How to Truly Enjoy Your Dining On 3 Major Cruise Lines

Cruise Dining
Photo By: Prayitno (Creative Commons)

When you travel to any vacation spot, one of the most significant memories you have is of the food you had throughout your journey. Did it meet your taste standards? Did it satisfy your dining needs and wants? Was it worth every cent you paid?

The same goes when you go on a cruise, most especially because you’re ‘limited’ to the choices available on your ship. How good (or bad) your dining experience is, can easily make (or break) your cruise vacation!

While the festive spread onboard can be rather intimidating, it shouldn’t stop you from making the most of it.  Here are tips for three major cruise lines that will help you make sure to get your money’s worth in terms of cruise dining:

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL Ship

Photo By: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has gone to great lengths to give their ships a dining edge – and you can see their efforts pay off with both their for-free Main Dining Rooms and their for-fee specialty restaurants. They have two to three Main Dining Rooms, all of which offer an amazing variety of culinary delights.

Here are a few dining notes worth remembering:

NCL offers ‘freestyle dining’ – this means you can have your free meals any time of the day, at your most convenient schedule! Make the most of it by plotting your personal dining time at an hour that others are least likely to flock to the free dining areas.

For example, if you’re an early riser, head to breakfast right away and schedule a small snack a couple of hours later. If you wake up to brunches, then just start your day with something light for starters so you don’t get crowded in with the ‘lunch bunch’. You can have your full meal later on.

NCL has two to three Main Dining Rooms and other free dining restaurants! Some may be more popular than others – consider scheduling the more in demand ones for a couple of days later after embarkation. Opt for the smaller venues instead. Again, this helps you avoid queues, and you get to fully enjoy the food fare offered.

Unless you really have special drink preferences, no need to avail a drinks package. The following drinks are free of charge throughout your cruise: hot tea, hot chocolate, and coffee, as well as water (not bottled), orange juice, unsweetened iced tea, and lemonade among others.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Ships

Photo By: Russell Otway

Cruises on Carnival ships are absolutely memorable, and that’s because of the grand productions and entertainment offerings for all passengers.

But what about the food? Carnival Cruise Lines brings to the table (literally!) some of the best you can enjoy on the ocean! Here are a couple of notes on how you can make the most of it:

The Main Dining Room on a Carnival Cruise Line lets you enjoy more than one appetizer, entree, and dessert for free! Order as many varieties as you want as these are included in your already paid-for cruise fare. If you want to simply ‘check out’ new dishes – ask for appetizer-sized portions.

The Steakhouse may incur you an additional fee, but they do offer the best meats on the ship. If you want to steer clear of the overwhelming lines at the Main Dining Room and buffet areas on embarkation night, try this restaurant. They give a free bottle of wine for those who dine on the first night – perfect partner for your juicy steak!

Put Guy’s Burger Joint and the BlueIguana Cantina on your dining schedule – they’re the best spots to enjoy a free meal on a casual kind of night. If you want to be able to try what the other for-fee restaurants have to offer, make sure to pencil in the Taste Bar on your list too. They give out select appetizer-sized portions of those dishes!

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean

Photo By: nathanmac87 (Creative Commons)

The Royal Caribbean cruise ships promise to give you some of the best travel memories you can have going to your vacay destination – and they enhance the experience with good food!

While the options may not be as wide and varied as the first two cruise lines, there are a number of ways you can maximize the great eats available onboard. Make sure to take note of these tips:

Don’t spend every major meal in the Main Dining Rooms! Avoid crowds and still get to enjoy a delicious, filling meal by visiting one of the cafes onboard – take your pick among places like Park Cafe, Vitality Cafe, or Cafe Promenade. They offer sandwiches, pastries, paninis, and salads – all of which can make for a light but satisfying meal minus the overwhelming queue and without you incurring extra charges.

Need your coffee fix but don’t want the ‘standard’ brews? Go to the Cafe Promenade – the ambiance is relaxing, and they serve illy and Starbucks coffee options.

Cruise Ship Dining

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