Contemplating hitting cruise control? Styler Jasmine Rolfe set sail onboard P&O Cruise’s Pacific Explorer that is set to make waves in Brisbane:
I’m just going to come right out and say it. I had never stepped foot on a cruise before this particular weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I never ruled it out, just never took the plunge. So when my partner and I were fortunate enough to be invited for a three-day getaway on P&O Cruise’s Pacific Explorer, I think I had a preconceived idea that bingo and strictly timed organised day trips were the norm. How wrong I was.
Picture this: strolling onboard to be greeted with a piña colada (bags were kindly taken onboard and already making themselves comfortable in our ocean view room). Nightly reservations for a bit of floating fine dining at Luke Mangan’s newest restaurant, A Taste of Salt, and a seven-course degustation with matching wines. Brunch every morning with views of the Pacific Ocean literally on the other side of the window. And couple’s spa treatment at Elemis Spa so relaxing that we basically melted into the table. Sound like your cuppa tea? Yeah, ours too.
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I think what really sparked joy in my mind too, was the fact that everything was in one place. No ordering Ubers to the restaurant. No struggling with a map trying to find somewhere for breakfast. No need to organise tickets for a show because the comedy club and nightly performances in the atrium were just a few floors away. I didn’t even have to wash my hair after a swim (in the kiddie-free pool by the way) because there was a salon onboard – talk about boujee.
Possibly the most special and quintessentially Aussie part of the cruise (that I was surprised by, to be honest), was the hospitality. No word of a lie, it was the best I’ve ever experienced. The second we walked out of our room the attendant would be there smiling with a warm, “Good morning Ms Jasmine!” and “Good morning Mr Dean!”. They didn’t miss a greeting, not once! That kind of service is second-to-none in my opinion. Not to mention the icy bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries we’d find in our room each evening, after moseying back from the pool, cocktail making classes and/or a few sips at one of the nine stylish bars and lounges. Talk about turning up the romance! It was the ultimate quick getaway to slow down and take a moment to reconnect with each other. And as of October 2020, the Pacific Explorer will make a new home in Brissy, so be sure to say g’day when she cruises into town.
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A MOMENT WITH CHEF LUKE MANGAN
How did you come up with the name of your restaurants, ‘Salt’?
When the restaurant opened in 1999 it was originally called Alchemy. But I then decided it needed to be more approachable. In the ancient Greek days, they used to give salt as a sign of hospitality and friendship. Salt also enhances the flavour of just about anything. And so, ‘Salt’ was created as a welcoming dining experience. A no fluff restaurant to answer all of the formal dining options in Sydney at the time.
Your must-try dish?
It has to be my signature dish, Liquorice Parfait. A dense liquorice ice cream served with lime wedges and lime syrup.