BACKING A WINNER

The port of Melbourne is set for its busiest summer ever with dozens of cruise ships calling into Station Pier during Australia’s “wave season”.

A major highlight comes late this month when Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess sails into Port Philip Bay on her maiden cruise to Melbourne where she is home-ported until March next year.

Golden Princess is the largest cruise ship to be based in Melbourne, with 2,600 guests, mainly for sailings to New Zealand, princess.com

Soon after Golden Princess’s debut, Carnival Spirit, Pacific Pearl, Pacific Dawn, and Pacific Jewel  will all be sailing into port for the running of the Melbourne Cup, the annual horse race that stops the Australian nation on the first Tuesday in November.

It is the time when fashions and fillies rule, and has fast become an important “event” for cruisers sailing south from Brisbane or Sydney to attend the big race.

Cruise booking specialist Cruiseabout is already taking bookings for cruises sailing to the Melbourne Cup in 2016, cruiseabout.com.au

australiancruisingnews.com is not surprised at the popularity of cruising to such an event as it is such a trouble-free way to get to the Cup with the cruise line organising entry tickets and transfers to and from the Flemington course.

And with around 6000 punters on the ships, the cruise lines have also upped the entertainment odds with television personalities, fashion identities, and entertainers on board ti host styling and fashion events at sea. Legendary Melbourne Cup jockeys John Marshall and Michael Clarke will also be on deck to give tips on the big race.

P&O Cruises’ Sture Myrmell says ships have been cruising to the Cup since 1969 and the event remains one of the cruise line’s most popular annual offerings. “Australians love cruising and sports, and by combining the two we know we’re backing a winner,” pocruises.com.au; carnival.com.au

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