One of the many appeals of cruising is the high quality cuisine and vast array of dining options. Each cruise line takes pride in the culinary fare they offer and work hard to create the ultimate experience for every guest. Aboard most ships, guests will find a variety of dining choices available. This guide will help to inform you of the best dining styles with consideration to your own personal preferences. Details including attire guidelines and reservations will also be covered.
Buffet dining is a popular casual dining option where guests are free to serve themselves from the selection of freshly prepared food. Reservations are generally not required but are recommended when possible, to reduce potential wait times. Depending on the cruise line, buffet dining may be available 24 hours a day on your ship.
Main Dining Rooms
Main Dining Rooms provide a daily dining experience at set times and with the same table mates as well as wait staff. At the time of booking your cruise, you will be able to request your dining preferences including table size and dining time for the Main Dining Rooms. Table sizes range from small (2-4 guests), medium (6-8 guests), and large (8-10 guests). Cruise lines do their best to seat you with similar travelers, in terms of families with families and singles with singles. Your dining preferences are reviewed by the cruise line once your voyage has been booked, the earlier you book, the better chances you will receive your dining preferences.
Dining times include "early dining", "late dining", and "anytime dining". Early dining is available at 6:00pm while late dining typically begins at 8:00pm. Anytime dining is available between 5:30pm and 10:00pm aboard most ships and allows for flexibility of dining preferences including time and fellow diners throughout your vacation.
All options include unique and carefully designed menus that change daily. Based on your preferences, you will be introduced to your tablemates and servers on the first evening. These new companions will join you every evening when dining in the Main Dining Room for early and late dining times. Communal dining is a great experience that often leads to lifelong friendships and experiencing a truly memorable cruise.
For those looking to enjoy an exceptional dining experience or celebrate a special occasion, Premium Restaurants feature a high end product and often host celebrity chefs. Depending on which Premium Restaurant is selected, formal attire may be recommended and should be inquired about when reserving. Please note an extra fee is often applicable for the use of these restaurants. The experience, level of service, and quality of these restaurants are usually well worth the nominal fee required. Dining in these establishments is truly an extraordinary experience.
There are typically multiple bars with unique themes available aboard each ship. Ranging from relaxed and casual bars to nightclubs and cigar lounges, there is something for every type of cruiser. Many bars offer tapas and shorter food menus as well as extensive drink menus to choose from.
Another dining option is to order meals directly to your stateroom. Room service dining ranges depending on the cruise line and may offer casual or formal dining, or even both! A popular option for in-room dining is reserving a private balcony dinner for an evening on your cruise. Usually this service is available at an additional cost and allows you to enjoy your meal in your stateroom with your own private waiter. Inquire with your Cruise Consultant to learn more about this offering on your next cruise and be sure to book early to ensure your own unique dining experience.