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All aboard the bridge tour

Sun Princess

It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to tour the bridge of a cruise liner. But we lucky ducks got to check out the command centre of the Sun Princess.

We were ecstatic at the opportunity to see where the Captain steers the ship, that was until we had to pull the kids out of Sun Princess’ Youth Centre, the ship’s free and ridiculously fun kids' zone for children aged 3-12 years. To make matters worse they were going to miss out on the ice-cream party!

Who could blame them for their lack of enthusiasm when they were leaving behind the excellent programme of imaginative arts and crafts, Discovery Channel-themed interactive activities, disco dancing, movie sessions and game consoles?

Sun Princess Kids Club

But the promise of a swift return and a sweet treat at Swirls, the ice-cream bar afterwards, meant we were able to peel them away. The kids' melancholy soon turned to curiosity as we were escorted through secret corridors and special access elevators before arriving at a heavy sealed metal door. Upon a special radio signal from the Captain the door opened like magic to reveal the sun-drenched epicentre of the Sun Princess.

Our kids jumped into our arms as we stood before three of the ship's most important men, fixed in pristine white uniforms in a vast blue room. These were the people responsible for ensuring our safe passage through the South Pacific Ocean, so we’re quietly glad the kids did as there were important dials and enticing flashing buttons within temptation.

The Captain turned to greet us with a heavy European accent, a big smile and wave from his high-back leather chair. We felt immediately relaxed enough to soak up the panoramic scene of clear skies and calm blue water as far as the eye could see. The kids caught the Captain’s eye and even at the helm, he winked and pulled funny faces to make them laugh.

His cajoling worked a treat, enough for them to climb down and surprisingly they sat cross-legged on the blue carpeted floor and listened attentively at Michael, the British Ship Cadet, as he explained the inner workings of the Bridge.

Sun Princess Marine Flags

Michael showed us a collection of marine flags, and the different flags flown in different regions. He guided us through the monitors, which displayed the digital maps, radar locations of nearby ships, our route through the Pacific and the communication systems which all made us feel a little more at ease being in the middle of the ocean.

Then just as the kids were coming undone, he showed us the ship’s wheel, which “looked like the wheel from Mario Kart” and different to the large wooden tiller on board Captain Hook’s pirate ship. More astounding was the electronic version, a small ball mouse and joy-stick, hard to believe it could steer the 2010-passenger ship weighing 77 tons.

We ended the tour with a peak of the outside Bridge, from where we could see the entire length of the ship. Although that was the clear highlight, our kids would have it a close second to the ice-cream treat, one with extra rainbow sprinkles.

Sun Princess Ice-cream

Together we roam‘s Rene Young has travelled to 70 countries. When the Brisbane based blogger is not discovering Brisbane's street art, exploring Queensland or roaming the world with her five-year old son and three-year old daughter, she can be found indulging her love of reality TV.

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