Buffets out for P&O, restaurants and cafes in
It's being called a revolution in cruise dining, as P&O Cruises reveal they are removing buffets from their newest ships and replacing them with modern food outlets, featuring a gourmet delicatessen.
The plan is to initially roll out the options on latest arrivals Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden. These two ships will complete a record five P&O ships sailing year-round from Australia and New Zealand, when they start cruising in November 2015. Some key elements will then be rolled out across the fleet.
A variety of options
Entitled 'The Pantry', this new area will offer passengers a selection of eateries, with a more contemporary look and feel. The standard open-plan buffet layout will be replaced with longer high tables, round-backed chairs, comfortable banquettes and various other seating options. Just like the buffet, it's part of your package and there is no extra charge for eating at 'The Pantry'. In total, Aria and Eden will have 15 bars, resaturants and cafes.
Dining choices on Pacific Aria and Eden to include:
- Dragon Lady: Pan Asian cuisine with midnight-blue furnishings
- Angelo's Italian restaurant: Stylish food with flair, named after photographer Angelo Frontoni
- Open Kitchen: Learn as well as eat, thanks to a culinary school
- A gourmet delicatessen
- Fresh fish and chips
Luke Mangan's Salt Grill restaurant is also undergoing a subtle twist, with the Salt Grill Bar specialising in sophisticated cocktails. For wine fans, a Cellar Door will offer a boutique winery experience.
P&O excited about new dining direction
Never afraid to try new things and attract first-time cruisers, P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Tammy Marshall is confident this fresh approach will be a success.
"It will be a haven for food lovers, with a contemporary relaxed vibe as guests indulge and discover what's in The Pantry. Guests on Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden will enjoy a dining experience like no other, with our fresh food and stunning décor transforming the way cruise guests dine at sea."
It's not just the food presentation that's set to look different. Ms Marshall said the pool area will be enhanced with day beds, outdoor rugs, lamps and white curtains, adding another dose of luxury to their already impressive cruise ship fleet. The Pantry is also being introduced on Pacific Jewel while it is in dry dock next year.
All set for the biggest year ever
The Australian cruise industry is in full swing preparing for the seasons ahead, with 2015-16 being talked about as the biggest year ever in Australian cruise holiday history. The P&O fleet will be cruising from eight homeports in Australia, with all five ships docking in Sydney Harbour on November 25, 2015. Pacific Aria and Eden itineraries include the Pacific Islands, Hunter Valley, Papua New Guinea and SeaBreak Comedy Cruises.
Melbourne will welcome its biggest ship ever when Carnival Corporation's Golden Princess arrives for the summer season in 2015, although it will stop off in Sydney first. Princess Cruises is also launching a summer season from Fremantle for the first time. However, Golden Princess won't be the largest ship to ever dock in Australia: “that honour belongs to Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the seas; for now anyway!"