Cruise Ship Food and Dining: What to Expect on Board

Cruise Ship Food: A cruise ship is more like your neighbourhood downtown, offering a variety of cuisines and several dining options. There are ethnic selections, healthy or vegetarian options, and everything from fast-food burgers to high-end molecular gastronomy delicacies available. Meals can be formal or informal, short or long.

It can be very confusing for a novice cruiser to figure out what to wear, where to eat, and when. Learn about cruise ship food and dining before your next voyage, even if you’re not a foodie. We can answer all your questions about cruise ship food, what to expect and what to do.

What kinds of restaurants are available on a cruise ship?

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Numerous dining establishments and restaurants are available on board cruise ships. Though even the smallest ships usually contain multiple restaurants, the larger ships will usually have more selections.

Typically, a cruise ship’s main dining room is a sit-down area with a menu featuring popular American and Continental dishes (sometimes along with some other options). These are huge banquet-style restaurants where you will probably have to share a table with other passengers and where there is a dress code for dinner. Near the pool, most ships also feature a buffet restaurant where guests can help themselves to pre-prepared cuisine and dress more casually.

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Specialty restaurants are smaller establishments on many ships that include more tables for two. A steakhouse, French bistro, Italian trattoria, or Japanese sushi restaurant will be the themes of these ship restaurants. Pizzerias, bakeries, hot dog vendors, and outdoor BBQ grills are examples of more informal dining options. Certain ships feature private dining areas that are only open to guests staying in suites or spa cabins.

Does a cruise ship provide meals, or do I have to pay extra?

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On a cruise ship, breakfast, lunch, and supper are always included in your cruise cost. Not every restaurant, though, will provide free food. Your cruise fare will always include access to the main dining room and the cruise ship buffet; however, some specialty products may incur additional fees. The majority of sit-down or upmarket specialty restaurants include an additional cost, which can be either a fixed cover charge or an a la carte price per item. While some of the more informal extra seats are free, some have a small fee. Usually, prices are indicated at each location.

Does room service exist?

Yes, on the majority of large cruise lines’ ships, food can be delivered to your cabin around the clock. The room service menu usually consists of an all-day menu consisting of sandwiches, salads, pizza, maybe some hot dishes or appetizers, and dessert. Some lines also serve a continental breakfast. While most airlines, including Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, impose a per-order cost for orders placed in the middle of the night, room service is typically free. Pizza delivery is an additional fee for some lines, such as Princess Cruises.

How would I feel about having a midmorning or afternoon snack?

Apart from being accessible for ordering around-the-clock, room service is another feature that many cruise ships offer (or at least during regular waking hours). A shipboard diner, a pizza, or a tiny portion of the buffet may all be all-night establishments. During the day, food is typically served until late in the afternoon at the buffet and some of the casual dining areas. Additionally, onboard coffee shops typically sell baked goods and small snacks.

Is it okay if I carry food into my cabin?

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If you bring food from the buffet or any informal gathering back to your room, no one will stop you. You can always ask your waiter to plate up the remaining food for you to take with you if you have to leave the main dining room or sit-down specialty venue early for any reason.

Can I carry my own food on the ship?

It is permitted for you to bring your own food on board, including snacks and products you purchase in port. While raw meat is prohibited on board, almost everything else is allowed. But, there’s so much food on board that bringing your own food isn’t really necessary unless you’re extremely picky or have dietary restrictions.

Can food be brought on a cruise ship?

Could I bring food from the ship?

In theory, it is forbidden to bring food from a cruise ship onto another vessel, particularly fruits and vegetables. You can take your own pre-packaged snacks off the ship for port day munching, though, if you bring them with you.

Will there be food my kids enjoy on board?

Will there be food my kids enjoy on board

Although your child is welcome to order from the main menu, the main dining room and other sit-down cruise restaurants will have a children’s menu (usually with conventional items like pasta and chicken fingers). For a younger tourist, you can easily ask for a smaller amount of a typical dish. There is sure to be something a child can eat at the buffet because of its wide assortment of food. Pizza, burgers, pasta, sandwich ingredients, and an abundance of cookies and ice cream are frequently available.

On the other hand, baby food is not as common. Food for your new eater may be pureed on some cruise ships, but you may need to request it ahead of time. Some people won’t. Before you set sail, inquire with your cruise line about the possibility of bringing your own jarred baby food. Additionally, you’ll need to pack your own formula. Although you can usually get whole milk, you may want to save cartons from breakfast and keep them in the minifridge in your cabin for later in the day for convenience.

Can my dietary limitations be accommodated on a cruise ship?

Indeed. Most cruise ships serve vegetarian food; there are also vegan, low-carb, low-salt, and gluten-free options. Kosher food needs to be booked in advance for your trip; it is usually prepared on the ship and frozen for use on board. Travel agents or cruise lines’ special needs departments should be notified in advance if you have a strict diet or severe allergies. You can meet with the head chef on your first day to ensure you receive the meals you need.

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