Our stay in Sydney pre-cruise was a delightful start to our transpacific cruise. We were booked in coach but my husband was able to get us upgraded to Business Class for the 18 hour flight by using existing American Airlines Advantage points and purchasing the extra he needed for the upgrade. This certainly made the long flight more comofortable, but I don’t think that I slept much anyway. The lie flat seats help, but because they are not very soft, they put pressure on the hips. I probably would fly the business class seats again if I was able to upgrade or take advantage of a great price, but I don’t think I would ever pay full price for the business class seats.
Once on the ground in Sydney, around 7 am, we called for Uber and were taken to our hotel, the Sydney Hilton, located right in the heart of Sydney. It was walking distance from both the Sydney Harbor and Darling Harbor. We were thrilled that they were able to get us into our room right away. We grabbed a quick nap and then booked a Sydney Harbor Lunch Cruise in order to see the sights.
The lunch cruise was a highlight of our trip. It originated from scenic Darling Harbor, a wonderful area lined with outdoor cafes and bars. Lunch was a good, but nothing special buffet which we finished before the ship even left port. That meant that we had the entire cruising portion to enjoy the views. The weather was warm, so we headed to the top deck where we could see all the important sights like the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, Ft. Denison, and of course the spectacular mansions, including the one in Mission Impossible, that line the residential portion of the bay.
During our next day, we had booked through our preferred provider, Shore Excursion Group a full day tour called “The Story of Sydney”. Our tour started in the oldest part of town know as The Rocks, where we learned about the original prisoners who were brought to Australia and saw many of the oldest building including the church and an old pub. Then, we went on to the Royal Botanical Garden for a photo op in front of the bridge and opera house. Our next major stop was Nielsen Park where we got to stroll on the netted Shark Beach and see a senior group of bathers go out for a group swim in the bay. Swimming is practically the national sport in Australia. Next, we visited the Gap LookOut with its spectacular cliffs overlooking the the East shore of the Pacific, where we not only got to walk along the boardwalk trail/path, but we also got to check out a fashion shoot going on an one of the cliffs below. We also had a 45 minute stop at Bondi Beach where we got to take our shoes off and walk in the surf, being careful of jellyfish, and enjoyed some gelato before heading back to Sydney. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and the tour was so convenient. We didn’t have worry about driving on the wrong side of the road, look for a place to park, or navigate, and we had an expert guide to tell us about all the sights.
That evening we enjoyed a walk along Darling Harbor it is Pyrmont pedestrian bridge.
The next day, it was time to board our ship. The evening sail away from Sydney was spectacular with the bridge, opera house, downtown and Milson’s point all lit up. It was a unforgettable experience.