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Cruise Ship Food and Dining

Captain Hongo

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I'm on Holland America next March/April. From what I've heard, their food is a step up from Royal Caribbean, and Princess about par with Celebrity and bit lower than Cunard. What ship are you going on?



Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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We did a 60-day cruise a couple of years ago.  I would have to say that I probably ate better (and healthier) during four years in the navy.

      For most, cruise means "treat" and treat means all the lobster you can gouge yourself on.  Believe me, even lobster gets old after while.  They even used to feed it to prisoners. Also, consider the median targeted  age for the cruise  market is probably 65 and you on track for an otherize  bland diet.

Actually, the "median targeted age" depends entirely upon the cruise line and the itinerary. While that may be true for the Queen's Grill on the QE2, warmer, shorter cruises most definitely don't have a median age of 65. In fact, 7-night Caribbean and Mexican Riviera itineraries are more like a floating spring break with lots of young people, singles, couples, honeymooners, family reunions and the like. The bars and discos are hopping at night, and the children's programs are lively and well-attended, featuring kid-friendly activities and games. One favorite is a "treasure hunt" where the pint-sized pirates in costumes all trek down a sandy beach to search for [pre-]buried treasure. There are theme and affinity cruises for everything imaginable, from lecture series to R&B to blues to poker to architecture to symphony to bridge to golf cruises where the passengers play a different course every day. You can even find churches where the entire congregation gets born again every morning at sunrise out on the promenade deck. And formal nights have far fewer aging big-bosomed dowagers in pearls, sequins and beads than they do 20-somethings wearing what were obviously their prom dresses just a few short years back.

I feel certain that if you queried the lower- to mid-priced cruise lines like Carnival, they definitely would tell you that they're not marketing the Good Ship Geriatrica.

As for healthy, all cruise lines with which I am familiar offer a "spa cuisine" featuring low-calorie dishes, and if you have any other dietary requests, such as kosher or low-salt, you have only to ask. If you don't like heavy sauces, then you can follow my suggestion above and order meals where the main ingredient itself is the star, and not the method of preparation. For me, there's nothing quite like having a waiter stand there and remove lumps of sweet snowy-white crabmeat from a pile of shells. And then ask if I want more. The prime rib is usually outstanding, and hard to find, since, in my experience, most restaurants these days slice the prime rib and then cook it like a steak, rather than roasting the whole thing and then slicing it. It's a far inferior method as far as I'm concerned and I don't order prime rib in restaurants anywhere nearly so often these days. It's something I really look forward to on a cruise ship.

You don't have to gorge yourself on crap food and gain weight. I actually find dieting easier onboard ship. For example, I can have just a little Stilton when I know there's more where that came from, and I don't need to down the entire wedge because it might be a while before I get it again. I can have just a few bites tonight and tomorow, if I wish, order more.

When people talk about cruise ship food being bad, or bland, etc., they might be right (not always, but perhaps for the most part) when it comes to the prepared dishes. It's hard to please everyone, so they probably do err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to highly-flavored cuisines. Mexican Night was more like Mexican TV Dinner night. As were Asian Night, Indian Night, etc. But you have to try hard to mess up plain grilled scallops or shrimp, or broiled salmon or lobster tail, or prime rib, or smoked salmon which I devoured pounds of every morning at breakfast, or caviar, or crab legs. And when you're sailing with an unlimited supply of the world's best cheeses, wonderful baked breads and pastries, and fresh fruits galore, why on earth would you want a mediocre enchilada or curry anyway?

The last cruise I was on, I lost 15 pounds. You walk a lot, even just around on the ship. And I sign up for all of the walking tours on land. I know, of course, it's trendy to sneer at cruise ships, their passengers and their food. But the truth is, in my view, a completely different picture.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I agree with Jaymes about the approach to eating well on a cruise ship. We are regular RCCL cruisers and I have found that as long as I stick to the simply prepared foods, then they have excellent flavour and presentation. Even in the buffets I stick to foods that have few ingredients like the fresh wraps and sandwiches, salads, etc. I stay away from the sauces on most dishes as i find them too heavy and salty for the most part. The omlette station is nice in the morning as they will make your omelette to order. The supply of fresh fruit is wonderful, and there is usually a nice variety.

We have a rule that we never take an elevator while on a crsuie ship and walking the flights of stairs to and from the cabin will take care of the excess calories.

Dawn aka shrek

Let the eating begin!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have not done "big" cruises, but we like the river boats (Russia, Christmas on the Danube). We mostly travel with Grand Circle/OAT. Please check out my blog on food on the Adriatic cruise last June. Only 50 passengers, one chef with two assistants and one utility person. Well done we thought. Chef was German and he was always around to answer questions about ingredients and deal with allergy issues. Hope it counts as "cruise food".


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