P&O's Pantry, the revolutionary buffet replacement, has made its debut! We knew that the Pacific Jewel's Pantry would be the first to become a reality, and now the line's passengers can experience this revolution in cruise ship dining that has been in the works for so long.
The Jewel is fresh out of a multi-million dollar refit in Singapore and cruising her way back to Brisbane with those onboard enjoying the international food market-style dining. They can choose from fish and chips at Hook's, tacos and other Central American delicacies at Mexicana, burgers and hot dogs from the Grill, an array of meat at Fat Cow carvery, modern Indian cuisine at Curry House, pan-Asian favourites at Stix and desserts of all kinds at the Sugar Bar.
Sture Myrmell, the Senior Vice President at P&O Cruises, was excited to see the Pantry concept finally underway. "We've been working on this part of our onboard food revolution for some time and to see the concept become reality is very exciting. It's a game-changer - and it's clear from our guests' reaction that they love it."
We think the Pacific Jewel's Pantry is looking great, and can't wait to hear reports from cruisers who have experienced it. The Pantry will also be found on new ships Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden which debut in November.
What else is new on the Pacific Jewel?
The Jewel's drydock refurbishments did not end with the Pantry. The ship is now equipped with the line's first Pandora jewellery outlet and has welcomed some changes to the entertainment lineup.
Evolution of the buffet
The idea of helping yourself to a range of different foods originated somewhere in 14th century Sweden, but was more likely to be called a smorgasbord or schnapps table - and it was a small spread of snacks offered before the main meal.
Buffet is a French word which originally referred to a sideboard on which the food was served, and later it transferred to the style of eating which spread from Scandinavia to become a popular option for informal breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the 19th century. The buffet was a fashionable alternative to a sit-down meal, requiring fewer servants and efficient in feeding larger numbers.
There are all kinds of buffets - plates containing fixed portions of different foods, dim-sum style eating where waiters push food around on carts, all-you-can-eat self-serve buffet restaurants, Mongolian barbecues where you assemble and they cook, salad bars and hors d'oeuvres buffets. The concept has been applied across cultures to fit with varying cuisines, and cruise lines have taken to it with gusto.
The onboard evolution has been underway for quite a while now, and P&O's pantry isn't the first to try new things. Norwegian Cruise Lines is widely credited with pioneering the "action stations" included in many buffets nowadays, where chefs prepare simple dishes like omelettes, stir fries and salads right in front of you with the ingredients you want. Your typical cruise ship buffet has long forsaken the boring spread of western-style meats and vegetables to include a wide range of international dishes; lines like Princess offer themed nights at their buffet venues with European bistro evenings or Argentinian gaucho feasts.
The innovations are endless, and P&O's Pantry is just the next step up in buffet dining. If you are travelling on the Pacific Jewel in the near future, don't forget to head to the Pantry on Deck 12 and check out what's on offer.