The focus has well and truly turned away from Flemington this year, with celebrations around Melbourne Cup Carnival shifting to cruise instead, namely the three Carnival Cruise ships that carried 6000 passengers in style into Melbourne today – the largest contingent of cup carnival passengers yet.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Spirit sailed in from Sydney with P&O Cruises’ flagship Pacific Explorer and Pacific Dawn arriving from Sydney and Brisbane respectively. The ships arrived with the biggest contingent of interstate visitors to Victoria – with the celebrations on board eclipsing the main event of this year’s cup carnival.

In what looks like a shift away from the race day itself, celebrities have joined forces for frivolity at sea instead, enjoying themselves on board the ships as they sailed from Sydney and Brisbane. Body positive model Fiona Falkiner, media personality Deborah Hutton and two Melbourne Cup-winning jockeys Jim Cassidy and John Letts were some of the star passengers who enjoyed onboard events, dining, relaxation, entertainment and family friendly activities.

Fiona Falkiner brought fashion to the ships this year

In a major milestone for P&O, this is the cruise line’s fiftieth anniversary cruise to Melbourne for the Carnival.

P&O is celebrating its half-century of Melbourne Cup cruises in style with Fiona Falkiner headlining the signature ‘Fashions at Sea’ catwalk show on Pacific Explorer. The fashion show has been an integral feature of P&O’s Cup cruises since Orcades was the first to sail to Melbourne in 1969.

TV’s Deb Hutton is no stranger to cruise

Along with more than 2000 fellow guests, TV host Deborah Hutton cruised into Melbourne on Carnival Spirit having hosted the ‘Fashions on the Spirit’ show presenting the latest fashion trends of the year.

“This year marks a very special fiftieth anniversary milestone for P&O. Guests are experiencing an even bigger line-up of the biggest names in fashion and racing as they take a trip down memory lane of cruising…” says President of Carnival Australia Sture Myrmell.