Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life on board Pacific Pearl cruise ship. PART 2

Welcome to part 2 of Life on board the Pacific Pearl. And the first of our P&O competitions. Leave me a comment at the bottom of this post to enter.

From my post Part 1 you may have an idea of just how much FOOD there was everywhere! in addition to all of the eating establishments that we could eat in at no charge, if you needed to eat outside of the meal times, there were additional options. 

Such as Charlie's Cafe in the Atrium where Macarons were only $1 each and high hat cupcakes were $3. Grandma Kiwicakes and I did get a trio of Macarons to half between us, but we couldn't face all the frosting on the high hat cupcake - we were simply too well fed all cruise long. 

The Chocolate Cafe, I previously mentioned was a favourite haunt for DH to get a good coffee and use the internet.

The cookies here were enormous, I didn't try one. The Chocolate volcano peaked my interest. And after getting a copy of Holidays - the P&O cookbook and seeing the Chocolate volcano in there - Grandma Kiwicakes & I just had to try one.

We ventured in to the Chocolate Cafe one afternoon and ordered one each, Grandma Kiwicakes got a coffee and I got a hot chocolate (which was awesome), it was a little dark in there, so my photos aren't the best.

When you cut in to it, the centre oozes out warm & molten, the raspberry sauce provides the lava

When the charming waiter came to collect our plates he asked if we enjoyed them, I tilted my plate and said "can't you tell" he looked at me and said "but of course! - I just wanted to hear it from your lips"

The recipe is in the P&O Holidays cookbook and P&O provides the recipe on their blog which is as follows

Warm Chocolate Volcano, Chocolate Sauce, 6 Portions
  • 250 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 pieces eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 pieces egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 55 grams caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Unsweetened chocolate powder, to dust
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Brush 6 x 185 ml (6oz.) ramekins with melted butter. Place on a baking tray.
  2. Combine 2/3 of the chocolate and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth, remove from heat.
  3. Beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add the chocolate mixture and flour and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in until evenly combined.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly amongst the ramekins. Stick a small quantity of chocolate into the center. Bake for 12 minutes until puddings have risen almost to the top of the ramekins. There are slightly underdone.
  5. To serve, turn the puddings out onto serving plates. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.
There are so many lovely recipes in this book, as I flicked through I saw recipes for main meals that myself Grandma Kiwicakes had for dinner. There is also a cocktail recipe for one of DH favourite cocktails from the cruise "Lychee Mojito", there's also the "Chilli Margarita" which I tried on the first night - gosh it sure packed a punch!

January 7th Was Grandma Kiwicakes birthday, we went to the Salt Grill for dinner. This restaurant carries an AU$40 per person surcharge, it was SO! worth it. I could not fault a single thing for my meal, which for me is rare, I can usually find something just not quite right - this food was exceptional!. Salt Grill has an amazing menu we had prawn toast tapa and a variety of sides to share, truffle mashed potato (exquisite), truffle parmesan french fries (not because I need fries with every meal, but for the simple reason I could not imagine what these could possibly be like) and a pear, rocket & blue cheese salad.

Both Grandma Kiwicakes & I opted for the lobster tortellini in coconut broth - which I snapped a photo of just moments after the waiter poured the coconut broth from a small jug.

DH& I opted for the eye fillet & Grandma Kiwicakes had the Scotch fillet for a main - the choices of sauces and mustards to accompany is exceptional. We all opted for steak, as our meal was towards the end of our cruise and we'd all been mainly eating seafood, chicken  & special creations for the week, we all agreed we'd like to try the Steak at Salt, because it is so highly regarded. It was certainly the best medium rare steak I can recall in my recent eating history.

DH piked on us for dessert. Grandma Kiwicakes & I never one to let the team down when it comes to dessert took our time choosing. Grandma Kiwicakes opted for the petit fours and generously allowed me to eat one line. From left to right (raspberry tart, pistachio marshmallow, chocolate nougat & turkish delight)

I opted for the Licorice parfait - it was exceptional!

Our lovely cabin steward Melroy put up balloons for Grandma Kiwicakes. The kids were thrilled about this, as they had seen balloons all over doors around the ship, in the week leading up to Grandma's birthday and were hoping some were coming our way.

Before I left NZ, I had arranged for a cheesecake & bubbles to be delivered to Grandma Kiwicake's cabin. Perhaps if I had truly fathomed how much food is available on board I might not have done this - however it was inexpensive to organise at only $30NZ for both cake & bubbles. It was delivered at 12 noon as requested, but afterwards Grandma Kiwicake's was too full to eat any lunch. The cake although cheesecake, was not cheesecake as we know it - it had a very thin top and bottom layer of light as air sponge and then the cheesecake filling was light as air. All of this meant we could eat a really big piece (and seconds) The roses on top were marzipan, my favourite!.

It wasn't all food food food, I promise!. I did a premium wine tasting event which was well attended by other passengers. Poor DH agreed to join me, right after he'd just attended a 1 hour whiskey tasting.

We sampled 6 different wines, 1 pinot noir red bubbly 2 whites & 3 reds. Each wine was presented by a different member of P&O's staff.

We received a snazzy little book, that gave wine notes & other interesting facts & figures. The regular wine tasting (which I missed earlier in the cruise) was $16 and premium wine tasting was $22.

In Part 1 I introduced you to Armando, he is a highly skilled carver. I was thrilled to find he was holding an ice carving demo on the upper deck. I was surprised to find that a beautiful swan only takes him 15 minutes to carve.

These are his tools

The water is set with ammonia & gelatine, to make it clear and to prevent it from breaking easily, during the carving process.

As part of the ship's entertainment, there is a Pacific Cirque on board, these acrobats perform high rise acts out on the open decks. As well as indoors int he atrium and theatre. One evening I took the kids along to an aprx 30 minute laser light show, featuring Pacific Cirque in the Atrium area (reception).

If you look closely, you'll see an acrobat up the silken drop

It was not an easy feat to get the laser lights to show up in a photo. I took many photos, these meagre offerings were the best of them

Another of Armando's ice carvings featured on a lighted stand during the laser light show.

Tune in a little later for Part 3 (life in the galley kitchen)

COMPETITION: (Drawn Thursday January 19th 2012)
To win your very own copy of "holidays" - the award winning travel book from P&O. Simply leave me a comment below. Tell me have you been on a cruise?, where did you go?. Or if you haven't - where would you like to go? Make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.

P&O Says this about this stunning book:
Featuring more than 60 delicious recipes from the Australian cruise line’s culinary team, the cookbook is a celebration of the transformation of P&O Cruises’ food and wine offering.

Following a massive overhaul three years ago, the cruise line’s fleet now features a contemporary menu specifically designed for the Australian palate and built around Australian and New Zealand produce and local wines.

The emphasis on freshness and flavour is evident throughout holidays, with recipes ranging from macadamia nut pancakes with mango and maple syrup to wagyu burgers and spatchcock with eggplant salad.

holidays also offers delicious desserts – from amaretti baked peaches to apple tarte tatin - alongside cocktail and canapĂ© options such as lychee mojitos and mustard and sesame seared tuna loin with wasabi.
P&O Cruises Corporate Executive Chef Uwe Stiefel said the holidays collection featured the cruise line’s signature dishes and passenger favourites.

“Australians and New Zealanders love their food – they love to try different tastes and they love to eat well on their holidays so our cuisine is a very important part of the cruise experience,” Uwe said.

“Each of our four ships has more than 90 chefs, patissiers and bakers onboard who take delivery of close to 100 tonnes of produce every cruise and work around the clock to deliver delicious meals to everyone on board. The results are in this cookbook.”

With multiple restaurants offering an array of food from breakfast until late each day, Uwe’s team oversees more than 16,000 recipes.

“It was hard to choose 60 for our book, but we have selected an array of our passengers’ top dishes so that people can now enjoy our food at home as well as onboard our ships.”

Passenger favourites included in holidays include pork belly with scallops and red pepper pesto, coral trout with lentil salad and butter sauce, and cookies and cream cheesecake.

“The recipes are delicious but they are also easy to prepare– after all if you’re on holidays you don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen!” Uwe said.


  1. i havent been on a cruise as yet i would love to go on one around the islands one for foodies maybe would be great

    carolyn abraham
    4 keats place
    whalers gate
    new plymouth 4310

  2. I haven't been on a cruise. I would love to go around Alaska on a cruise ship.
    Kerin hutchinson

  3. I have never even been on a holiday as an adult! Lol! So a cruise anywhere would be awesome!!!!! It looks like you had so much fun! Unreal how many people were on the boat! Thank you for sharing your joureny :)

    Madcats (forum)

  4. I too have never been on a cruise, I am trying to talk my husband into doing this Christmas Cruise in 2013. My ideal cruise would be around the Mediterranean and Greek Isles. Bridget Rowse, Dargaville

  5. I havn't been on a cruise yet, but your latest blog entries have inspired me to look on the cruise finder website and have found a cruise I'd love to do on the P&O Pacific Pearl oddly enough.

    Denise Ockey
    6 Cormack Place

  6. I just ♥ reading your posts! My husband to be and I are looking at possibly going on a cruise for our honeymoon next year, wanting to go around the pacific. It appeala to us more than flying somewhere and staying in a hotel as there can be so many hidden costs! .. looking foward to your next posts. Melissa.

  7. I was on the same cruise as you! Also my partners bithday was on the 7th too! We had an amazing time :)

  8. Hi Sandra
    OMG your cruise looks amazing. I have not been on a cruise but would love to go on a cruise around the Greek Islands, have heard they are stunning.
    Helia :)

  9. My husband and i went on a cruise for our honeymoon back in April. We went on the Pacific Jewel 10 day cruise that left from Sydney and traveled to Isles of Pines, Mystery Island, Lifou, Port Vila and we were supposed to go to Noumea but couldnt due to bad weather. As we were on honeymoon we were introduced to other honeymooning couples whom of which we spent a lot of time with.

    So much of what is in your blog we did... the Chocolate Cafe - Amazing, Salt Grill - Indescribable it was that good (we liked it so much we went twice lol), the Chilli Margaritas - never tried anything i liked more (must brew the chilli tequila now i think about it), the Waterfront - just fantastic.

    After reading this I could really go on another cruise... i had better start that diet again to make more room for all the weight i'll put on...

    Thanks for reminding me of how amazing it was!
    Amy -

  10. I haven't been on a cruise but am planning to do the inland passage in Alaska when my children are older. Your cruise looks amazing.

  11. We were very, very lucky to spend 32 nights about the Pearl in June/July last year. Today, I paid the deposit for our next - only 10 days this time and we have to wait until 2013. I agree about the Salt Grill. It will be my first port of call to book for dinner. It was absolutely amazing.
    Reading your blogs brings back so many happy memories - I would highly recommend cruising as a holiday. My hubby didn't particularly want to go on our first but he's pretty much a cruise addict now too. Its the most stunning holiday for a mother. No housework, no cooking, no cleaning - what more could a woman ask for.

  12. I haven't been on a cruise but would love to do Alaska or the South Pacific. Loving seeing your pics and posts, makes me want to go on a cruise!

    Laugan - Forums

  13. We have been on a cruise from Brisbane to Cairns but would so love to go to Alaska cruising Looks like you had a fabulous time and I know what you mean about the food.

  14. Hi Sandra, looks like you had a great time alright! I have not been on a cruise yet....maybe in the near future as your photos look very inviting. I love the pictures of the food you had, a good way to remember all the nice things you had to eat!!!


  15. I took my husband for his 60th Birthday last New Years Eve on the exactly same Cruise you did this year!!!!!
    It was awesome just as you said - reading your two blogs is wondering brings back so many memories of the best holiday ever - and Yes the Food was devine, I never had a complaint - but soooo much of it!!! delicious!!!
    I never heard about this P & O Cookbook while we were on the Cruise, i wish id known as I would of definetly bought it - Id love one pleasssse :-)
    Trish Woods-Curle

  16. Sorry if this is posted a couple of times, having trouble with computer. We went on a 10 day cruise around the Islands, visiting Isles of Pines, Mystery Island, Lifou, Port Vila and Noume. It was great you could do as much or as little as you liked and our 3 year old daughter loved it as well. Food was wonderful, staff lovely.

  17. Hi Sandra I have done four cruises and have to say it is the only way to holiday. I love cruising!
    I've enjoyed reading your blog and would love to try the pacific pearl.

  18. Sounds like you had a fantastic experience and makes me just a teeny bit jealous! Unfortunately I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing a cruise as yet, but fingers crossed it'll happen one day. A cruise to anywhere would suit me just fine but somewhere around the states would be awesome. E-mail


  19. Hi Sandra, We are looking at going on this same boat around the islands leaving from Brisbane in the next few months. We too are taking our kids and maybe Grandad. Sounds like you had a ball I can't wait to read part 3 & more.
    Michelle Moore

  20. lol nope never been on a cruise but as long as there is yummy food on there i don't mind where I go. You caught me with the book has recipies. Thanks for sharing your cruise with us it is inspiration to save and go. And i think I might just have to make the volcano pudding tonight a great way to mark the end of our holidays and back to work on Monday!

  21. WOW, what an amazing sounding cruise... my mouth is watering just from the descriptions for all that yummy food, and im in awe of the craft and skill of the staff.
    I would love to one day (when I'm no longer a poor student) do a cruise around the islands, enjoying the sun and relaxing, cant forget shopping as well.
    I'm super jealous, but no doubt you worked hard for that holiday.
    Kylee Amos

  22. I am loving this blog series. Makes me want to go on a cruise...just for the food!!!

  23. Wow.. the cookie cakes are nice. Seems to be getting watering in mouth. I cann't wait more time without having these cookies. Thanks for sharing great information with us.

  24. I love reading your blog. I've never been on a cruise but have a few friends that have and they just loved it, but I didn't hear as much detail about it as I've read in your blog, I love my food and love to read about food so descriptions and photos are great :) A cruise would honestly have to be one of my dream holidays, even despite the tragic Italian cruise on the news headlines. I think I'd prefer a Pacific cruise not too far from home as opposed to the other side of the world. Look forward to your next installment!
    Debbie Barker

  25. The Ice Sculpture looked amazing and 'No Caleries' in that one.... The cookbook is about as close as I will get to a cruise at the moment.... 'Have to proove my sea legs first:)'

  26. i would love to go on a cruise ship for our 4th year anniversary unfortunately, with kids and work we havent had any time to ourselves ..... i dont mind where the ship would take us as long as it doesnt include kids, work and daily life expectations .... i would go anywhere in teh world or just off the tip coast of auckland for a few days just to be with my husband :) you can contact me sandra

  27. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey .... sounds like you had an amazing time! My (now) husband and I went on an Alaskan cruise in 1999. One night one our way to a show he wanted to walk around the front deck of the ship, I wasn't keen as it was cold and I wanted to get good seats at the show. I begrudgingly gave in and went outside, I became aware that he wasn't walking beside me and turned to find him on bended knee and he proposed!! An amazing holiday was made even more so and I have no idea whether we made it to the show or not!!

  28. Wow your cruise sounds amazing. I did head on a P & O cruise a long time ago around Norway and Iceland. Was an amazing experience and remeber like you mention, food at all times of the day! Can't believe only $1 for a macaroon. You sound like you had a wonderful time!

  29. Looks amazing, thank you for sharing :)

  30. Hey....I was on the same cruise Sandra, but did not "bump" into you!!! Oh, my! What an amazing trip we had. This was our 2nd cruise, same route, same ship previous year. We love the crew too much!!! I have to say.... you took such amazing photos! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Hi Sandra, we have just completed a cruise on the Pearl and loved your Blog.Love the pictures and comments. We also did the Chef's Table which is a 7 course Degustation Menu with matching Wines,WOW it is fantastic and if others read this it is a must do. We also did Salt Grill that Licorice Parfait is worth flying to Sydney for.This was our 6th and 7th cruises and we have not finished.
    For the people thinking about Inside passage in Alaska we did it in Sept 2010 and it was everything and more than what you read.
    Happy Cruising


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