Almost 4000 cruise passengers will arrive in Melbourne tomorrow morning to celebrate the Melbourne Cup Festival, in a boon for the local economy.
Two P&O Cruises’ superliners – Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl – will berth at Station Pier by 8am tomorrow, with their 3800 passengers set to spend three days in the city, including a day at the Cup.
Their visit will inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Victorian economy, with passengers spending time sight-seeing and shopping – as well as a day at the races.
The cruise ships left Sydney yesterday with passengers enjoying a field of race-themed activities onboard, from hat and fascinator-making classes to talks from special guest speakers, legendary Melbourne Cup jockeys Wayne Harris and Malcolm Johnston.
Both Wayne and Malcolm have also judged onboard “Fashions on the Fields” fashion and hat parades, as passengers warm up for the Cup.
Even the ships are dressing for the big day, wearing plenty of bunting and banners to mark the occasion, while cruise staff will wear their silks during the cruise.
Passengers have also been taking in racing and horse-themed movies on the ships’ giant outdoor movie screens, with the ships’ chefs preparing massive Melbourne Cup cakes to mark the occasion.
On Tuesday, P&O Cruises’ guests will head to Flemington for a flutter on the big race, with their cup tickets and transfers included in their cruise fare.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Tammy Marshall said the sell-out Melbourne Cup cruises were one of the most popular offerings in the cruise line’s programs.
“Australians love their cruising and they love their sports, so these special holidays are a fantastic combination of two great passions for many people,” Ms Marshall said.
“On the back of our ever-popular Melbourne Cup cruises, we’re now offering our first cruises to Melbourne to time with the Australian Open and they are also proving a sell-out success.”
Both ships will return to Sydney on Friday November 8.