P&O Cruises introduces ‘The Pantry’, to replace the traditional cruise buffet

P&O Cruises are introducing a brand new dining experience to replace the traditional buffet.

Banishing trays, queues and the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord, P&O’s new dining concept is named “The Pantry”, and is similar to an up-market food hall where passengers can choose between eight different stations and have their meals individually plated.

There’s a “Kettle & Bun” bar with sandwiches and soups, the “Fat Cow” bar for a traditional roast dinner, “Mexicana” gives you your taco fix, “Curry House” brings you a taste of Indian cuisine as well as an Asian food bar, coffee bar and fish and chips stand. And when you’re ready for dessert, the “Sugar Bar” offers homemade cakes and pastries.

Bye, bye cruise ship buffet

Looking more like a chic hotel lobby than a cruise ship.

“We’ve been working on this part of our on-board 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,” P & O Cruises Senior Vice President Sture Myrmell said.

“The Pantry is a dining experience like no other at sea. Designed as an international food market, it features eight bespoke outlets reflecting the many flavours Australians love to eat.”

The interior has also changed. Round tables and carpet have been replaced with a mix of bench seats and intimate tables, mosaic tiles give it contemporary chic, cutlery is wrapped in beach style napkins in baskets and homely bookcases stocked with vases and plants create a relaxed vibe.

Despite earlier patron concerns, dining at “The Pantry” will still be all inclusive in the ticket price. “The Pantry” is currently available on the Pacific Jewel, and will unveiled on the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden later this year.

For P&O specials visit P&O Specials

Best Cruise Buffet Tips

When it comes to cruising the 24 hour buffet is a great way to have a quick meal instead of having to dress up for the formal dining rooms. Buffet’s offer plenty of choice and is a great option for families or if you are tired after a long day of sightseeing.

When it comes to cruise buffets, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do them. Here are some of the best buffet tips.

buffet

Breakfast
One of the most important things to know about eating at a cruise buffet is what to stay away from. At breakfast, it’s the static, chafing-dish scrambled eggs. It may seem quick and easy to just scoop some up — after all, they’re already prepared, and really, how bad could they be on a fancy cruise, right? Wrong. They’re made hours before they are put out and are still almost raw even when they hit the buffet.
The eggs are scrambled lightly and then left to cook via the heat from the hot station. On the other hand, omelets are one of the things you’ll find made to order at the buffet, so ask the omelet cook to make you a quick scramble instead — he’s already got the eggs. That way you know you’re eating fresh, fully cooked eggs. (Incidentally, eggs Benedict is always done as you order and usually excellent.)
If you’re not an egg person, you can also get fresh pancakes and waffles — again, forget those nasty ones that are somehow simultaneously crusty and soggy from sitting in the serving dish. Butter won’t even melt on them. If you walk over to the cafeteria and nicely ask the cook to give you some pancakes off the griddle, you’ll be much happier with the result.

Lunch
Salads and stir-fry are big at the cruise buffet lunch. Though the stir-fries are made to order, the cooks tend to overuse soy sauce, so ask them to go easy. As for the salads, watch out for the raw onions — the self-serve lettuce always seem to be overloaded with them.
Another lunch option to be careful of is the smoked salmon. (It’s on all salad and breakfast buffets.) If the edges are beginning to curl or are slightly brown, stay away.

Dinner
Important fact: They have the same dinner entrees on the casual deck buffet as they do in the dress-up dining room. Same food, supereasy. If you’re not into the chafing-dish options, you can also have a steak cooked to order. But beware: The quality of the meat used at the buffet is not as good as the meat used for the main dining room.
Other important dinner tips? If you’re a fan of fish, stick to whatever fish they’re cooking to order.
And who doesn’t love an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner? You at the cruise buffet if you order correctly. Though the pasta dish is put together in front of you, the pasta itself is pre-cooked. When you order your noodles, the cook will put them in a strainer and submerge them in hot water to warm them while finishing the sauces. The problem is the straining of the noodles: The cook will lift them out, give them a shake, and throw them in the pan with the sauce — and you will end up with a watery mess.
If you’re willing to speak up and ask for a better strain or for the sauce to be thickened, then pasta is a good option. If you do choose pasta, do it the day after the sit-down dining room serves meat — they take the leftover high-quality meat and throw it into sauces. And ask the cook to add some marinated veggies from the pizza station rather than the raw ones they use, since they never seem to cook properly.

Dessert
Sweets are one of the best parts of the buffet (just make sure the plates holding the desserts are on ice). Puff pastries, petits fours, crème brûlée, and the like all hold up better than cake, which dries out quickly.
So pile on the goodies — don’t forget the whipped cream! — and you can even take your dessert to your cabin if you like.