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Food on a Cruise

  Tips Home >> Travelling Tips >> Food on a Cruise


When people return from a cruise they often talk about the meals, what’s the deal?
The deal is food, food, and more food. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, mid afternoon snack or tea, dinner, midnight buffet and room service, you’ve never had so many eating opportunities. They have to think up names for all the different meal times. You’ll have as many as 10 opportunities a day to eat.
Does the quality of food vary between the Cruise Lines?
Of course, some of the Cruise Lines focus on high cuisine. The more expensive Cruise Lines will generally have the more exotic foods to please all those pampered taste buds. So if you have those taste buds, you’ll want to do a little research to find the best match for you. Sample menus are usually posted on the Cruise Line’s web pages to give you an idea of their offerings. Most Cruise Lines sailing from U.S. ports provide very good quality food, but don’t expect to compare most ships to a five star restaurant. Remember, many ships may have to serve 2000 or more passengers, ten meals a day.
Can the Cruise Line handle my special dietary needs?
If you notify the Cruise Line up front, they can usually make some accommodations for your special needs. Often the menus will already have choices that are low calorie, low sodium or vegetarian. But, you’ll still want to notify the Line up front to see if they can accommodate your requests.
With all the different meals, how will I know when to eat?
Cruise ships generally offer two main seating schedules.
The early seating generally starts with a breakfast around 7:00 a.m. with lunch at noon and dinner at six.
Late seating starts around 8:30 a.m. for breakfast with lunch at 1:15 p.m. and dinner at 8:15 p.m. These times aren’t exactly the same for every ship, but these examples should be close.
Once you pick a mealtime you’ll be expected to follow it for the three main meals of the day.
Some ships are more flexible about breakfast and lunch than dinner.
What if I can’t make it to my scheduled mealtime?
You might let your waiter know so they don’t wait for you. You’ll have lots of other meals that you can catch. You can’t go hungry on a cruise ship. There are lots of other opportunities to find food. Early breakfast on deck, maybe an informal lunch on deck by the pool, tea, midnight buffet and most ships have room service, some for all 24 hours.
Which meal seating should I choose?
It’s up to you and those in your party.
Are you early risers or late sleepers?
When do you usually eat?
What type of cruise activity is your favorite? The early schedule will cut into your sunning on deck time. The late seating cuts into your nightlife.
If you like to linger over a long dinner, the later seating will feel less pressure to clear the table since there won’t be another seating immediately following your dinner.
What are my choices when picking my table preference?
Many ships have 2, 4, 6, 8 and larger person tables in their dining rooms. The Cruise Line will do its best to match you to your preference, but just like the cabins, those who book earliest will have a better chance at getting their request.
How do I know which size table is best for me to request?
If it’s just the two of you, and you want privacy, go for the 2 top. You will have to move quickly, since there is a limited number of two person tables available.
The four tops can be risky for a couple. You’ll only have one other couple at the table, and you might get lucky or get stuck with some duds.
Many cruisers enjoy the chance to get to meet others and go for the larger tables.
A bigger table will also increase the chance that you’ll be able to find others in the mix whom you will enjoy meeting.
How does the Cruise Line figure out the seating arrangements?
They look at what seating time you requested, your preference for smoking or nonsmoking, as well as your table size preference.
How will I know which seating I have been assigned?
They should have your request listed on the cruise information packet that you’ll receive after booking.
Some Cruise Lines will confirm your seating before you arrive.
You’ll usually also find a meal assignment card in your cabin when you arrive. It should have your table’s number on it.
You might want to take the assignment card along to your first meal, so you know where you are going.
What if I don’t like my meal seating assignment time?
Speak with the Maitre d’ immediately. They probably won’t be able to do anything immediately since the time you want may already be full, but they can start to work on solving your problem.
What if I don’t like my table companions?
Speak with the Maitre d’ immediately. They probably won’t be able to do anything immediately since all the tables will already be full, but they can start to work on solving your problem.


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