P&O’s 2,000-berth superliner, Pacific Dawn, has made history this week after becoming the first large leisure cruise vessel to sail beneath Melbourne’s Westgate Bridge.
Due to capacity issues at Melbourne cruise terminal; Pacific Dawn was re-routed to sail beneath the historic bridge on its way to the city, where it was ferrying thousands of passengers to the annual Melbourne Cup horse race. Alongside the rest of the P&O Australia fleet, including Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Spirit, Pacific Dawn was taking part in a special sailing carrying passengers to and from the historic event.
With a clearance of just 50.1 metres, passengers aboard Dawn were afforded an exciting spectacle as the ship, which has an air draft of just 47.6 metres, made its way slowly beneath the cable-stayed structure. Guests likened the experience to passing beneath Sydney’s Harbour Bridge or Brisbane’s Gateway Bridge.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, said: “Cruising is all about fantastic experiences and having a record four ships sailing to the Melbourne Cup offers thousands of eager racegoers a unique way of experiencing all the excitement of the race that stops the nation.”
Upon reaching Melbourne, some 8,000 passengers were carried from the Carnival Corporation ‘megafleet’ to the track by a total of 164 coaches. It’s thought the cruise ship passengers made up 8 per cent of the total attendees at this year’s event — the single biggest contingent of visitors to Melbourne’s preeminent Cup day.
For more of the latest news and insight from P&O Australia and Carnival Cruise Line, check back with the Cruise1st Australia team soon for regular updates as they develop.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Miles Goodhew and Alpha.