Raw post, not edited or corrected.
It was a coincidence that we visited Sydney during its lighting display Vivid. We discovered Vivid would be on after we booked our trip. So to what we subsequently booked we added a Captain Cook early dinner cruise to see some of the Vivid lighting. The later dinner cruise was already booked out.
Our departure time was 5pm and thinking 45 minutes would be plenty of time to get there for the ninety minute cruise, it wasn't. We had to wait quite a few minutes in evening peak time for a train from Museum to Wynyard, then a decent walk and we came out (I know this now) with the King Street wharfs to our left and Barangaroo Wharfs to the right. We went to the Barangaroo Wharf 3 and it was fairly clear that wasn't where we would depart from. We got to the correct King Street Wharf about ten minutes before departure with R stressed. Why? We are here ten minutes early. Really though, I should have allowed more 'things going wrong' time. Almost everyone was onboard.
It was pretty well three courses in an hour and be ready for the lighting up by 6pm. I had to order a bottle of wine using a QR code on our table and enter my card details. Bad luck if you couldn't work out how to do it. It would be a 'dry' argument. We paid extra for a table for two at a window, probably not worth it.
Listed on the online menu were three entrees to choose from. Three mains and three desserts. We were asked if we had any dietary requirements and we answered no and so the choice was down to choosing between choices for each course. We thought we could choose but no, we were given one each of both courses. So for entre I had thinly sliced salmon, which I can eat but I don't really like it and R was given a very nice salad.
We both wanted chicken for the main, but no. We had to one of chicken and one of fish. R started to protest. The waiter checked with the on floor manager. She rudely called over to us that we had to have one of each. She was also very rude to the staff under her too. R argued with the waiter. I told him to let it go. I will have the fish.
We sat discussing the matter and the very nice young waiter returned with Sir, you can have the chicken too. It is not a problem.
R was so pissed off at this point he said no, I'm not having anything and stormed off leaving me with two roast chicken meals and three quarters of a bottle of wine. The serve was large and I couldn't finish even my own dish. R's just sat on the table. I was asked what dessert I wanted and as I ordered for both of us, R sent me a text. I'm on the top outdoor deck. Come up when you have finished. The views are lovely, and they were when I joined him before returning to eat my dessert and finish off a bottle of wine, less one glass. The uneaten chicken had been removed, replaced by dessert.
Now really, at least here in Australia if you have a set menu with a couple of meals listed for each course, you can choose which you have. It is standard practice. Management knows from experience what is popular and what is less favoured and cater accordingly.
To R's credit, he did not let the meal experience spoil the evening. Up on deck by 6pm, we saw the lighting up and it was terrific. There is so much public lighting up for Vivid in Sydney and we only saw what can be seen from the boat within the harbour.
The trip was worth it to see the lights. The meal not so. It was a fast paced production of churn them through by a certain time without any personalised service and minimal staff to the point you can't even have a waiter take an order for a bottle of overpriced wine. I cannot recommend a Captain Cook Vivid cruise and I am part way through writing a critical Trip Advisor review. However, we have taken a harbour lunch cruise in the past and that was as I remember, quite good.
The interior lighting was good. Unfortunately on the outside of the ship windows were strings of LED lighting, rather spoiling some photos.