Cruise Travel Specialist

Cruise Ship Dining

Cruise Dining

Any cruise you choose is going to offer elegant dining rooms, a varied menu and good service. And most mainstream cruise lines now also offer extra-cost, reservations-only dining alternatives where 5-star cuisine is the rule.

Choose a "Mainstream" or "Premium" cruise line and you'll have a variety of restaurants and menus to choose from. Main dining room food is tasty, plentiful and equal to what you'd enjoy in a good restaurant back home. The cruise dining atmosphere is very comfortable, often elegant.

It is possible to eat around the clock - and many passengers do. Start with a made to order cooked breakfast then it's mid-morning burgers on deck and a plate piled high from the lunch buffet. Next, a few cocktails by the pool, ice cream, afternoon tea with cakes and then the seven-course dinner. Still hungry? What about the midnight buffet? Norwegian Cruise Line is famous for its chocolate-themed buffets, while Costa Cruises lays on a "buffet safari".

Of course, you can always eat healthy if you have the self-control. You could enjoy a bowl of fruit on deck at sunrise, a fresh salad for lunch and a perfectly grilled sea bass or lobster in the evening.

Choose a "Luxury" or "Ultra-Luxury" cruise line and your menus which are typically crafted by renown master chefs feature highly creative dishes prepared with superior quality ingredients served on elegant porcelain china and accompanied with crystal stemware and fine linens.

Some of the Dining options available onboard cruise ships:

  • Total Flexibility. Norwegian Cruise Line offers Freestyle Dining. There’s a different dining option for almost every night of your cruise. With up to 10 different restaurants, each featuring a diverse an ever-changing menu, you’ll always find exactly what you’re in the mood for. And there are no fixed seatings.
  • Traditional. When making your cruise reservation you choose between two seating times (usually 6pm or 8pm). You dine at an assigned table served by the same wait staff each night.
  • Open-Seating. This arrangement is offered only by luxury and ultra-luxury-level cruise lines.
All cruise lines offer a casual, buffet or bistro-style, open-seating alternative restaurants. Most also offer pizza parlors, ice-cream parlors, pastry parlors, late-night buffets and room service!
“Specialty restaurants” are typically the upscale, reservation-required restaurants which provide a decidedly intimate, and often more sophisticated ambiance than those of the "main" dining rooms or "alternative" restaurants. Most often the cuisine is a regional fare, such as Italian, Southwest, Japanese, or "Steakhouse." Dishes are usually prepared to order and the dining pace is leisurely.

Among mainstream and premium cruise lines, there's usually a moderate, per person fee for these specialty restaurants, typically in the $10 to $30 range. Some offer a la carte menus, as well.

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