Spirit of Tasmania soars to new heights

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By Mark Fellowes

Born and bred in beautiful Tasmania, or as my dad calls it “paradise”, I was pretty excited to be invited to the media launch of the refurbished Spirit of Tasmania. Upon entering via a long escalator I arrived on Deck 7 and was immediately welcomed with smiles from well dressed staff and the sound of acoustic music and soft vocal notes from a local Tasmanian musician.

There was champagne and juice on offer along with what’s called “Flavours of Tassie”, where a showcase of Tasmanian gourmet food and beverage producers will be shown throughout the months of May to November. Passengers onboard can try some of the world’s best cheeses, chocolates, wines, spirits and craft beers and ciders and learn all about what goes into these fine products straight from the makers themselves.

This particular showcase included Ashgrove Cheese, Anvers Chocolate Factory and Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company. Yum!!

After some official speeches, a short promotional film and toasts, I was off to explore and check out the refurbishment. The overall design is contemporary and modern and provides a feeling of openness and relaxation; making you want to explore to see what’s around the next corner or on the next deck.

Inspiration for the new design was found throughout Tasmania by walking around Salamanca Market for colours of the select timbers unique to the state. There are areas where timber has been used to create a boardwalk feel, like being at the beach complete with a fake lawn area and deck chairs, then around the next corner you may be met with colourful lounge chairs and tables overlooked by tall pink lights.

The new recliners are amazingly comfortable and once I sat down it was hard to get up again to continue. On entering the cinema it was nice to see a movie was put on to really get a feel for the sound and picture quality. Both were excellent and coupled with the super comfy seats. Watching a movie here would be fantastic!

For the kids – the Games Zone on Deck 9 will be a big hit with plenty of arcade-style games to keep them entertained. Deck 10 has the Gaming Station with Xbox consoles, and for the little ones a Kids’ Play Area that is beach-themed complete with a slide, soft play pyramids and even a punching bag.

The rooms look inviting with a real hotel feel, especially the deluxe cabin where there is a queen sized bed, private en-suite, flat-screen TV and double porthole ocean views. There are also Twin Bed Cabins equipped with two single beds and Four Bed Cabins that come with bunk beds that are perfect for families.

Once I finished exploring it was back to Deck 7 for a taste of the food on offer. The Tasmanian Market Kitchen, TMK, is a beautiful bright buffet style set up that when full of food will look and smell spectacular. Of course as this was a launch event, only a small selection of food was on offer. As the food is all Tasmanian sourced I expected it to be really good, and I was correct, it was!

I was lucky enough to try the Porterhouse with seasonal vegetables, Quinoa and pumpkin salad and the beetroot, rocket and feta salad, all were delicious.

Once I finished my meal, I took one more look around, said my farewells and got on my way. I left with a real sense of pride and cannot wait to take my family on a trip. The new refurbishment is wonderful and I highly recommend everyone book a trip not only for the ship but to check out the great state of Tasmania and all it has to offer.

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