My 3 Night Discovery Cruise
By Charlene Goodridge
There is nothing more tranquil than sitting back and listening to the birds whilst taking in the sights of the Murray River. How was it possible to feel time move so slowly? I have to say I have never felt so relaxed as my time on the Murray Princess.
My journey began from Adelaide where I departed the Adelaide Central Bus Station. I chose to travel on my own, which I was really looking forward to. My husband couldn't make the trip but I was looking forward to meeting some new friends along the way.
To start our trip to Mannum, we picked up a few hotel guests and we were then off on our scenic 1.5hour drive to the Riverland. Our coach driver Vinny was very informative along the way pointing out interesting landmarks and we really appreciated his great sense of humour. Time went quickly as we took in the scenery and we arrived in Mannum before we knew it.
As we turned the corner into Mannum, Vinny was quick to point out the PS Murray Princess. Everyone on the coach was so excited; the Princess is just beautiful and has an old-fashioned charm about her.
Checking in was easy. I was greeted by our Cruise Director Martin and then shown to my cabin by one of the crew. Before making my way to the Safety Presentation, I found ten minutes to go for a walk and make myself acquainted with the layout of this majestic vessel.
As we took off down-stream we all met in the dining room for the First Officers Safety Presentation, conducted by Alina. Following this, our Cruise Director Martin, was very informative in letting us know what was happening that evening and during the next day.
Itinerary sheets were also left in our rooms to let us know the timings of activities for the next day. That evening we enjoyed a welcome dinner followed by a quiz night, as we moored at Mundurra for the night.
On day two we arose to a beautiful morning on the Murray River. After a hearty buffet breakfast we cruised downstream to Murray Bridge. We had a few activities to choose from when we arrived, including a wander to the unusual Round House and a visit to the Regional Art Gallery. Some guests even chose to take a guided tour of Monarto – Australia’s biggest open-range zoo. If you do happen to go into Murray Bridge and partake in one of the activities, modern SeaLink coaches are ready and waiting to take you into town or to Monarto Zoo.
If you’re simply after some quiet time (like I was), guests are welcome to stay behind on the vessel – it was a perfect time to relax and enjoy a good book!
After the activities, we cruised back upstream, whilst enjoying a smorgasbord lunch in the Sturt Dining Room. There is a lift that goes to this level, which I found really helpful when I needed a break from the stairs.
Departing Saltbush Flat, we then headed further up-stream and were invited to take part in a Food and Wine Trail tasting session within the dining room. We tasted local wine and produce from the Murraylands area, and Martin explained some of the characters of the wines.
After lunch on day three, we moored at River View Lodge. Here we enjoyed a cruise on the “Dragonfly”; a flat-bottomed cruise boat which allows you to observe wildlife and nature up close to the riverbanks.
As we headed back to the Princess, it was the ideal time to take photographs of her from a short distance away. For those of the group not on the Dragonfly Cruise, a game of Bocce was in full swing on the banks, and a few guests even tried their hand at a spot of fishing..
On the last night of the cruise is the famous Captain’s Dinner. I was lucky to have First Officer Alina sit on my table and it was interesting chatting to her about working on the PS Murray Princess. The Captain’s Dinner is quite formal, so make sure you pack something nice to wear for this special occasion!
I’ve also included a lovely photo of all the fantastic staff below that work hard and make the whole experience simply amazing.
A quick thank you to Isabella behind the bar, who made the most wonderful cocktails while I was on board. This was such a treat during my stay.
As my beautiful three-day journey came to an end, I was up early, packed and ready to disembark before enjoying my last buffet breakfast. The Crew gave us instructions on which coach to catch depending on the location we were travelling to, and sadly we said our goodbyes.
Sitting on the coach heading back to Adelaide, I looked back at the majestic old girl and said a silent thank you for a most relaxing and unforgettable journey along the Murray River. I made some wonderful friendships which I will treasure, and I assure you - I will be back!
If you are interested in finding out more about this three-night cruise, take a look through the itinerary and highlights for further details. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my experience.