Australia / Cruising / New South Wales / Travelling

Cruising Out Of Sydney Harbour

Many call it the world’s best harbour and I’d have to agree –  it looks pretty good from any angle. I’ve admired it from a lofty lounge at the Shangri-La Sydney, from the Opera Bar’s harbour-side seats and even from above, as I took to the sky to see Sydney from a seaplane. But last month was the first time I got to cruise out of it – on a vessel as mighty as the Carnival Legend cruise ship.


Carnival Legend At Circular Quay

Carnival Legend At Circular Quay

I’ve watched cruise ships sail out of the harbour before, the upper decks slowing eclipsing the Harbour Bridge, but man was it exciting to actually be on the ship. As we inched out of Circular Quay the ship’s funnel cast a shadow over the iconic Opera House sails and us passengers, who had flocked to the top deck to watch, discussed the pressure the Captain must be under whilst manoeuvring something of this size out of the harbour.

A cruise ship casts a shadow on the Opera House

We reversed up so close to the Harbour Bridge that we could see and hear the Harbour Bridge climbers waving from the top. The adults only Serenity retreat at the back of the ship came so close to Luna Park I thought we might end up in it.

Climbers on Sydney Harbour Bridge

Cruise ship approaches Sydney Harbour Bridge

Cruising past Sydney Opera House

The ship set sail at 6.30pm, in perfect timing with the sunset. As we sailed away from the bridge (we didn’t end up hitting it!) the sun was just beginning to peak below the wrought iron construction. With a small pilot boat leading the way, we picked up speed as we sailed towards the harbour heads, the ship tooting its deep horn just as we passed the Hornby Lighthouse at North Head. In stylish synchronicity the sun made its final decent, turning the sky blood orange and setting the city skyline aflame.

sunset under Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour sunset

Sydney Harbour sunset

A gorgeous last glimpse of Sydney to send us on our way.

 PS I took these photos on the E-PL7 I have on loan from Olympus. What do you think of them?

About Author

Travel blogger and freelancer writer who loves boutique hotels and brunching. I've been blogging for 10 years, visited 60+ countries and called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (oh so briefly) New York home at various points during the last decade. Now travelling with a baby and trying to make it as stylish and stress-free as can be!


  • Gilda Baxter
    April 10, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    It is a beautiful harbour and it must have been great floating by on a cruise ship. I love cruising and my favourite cruise so far was from Venice to the Greek Islands. Your pictures are fantastic, I don’t think you should be returning this camera.

    • Jayne Gorman
      April 12, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Ha thanks. I think I should be investing in one of my own.

      Venice to Greece must have been a beautiful journey, I’d love all the stops along that route.

  • Shane
    April 12, 2015 at 4:40 am

    So beautiful! Will you be at the meetup this week to tell us all about it?!

  • Jayne Gorman
    April 12, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I have totally overbooked and have another event that night 🙁 Next one!!

  • Janice Stringer
    April 13, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Hi Jayne,
    I can remember the last time I was in Sydney, looking up to the HUGE cruise ship parked at the quay and enjoying a ferry ride around the harbour. So can only think the view which you had must have been fantastic!
    I’m interested in reading these posts to find our your opinion on this type of travel as I’ve never desired to try one myself…
    Will read your posts with interest!

  • Taylor Hearts Travel
    April 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Those sunset photos are completely dreamy. Whether it’s the camera or not, they’re definitely worth keeping.

    • Jayne Gorman
      April 13, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Aw thanks Char!


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