In the biggest single injection of punters to the Melbourne Cup, three cruise ships will carry a record number of cruise passengers to ‘the race that stops the nation’ this weekend.
The first trifecta of ships to ever cruise from Sydney to the Cup, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl and sister line Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit will carry about 6000 guests between them, accounting for an estimated 10 per cent of all people visiting Melbourne for Australia’s premier thoroughbred horse racing event.
Each year an estimated 100,000 punters attend the Cup, and with all 6000 passengers receiving entry and transport to Flemington as part of their cruise fare, Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines, will contribute about five per cent of total race attendees on Tuesday.
Having cruised to the Cup since 1969 when Orcades III first sailed to the event, P&O Cruises has this year cemented its place amongst the glamorous Spring Carnival festivities with its first VIP area at Flemington - the P&O Cruises Lawn.
To send the ships off in style, and add a little horse power to Pacific Pearl before it races to the Cup, two miniature horses became the first to trot onto a cruise ship in Sydney Harbour today, posing with reigning Myer Fashions on the Field winner Chloe Moo. Ms Moo was wearing the latest designer racing trends which will feature in the inaugural Myer fashions at sea event on both P&O ships.
Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel will cruise for Melbourne at 4pm with guests set to enjoy a strong field of race-themed onboard activities ranging from fascinator-making classes to special guest speakers including legendary Melbourne Cup jockeys Wayne Harris and Malcolm Johnston and owner of Cup winning horse Rogan Josh, Wendy Green.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the sell-out Melbourne Cup cruises were one of the most popular main event offerings, prompting the cruise operator to up the odds to include four ships next year.
“Australians love cruising and sports and by combining the two, we know we’re backing a winner - that’s why we’re sending a record quaddie of ships next year, including all three P&O ships,” Ms Sherry said.
“P&O Cruises is as Australian as you can get so it’s no surprise that the race that stops the nation will also see the entire fleet come to a standstill in Melbourne in 2015.”
P&O Cruises will also be sailing to the Australian Open in January and offering its inaugural cruise to Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival in March, 2015.