Australia boasts the world's most accomplished race callers and Australia's ‘best of the best’ -- Greg Miles and John Tapp -- will be onboard when four Carnival Australia-brand ships sail to the race that stops a nation in a few weeks with 8000 excited punters.
Guests will sail from Sydney on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer and Pacific Jewel and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Spirit with a Brisbane-contingent arriving on Pacific Dawn. The four cruise ships will comprise the largest single group of interstate racegoers attending the Melbourne Cup on November 7.
Thoroughbred race calling legend John Tapp will be sailing on Carnival Spirit for his third consecutive Melbourne Cup cruise sharing the excitement of his 35-year career spanning more than 50,000 individual races.
“I love walking into Pharaoh’s Show Lounge the evening before Melbourne Cup to soak up the atmosphere and to share my love of the Great Race with such a happy group of racing fans who sail to Melbourne year after year,” Mr Tapp said. “I can always count on seeing familiar faces in the audience.”
Veteran of 36 Melbourne Cup calls Greg Miles, who only retired from a celebrated race-calling career earlier this year, will sail to Melbourne onboard Pacific Explorer. With his prodigious talent, Mr Miles was ‘discovered’ by the ABC in 1979 but decided last April that the time was right to call it a day “while I was calling as well as I ever have”.
Now, Mr Miles can give P&O guests ‘racing gold’ by sharing the story of his career which began on the country track and ended at the pinnacle of his craft, the Melbourne Cup.
“I spent a lot of time going to the track, sitting in spare broadcast boxes, sitting outside amongst the people in the stands calling races into tape recorders and doing hard yards,” Mr Miles told the media when he announced his retirement from the highest pressure broadcast box in the country.
P&O guests are in for a unique treat when Mr Miles shares his experience of calling Melbourne Cups including, in 2005, Makybe Diva’s astonishing record-breaking third consecutive Cup win with Mr Miles’ final declaration that also stopped a nation: “A champion becomes a legend”.
Mr Miles concedes that after calling the Cup for more than three decades, he will be feeling a little strange at not being in the broadcast box at Flemington for the first time. “I am looking forward to the Melbourne Cup cruise and it will be an extraordinary experience not to be at Flemington during the Carnival,” Mr Miles said.
“But I am ready to embrace the changes that this means. There is something about the Melbourne Cup Carnival that brings people together. It is a special bond in which Australians enjoy each other’s company and horse racing has been so much a part of our history for such a long time. It breaks down barriers.”
For Carnival Spirit passengers, the Melbourne Cup cruise is part of a six-night round trip from Sydney in which passengers will have everything they need to win big and dress to impress at the Cup. There will be a range of activities including tips from racing experts, a fashion parade, sweepstakes and general admission to Flemington.
On the fashion front, popular television presenter Erica Davies from Sydney Weekender will be joined by onboard stylist and online boutique owner Trish G. Also onboard Spirit will be Melbourne Cup-winning and Queensland Racing Hall of Fame jockey Larry Olsen.
Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Jennifer Vandekreeke said: “Every year our Melbourne Cup cruise gets bigger and better. This year raises the bar with new racing experts and fashion stylists sharing their hot tips to make the most of their day at Flemington but the opportunity to hear from legendary race caller John Tapp is an exceptional opportunity.”
For P&O Cruises, the Melbourne Cup journey is part of the cruise line’s Main Events program of cruises with the three P&O ships alone carrying 6000 passengers. Pacific Dawn guests will hear the amazing Melbourne Cup winning odyssey of Rogan Josh from the rags to riches account of trainer Jenny Green along with two-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey John Letts.
Pacific Jewel guests will meet Sheila Jackson, the first female trainer to win both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup with Ethereal in 2001.
“There is a special magic about P&O’s Melbourne Cup cruises with a holiday atmosphere onboard that is unrivalled with thousands of guests in happy anticipation of what they hope will be a winning day at Flemington,” P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said. “The atmosphere is electric with racing fans making the Melbourne Cup cruise a main event in its own right.”
In addition to being a great experience for the 8000 passengers on the four Carnival Australia-brand ships, the Cup cruises also represent a significant opportunity for Melbourne in contributing an estimated $7 million to the local economy.