A Memorable Bonding Experience – Our Cruise Adventure

I’m “Mum” to four daughters and there’s quite a big age gap between my eldest 22-year-old and my youngest 9-year-old – my baby! So juggling this busy family and my own business has always been hard to do.

Early on, I decided to ensure quality time with all my girls. It’s one of the things my older children have always appreciated, having that one-on-one time with Mum. It’s our special time to talk, laugh, cry, laugh again, share secrets, bond, and focus on our relationship together.

My birthday was coming up and my youngest, Starling, was well overdue for our special one-on-one time, so I found what could be a special treat for the both of us – a cruise!

The cruise

I did my research as I needed something that would suit both of us. It needed to have plenty of kid-friendly activities, as well as an opportunity for me to relax and do “me things” – something mums very rarely get to do!

We decided on a P&O Explorer cruise to Fiji. It had a Tween Kids Club so Starling could make cruise friends and do some fun activities together. It also had a health spa and cocktail bar for me to fulfil my birthday wishlist.

I was a little apprehensive about just the two of us going on an overseas holiday because I hadn’t done it before – but boy did I make the right choice! Embarking on the P&O Explorer cruise proved to be an unforgettable experience. From the easy check-in process and awesome crew to breathtaking views and exciting activities, our journey was filled with cherished moments and newfound connections.


The efficiency of the passport control and embarkation process ensured that we were quickly ready to immerse ourselves in the exciting experience that awaited us. We stepped aboard and were greeted warmly by the crew and our bags were swiftly whisked away, leaving us free to embark on our adventure.

P&O Explorer cruise
P&O Explorer cruise

The room

We leapt with excitement as we entered our room to find a delightful surprise – a balcony from where we could take in the sight of the vast ocean and breathtaking views, and also hear the sound of the soothing melody of the sea, lulling us to sleep each night.

Starling excitedly went around the room trying everything out and eagerly unpacked her bags, neatly placing her belongings into the drawers and wardrobe. I wish she was this diligent with putting away her things at home!

The activities

One of the things that assured me that this cruise was right for us was the wide array of activities on board designed to bring families closer together. Starling and I particularly enjoyed the exhilarating experience of “walking the plank.” We stood side by side, encouraging each other to literally walk the plank above the swirling waves – harnessed for safety of course. We also loved re-enacting the famous scene from the movie Titanic, where Jack stood at the bow of the ship, arms wide open, screaming he was the “King of the World!” – although Starling had no idea who Jack and Rose were, so we were inspired to watch the film together to find out! The adrenaline rush and excitement of these activities, as well as watching the movie together, created a cherished forever memory for us.

Walk the plank
King of the world

The food

When travelling with children, most parents will understand the importance of food, but with picky eaters there is nothing worse than not being able to find something on a menu that your child will eat, and then hearing the constant moaning that goes with it!

This is why family travelling on a cruise works. The culinary options we found on board the P&O Explorer were nothing short of extraordinary. With a plethora of restaurants offering diverse cuisines, we were spoiled for choice and on every menu there were options that suited us both.

Luke’s Burgers stood out as an absolute delight, tantalizing our tastebuds with their juicy patties and perfectly paired condiments. I ate my way through too many portions of the truffle fries – they are a must-eat!

It was the New Zealand ice-cream bar that won Starling’s heart, becoming our daily treat. We indulged in the ice-creams, milkshakes, and sundaes while basking in the sunshine sparkling over the beautiful open sea.

We really were spoilt for choice with so many different options for eating. The ship offered free restaurants and buffets, each serving delectable dishes. Additionally, for a small fee, we had the opportunity to explore extra restaurants, which left us awe-inspired. Among the many culinary treasures we sampled was Angelo’s, which was my personal favourite. The mushroom risotto stood out. I had all but given up ordering risotto to avoid disappointment but not at Angelo’s – it was one of the best I have ever eaten, and I have travelled through Italy!

Special occasion

My birthday fell during the cruise and the staff spared no effort in making it a truly memorable occasion. Peter, our cabin attendant, decorated our room with balloons and a party sign which made me feel so special. Also making the day memorable was the degustation dinner at Luke’s for my special birthday treat, and boy were we treated to the most sumptuous dinner! Each course was a masterpiece of flavour and presentation. The exquisite attention to detail and the carefully curated menu made this celebration unforgettable. As we clinked our glasses in celebration, surrounded by the warmth of newfound friendships, I felt a profound sense of joy and gratitude. The chocolate birthday cake and Happy Birthday singing by all the staff topped off the best birthday night I could have wished for.

Ice-cream on the cruise
Cruise dining

The excursions

Exploring the destinations along our cruise was an integral part of our journey. P&O Explorer had a huge choice of well-planned and value-packed on-shore excursions that allowed us to delve deeper into the local culture and natural wonders.

Among these, the catamaran cruise and snorkel trip in Denarau were two of our favourites. The breathtaking views and the opportunity for Starling to experience her very first snorkelling adventure left us in awe of the wonder that our world holds beneath the surface of the sea. Her face lit up brightly and glowed, this was definitely one of those special adventures we shared that will be remembered forever.

The nightlife

In the evenings after dinner, Starling and I had different agendas on what we wanted to do! I enjoyed live music while sipping a different coloured cocktail each evening, while Starling hung out with her new friends and did the planned activities around the ship.

She absolutely revelled in the vibrant atmosphere of the kids club, where she formed lasting friendships. I relaxed, and vibed, at The Blue Room, sipping on expertly crafted cocktails accompanied by the fantastic live music. I revelled in singing along to tunes without embarrassing my child – so easy to do these days!

The Explorer really is committed to providing fun experiences for guests of all ages which ensured that both Starling and I found spaces to engage in and enjoy.

P&O Explorer cruise
Cruise cocktail

Homeward bound

The seamless embarkation process and friendly, helpful staff. The stunning views and awesome adventures. The delightful culinary experiences and the exhilarating excursions. The joyous camaraderie we discovered along the way. Every aspect of our voyage was crafted to create joy and connection.

Hand on heart I have to say this was one of the best trips I’ve experienced with my daughter. The P&O Explorer cruise provided the perfect location for our bond to blossom.

As we disembarked, I was already seeking out our next cruise, knowing that the memories we made would hold a special place in our hearts!

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