Although it was Fall back in New England, on this bright and sunny Spring day in October in Australia. We were in Sydney because we were sailing on the Celebrity Solstice out of Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) for a South Pacific and Fiji cruise.
Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT), from where the Celebrity Solstice departs, was only a few minutes walk from our hotel, the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay. You can see it at the center of the photo above.
I’m fairly certain people walking through this area don’t even notice the Sydney Cove map, a historical rendering of what Sidney Cove once looked like. Additionally, Circular Quay isn’t circular and in fact, this is an abbreviation of its original name, Semi Circular Quay.
Located in this area near the entrance to Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) is the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Open from 10 am every day and with free admission, there’s no reason to stop in and see what is currently on exhibit.
Only several feet from the edge of the museum stood a placard for “Baggage drop off” at the center of the walkway.
A stand alone tent close to the ship and manned by the cruise line is where you can drop off your bags before going onboard. As the Celebrity Solstice wouldn’t set sail until 6:30 pm, we decided to drop off our suitcases and continue to walk around Sydney.
Once bags are checked in, they then go behind the tent to a nearby area for loading. From my prior experience with cruising, you usually end up on a small sidewalk at the port with luggage carriers lined up where you wait for a porter to take your bag.
This open area made it feel not only less congested, but didn’t make me feel like I was forced into a tunnel into the entrance of the building. I was wide out in the open and allowed to enjoy and experience my surroundings.
This bustling area is full of people no matter what time of day. Whether people are going to or from the ship, sitting down on a park bench, or going for a run, it’s a great place to walk through on your journey around Sydney.
Turning around and looking toward the terminal, to your left is an area for passenger drop off, either by private car or cab. Above you can see the “Sailors Home,” one of the buildings of the Rawson Institute for Seamen.
Entry into Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) is organized and well laid out. There are tents at the entry to the terminal where employees ask to see your paperwork. From there you are ushered into the appropriate line based on either your Captain’s Club status or cabin category (suite or above/Captain’s Club to one side for a speedy entry, other line is for everyone else). The line for guests who weren’t in the express line was a much longer line so I would advise arriving earlier than later to beat the crowds if you are going to be in that line. What I found especially interesting about OPT is that this isn’t simply a place to pass through. If you’ve got the time or are picking up/dropping off, you can even dine in one of the restaurants here, like Quay or Ocean Room.
In addition to the traditional Customs, Arrivals, and Cargo Halls, Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) has facilities to accommodate various size events including weddings and private or public events. Consider for a moment that a huge fashion event as big as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia was held here.
Have you ever seen a “farewell balcony” where friends and family have a convenient and safe place to stand and say goodbye?
Arriving at and passing through Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) was one of the easiest experiences I’ve had in boarding a cruise ship. Once there, making my way up to check in was almost too easy and we were onboard the ship in probably less than fifteen minutes. They have this down to a science and have made it an efficient and simple process, which means less stress for guests. Sydney is a beautiful city that I would love to visit again and explore as it has so much to offer. I definitely recommend visiting Sydney and while you’re here, why not take a cruise?