Locals all know and love our Princess. She’s the vessel you’ll never forget because your eyes will be locked on her as she elegantly cruises down the mighty Murray River. Thousands of photos appear of her on your screens each year, as people capture the moment she passes through towns like Swan Reach, Mannum and Murray Bridge taking in the sights, sounds and smells of our unique environment.
When visitors from across the world line up to jump on board our PS Murray Princess, we get excited, because we know they’re about to be treated to one of their best holidays ever (seriously, this is what the visitors tell us!). On-board, you’ll have a few nights of luxury, discovering the quirky, historic and nature-based experiences of the Murray River; plus the incredible landscapes and wildlife found in our beautiful backyard.
So perhaps 2020 is the time for to you step on board.
It’s all about slow-paced living and immersing yourself in our relaxed Murray River lifestyle. Just as the massive stern paddlewheel spins slowly, so will time. So sit back and bask in the wonderful sights, smells and tastes that you’ll experience along the way.
Above: Passengers relaxing in the Paddlewheel Lounge.
The “amazing staff”
The vessel holds a sense of prestige and grandeur. On board, the guests are treated like royalty by the Princess crew, but you can relax with your feet up, knowing you’re not expected to act like Queen Liz. In fact, the atmosphere is iconic of your experience – with the trademark feedback from guests, describing the “relaxed” feeling and “exceptional service” created by the superb crew.
To say you will be “well looked after” is an understatement. Each member of the Murray Princess crew is passionate about their role, and this shows in how much attention they invest in to your stay. Special requests are welcomed – with measures taken to support everything from dietary requirements to accessibility around the boat – the crew are willing to make sure you have everything you need and more.
“We have just returned from our 4-day cruise. This has been the most amazing and perfect cruise.” – Mick and Jen Quigley, WA
The crew’s warm, genuine, down-to-earth personalities that will help make you feel like you’ve known each other for years. Being a small cruise (with a maximum of 120 guests), don’t be surprised if you start calling each other by nicknames and throwing inside jokes about. And not just with the crew, but with your cabin neighbours too. In many cases, people walk away from their time on the Princess having made life-long friends!
“Food was out of this world!”
Now that you know about your company on-board and where you’ll be recharging for the next 3-7 nights, let’s get on to another important topic – the food. One of the greatest things about heading on a cruise holiday is the fact that the guests don’t have to worry about preparing a single meal and if you were to chat to someone about the highlights of their time on board the Princess, they’re guaranteed to mention the incredible dining experiences.
Each day you’ll have a hearty buffet breakfast waiting for you, a two-course buffet lunch, and a three-course or buffet dinner each night (including live entertainment). We especially love that the Princess dishes comprise as much local and seasonal produce as possible.
One of the gastronomic highlights, is the famous Captain’s Dinner and Dance held on the last night of your cruise. This is your time to get dolled up and put on your dancing shoes – so as well as throwing in your singlet and thongs, make sure you pack at least one ‘fancy’ outfit.
Above: Ready to indulge and share in celebration of the 'Captain's dinner'.
For those who are more inclined to an informal setting, there’s something for you too. The 4 and 7 night cruises help immerse you in the Aussie bush lifestyle with a relaxed riverside barbecue near the magnificent Big Bend (an optional and highly recommended bush tucker breakfast is available here too!).
Above: Murray Princess passengers enjoying a blissful riverside dining experience.
Along the banks of the Murray River, looking towards one of the most incredible sunset views across the ochre cliff face, you can sit and mingle with everyone, listen to live music, share life stories, play a round of cards - and if you have a knack for trivia, you might just win your table first dibs on dinner! This is just one of the fun and quirky ways the Princess crew creates fun during your stay.
Above: Stunning night sky views from the banks of the Murray River. Photo: @fraserbockphotography
Did you know the Mid Murray is known for having some of the darkest skies on the planet? In November 2019, the world’s leading dark sky organisation, the International Dark-Sky Association, credited Australia’s first dark sky reserve in the Mid Murray; now widely known as the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve. It is one of 15 Dark Sky Reserves in the world!
Recent measurements in the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve came in at 21.97 – darker than many other accredited regions from across the globe. So when the stars come out to play during your stay, take a moment to walk out on the deck and look up. You might want to bring your camera with you and have a crack at ‘astro-photography’. More info about the Dark Sky Reserve can be found here, including an array of astro hot spots, ideal star viewing areas, varied tour options and details to know before you visit.
At the same location Big Bend by Night’s optional Nocturnal tour is available after dinner and gives you the chance to see kangaroos, wombats, foxes, bats and owls while riding in their quirky comfortable open-top carts. Another of our favourites is their woolshed Shearing Show. Even if you’re accustomed to the farm life – you’ll still get a kick out of this. It’s coupled with high energy fun of a mock sheep auction, sheep race and shearing demonstration (with occasional guest appearances from some cute and energetic grandkids).
You can take time to explore and learn about local Aboriginal history at Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park, with a guided boardwalk tour of the significant archaeological site. Plus, if you’re keen for more exploring on foot (or a chance to stretch your legs before the next departure), you’ll enjoy the guided nature walk around the local flora and fauna at Salt Bush Flat.
Above: Passengers taking advantage of the opportunity to explore Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park.
There are opportunities to go head-to-head in a game of Bocce or bingo – or show off your angling skills in the fishing challenge. There’s no pressure to join in on every activity thought. If relaxation is your goal for the trip, then head straight to the rooftop sun deck. Here you have prime position to sink back in your chair and get stuck in to a good book (or simply watch the stunning scenery and wildlife pass by).
“This had been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and it didn't disappoint! What a beautiful part of the world!” – Christine Kennedy, Qld.
Above: Making the most of the stylish and comfortable lounge space.
No matter the elements Mother Nature is throwing you during your cruise, you’ll find relief in the split-level Paddlewheel Lounge. And if you happen to work up an appetite in between mealtimes, this is your go-to spot to treat yourself to 24-hour tea, coffee and other refreshments.
When the day is over and the big floodlights have switched on, step outside on the deck and keep an eye out for native nocturnal animals on the riverside. You might be able to spot kangaroos, hairy-nosed wombats, tortoises, egrets and many other species.
Above: One of the on board catering staff preparing a delicious roast for service during 'Christmas in July' celebrations.
“The most relaxing holiday we have had. Was breathtaking watching the bird life as we slowly cruised the Murray River. So unique being on a paddle steamer and we were looked after beautifully.” – Jennifer Harrison, New Zealand.
Prepare for your “best holiday ever”
So if you’re ready to book your next Murray River cruise, you need to explore your experience options with the PS Murray Princess. The crew are always on top of their game offering a range of special event cruises, on top of their four most popular cruises throughout the year.
The special event cruises means you can take advantage of the public holiday long weekends with an escape to our beautiful stretch of river. Whether you choose a short or long stay, you’ll have a jam-packed itinerary, with the perfect balance of activities and ‘down time’, as well as a few additional holiday-themed celebrations.
Starting with the Easter Cruise, you’ll enjoy 3 or 7 nights cruising upstream between Murray Bridge and just past Swan Reach. On this holiday, you can expect many of the iconic highlights listed above, plus Easter-themed entertainment and activities (you’re never too old for an egg hunt right?!).
Celebrate the legacy of the ANZACs with the Princess’ 3 or 7 night Anzac Day cruise. Pay tribute at a traditional dawn service, followed by breakfast and a classic game of Two-Up. You’ll also hear some great Aussie ANZAC tales, challenge your knowledge to trivia and an evening show by the crew.
Experience a wintry Australian Christmas with the Christmas in July cruise. June to August brings a different atmosphere to the Murray River – it’s mostly still, tranquil and mesmerising, and in the mornings you can expect to wake up to watch the birdlife weave through the fog on the water. And don’t worry about being cold, you’ll have endless opportunities to snuggle up inside the Paddlewheel Lounge and dig into mince pies, puddings with a hot cuppa.
Check your diary, and book your cruise now.