Cruising cuisine

I think the thesaurus got it wrong. I am thoroughly convinced that “cruise” is another word for “buffet.” Seriously, you might as well keep a fork in your hand at all time!

That doesn’t mean, however, that there is no room to be healthy. Although I gave myself room for a few splurges, I also took extra time to enjoy the new foods and carefully crafted dishes. Here’s the official review…

Don’t spend extra money on food on the ship.

On our first night aboard the ship, we cruising newbies decided to spend $10 each at the featured Italian restaurant. Although we were impressed, I actually preferred some of the ships other free options.

On the other end of the spectrum, I felt really sorry for the people I saw eating in the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were some great four-course restaurants that were entirely included. Even when late-night munchies hit and the primary restaurants are closed down, there were some fun, pub-style places that were willing to cater to requests.

Enjoy drinks, but keep a budget in mind.

Based on how many buckets of beer (“Buy five, get the sixth free!”) I saw people carrying around the ship, there was a lot of money being spent on alcohol. Add to that the daily drink specials ($8 each) and people were definitely spending big bucks on their drink tickets.

Throughout our four days on the ship, Dan and I set aside a few occasions to splurge on drink orders. For me, this would be a fancy Mojito and for him, a nice, foreign beer. On the other occasions, we would stick to beer and wine with designated cut-off points.

Take time to savor the food.

The days on-board were busy, but not totally jam-packed. Rather than lazing by the pool for an extra two hours, Dan and I made the to get ready and enjoy dinner every night.

As I mentioned, these were four-course meals, so it really gave us the chance to slow down and enjoy.

Try out new foods.

I have to admit that my first night, I developed a bit of a food hangover. There were so many options, I just didn’t know where to start! From there, I developed a plan to try bites of different things, rather than plates.

I think Dan latched onto the same plan… He even tried out escargot!

I also branched out and tried a few dishes that I wouldn’t have otherwise ordered. Because it was “all you can eat,” it was nice to know that there was no real risk: If I didn’t like it, I could just order another option!

Take for instance the pumpkin and butternut squash gnocchi with Portobello mushrooms I ordered… Even though I probably wouldn’t have ordered it from a regular restaurant, I really enjoyed it!

Choose snacks carefully when off the boat.

Because our days off the boat were so busy, it was necessary for Dan and me to spend our own money on a few snacks. With this, we tried to go with options that we wouldn’t normally get at home. For example, after snorkeling one day, I talked Dan into trying gelato for the first time.

However, we managed to pass on a few of the more questionable options…

At the end of the cruise, we left feeling satisfied from all the foods we were able to try — but also not too embarrassed to fit back into our swimsuits for a few more days on the beach.

Question: Do you have any advice for eating on cruises?

Notes:

  • Part I, Part II and Part III of “Honeymoon” series.
  • An additional post will be devoted to staying fit on vacation.
  • Stay tuned for wedding recap posts, which are coming soon!
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