Murray Princess - Return from the Floods

The majestic Murray Princess and its passengers have seen the Murray River in all stages of its natural glory over the past four decades – but never before have they experienced the might and scale of the recent floods.

One of the river’s greatest natural disasters in known history made headlines for its destructive power. Now, in its wake, our Princess passengers have a front-row seat to an extraordinary time in South Australian history as we witness the recovery and regeneration of the stunning Murray River environment.

A true icon of Australia’s rich riverboat heritage, the Princess offers a truly unique cruising experience that maximises comfort and style and delivers an unforgettable immersion in the tranquility and grandeur of the mighty Murray and its many attractions.

It’s a special kind of remarkable to be back cruising in 2023 – so step on board and explore the Murray River with us.

Regeneration Amongst Royalty

One of the first things you’ll notice is an extraordinary juxtaposition across the changing landscape as you cruise past the flood-damaged banks and through the incredible colours of an ecosystem regenerating around it. The birdlife is soaking up the healthiest wetlands they’ve seen in decades and the previously dry backwaters are now full and glistening with reflected hues of orange and gold as the sun sets each afternoon.

The path of the flood is still evident and you’ll spot where water has receded and work is being done to repair some properties, reserves and farmland. It’s a sobering view at times, but once you’re on board the Princess, it’s hard to feel anything but joy.

As you step onto the red carpet in the peaceful setting of Mannum’s Mary Ann Reserve, it’s hard to imagine a levee bank held back the surging waters just months ago. Now, all that lies ahead is the anticipation of a memorable holiday on board one of the most unique river cruises in the world. While the river environment and some of our river communities are still recovering, the magic of the Murray Princess experience has not changed at all. In fact, the feedback from our guests indicates that they’re appreciating it a whole lot more knowing that the vessel is back after being moored for 4 months while the floods receded.

Relax in Style

When you step aboard the Princess, you’re stepping into old-world luxury. Those things that people have always loved about the Princess are still the prominent first impressions as guests ‘move in’ to their rooms Almost immediately the crew see cameras start snapping and guests sharing their excited reactions to this gorgeous cruiser, especially as its huge, authentic paddlewheel churns into action.

The views are equally as spectacular from inside the Princess as they are from outside on each deck. She’s grand in every sense, and you can only imagine the time and thought that has gone into the design, particularly its nod to century-old charm. Everything from the lamp shades to the fine dining cutlery has been curated to give you a special kind of experience.

The giant moving paddle wheel, visible from every level, is your constant reminder of how special this vessel is. While the surrounding river landscape, with its inspiring patchwork of colour, ensures you’ve got something beautiful to discover around every bend.

The friends our passengers make grow over the days of the river cruise, the spectacular meals being served on board garner glowing reviews, the crew remain at their attentive best ensuring every need is catered for and each guests feels relaxed and welcomed. All of this still exists, but the added appreciation in 2023 is that guests can enjoy all the luxury of a premium Murray River cruise, while also acknowledging and seeing first-hand, the beauty and devastation that a flood brings.

With all of this comes an opportunity to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As the landscape continues to change, there will only be a short opportunity to see the Murray River like this. From on board you can see that even the locals are spending more time than ever looking out across the floodplains, and riverbanks, just soaking up the sight of a changing environment and trying to store it in their memories for the stories they’ll tell in 20 years’ time (just as our passengers will do as well).

Captain and Crew

With the old-world charm of the Princess, also comes the exceptional service from the Captain and crew. One of the most common reviews for this cruise is how our guests immediately feel relaxed, and a significant portion of this can be contributed to our genuine, fun and hard-working crew.

In full cruise uniform, the team will ensure luggage is handled to guests rooms, cold drinks are immediately available, special dietaries are managed, onshore excursions are booked and every other creature comfort is catered for.

It’s old-world charm with old-world service, and a team who love to see their guests completely at ease on board. Everything from your three-course dinner to the cocktail specials feels like it’s been specially curated for the guest group boarding at each cruise. This is the work of the crew, showing their expertise, training and attention to detail.

It’s hard to believe people can be so happy while they’re working, but it’s a real pleasure to simply sit and watch the crew do their thing. Each person plays to their strengths. They’re organised, but fun. And they immediately make you feel comfortable.

It’s also a delight for our Captains and crew to be back on the water. Many live in, or have close ties to, the river communities we travel through. In fact, many were at the frontline during the floods ensuring that the Princess was secure and protected, and hard at work in the aftermath to ensure our safe return to cruising. They have a genuine desire to share the river’s regeneration with our guests and offer first-hand insights into the recovery process and the changing environment.

Murray Memories

One of the great joys the crew always reports on, is watching friendships grow on board the Murray Princess. This is cruising’s silver lining – it creates the perfect opportunity to meet new people, share stories of travel, marvel at the landscape together and promise to meet up next year in another iconic Australian location.

Once onboard, getting to know the other passengers is a cruise highlight, with many passengers delighting in making new friends and travel buddies.

Each moment on the Princess has something new to fall in love with. The slower pace lends itself to relaxing on deck and taking in hidden parts of the river system teeming with new life, or the incredible views of the vibrant green of majestic redgums against the ochre of the ancient cliffs.

The return of the Princess to the waters of the Murray – and of her special guests – has been welcomed by communities in these flood-affected areas as a positive step towards recovery.

It’s a truly remarkable time to experience the river environment in all its glory, and to enjoy a holiday you’ll remember for many years to come.

Courtesy SeaLink

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