Luke Mangans Salt Grill – P & O Cruises Pacific Dawn

May I have your attention please! T bone Steak for two from our favourite fine dining restaurant. As I started with the Chefs Table, let’s continue with the dining on this series of cruising blogs.

Why is this our favourite fall back, fine dining experience? Well has a lot to do with service, atmosphere, food quality, but, I think it also comes down to the fact, a visit here usually means we are indulging in a cruise break.

The service here goes above and beyond, to the point that if you treat yourself more than once on the same cruise, staff will remember you and your favourite drinks. The job of the staff is make you relax, and enjoy an meal which is not just a meal, but an entire experience in itself. Is it worth the cover charge per person? Well yes, we believe it is.

Every meal is going to commence with this delightful bread starter. You then choose, your appetiser, entree, main and desert.

Now I suggest you decide before boarding your cruise, if you have any important nights you wish to celebrate with a fine dining meal, or, any evenings you feel might be best for you to dine out. Make a Salt Grill booking when you board, either by dropping past the restaurant, or calling in your booking from your cabin. Be advised though, many people like to call through bookings upon boarding, we find it much quicker and easier to head to the restaurants direct to make our bookings. When you book, staff will enquire as to allergies of any patrons at your table. Be sure to advise as they are very careful to ensure those with allergies are looked after too.

Through the softly veiled windows, we were treated to superb horizon sunset. Order from the drinks menu, take your drinks in from the bar if you still have them in hand. We had preordered some packages which included a bottle of wine in the weeks prior to the cruise, hence myself arriving with the ice bucket and bottle in hand! No problem doing that either.

Tempura prawns and carpaccio pictured above. It’s really very difficult to describe the dishes as they are all simply superb. Upon ordering you will have been asked to order sides for your table. There’s quite a selection to choose from, don’t be shy! Order to ensure there are sides enough for everyone.We always say if the sides are for one or both of us. We don’t often share sides as we both have different preferences, hence advising the staff so we are not inundated with plates of sides.Dessert is always a nice finish to the your dining experience. If you can fit it in!

Another tip for this restaurant, let them know when booking if you want to take your time to dine. Staff are trying to accomodate many different bookings, you need to be fair to the staff and clear on your intentions.

We have referred a number of cruisers to Salt Grill, every one of them has always enjoyed and remarked on on the outstanding ambiance, food quality and service.

I’m hoping one day to run into Luke Mangan himself on one of the cruises. As a hint I hear he does tend to favour the shorter food & wine cruises. One day we hope to have the opportunity to personally thank Luke. We have probably dined more than a dozen different times now, and still the experience does not wear thin.

Well done to Luke and the staff. You all do a fantastic job!

Salt Grill – by Luke Mangan

Time to write about our favourite fine dining whilst cruising experience. We have enjoyed the pleasurable culinary experience, which is Salt Grill, on a number of occasions, mainly onboard Pacific Dawn, with one dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Surfers Paradise.


We discovered Salt Grill on our first cruise. There is a surcharge for this restaurant as it is not one of the included meal options onboard. For us though, it was well worth the surcharge.

Service here has always been impeccable. Well above the standard we have ever experienced anywhere else. Staff are well trained, attentive, and, if you interact with them, they will respond in kind. Each cruise, we have found by the second or third dinner, drinks appear without ordering, based on what they remember we ordered previously. A small personal touch some might not enjoy, but we do,

Now, upon boarding for a cruise, we unpack before visiting Salt Grill to book in for dinner on the first evening. They always have a half price surcharge on the first evening as well as for the last couple of sea day lunches. Throughout the cruise Salt Grill is dinner only, however the decision to open for lunch on the last couple of sea days, with a half price surcharge, has been a popular one.

The complimentary breads delivered to the table after your arrival, are most enjoyable. By now you are starting to realise the thought put into marketing of the celebrity chef. Olive oil accompaniment is Luke’s own, dishes are marked with Salt Grill, by Luke Mangan, and a list of items to buy, including the olive oil is on the menu. All however, completed somewhat tastefully, without the overpowering of most marketing.

We adore the food presentation in this restaurant, with meals beautifully presented every time. The menu isn’t what I would classify as extensive, however it does cater for most tastes. Meals we have enjoyed, at both restaurants have been of high quality.

After enjoying the onboard experience so much during our first two cruises, withdrawal symptoms sent us searching for Salt Grill in Australia. An email booking through to the Hilton in Surfers Paradise explained we had loved Salt Grill so much onboard, that we were now wanting to find that experience in Australia. A booking was duly confirmed for us to celebrate our anniversary. We were not disappointed. The night we dined, we were given a very quiet area, private area to ourselves. Our waitstaff were fabulous, with a great sense of humour. Food was divine, topped off with a complimentary dessert from the kitchen.

Yes we are definitely devotees of Salt Grill. One or two other restaurants have come close, one in fact equal, however we are still searching for the one to beat our experiences at Luke Mangans restaurants.