This correspondent is very fortunate to be spending his weekend on a cruise to nowhere. The Voyager of the Seas was, at the time of its launch, the largest cruise ship in the world. This floating behemoth is 137,000 tons and has 15 decks and more importantly 14 bars.
Of the many highlights, leaving Sydney Harbour at sunset was top of the pops. The perspective one gets from looking down on the sights of the harbour is phenomenal. The Manly Ferry looked like a bath toy. The Cruise Ship glides effortlessly along and you feel like you are eyeballing the top of the Opera House.
An important rule of cruising is that you don’t have to be hungry to eat. It can be a 24 hour feeding frenzy if you want it to be. For the most part the food is included, but there are options like Johnny Rockets burger joint, which have a modest cover charge. It’s then all you can eat burgers and cheese and chili covered chips. And the burgers are gooood. I haven’t paid my last visit to Johnny’s yet.
The majority of the day’s action occurs poolside as passengers loll around in pools and spas while sipping vile cocktail concoctions. The beer options aren’t much better with VB or Carlton on tap. Aluminium bottles of Coors Lite, Budweiser and Michelob Ultra provide novelty value only. A saving grace is the Pig and Whistle that sits on the Promenade, which is an indoor shopping mall. As you can imagine, the Pig and Whistle is a faux British Pub that has a half decent bottled beer list. The Sam Adams Imperial White is one of the finest beers I’ve had for some time. A 10.3% sleeper that would provide great protection against a cold winter night. A sipper for sure, but rich and maturely fruity. Might have one more before I depart. I also had a Strawberry flavoured gluten free beer from Dogfish Head called Tweason’ale – quite tart. The Redhook Long Hammer IPA was a squinter that I’d like another before journey’s end.
The 14 bars are same old, same old. My favourite (other than the Pig & Whistle) is the High Notes Bar that sits on the 14th deck and allows you to look down upon the shenanigans going on at Poolside, including the international belly flop competition.
The trick to the bars is to slip in a beer order whilst the Mauritian or Pilipino barman is making yet another luridly coloured cocktail. They appreciate shortening their long queues with a short order where the only complication is a bottle top.