Posted December 14th, 2015
Often one of the best things about a cruise is all the fantastic food that you get to eat whilst you are on board the ship. However, when it comes to dining, the vast array of different options can sometimes make it difficult to understand what to expect at each one and whether or not these are included in the price.
There are a variety of different ways you can dine on board a cruise ship, so we’ve decided to outline them here to give you a better idea of what each option involves.
Every cruise ship will have at least one main dining area. This will usually be the largest restaurant and is almost always included in the price that you pay before you sail. Most cruise lines will require you to book your time slot in advance, offering you the choice of either an early or a late sitting. It is likely that the menu will be a la carte and will remain the same throughout your cruise, giving you the chance to try all those dishes that make your eyes light up. When there is more than one main dining venue, a rotational system may be in place so that you alternate where you eat each night. This is the case with Royal Caribbean’s Rotational Dining.
These restaurants are those that you will have to pay extra to enjoy. This may be in the form of a standard cover charge or you could be billed for each item individually. A ship will typically have a range of speciality restaurants that focus on different cuisines. Some of the most impressive examples in the cruising world include the adult-only Remy, which serves fantastic French dishes on board the Disney Cruise Line ships; Norwegian Escape’s Moderno Churrascaria, serving the best Brazilian carved meats; and Atul Kochhar’s Sindu, which brings vibrant Asian flavours on board many of the P&O Cruises ships.
These restaurants can also fall under the category of ‘suite dining’ and are sometimes mixed in with the speciality venues, but whether or not you can enjoy them will depend upon which grade of accommodation you have chosen. To reward their suite guests, many cruise lines will give them an extra complimentary eatery which normally offers a sumptuous fine dining experience. Sometimes you can pay a cover charge and eat here without staying in a suite, but this is not always the case. A good example of this type of dining experience is the Queens Grill and Princess Grill on board Queen Mary 2, which are only available to those staying in the corresponding suites.
The majority of ships will have a main buffet restaurant where you can stop by for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Venues such as Royal Caribbean’s Windjammer Market Place and the Oceanview Café, on board various Celebrity Cruises ships, are great for when you aren’t sure what you want or when you need to please a large group of people with different tastes. The range of food stations means you can create your own smorgasbord of flavours all on one plate and then go back for more if you wish. There are also other types of buffet venues that focus on one thing in particular. For example, Sorrento’s pizza buffet is a very popular addition to the Royal Caribbean vessels.
Sometimes the buffet restaurants fall into this category too, but casual dining is more about eating between meals. If you just need a snack to keep you going until dinner, or you want to sit down with a coffee and pastry for a moment, these eateries are perfect. Whether or not you will pay extra for the food here will depend on the operator you are sailing with, but Disney’s Eye Scream and Royal Caribbean’s Boardwalk Dog House are some excellent complimentary options.
The exception to all of the above comes if you choose to sail with operators like Pullmantur Cruises, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas. These lines are all-inclusive, meaning you won’t have to pay a penny more regardless of where you choose to dine.
Now that you are aware of all the dining options and what they mean, you are fully equipped to choose a cruise that is right for you. If you would like some help in the planning process or you need more information, don’t hesitate to call our team today.