Dine and brine

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

cer­tain tastes (tan­nins, soft­ness, silk­i­ness). The ses­sions are fun and in­for­ma­tive, and about 300 pas­sen­gers at­tend each for a mere $8 sup­ple­ment.

Some things don’t work so well. A cheese-tast­ing is set in the atrium with shop­ping in progress on the up­per lev­els; noise is fun­nelled down the shaft and the ser­vice is in­for­mal and chaotic. The Hunter Val­ley Cheese Com­pany’s fine of­fer­ings need to be paid as much re­spect as the wines and given a for­mal, sit-down tast­ing. The food ser­vice gen­er­ally has some prob­lems and wait staff could profit from a rig­or­ous ed­u­ca­tion process on wines, food and higher-end ser­vice, since P& O is en­ter­ing this mar­ket. Ser­vice at the de­gus­ta­tion din­ner, on the other hand, is no­table for its fo­cus and en­thu­si­asm, the staff seem­ing to come alive with their daunt­ing task.

Pa­cific Dawn is in the throes of a tran­si­tion. It is hard to ac­com­mo­date all tastes and ex­pec­ta­tions, but the de­gus­ta­tion din­ner alone is worth the trip for any­one in­ter­ested in a food-fo­cused voy­age. The cruise con­tin­ues to cater for casino and night­club-go­ers, while also in­tro­duc­ing some­thing new in the wine ses­sions and the meals. Good on P& O for go­ing down this road. Aus­tralians are more and more in­ter­ested in in­no­va­tive food and wine and, as far as I can see, pas­sen­gers young and old loved this trip and will be back. Ju­dith Elen was a guest of P& O Cruises.

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