Updated: Mar 8
As promised I have come up with a second episode for our top 5 reasons to go on a cruise holiday! This time we will talk about food, and what you can find onboard - this is a guide to your culinary cruise experience. If you’ve been on a cruise already, you know what I am talking about, the food itself is a journey and a half! All cruise liners try to offer the best culinary experiences possible, and they do this in many ways.
First and most important it is the buffet restaurant that is accessible to everyone on the cruise, it is free and the diversity is amazing. In the morning there are all sorts available. From every type of cereal you can imagine, to European and International breakfasts, accompanied with plenty of fruits, sandwiches and eggs! If you’re an egg lover there are plenty of options – Benedict, fresh omelettes, boiled and so on. I prefer smoked salmon with soft cheese on a fresh bagel with sesame seeds on top! Yum, fresh, good and full of omega 3, good for your arteries.
For lunch and dinner there is something different and special everyday – usually depending on the Itinerary – you can have an Italian day with all Italian cuisine and specialties starting from cold plates with cold meat cuts (prosciutto, salami, pancetta, dry meats etc.) cheese plates, pizza and finishing with lasagna and steak. Depending on where you are there are a bunch of different cultures you can experience through their food: Spanish, Danish, Russian, Greek and so on.
At dinner you have plenty options. All kinds of food, very diverse and fresh. I highly recommend the pizza stations with fresh pizza made right in front of you; you can even chose also your own toppings for your pizza. The pasta station is one of my favourites, you just chose your ingredients, give them over to the chef and they made pasta in front of you. If you’re a garlic lover like me, just ask to the chef to add in your pasta and you will see a long queue behind you with people intrigued by the smell of garlic. If you prefer steaks or meat in general they have a grill station with beef steaks, pork, chicken and fish. Again, there are plenty of options and the smell of the grill alone is enough to get people hungry!
There are also plenty of options for vegetarian and vegan - well signed and posted but if you can’t find them, ask any of the crew. If you have any allergies let the chefs know and they will guide you or prepare special food for you. Lactose or gluten free options are also readily available. However, don’t assume that the staff know your dietary restrictions and be careful. Depending on the gravity you can have a mild allergic reaction or something more severe. Remember you’re on holiday, you don’t need a trip down to the medical facility!
Another amazing option is the Specialty Restaurants, where the real fine dining begins. Depending on the ship and cruise line you will be able to enjoy a large variety of restaurants made especially to cater to your needs. You will find everything you need on more medium or big sized ships (you will find more than 10 specialty restaurants but for sure you need to try the French, Italian, Grill and Sushi). All of them are very beautiful decorated with great delicious food – you will appreciate the atmosphere, venue and the incredibly diverse selection of delicious food presented. You will feel like a judge on your own culinary TV show! Also, the wine selection is huge and if don’t know what to choose then ask the sommelier for some advice - they’re there to help! Their job is to make sure your chosen drink goes well with the food that you are ordering and to give you the best advice on what to buy. On some cruise liners you will find big restaurant franchises like Jamie Oliver, Petit Chef or Pierre White. A few of them even serve molecular cuisine - it’s an experience of a lifetime and definitely worth every penny. Some advice for the specialty restaurants is that there is usually a charging fee and if you wish to go almost every day and to have the full experience, it would be best to look out for dinner packages. It will be cheaper in total and with the excess money you can enjoy good wine with your food.
I personally prefer the chef’s table. It is a dinner with only a few other people, where the chef is cooking specifically for you! There are 5 special dishes, very carefully cooked, balanced and presented beautifully. It is indeed the ultimate experience and you should expect high class in service and food quality, the same as in any other 5 star restaurant. As a bonus the 5 dishes will come with 5 different types of wine recommended by your designated sommelier. However, it is not only the wine and the food, it is also the story behind them. When you know how everything is made and what flavours and texture to look for it is more enjoyable - and only then can you really wine and dine. After this dinner your knowledge about food and drink will be richer and you will understand everything better. After this experience you will eat for pleasure, not for survival. I think everyone needs to try this at some point in their holiday.
If you are travelling with children or you just like to snack, you have the option of fast food, usually all day near pools and open bars. A few cruise liners have also the healthy, vegan option with fresh fruit and vegetable juices or protein shakes; you will find this near the spa usually. And yes, there is ice cream available all day, everyday in plenty flavours!
In case you want to have a lazy day you will have 24 hour room service available. You can get classic dishes, with everyday soup, salads, fast food like burgers, hotdogs, pizza, chicken tenders and so on. Do not miss the desert though, it’s always delicious. On board of the ships they make desert all day and in large enough quantities so it is fresh and good all the time. But try to enjoy the rest of the food available on board before you think about room service, or you’ll regret not trying everything!
On a few of the ships they have special programs for passionate customers. Check your daily program and if you find a culinary class, take it. It’s a great experience. There are classes available for cooking specialties such as paella, risotto, sushi etc. anything you want really.
Before going on the ship please remember:
Do not rush with the food. Diversity is huge, try different food all the time and explore all the venues and food menus. Look around and if you see something you would like to try just ask a waiter of chef - they’re happy to help.You will be inspired every day by other people plates and this only because of diversity. There isn’t enough time to taste and try everything. If you wish to have a full culinary experience look on the first day of cruise or when booking, for special offers and dinner packages. If possible try to book in advance to avoid any disappointment. Usually the charge fee is directly proportional with the quality of food and service.If you get hungry just ask – food is available 24 hours a day and if you get lost or have any problems in choosing call reception or guest service, they will guide you for sure. (I’ve found that you can never go hungry on a cruise!)After meals do not forget the deserts and siesta – the best part of the day. If you feel full or heavy try vegetarian or vegan options or pay a visit to spa/gym center. Also long walking in fresh air is highly advisable.
Hope you liked this article and if you have anything to add, like personal preferences or experiences please leave a comment! If you enjoyed reading this article and want to see more, check out the rest of our site! Don’t forget to visit our photo and video sections for more cool experiences. And don’t forget to share and comment down below what you want us to write about next!
Stay tuned for the third episode!