This is our third visit to this wonderful city, and we always look forward to returning. Since this is Valentine’s Day, and our ship is the “Love Boat” (the original Pacific Princess was the ship used in the TV series), plus the fact that this is the 50th anniversary for Princess Cruise Lines, the ship is making a really big deal of our ship sailing into Sydney on this day. Everyone was up on deck at 6:30 am as we entered Sydney Harbor with news helicopters circling above us the ship played the Love Boat theme to wake up the locals, and we all waved heart shaped flags as we passed the Sydney Opera House and under the Sydney Bridge.
We proceeded to our berth, which on this trip was at White Bay, several miles from the key areas we will be visiting such as Circular Quay and Darling Harbor. The ship will provide a shuttle into the city, but it still is a pain. I know it sounds picky, but when you have a limited time in port, waiting for the shuttle on both ends and having a 30 minute ride into town can take several precious hours off of your time in port. This is the view from our balcony while at the pier – that is the Anzac Bridge, which is a memorial to the Australian and New Zealand troops who served in WWI and WWII.
It was about 10 am before we cleared customs and took the shuttle into town. Fortunately the shuttle dropped us at the Hop-on-Hop-off stop at Darling Harbor and the bus showed up five minutes later. We bought two day tickets and hopped aboard. The Hop-ons perform double duty – for touring the city, as well as cheap point to point transportation. We rode the bus to George Street (the main street of Sydney) and jumped off near at one of many buildings which have been converted to shopping malls.
We rejoined the Hop-on and completed the circuit back to Darling Harbor, where we crossed the bridge to the Australian National Maritime Museum.
There was nothing spectacular about the museum itself, but the ships tied up, and available for tours were fascinating. We toured a Patrol Boat, a Destroyer and a Submarine.
The submarine was really interesting – it is unbelievable that they packed 69 sailors in this vessel. Not a duty I would have wanted.
After lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, we walked around Darling Harbor, which is an extremely popular place for locals as well as tourists – this being Valentine’s Day, it was especially crowded. The city has continued to invest in this area as an attraction and, combined with new hotels, apartments, restaurants, and attractions, it has become a place “not to miss” if you visit Sidney.
After strolling around the harbor, we caught the shuttle back to the ship, and spent the evening on the balcony watching the boat activity in the harbor, culminating with their Valentine’s Day firework show.