Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Koalas, Joeys, and the Opera House: Sydney, Australia Offers More than Just Adventure

My name is Beth Painter and I’m a Director for the Shore Excursions department.  Our team coordinates the various tours that guests can participate on during their cruise vacations in ports all over the world.  I’ve always loved to travel, a passion I inherited from my parents, so working for Royal Caribbean International was a great opportunity.  Between the brands that our corporation owns, we have so many amazing itineraries and I’ve tried to take full advantage of them. One of my favorite places I’ve traveled to in recent years is Sydney, Australia. We actually visited several places in Australia and New Zealand, all of which were amazing, but Sydney was probably the highlight of the trip.

Sydney is a diverse city with a wide range of activities as well as a great place to have a drink and people-watch.  There’s much more to do than I was able to fit in but I was able to get a nice cross-section of what the city offers.

My first adventure was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb which was amazing.  Definitely not for those with a strong fear of heights but the tour is well-managed so you feel secure the entire time.  At the top, you are 134 metres (or roughly 440 feet) above the Sydney Harbour and the view is spectacular.  You can see the Opera House, downtown Sydney, and across the bay.

The area of Sydney around the harbour is called “The Rocks” and is great for strolling, having a bite to eat and people-watching.  There’s a great atmosphere and from there, you can walk to the Opera House and take a tour of this famous icon.  I had always considered the Opera House a place for “fancy” people to attend operas in beautiful gowns and tuxedos but it’s much more accessible and hosts much more than just operas. Learning more about its architecture, construction and day to day operations was fascinating.  Given the modern, contemporary look of the outside, I was surprised at the amount of wood that was used inside.  But as might be expected, the inside is also full of odd angles and interesting geometry.

A harbor cruise was another great option and provided views of the Opera House, the bridge we had climbed the day before (the top looked a lot higher up from the vantage point of the water!), downtown Sydney as well as the surrounding areas.  Since we didn’t have time to explore more of these areas, we at least were able to see some of them.  Most surprising was how large the bay was and how spread out the city is.

We also spent part of a day at the Koala Park Sanctuary which has many of the iconic Australian animals you’ve heard of.  The koalas were surprisingly boring as they spend most of their time sleeping – the eucalyptus they eat provides very little energy for them and they have a slow metabolism.  They are cute though and you can take photos with them.  This facility also had several fairy penguins (which we also saw in the wild on Philip Island in Australia).  These are the smallest penguins in the world and I had to resist trying to smuggle one in my luggage to bring home as they are adorable. We also saw a large wombat and the closest comparison I can think of is a very large hedgehog.  But the kangaroos were the highlight of the visit. We saw “roos” of all sizes, including a mother with a joey in her pouch.  Kangaroos in the wild can be aggressive and skittish of people but those in the sanctuary were friendly and it was a unique opportunity to see them up close.

With so many new places still left to visit, there are only a few places that I would want to return to visit again butSydneyis one of those. And when that visit occurs, the world famous beaches are at the top of my “to do” list for that visit, as is seeing an event at the Opera House (so I can be one of the “fancy” people).

17 responses to:
“Koalas, Joeys, and the Opera House: Sydney, Australia Offers More than Just Adventure”

  1. Katherine Vandygriff

    We’re scheduled to join you in April and very excited! Thanks for these insights!

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Katherine. I look forward to seeing you onboard.

  2. helen - mama monarch

    OK you talked me into it. Now that wasn’t hard, was it? My daughter has spent many years in QLD before heading back to Florida to live. She has so many stories and pictures. Now I have decided that its time to go see for myself. Will have to check what ships are where and make my plans accordingly. Flight to OZ, tour around and finish with a nice circumnavigation and hopefully a cruise back to Alaska!! Oh drat, there goes that rocking chair, another year further away!!

    • Adam

      We wish it was always that easy, Helen! We hope you enjoy yourself onboard and be sure to share with us the highlights of your trip.

  3. larry burns

    We will be cruising Australia with RCL March and April 2013 on Radiance. We visit Sydney several times during the cruises. Will there be
    any optional excursions during Sydney port days?

    • Adam

      Hello Larry, click here for all shore & land excursions in Sydney during your cruises. We hope you have a great time in Australia.

  4. Joyce A Evans

    Dear Sir or Madame,
    After taking my first cruise on Soverign,I was hooked.Cruised many times on Enchantment.Oh how I love that ship.After retireing I paln to move close to my favorite cruiser port.Port Canaveral is so beautiful.So I am looking forward to more cruises in the future.Looking foreward to Freedom of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas.I cannot say enough on the cruises I have taken or the ones in the future.RCCL is the only cruiseline I let my friends go on. They never get old,the next one is better than the one before. My last cruise is the only one I have been on that I did not book my next cruise.I am looking foreward to the Emerald Class.Again,thank you for makeing my vacations so memoriable.

    Joyce A Evans
    Diamond Member

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Joyce. We’re happy we could be apart of all of those great memories.

  5. Bharat

    Good Afternoon Mr. Goldstein,
    The recent incident with the Costa Concordia got me really upset with the captain. I understand that accident happened but there is no excuse for this. I am hoping that you, Mr. Fain and Capt. Bill Wright will send out memos to all RCI captain about the importance of passenger, crew and ship safety. I am a huge fan of Royal Caribbean and I don’t ever want to see something like this happen to a RCI ship. I am scheduled to be on the Allure on 9-2-12 and I hope that I don’t have to worry about something like this. Please send me an email to let me know if this is being done.

    Thank You,

    • bjorn jakobsen

      Ihave been cruising for more than 35 years with rccl and I feel very safe.The capteins and crew are drilled to take care of the pax..
      One more thing, remember to go to the musterstation the first day!!

      Regards Pinacle Bjorn

      • Adam

        Thank you for your support, Bjorn.

    • Adam

      We communicate with our Captains on a regular basis and the importance of safety for our guests and crew is always emphasized. For more information and a video about safety and security in the cruise industry and our ships, please go to this link.



    How about a blog from Capt. Wright talking about the training, SOLAS, etc that RCCL employs on its ships and how RCCL is a cut above the rest of the industry, in view of the tragic situation in Italy.

  7. Daniel Capella

    Adam, here in Brazil we are very excited about news on Royal Caribbean. We are waiting a new ship to our country, after Vision of the Seas move to Caribbean. Can we wait good news like these? and if yes, when?

    • Adam

      Hi Daniel, we’re glad to hear you’re excited. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for any and all updates on Brazil and please note that the recently renovated Splendour of the Seas will be calling to Brazil, you can click here for a list of 2012 cruises.

  8. Fred Carino

    My wife and I have cruised with RCCL four times and intend to do so again. I want to let you know that as a tugboat captain I have observed your ships and crews in Port Canaveral while working there. Most impressive has been watching your crews launch, operate and retrieve the lifeboats. As we all know, practice makes perfect and when the unexpected happens the crew is the only thing between safety and chaos. We have always felt safe aboard RCCL ships and would hope all the OTHER lines get their crews up to speed. Best wishes.

    • Adam

      Thank you for the kind words and support, Fred. We share your admiration for our dedicated crew.

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