Around 2000 New South Wales rugby league fans have cruised to Brisbane onboard P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel to cheer on the Blues for the first Holden State of Origin clash tonight.
The 70,000-tonne Sydney-based ship will provide the biggest single injection of Blues fans into Queensland for an Origin game, boosting the number of NSW supporters at Suncorp Stadium by around 50 per cent.
The seven-day roundtrip cruise departed Sydney on Friday and included calls to Gladstone and Moreton Island, before it arrived in Brisbane today, where all guests received transfers to the stadium and entry to the game as part of their cruise fare.
Fans have been joined onboard by former Blues greats Steve Menzies, Steve Mortimer and Eric Grothe, and enjoyed a ship load of footy-themed activities such as Origin trivia hosted by Fox Sports presenter Steve Hart, State of Origin touch footy on Moreton Island plus photo opportunities and Q&A sessions with the former players.
Menzies said he was excited to be joining thousands of fellow NSW fans onboard ahead of the first Origin match in Brisbane.
“We’ve had a fantastic time cruising up the coast and warming up for the big game. I can’t wait to join the group at Suncorp - this kind of support can be the difference between NSW winning and losing,” Mr Menzies said.
Former Queensland rugby league stars Steve Price and Brent Tate were also sailing, along with former NRL referee Bill Harrigan who came out of retirement momentarily to oversee the State of Origin footy match on Moreton Island yesterday.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the Pacific Jewel cruise offered a memorable and easy way for fans to get to the game and support their team.
“We’re excited to be able to bring together some of the legends of the game and a ship load of passionate supporters to create a very special State of Origin experience. This Blues cruise offers the rare chance for fans to spend time with their idols before enjoying the incredible action of Australia’s greatest sporting rivalry,” Mr Myrmell said.
Mr Myrmell said the cruise was one of a series of special holiday offerings which reflected P&O’s role as the official cruise line of the NRL in 2017. In January this year, P&O offered a cruise to the Auckland Nines, while in early May guests enjoyed a voyage with some Rabbitohs legends.
“We’ll be lining up for a second State of Origin cruise in June so our Queensland guests have the chance to get behind their team,” he said.
As with P&O’s other Main Event itineraries, including the Melbourne Cup and Australian Open cruises, all guests on the State of Origin cruises receive admission and transfers as part of their cruise fare making cruising a great value and easy way to attend the event.
Rugby league fans can still book to join the next State of Origin cruise, with fares starting from $699* quad share for the seven-night cruise departing Brisbane on June 18, 2017, and arriving in Sydney on June 21 for the second game in the series. Details of P&O’s 2018 State of Origin cruises will be revealed later this year.