Category Archives: Sydney Things To Do

Sydney Things To Do, New South Wales, Australia

Captain Cook Sydney Harbour Cruise Darling Harbour Departure Point

Captain Cook Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Captain Cook Cruises – Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

We have been to Sydney many times before but had never been aboard one of the Captain Cook Cruise boats that seem to be everywhere on Sydney Harbour, so on our latest Sydney trip we decided to experience them for ourselves.

Our Captain Cook experience was on a Christmas Party Buffet Dinner Cruise (Saturday night) which is available during the busy Christmas Season. As we were at the start of the festive season our cruise was not too busy and only had 32 guests plus staff aboard so we had plenty of room on our vessel, which was the John Cadman 2. We started boarding the John Cadman 2 from the Darling Harbour No.1 King St Wharf at 7.30pm and with such a small crowd, it didn’t take long until we were all aboard and set to go.

We boarded the boat and were led to our Christmas themed tables where there was some Tyrrell’s white and red wines waiting for us. Soon after being seated our waiter was around to serve some sparkling wine. Once drinks were poured we took ourselves upstairs to the top deck to take in the full view of Sydney Harbour. Leaving at that time of night could provide some amazing sunset views of Sydney Harbour but unfortunately for us it was an overcast night.

The trip around Sydney Harbour takes you under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and goes past many famous Sydney landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, Kirribilli House and Luna Park.

The buffet dinner and drink package we purchased included unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks (spirits were available to purchase at extra cost) and we found the staff very prompt in refilling our drinks. The seafood buffet dinner was sufficient, although wouldn’t say amazing. It included various seafoods such as oysters, prawns and mussels with plenty of salads. There was also a mixture of other hot dishes including chicken drumsticks, hokkien noodles, rice, vegetables, butter chicken and beef provencale. Dessert included fresh fruit and a section of cakes and slices.

Our cruise also had a DJ and dance floor so after dinner there was a lot of dancing and it really became a good night out. We docked back at Darling Harbour around 11.00pm, so enjoyed three and a half hours aboard the boat. This was a nice little cruise to get out and see Sydney Harbour at night while having a lot of fun.

Captain Cook has a range of different cruises available including an a la carte dinner as well as lunch time cruises.  For more information on the different Captain Cook Cruises around Sydney Harbour go to

Of course there are a lot of different cruise companies that provide an entertaining way to see Sydney Harbour, so do your homework before deciding on the best type of cruise to suit you.  Another one we have tried and enjoyed is the Sydney Tall Ships lunch time cruise (see review here).

Sydney Harbour Tall Ship

Sydney Harbour Tall Ships

Sydney Harbour Tall Ships – Lunch Cruise

We recently tried out one of the Sydney Harbour Tall Ships cruises and had a really great relaxing afternoon. We opted to do the Lunch Cruise which included two hours sailing time aboard the Soren Larsen as well as lunch dining. As an extra we also booked the open bar package (includes unlimited soft drinks, juices, beer, wine and sparkling) and for an extra $22 per person and would definitely recommend that optional extra.

We boarded promptly and on time. The boat takes off under motor for the first half of the trip. Once the boat is unmoored, the bar is open and the drinks flow freely. A few canapés start to be handed out about 15 minutes into the cruise. There is also an option to purchase a Mast Climb if you are brave enough! They get people started doing the mast climbs pretty much straight away due to the rule that no alcohol can be consumed before you climb.

The boat sets out around Sydney Harbour and the friendly crew (we had Tom as our main guide) and the Captain Marty will provide any answers for questions you might have as well as giving you commentary on historical events and general information about Sydney itself. After around 45 minutes, the boat starts to turn around, then the crew brings the sails down (you can help out if that is something you want to try) and the engine is switched off. This provides a more quiet slow-moving time to start lunch.

Now don’t expect too much from the Tall Ships lunch experience, it is not a gourmet feast. It consists of a green salad, coleslaw, potato salad, pulled meats (pork, chicken and beef) with bread rolls. Chocolate brownies are offered around for dessert also. The lunch was actually fine for us as we had earlier had a big buffet breakfast at our hotel and weren’t really very hungry anyway. It may not be enough though if you hadn’t eaten very much earlier in the day. It is then a nice slow cruise heading back to port under sail while you take in the beautiful scenery of Sydney Harbour.

There are different cruise options available leaving from Campbells Cove, The Rocks which are;

  •  Lunch Cruise – sails daily except for Tuesdays (1.45pm to 3.45pm)
  • Afternoon Discovery Cruise – sails daily except Tuesdays (4.00pm to 5.30pm)
  • Twilight Dinner Cruise – sails daily except for Tuesdays (5.45pm to 7.45pm)
  • Convicts, Castles and Champagne Tour – Mon, Thur, Fri, Sat and Sun (1.00pm to 4.45pm)
  • Champagne Brunch Cruise – Sundays (11.00am to 1.00pm)
  • Attack of the Pirates (great for families!) for a limited time on Saturdays and Sundays (1.30pm to 2.45pm from Campbells Cove) (3.15pm to 4.45pm from Milsons Point Wharf)

If the Sydney Harbour Tall Ships is something you might like to do, a tip would be to join the mailing list on their website. You will then receive weekly email updates and specials that may help cut costs. We were travelling to Sydney on a Friday and got an email the Thursday before we travelled offering us a great deal on the Saturday Lunch Cruise, which we then happily booked. Cost through that was $65 per person (and we paid an additional $22 pp for open bar) which also included the mast climb (although we were not brave enough to do it!) so it was a really great deal. It worked out that we saved $84 pp from the standard prices on the website.

This was a really enjoyable experience and suitable for both couples and families. For more information on the Sydney Tall Ships go to or call on (02) 8015 5571