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“New Years eve was a great experience”

James Craig Tall Ship
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Sydney’s Tall Ship Sailing Adventure on James Craig
Ranked #83 of 488 things to do in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Barque James Craig is rightly famous around the world. She is Sydney’s only 19th Century square rigger (or Tall Ship) and her incredible restoration to full sailing condition was recognised in 2003 by the World Ship Trust’s award of their prestigious Maritime Medal. Her restoration cost almost $A30 million and took nearly 40 years to complete after she was rescued from Recherche Bay in far southern Tasmania. This beautiful ship regularly goes to sea with up to 80 passengers and is open for public inspection at her berth at Wharf 7, 58 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont. She is also available for charter and for functions. Tall Ship James Craig is looked after by Sydney Heritage Fleet, a community-based non-profit organisation, with the following mission: To build and maintain an internationally recognised centre of excellence in maritime heritage for the benefit of all Australians by presenting through research, acquisition, conservation, restoration, education and operation, our continuing maritime history. The Fleet is funded through donations, membership subscriptions and income from vessel charters and tours. The Fleet’s 1200 strong membership and 450 dedicated volunteer workers restore, operate and maintain the fleet of vintage vessels. In the process they preserve traditional technical methods and skills.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed May 4, 2014

The food is fantastic and was served by friendly staff. Prawns large and succulent.
I went with a business group in my last week in Sydney.
Great adventure and a lovely way to start 2014. Highly recommend

1  Thank Flora S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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86 - 90 of 128 reviews

Reviewed April 26, 2014

I know that the decision regarding which cruise to take during the NYE celebrations in Sydney is a tough one. I researched for a little more than a month before my husband and I decided to celebrate NYE last year on the James Craig.

To assist future potential customers, I want to share as much about our experience as possible.

ARRIVAL: It is not necessary to arrive well in advance. If you come at the time they state, or even a little after, it is okay. The ship does depart on time, but because the number of people boarding is not so high, the boarding process is easy. You just check in and they give each guest a boarding card (more like paper) and then everyone boards when they open the ship. We probably arrived 15-30 minutes before the arrival time they advised and we were easily waiting for about an hour before we boarded the ship. We were worried that there would be too much foot traffic getting there (we stayed about 2 kms away from the docking point), but it wasn’t bad at all. The city is quite well organized.

ATMOSPHERE: It is a very calm setting (not a wild party type). Most people on the ship are not in their 20s. It generally caters to a bit of a more “mature” crowd, which we were pleased about. It was a fun night and we didn’t experience any wild, drunken guest issues. For those with kids, we did see a few children around, but none too young. I believe that the handful that we saw were about 8-15.

BAND: The band was wonderful and catered to various genres and decades. They played most of the night, with just a few breaks here and there. During breaks, they played music from CDs to keep the atmosphere alive.

DRESS: Attendees dress in a very wide range. There are those who come extremely formal, but this was mainly women (long evening gowns) and those who come more relaxed, business casual (short dress or skirt and blouse for women and khakis or jeans with a buttoned shirt for men). It really depends on you and your party.

FOOD: Lots of it! They start off with a variety of appetizers to hold you over until dinner. Dinner is served below deck and is a large buffet with plenty of options. About an hour or so before midnight, they serve dessert (little cakes and small ice cream cones) and coffee. The cakes were wonderful and I was too full from them to try one of the ice cream cones, but my husband and our friend said they were also nice. They also serve sandwiches after the midnight fireworks. You won’t go hungry.

DRINKS: They have a variety of drinks, including champagne and beer (only Heineken). The bar area is above deck and open all night. I don’t drink champagne or beer, so I brought a little bottle of vodka in my backpack and poured it into my juice.

WEATHER: If you are concerned about being on a maritime ship with rain, it shouldn't be a big problem. There is plenty of room below deck to house everyone on the ship. However, if it is raining during the fireworks, then you will get wet as there is nothing to cover you above deck. We brought a couple rain jackets in our bag just in case, which we left under a bench most of the night. People bring bags and leave them around the ship (in the rooms below deck and above deck under the side benches). They aren’t necessarily secure in that anyone can take it, but nobody seemed to have a problem leaving them unattended. I think as long as you don’t have valuables inside, then it isn’t a big deal.

ANCHORING POSITION: The ship is one of 10-15 ships allowed to anchor between the Opera House and the bridge. You will have the view of the bridge to your left and the Opera House to your right. The other ships in the parade of lights go somewhere else on the other side of the Opera House, but I am not sure where. I was just a tad disappointed during the firework display because there was a large three level boat just in front of ours. Though it stayed mostly to our front-right, it would move in front of us at times, blocking the lower portion view of the bridge (this happened towards the end of the firework show). Keep in mind that it was about 50-70 meters in front of us, so it didn’t obstruct it too much, but it was still a little annoying. However, it is definitely a nice anchoring position considering the event and where all the other boats have to go.

We truly enjoyed our time and it was an unforgettable NYE. This is the second time that my husband has been to Sydney for NYE and it was his idea to go on the ship because he recalls it from his first NYE there. It definitely didn’t disappoint and his expectations were completely met. He especially enjoyed not having to queue, like he did the first time, to get a prime position. It was well worth the cost and we would recommend it to others who are looking for a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

11  Thank mdyrdek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2014

Took the lunch cruise. Was fun, gives an idea of what it must have been like on the old sailing ships. Made me thankful for modern day conveniences. Sydney harbour is a must and especially from the water!

1  Thank Skywalker102014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

Loved everything about it - you could either sit back and enjoy or get amongst it and hoist the sails. They served morning a tea and provided lunch as well, lovely spread.

2  Thank Jodie1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2014

Wow, what a way to see in 2014!

This was our first ever trip to Australia and we spent a lot of time researching where to see in the New Year in Sydney. We were only in Sydney for 4 nights so couldn't afford to waste time all day staking a claim on a free bit of grass space in one of the parks and everything else was either sold out, not on sale yet or very expensive! But we then found the James Craig and it sounded perfect. We booked direct on their website as it was much cheaper than other reseller websites!

On NYE we booked a taxi from our hotel to the dockyard and actually got there way before registration and boarding as the city streets despite the warnings were still flowing OK. So we took photo's of the James Craig and had a few drinks in a nearby pub!

We boarded at 7pm and were immediately given sparklingly wine and our glasses were constantly topped up all night! :-) The ship wasn't totally rammed with people there was plenty of room to move about which was nice. Everyone on board was having a great time and we met lots of friendly fellow Brits as well as locals.

Food was in the form of a very nice buffet downstairs in the ship.

Spent most of the time on deck though listening to the great live band and of course admiring the amazing view and fantastic atmosphere. We moored up in Sydney harbour between the iconic Harbour Bridge and the Opera House for probably one of the best viewing points to be had - a truly amazing viewpoint! There were the kids fireworks at 9pm and all the ships in the harbour including the James Craig on cue all lit up to form the Parade of Lights.

Then the big event was of course the midnight fireworks which were truly spectacular!

A truly unforgettable night!

4  Thank Paul_and_Jackie2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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