Melbourne Pier experienced a colourful sea invasion from the north this morning, with the arrival of a seven-metre giant cane toad and cockroach, accompanied by nearly 2000 New South Wales and Queensland rugby league fans heading to tonight’s opening State of Origin blockbuster.
The cane toad and cockroach faced-off against each other on the top deck of P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer as it arrived in Melbourne packed with supporters who have cruised from Sydney to cheer on their team in tonight’s much-anticipated game.
The 70,000-tonne cruise ship will provide the biggest single injection of interstate fans into Victoria, with more than 80,000 Origin supporters expected at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to cheer on New South Wales and Queensland in the opening Origin match.
The five-day roundtrip cruise departed Sydney Harbour on Monday, before arriving in Melbourne at 6am today, where all guests receive transfers to the stadium and entry to the game as part of their cruise fare.
Former Blues legends Benny Elias and Geoff Toovey, plus Maroons greats Kerry Boustead, Petero Civoniceva and Scott Prince, and legendary referee Bill Harrigan OAM, joined fans onboard for a ship load of rugby league themed activities such as Origin trivia hosted by well-known sports presenter Steve Hart, plus photo opportunities and Q&A sessions.
The ship will spend two days in Melbourne, before returning to Sydney on Friday, June 8. On the return leg guests will enjoy a panel-style post-game wrap session hosted by the rugby league legends.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the cruise line was experiencing growing interest for sports and rugby league cruises to main events such as the Holden State of Origin.
“This is the third year P&O has run dedicated cruises to the big rugby league games and the first time we’ve offered a cruise to an Origin game in Melbourne at one of the country’s most iconic sporting grounds. With transport, accommodation, food and entertainment included in the cruise fare, it’s proving to be one of the hottest tickets in town,” 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 2018.
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.
Details of P&O’s 2019 State of Origin cruises will be revealed later this year and fans can register their interest at www.pocruises.com.au/holden-state-of-origin