P & O Cruises offers a 3 day comedy cruise that will tickle your funny bone and tantalise your taste-buds.
We arrive at the terminal and have priority boarding as two of us are staying in a mini suite. This means the other two members of our party (staying in a balcony room) can also board with us. Check-in is smooth and we breeze through the terminal and onto the ship. Our first stop is Angelo's to book our restaurants for the next 3 nights. It is recommended to do this straight away as being a short cruise restaurants book out quickly.
There are several included free restaurants on board Pacific Explorer. The Waterfront is the main free dining room and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rather than fight everyone in The Pantry (which is a food court style buffet with service) we decide to go to The Waterfront. It is about 2.30pm by then and The Waterfront is basically empty so we got great service and fantastic food.
During our 3 day cruise we also try two other included restaurants, Angelo's and The Dragon Lady. Angelo's offers traditional Italian food with a modern twist. The food is plentiful and delicious and be sure to ask for the cracked pepper!
We also eat at The Dragon Lady restaurant offering flavours of Asia with inspiration from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian and Korean fare. A member of our party was also having a birthday and they included a small birthday cake (complimentary, which we order when we book). We opted for the set buffet menu for 2 people which included a seasonal pear, orange and ginger shooter, prawn & snapper balls, coriander & tummeric beef Satay skewers, szechuan blackened salmon, ramen fried chicken and pork belly with watermelon. Two desserts are also included. We found this offering to be the best on the ship. Great, fresh flavours and just the right amount of food for all of us. We also ordered an extra Ramen soup off the main menu which had amazing flavours so you don't need to just stick to what is on the set menu. Order extras!
As usual P & O offered a huge range of activities to keep us entertained on our cruise to nowhere. Trivia, Bingo, poolside competitions, lawn bowls, shuffle board, movies and, of course, comedy (more on that later). The 3 night cruise also features two dress up parties in the atrium including the White Party and Gatsby night which are loads of fun for everyone.
For the kids (and some of the adults), The Edge offers a range of activities. The younger member of our party (Mr 13) made good use of the water-slides (free) of which there are two. One even offers a slide in the dark with disco lights. We also purchased an Edge Pass so Mr 13 tested out the flying fox, rock climbing wall and the slackline (a tightrope balancing activity). Also available that we didn't try was the mechanical bull and walk the plank.
Comedy shows run multiple times during the day with some shows being PG and the later night shows being 18+. The quality of comedians on board was high featuring Peter Rowsthorn, Kel Balnaves, Justine Smith, Ashley Fils-Amie and Hung Le. Make sure you arrive early as Black Circus where the shows are held, fills up very fast.
A highlight for us was the Gong Show in which fellow cruisers try their hand at comedy, with the comedians judging their performances. The crowd was huge and very supportive and the talent was great. Loads of laughs. Another good daytime show was a Q & A with all of the comedians which generated lots of laughs.
While the public areas of the ship have been refurbished in 2017, the rooms could still do with a spruce up. They still offer a comfortable stay, while being on the smaller side. The mini suite offers many great features including a separate lounge room, with curtain divider to the bedroom, two televisions, separate toilet and spa bath with separate shower. There are also another couple of nice perks including champagne on arrival and canapes on day two.
Your room attendant will leave you bag tags and a time for departure. You can do this by leaving your bags outside your room the night before (remember to keep some clothes/medication etc in your carry on bag).
However, we find the best thing to do (if you are able to manage your own bags) is to self disembark. You keep everything with you and then just walk off the ship when you are ready with your bags. Both Circular Quay and White Bay have escalators and lifts so managing your bags is quite easy. We even took our suitcases down to The Waterfront, left them at the door, had a nice relaxing breakfast (it was very quiet) and then walked off the ship at around 9am.
Overall, whilst a short break, the 3 day Comedy cruise is a delightful few days away for couples, groups and even families.