A sea of almost 2000 tennis fans has descended on Melbourne Park with P&O Cruises’ first ever Australian Open Tennis cruise arriving in Melbourne this morning.
In a boon for the Victorian economy, more than 1800 cruise passengers disembarked from superliner Pacific Pearl at Station Pier around 8am with shuttles carrying the passengers to the Australian Open – the biggest sporting event being held in the world in January.
General admission was included in the cruise fare but over half the passengers opted to upgrade their tickets to ensure courtside seats at the Rod Laver Arena as the action heats up during the singles quarter finals.
The tennis cruise is a first for P&O Cruises which already sends thousands of tourists to Victoria each year for the Melbourne Cup.
Since departing Sydney on Monday, passengers have kept up-to-date with the Australian Open screened live on the ship’s giant poolside screen.
During their cruise to Melbourne, Pacific Pearl passengers also enjoyed a special lecture by former Australian tennis player and referee Bill Gilmour. Mr Gilmour, who at the height of his international career in the 1950s triumphed over legends such as Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Bill Talbert, took passengers behind the scenes of some of the greatest Grand Slam events in the world during his onboard talks.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Tammy Marshall said the cruise had been a huge hit with sport lovers of all ages.
“P&O Cruises’ passengers have been sailing to Melbourne for years to attend the Melbourne Cup, so we’re very pleased to bring more sports tourists to the city for the tennis,” Ms Marshall said.
“Cruising is the ideal way to attend major sporting events. Not only is it great value, but it also takes the stress out of planning and provides a fun and relaxing experience either side of the action.
“As one of the nation’s most popular sporting events, the Australian Open was an obvious addition to our P&OMainEvents cruise roster,” she added.
Tennis fans wanting to catch the action next year can join P&O Cruises’ 2015 Australian Open cruise, departing Sydney on January 19, 2015. The five-night cruise is priced from $749* per person quad share and includes transfers to and from the grounds, general admission tickets plus the opportunity to upgrade to Rod Laver Arena from just $100 per person.
For more information visit www.pocruises.com.au or call 13 24 94.
*Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.