Having run a charter company here in Sydney Harbour since 1982, I have assisted thousands of people in that time bring in the New Year watching fireworks on the harbour.
Here is my checklist of the top 5 things you should consider before booking any Sydney Harbour Cruise — for New Years or any other time.
1. What does the package include? I.e food, drink, music, etc?
This is very important to know from the beginning. On some boats, only beer and wine will be included, spirits will be an extra charge. If you are on a cruise you believe to be fully inclusive, it should be just that.
2. Are there any extra charges?
In some cases, depending on the wharf there may be an additional charge for the use of the wharf. With the busy traffic on Sydney Harbour, time slots are at a premium, so at most, the vessel will have 15 minute to embark and 15 minutes to disembark passengers.
3. Is the vessel safe and clean with a professional crew?
The best way to ensure you are with a safe and reputable company is to ask for feedback from previous companies. Are they positive/favourable? Is the company in good standing in the industry and experienced? Do they have a functioning website and customer service team? Not all cruise companies are created equally.
4. Which wharf will the boat be picking you up from?
This is important to know for arranging transportation to the wharf. With strict wharf time slots, it is imperative everyone arrives on time and knowing the where and how of the pickup point will help with this. If taking taxis, they should be called well in advance or if driving checking to ensure there is sufficient parking is advised.
5. What time will you need to be there?
On NYE especially, this is very important due to the congestion on the roads. If you are on the City/Eastern Suburbs side and need to get to North Sydney for example, it will take a long time to get there.
Same also for after your cruise. If possible, I’d recommend driving to the pickup point and parking nearby as it is very hard to find a taxi after midnight. Most companies will charge for additional time spent at wharves and if someone misses the boat, their only option will be to use a water taxi to transfer.
Paying close attention to my top 5 tips will ensure a memorable and stress free Sydney Harbour Cruise. See you on the Harbour.