Mid-week Musings – sport and cruising …

P&O Cruises has announced it will add some muscle to its sports line up next year, taking guests to the biggest event on the Rugby League calendar – State of Origin – for the first time.

I remember the first time I went on the Carnival Spirit, the memorabilia in the ‘Sports Bar’ was dominated by US sports, and the matches shown on the TV were all overseas events as well – despite the fact that the ship was based in Australia.

Compare that to a recent cruise on the Sun Princess – where the AFL Grand Final was screened live, via satellite, on the big screen above the pool to a large crowd of passengers – most of whom were probably not AFL fans, but who sat and watched a pretty dismal game anyway.

It’s obvious that increasing numbers of Aussies want to have their cake and eat it too, at least as far as live sport and cruising are concerned.

In fact, P&O Cruises has been screening live NRL games at sea since 2012 and the cruise line will offer its first cruise to the NRL Auckland Nines in January 2016.

But this is a step up again – organising a cruise specifically to ferry footy-mad passengers to Sydney to see the Rugby League State of Origin

State of Origin trophy - courtesy ABC

State of Origin trophy – courtesy ABC

The inaugural Origin cruise will depart Brisbane on May 28, 2016, and will feature an overnight stay in Sydney for the series opener on June 1 as well as calls to Moreton Island and Newcastle. The seven-night Pacific Dawn cruise includes a bronze State of Origin ticket for each guest plus transfers to and from ANZ Stadium.

Former Origin players will be joining the cruise, past games will be shown onboard and passengers will have the chance (presumably at a cost) to have a photo taken with a replica State of Origin trophy.

P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Sture Myrmell says the cruise line’s expansion to a five-ship fleet has allowed it to bolster its event offering to include one of the biggest fixtures on the local sporting calendar.

“Whether or not the Maroons take home the Origin trophy in 2016, this cruise is a big win for Queensland footy fans.

“As well as transport, accommodation, food and entertainment, guests on the inaugural State of Origin cruise will be getting some of the hottest tickets in town included as part of their cruise fare,” Mr Myrmell says.

“Pacific Dawn is Queensland’s ship so we expect to see a lot of Maroons fans coming onboard and cheering on their team from Brisbane to Sydney and back.”

All of that is true – but I have to say if the Maroons lose, the return journey may not be as … boisterous 🙂

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