeing it yet again for the first time.
The Harbour Bridge loomed above us and we were looking down upon the sails of one of the most iconic buildings in the world.
We twirled around on deck not knowing where to look and trying to take it all in at once: the Bridge, the Opera House, Luna Park, the gardens, the Bridge, the Opera House, round and round we turned snapping photos, sipping on rum punch and grinning like Cheshire cats at our good fortune.
We were on board the Carnival Spirit’s launch party.
It was a celebration of her arrival into her new home. Carnival Spirit is the newest and largest cruise ship to call Sydney home. It will sail year round to destinations in the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Melbourne.
The next day she would be sailing on her first official cruise out of Sydney and we were christening her with this one night Sail Away party.
We spoke to the Captain earlier as we yet again sipped cocktails on the Serenity deck. This time it was a Twilight Zone, a Serenity special. The boat was docked at Circular Quay and we asked him what he thought of his new home.
He was speechless for a second, wearing only a beaming smile, before he began reminiscing of the time he saw Madame Butterfly in the Opera House and fell in love with the city.
Craig and I had left the girls at home so we could kick our heels up and just enjoy the fun that happens on board Spirit.
When you check in, giant badges on the chests of the attendants shout at you in red capitals, “You they can’t spell FUN without U.”
Setting the scene for the journey to come. We had to make sure we were fully present for the FUN and we were.
We first checked into our room and had a huge dilemma on our hand. The sun was beaming down; it was a summer’s day happening during spring. A hammock, a pod and a cocktail were calling us on the Serenity deck, but we had this unbelievable vista suite with a wraparound balcony and views of the Harbour Bridge smack bang in front of us.
We enjoyed a moment on the balcony savouring the vista before changing into the cozzies and racing straight up to the top deck.
Did you know that in adult’s playgrounds you can actually lie down uninterrupted to read a book, tan up and drink Mojitos?
Overworked Mamma’s dream day.
I got settled in with my Chris Guillebeau $100 Start Up book and soaked UP the serenity. I even had some time for a lay in the hammock and a hot spa.
The Zen wasn’t there for the whole time. We were nabbed as stand ins for upcoming videos and ads for Carnival Spirit and pretty soon the bar area was packed and we had to wait patiently for our drinks.
It’s not always like that, it’s just that the party was pumping by sunset and it was mostly happening in Serenity.
Everyone was beaming after spending the day getting their adrenalin food on the Green Thunder. It was the first thing I did on my way to Serenity. I knew there would be lines and I wasn’t up for waiting.
I was after Zen with a little bit of adrenalin thrown in.
It’s over in three seconds, but it is wild fUn. The floor drops from underneath you and you plummet 10m down the steepest and fastest slide at sea, whiz out over the water at 65km/hr and shoot out the tunnel at the end. Wicked fun.
The fun always happening with U in the middle.
The drinks flowed and the fun continued long into the night. And of course being the Mojito Mother I made sure there were Mojitos all round with my friends from Ogilvy PR.
On Carnival there are just too many choices for entertainment and with only one night on board we had to go for the best.
We started with the Welcome aboard party, which had me in tears when two Aboriginal men rose up on stage and began playing the didgeridoo. The singers and staff from the different areas of the ship stood behind them and began singing I still call Australia Home.
I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be Australian and so happy to welcome the Carnival Spirit into our country; a boat and company that obviously loves our beautiful land and wants to do all it can to provide Aussies with a holiday to remember.
The show kicked into New Orleans jazz with songs from the Big Easy Show and we jived our way out at the end to the Nouveau steakhouse -nothing like a bit of lobster and a glass of wine to enjoy over conversation with friends.
Our celebration party moved on to the Piano Bar for a sing a long, the top deck for a dance at the Caribbean party, some Superstar karaoke and then finally ending at the nightclub for some disco beats.
When we heard our friends talking about the 4am pizza bar stop the next morning, we were so glad that we decided to back door it to our cabin from the nightclub. Our heads were sore enough as it was with that early departure.
Don’t ask me what time it was, ask the never ending stream of cocktails!
We had a blast and are so thankful to be a part of the celebration event.
My friend David Jones summed it up the evening before as the sun was setting on deck. David was our host on the Pacific Dawn cruise to Vanuatu we did in August, (and would also have to be the nicest man on the planet.)
We were talking about how successful the relocation of Carnival Spirit was and how much Aussies were embracing her.
“Carnival Spirit is really the destination in itself, don’t you think?” he said.
I absolutely think.
With Carnival Spirit you really don’t even need to get off the boat when it pulls up at port (although I highly suggest you do). The ship has everything you ever need to keep you entertained and to give you the holiday you always dreamed of having.
Its laughter and entertainment, Zen and adrenalin all rolled into one.
It’s the FUN with U in the middle of it.
Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ
Upper Deck Views
Our Balcony Cabin
To learn more and get inspired about Carnival Spirit visit:
The Website: Carnival.com.au
Facebook Page: facebook.com/CarnivalOz