Considering a cruise with your family? We took our two boys on a P&O Sea Break comedy cruise and LOVED it!

If you’re thinking about it, then here’s a snippet of what’s in store as you cruise into the deep blue and away from the daily grind.

I don’t know about you, but family cruising has long been on my list of ‘must try’ family adventures.

I’m not sure if it’s the romance of setting sail to unknown destinations, the host of daily onboard activities to keep the whole family entertained, the delight of putting the kids into kids’ club and having some (much deserved) adult time or the mere fact that I just don’t need to play ‘mum’ as I do with other holiday types.

So when P&O invited us to test the waters on their Sea Break comedy cruise out of our hometown of Adelaide, we jumped at the chance. And on board!

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Your home away from home, on the water 

Pacific Eden joined the P&O fleet in December 2015. The ship comes with nine guest decks, 16 dining options and houses 1503 passengers. There are 630 rooms in total including a penthouse with a private balcony plus an incredible 10 different bars and lounges. And that’s not even including the dining options!

On the entertainment front there’s plenty of see and do, including a premium cinema, cellar door, Ice Cream parlour, P&O Edge Adventure Park, gym, top deck pool, sports courts, four kids clubs, show lounge, conference centre, Elemis Spa, duty free shopping including Pandora, conference facilities (what a conference!), casino and even a medical centre. It’s basically like a suburb, but on the water.

As it’s a comedy cruise, every night there’s adult-only comedy performances as well as child-friendly ones throughout the day. There’s even comedy classes to try!

Comedy not your thing? There’s heaps of other classes too including cocktail making classes and cooking lessons. Or, you can just relax at the spa, gym, casino or at the child-free Oasis.

Our adventure awaits! All aboard for a P&O family cruise 

Our cruise left the port on a Friday midday. After a super easy check-in we inspected our self-contained quad cabin. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at just how roomy and fitted out it was. Our room came with a separate bathroom with shower, toilet and vanity and loads of cupboard space to store our stuff.

Watch as we walk you through our quad oceanview cabin!

After the mandatory safety briefing, we headed to the pool to let the boys have a swim and indulge in a welcome cocktail (or two).  It was the best feeling ever waving goodbye to dry land (and responsibility) for three days!

Family fun and fancy-free, even for mums

I will be the first to admit that I find it hard to relax on holidays. Even if I’m away from home, I still need to be in charge of everything – the packing, the planning, the tour organising, not to mention sorting the currency, the transfers, the meals. 

You see, I think cruising is the PERFECT holiday solution for families, especially given mum actually has a chance to have a holiday too!  Don’t get me wrong, I do love a holiday anywhere, but I really found cruising actually allows for us mums to take a breather and become one of the guests, not just picking up our lives an moving them to the new temporary home away from home.

Plus, most often your fare includes your meals, activities, shore excursions and best of all, you don’t have to lift a finger! It’s the ultimate mum-cation and I love it! Let’s compare traditional holiday vs cruising:

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Journey to the Dome, the top lounge on the P&O Pacific Eden. Sports bar, night club and a bird’s eye view of the sea ahead. This was one of our favourite hangout points on the ship!

Traditional Holiday VS Cruising Holiday (Cost / Effort / Mum Responsibility):

  • Choose your destination
  • Find appropriate airfares and sort through the plethora of accommodation and location options ($$$) Cruising just need to decide on cabin type
  • Research the destination and work out what tours and activities are of interest
  • Organise travel to airport  ($$$) Cruises depart from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide so can often avoid air travel
  • Collate passports and oversee checkin (passports required for overseas destinations only)
  • Fly to destination if applicable
  • Collect bags and sort transport to hotel  ($$$) if applicable
  • Check-in at hotel (check in on ship and bags delivered to cabin)
  • Unpack bags (unpack only once on a cruise ship)
  • Start exploring new destination (start exploring your ship)
  • Book tours  ($$$) Shore tours are included as part of the cruise itinerary
  • Coordinate transport to get around  ($$$) No transport fees on the cruise – all included
  • Find/book breakfast, lunch, dinner daily ($$$) All meals included in cruise fare (key restaurants additional)
  • Pack bags and move to next destination (nope!)
  • Checkin at next hotel (nope!)
  • Unpack bags (nope!)
  • Start exploring new destination (nope!)
  • Pack backs and head for airport  ($$$)
  • Checkin at airport
  • Fly Home (maybe – we didn’t!)

Cruising is truly the one holiday where I feel like I DON’T HAVE TO ORGANISE EVERYONE!

All I need to do is work out what activity I’m going to do next, where i’m going to eat next and what cocktail I’d like to try next.  After all, we deserve it just as much as the rest of the family, right?! Now that’s my kind of holiday.

The Benefits of Cruising:

  • Safety First – No fear of kids (or yourself) wandering off and getting lost in foreign cities, which means…
    • Peace of mind, safer and easier to navigate. You find your way around quickly enough and
  • Check in once and remain in the same cabin for the entire destination which means…
    • Unpack and pack your bags once only, no moving hotels, additional taxis, transfers, multiple check-ins
  • Food glorious food – Decide daily where to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner (most included in fare), which means…
    • No cooking! Get waited on hand and foot for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Kid’s Club – Gives adults time out from the kids (as much as we love them) which is a win/win for everyone involved!
    • Plus, the babysitting service ensures your kids are in safe hands after hours (extra cost), which means…
    • Late night adventures, adults only time, a flutter at the casino, drink at one of many bars or even watch a show or movie.

Keeping the kids entertained 

Although many people head on a cruise ship to relax, my two active boys don’t really believe in relaxing. But luckily there was plenty to do to keep them entertained, including four fully decked out and supervised kids clubs! It was just perfect for us to enjoy some much-needed adults only time together and the kids loved it too!

pando-pacific-eden-towel-animalThey also loved the massive swimming pool on the top deck, and the retractable roof ensured the top deck was the place to be rain, hail or shine.  The live band by the pool certainly enhances the party-like atmosphere, especially for the Endless Summer Sailaway Party as we departed.

But their favourite activity had to be the P&O Adventure Park. We didn’t have to ask them twice if they wanted to join us ziplining along the ship’s length and walk the plank. Surprisingly Master 6 was all for it and they absolutely loved the thrill!

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Couples’ time without the costs

Of course, the fun doesn’t end when it’s time for the kids to go to relax before bed. The kids clubs are open during the evening and P&O can arrange a babysitter to watch the little ones so parents can indulge in the many evening activities the cruise planned, including their infamous Bianco Party and Gatsby Party and plenty of late night shows in the Marquee Lounge.

Given we were on a Comedy Cruise, there were plenty of shows scheduled throughout the day, and after hours when the content got a little more risqué! I’m a firm believer that laughter is food for the soul so was in heaven with the abundance of humour around us on this cruise!

The Sit Down Comedy Club was hilarious! Definitely best suited for an adults only audience, it was just what I needed to relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life.

We danced to the live band on the mid-ship deck, enjoyed a few cocktails (and of course a little civilised kid-free time with other adults).

Dinner with a side order of funny

Onboard the Pacific Eden, passengers can choose from 16 dining outlets with options to suit all tastes (including the kids). Enjoy  The Pantry, Waterfront Restaurant, Chef’s Table and Salt Grill by Luke Mangan, as well as two of our favourite restaurants Dragon Lady and Angelo’s Italian. There’s even an ice cream parlour, which my kids took no time at all becoming acquainted with!

TIP: Make sure you book your restaurants AS SOON AS YOU GET ON THE SHIP otherwise you may risk not being able to get in. 

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Angelo’s Italian restaurant had the most DELICIOUS food … definitely recommend you stop by there while onboard!

Meals are generally all-inclusive (Chef’s Table and Salt Grill additional cost) and you can have a wine with dinner without worrying about having to drive home.

But the highlight for me had to be dining at the Chef’s Table Dinner for an intimate 7 course degustation dinner with beautiful Australian wines and produce, hand picked by their Executive Chef.

One by one the courses came out, and one by one my plates went back empty. I was in heaven and could really get used to that!! While most meals on the cruise are all-inclusive, the Chef’s Table dinner is an additional cost of $99 per person and must be booked in advance to avoid missing out.

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For just $99 per person, the Chef’s Table 7 course degustation is a must! Bookings essential.

Set your course for cruising and book now!

If you are, like I was, a little unsure on cruising with the kiddies in tow, then I highly recommend a P&O family cruise. Three days was just the right amount of time to test the waters and wet our feet. We will definitely be cruising again in the not-too-distant future, this time though I’ve got my eye on the 13 night Indonesian Explorer from Singapore to Brisbane on the Pacific Dawn this time.

Pacific Eden’s cruises include a 3-night comedy cruise departing Adelaide on February 2, 2019, with super affordable prices starting from $349* per person quad share.

*Subject to availability, conditions apply

To book your own P&O family cruise, head to their website for some seriously amazing deals!

*Figure derived from passenger and crew expenditure, port fees and charges, stores and other costs.
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A cruising holiday is the ultimate family getaway, especially so for mums because we get a proper holiday too!

 

Author

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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