VIVID the festival that lights up Sydney is over for another year. On the first night for 2013, P&O cruise ship Pacific Pearl was in port in Sydney. While the rest of the city embraced the views mostly from ground level, our intimate group had the pleasure after a leisurely dinner onboard ship – in Luke Mangan’s always delicious Salt Grill – of checking out the VIVID harbour views from the MCA to the Sydney Opera House from the Pacific Pearl top deck. By the way, I’m such a fan of Chef Mangan’s food and I’ve eaten his dishes so many times I was able to guide the rest of our table through the whole menu (and even changed their minds about what to order for dessert). The night was a feast for the tastebuds and a feast for the eyes.
In fact the superliner actually became part of the canvas for the spectacular Vivid Sydney light and sound display – the first time a cruise ship has joined the festival. Pacific Pearl came alive with the P&O Cruises’ “See Voyage” taking viewers on a virtual cruise at Sydney’s Circular Quay, complete with a maritime themed soundtrack. The display saw the entire starboard side of Pacific Pearl – 254 metres long from stern to bow and 28 metres high from the water line – become a giant projection screen. Eight massive film-strip projectors work seamlessly together to bring a cruise experience to life in a dazzling display of colour and movement, designed by Australia’s award-winning leader in large scale projections The Electric Canvas.
Unlike other elements of Vivid which were projected onto permanent fixtures, The Electric Canvas team had the challenge of perfectly aligning the projection onto the side of the ship in a matter of minutes after the ship arrived at Circular Quay yesterday afternoon for its two-night visit. To achieve this incredible feat, 160m of film are being fed through eight giant projectors installed at east Circular Quay. Pacific Pearl’s participation in this iconic event was possible due to an unusual two-night stay in Sydney on a cruise itinerary planned more than two years ago.