Vivid Sydney Dinner Cruise

Captain Cook Cruises' Sydney 2000 passing the Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney 2019.
Captain Cook Cruises’ Sydney 2000 passing the Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney 2019. Picture: Destination NSW.

Cruising on Sydney Harbour is always a treat but it’s even more special during Vivid, when you can do a Vivid Sydney Dinner Cruise, offering a ringside view of the most spectacular harbourside light installations. Each year, Captain Cook Cruises lights up its vessels and illuminates the official Vivid Sydney logo onboard its flagship Sydney 2000.

This year, after a two-year hiatus because of Covid, it is offering its most exciting program of Vivid cruises to date, with up to four cruises departing nightly. New this year is the Vivid Cocktail Harbour Bar which includes a Sydney-inspired cocktail on arrival, a shared cheese platter to share, and another house beverage to enjoy while viewing the lights from a reserved seat.

Vivid Sydney Captain Cook Cruises scallop dish
Seared scallops with the chef’s specialty sauce.

For food and wine lovers like us, Captain Cook Cruises’ biggest drawcard is its Vivid Gold Dinner Cruise, which includes six courses over three leisurely hours with an option to pair each course with premium wines including the renowned Penfolds St Henri. Add priority boarding, guaranteed upper deck window seating and the backdrop of Vivid Sydney, and it sure is a top way to spend an evening.

We’ve done a few of Captain Cook Cruises’ lunch and dinner cruises in the past few years and have always been impressed with the high quality of the food and wine on offer. This year’s Vivid Gold Dinner with matching Penfolds wines was no exception.

Vivid Sydney cruise ship and Sydney Opera House
It’s possible to disembark at Circular Quay for a closer look at the lights.
Sydney Harbour Bridge always looks so grand when illuminated.
Sydney Harbour Bridge always looks so grand when illuminated.

It kicked off with a glass of bubbles and canapés, followed soon after by an entrée of scallops with Penfolds Max Rosé, an easy-drinking, aromatic pink with hints of strawberry.

Next came a fragrant Thai-inspired herb salad, served with Penfolds Max Chardonnay, creamy with subtle oak and citrus/almond notes, followed by casarecce pasta with parmesan and pesto, paired with a medium-bodied Penfolds Max’s Shiraz Cabernet.

Highlight of the evening was a beautifully cooked, tender Angus steak with a rich jus, served with an equally rich Penfolds St Henri Shiraz, one of Australia’s iconic wines. The superb finale was dessert with a very generous pour of Penfolds Father 10YO Tawny Port, a powerful, elegant fortified with sweet fruit cake notes.

Sydney Opera House
The cruise offers a ringside view of the harbourside light installations.
Sydney Opera House
The sails of the Sydney Opera House are a beautiful canvas for Vivid.
Vivid Sydney Captain Cook Cruises Museum of Contemporary Art
Changing patterns on the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

In between each course, we dashed out onto the deck – I say dashed because it was very, very cold – marvelling at the lights and the city’s newfound energy after a tough couple of years.

All Vivid Sydney cruises depart from Darling Harbour King St Wharf 1, adjacent to the Barangaroo light precinct and only a short stroll to Cockle Bay and the spectacular Sydney Infinity liquid and light show.  A Circular Quay disembarkation is available on selected cruises if you would like to see the lights at The Rocks and Walsh Bay.

To book, phone +61 (0)2 9206 1111 or visit

With thanks to Captain Cook Cruises for hosting us on this special cruise. You can see more photos of Vivid Sydney here.

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