6000 Punters Are On Cruise Ships From Sydney, Racing To The Melbourne Cup

P&O celebrates on-board the Pacific Pearl in Sydney Harbour with two miniature horses and the reigning Myer Fashions on the Field winner Chloe Moo.

6000 punters have set sail for the Melbourne Cup this weekend – the largest cohort of racegoers to ever have travelled to the event by ship.

The passengers aboard the three P&O cruise ships travelling from Sydney to Melbourne and account for 10% of the 55,000 visitors to Melbourne for the Cup.

The race-themed cruise liners offer activities including fascinator-making classes and hold talks with guest speakers like legendary Melbourne Cup jockey Wayne Harris and the Cup-winning horse Rogan Josh’s owner Wendy Green.

Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the cruise operator plan to add a fourth ship to the convoy next year after selling-out this year’s Spring Carnival trip.

“Australians love cruising and sports and by combining the two, we know we’re backing a winner,” Sherry said.

P&O’s selling-out success reflects the burgeoning cruising industry in Australia with passenger numbers hitting a record of 833,348 people in 2013, up 20% from 694,062 in 2012.

Total passenger numbers from 2003 to now.

Australia now boasts the highest global penetration rate of any cruise source market, with the equivalent of 3.6% of the population taking a cruise in 2013. It is the first country to surpass the North American cruise market with a penetration rate of 3.3%, according to the Cruise Industry Source Market Report.

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