Sailing the seven seas while you work your way through as many courses of dinner, drinks and dessert has got to be on everyone's Sydney bucket list. You could take a peaceful turn around the harbour with the sails unfurled in an authentic tall ship, or sing and dance your heart out for a wonderfully kitsch night of themed fun. Either way, there’s food, booze and unrivalled harbour views to enjoy along the way. So batten down the hatches, anchors aweigh, and go full steam head for these dinner cruises in Sydney.
This one’s the perfect all-rounder. Stay cosy below deck with diverse musical and dance performances and quick delivery of your three-course dinner, or head upstairs and do the Jack and Rose pose on the bow, as the city lights sparkle from the shore. When Time Out visited, it was the Sydney Showboats staff that shone the brightest. The waiters were quick on their toes and provided table service throughout the cruise, the performers made you feel seen in the crowd, and we even had a lovely chat with the burly sea captain on deck.
Take a chance on the ABBA Tribute Cruise and you’ll be rewarded with three hours of hits from Australia’s favourite Swedish pop stars. Sing along to numbers like ‘Fernando’ and ‘Super Trouper’ in between mouthfuls of your three-course dinner, then get up and become the dancing queen. The tribute band keep the boat rocking around Sydney Harbour for morning, afternoon and evening cruises a few times a month, but keep an eye on the Rhythmboat’s calendar for more regular appearances. If you’re saying I do, I do, I do, then book in early for $109 per person.
Relive history by dining on the decks of a tall, timber sailing ship – Captain Cook style. Feast your eyes on Sydney Harbour from this enviable vantage point on the two-hour twilight cruise. It departs daily from Campbell’s Cove or Walsh Bay around 5pm (depending on the time of year) and will cost you $109 for the authentic tall ship experience. Opt for the drinks package to add a little more sparkle to your sailing trip with bubbly wines and beer from the onboard bar. You can also book a mast climb and bellow ‘land ho’ at the amazing view – but this addition is a sobering adventure, so save yourself a drink for afterwards.
There’s nothing subtle about a dinner cruise around Sydney Harbour with a live Brazilian floorshow. The Vagabond Cruises vessel fills the harbour with gaudy goodness on selected weekend evenings. The sequins, feathers, drums and wild dancers will keep your date distracted as you make return trips to the international buffet. If the Latino rhythms have have inspired you, there’s DJs and a dancefloor to keep the party going after dessert. The four-hour glide around the harbour starts at 7.30pm, with dinner and optional drink packages going from $79-$119 per person.
Meander through harbour waters surrounded by a vibrant sunset during the winter, or enjoy those endless summer days with Captain Cook Cruises. It’s ideal for a romantic evening with your other half; you can enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or beer and tackle a lobster and steak main course with a choice of desserts from $115 per person. The one-and-a-half hour cruise casts off at 5pm from King Street Wharf and ends at Darling Harbour, where you can jump off and hit a late-night bar in the CBD to kick on into the early hours.
Step back in time with Prestige Harbour’s Retro Party Cruise. Channelling vibes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, this three-and-a-half hour cruise will let you jam to classic hits while absorbing sweeping views across Sydney Harbour and Darling Harbour. A savoury buffet, desserts, tea and coffee are part of the $85 package, keeping you fed and watered while you tear up the disco dancefloor. A drinks package will keep your glass full all evening or you can choose for the cash bar option. Glam it up with retro attire to win one of the best dressed prizes. This floating dancefloor departs King Street Wharf at 7.30pm.
Are you a sailor at heart?
This love affair with the crushed sapphire liquid expanse of the Harbour dates back many, many thousands of years to when the Gadigal people of central Sydney paddled their canoes around the bays. Today, those journeys of discovery are provided by Sydney Ferries when you clamber aboard one of the picture-postcard green-and-yellow ferries that still scoot across the harbour as they have for the past century-and-a-half.