Last week I took a break from my usual boring sandwich for lunch and whisked my parents off on a high seas adventure. Well, it was a cruise of Sydney Harbour but our spirits were high, if that counts. We set sail on a Captain Cook Cruise and it was a fabulous way to spend a few hours. The cruise is accessible and I’m sharing all the details for locals and those visiting from interstate or overseas.
We were greeted by Captain Cook before boarding and like my Dad he looks pretty good for his age (for our overseas readers Captain Cook arrived in Australia 1788).
We were having the Top Deck lunch which is a seated two course meal on the Sydney MV 2000.
I may be biased but I think Sydney Harbour is the jewel in our city’s crown and it was certainly sparkling on an unusually warm autumn day.
Often the food on cruises can be bland and boring but our lunch was delicious. I greedily gobbled up two of the dinner rolls which lured me with the hint of rosemary, crusty outer and soft bread centre. Probably not wise when there were two courses to follow. Mum went with an entree and main and Dad and I went with main and dessert.
Aside from an “Mmmm” here and there and a “Delicious!” at the end, there was little conversation in between. The views and the food kept us all busy.
A sunny day certainly helped Sydney dazzle.
Pushing back from Circular Quay we passed the Sydney Opera House and meandered around the harbour to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
Aside from admiring the harbour and mansions I did ponder how much money I would have to have to live in a house where Sydney Harbour was literally in my backyard. I suspect more than I shall see but one never knows. A girl can dream can’t she?
We continued on from the Eastern Suburbs back past the Opera House, under the Harbour Bridge, past Luna Park, Balmain and stopped at King Street Wharf before returning to Circular Quay.
Guests who cannot use the stairs onboard enjoy their meals on the lower deck which is accessible.
I was cruising without the family so I didn’t experience the cruise from a wheelchair user’s perspective. Staff kindly discussed with me the arrangements that are made for people using a wheelchair or those who cannot manage stairs. I thought it would be nice to share the experience of the Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Social Events so I called on the wonderful Heidz. Heidz is an education officer at SCIA. Here is what she says –
“I had the pleasure of organising a Dinner & Drinks Vivid Festival Cruise in May 2015 and will be again May 2016 for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Social Events with Captain Cook Cruises. Organising social events for people with spinal cord injuries and similar injuries requires me to do a little site visit and research before booking.
Booking over the phone was really straight forward.
Captain Cook were more than happy for me to pop down to the harbour to show me the access to the Sydney MV 2000 boat accessible show deck. This is the only boat that has an accessible toilet onboard. As we were cruising over an hour eating and drinking I figured it would be a good call! Staff were great. It was a little cramped as we had around 16 people in wheelchairs but we made it work nonetheless!
I suppose the only down side is that there is no outdoor access for us. Our friends and family had the opportunity to go upstairs and see the lights out in the fresh air, however our option was to go on the back deck with the gas bottles. There’s space for maybe two wheelchairs and a little lip to bump over to get out.
Couple of bits of info if you’re planning on taking a cruise on this particular ship (Sydney MV 2000) the gantry is strictly 80cm wide, they do not accept companion cards for this kind of cruise as its a special once a year type of cruise and has beautiful accessible bathrooms that are in with the regular cubicles. Once again – inclusion wins! Beautiful cruise, fantastic staff. Thanks!”
There is an accessible toilet stall within the women’s toilet, and I assume would be the same in the men’s bathroom but I didn’t dare go in and check. I already feel like I’m a weirdo taking a photo in the bathrooms. The doors are heavy to get into the bathroom so I imagine most wheelchair users would need assistance to open it.
If you can book a cruise on a weekday. It will increase the chances of you getting a dining table next to a window.
Book in advance and ensure the reservations agent understands you need wheelchair access.
The morning and afternoon cruises are not wheelchair accessible so it is a great excuse for a long lunch.
Arrive a half hour before the cruise.
Departures are available from King Street Wharf and Circular Quay.
For further information please check the Captain Cook Cruises website.
My parents were paying guests on the cruise but I was provided with a complimentary cruise for the purposes of sharing the experience with our audience. Please note my enthusiasm is based on the beautiful views and food.
sonja hickson says
you really should be a travel agent Julie Your blogs really brightens my outlook on whats is possible for my daughter to do in Sydney we are hoping to move back to NSW in the very near future cheers sonny and Jessica
Thanks for your kind comments. I think it is fantastic that I can use my background as a travel consultant combined with my experiences with my son to share the blogs with you all.
I hope you enjoy moving back to NSW and be assured I’ll be continuing to share my good finds on HWWT.
I was so pleased to see your post!!! I am going with my daughter on the Australia Day Lunch cruise on the MV2000. I am not in a wheelchair but have a mobility scooter as I do have Parkinson’s Disease. I have been worrying about how I will get to the toilet which I believe is on the lowest level while the lunch is p on Sky Deck. I can manage to VERY SLOWLY get up the stairs but would only want to do it once. Do you think I would be able to go up the same way as a wheelchair person! and is there a toilet on the upper deck? Thank you again for your post
Angie and the hubby says
Thank you for your write up. I’m on my way to Sydney for my honeymoon and I’m a wheelchair user, captain cook cruise is one of our included activities so i thought id check, you’ve really put my mind at ease, thank you again