How to Enjoy the Buffet on a Cruise Ship

Photo by: Flickr
Photo by: Flickr

A cruise ship is one of the best vacations around. You get on board and leave your worries behind. Everything is taken care of and you don’t have to think, plan, or work. But there are some things you can do to make the trip a little better. Learn some tips from a seasoned cruiser on how to make the most of your cruise vacation. This article will help you enjoy your casual dining experience on your next cruise. If you’ve never been on a cruise before you probably think it’s all food all the time. If you have been on a cruise before, you know it is.

The first place you will want to get to know is the casual dining buffet. This will usually be located toward the back of the ship (aft) on the eleventh or twelfth deck. There will typically be a huge variety of food, so there shouldn’t be a problem satisfying anyone’s taste or appetite. This can be also be a real cattle call and a frustrating experience, but there are plenty of ways to avoid the crowd and enjoy yourself.

One thing to consider is the layout of the buffet and this is something you can investigate before you book your cruise. On most ships, the buffet is the traditional line of foods where you slide the tray along and help your self or get served. There may be two to four of these lines, but it will still be crowded at times. Some of the newer ships have large open areas in the back with smaller clusters of serving areas – each with a different type or nationality of food. This will usually allow enough choice that you can find something you like without waiting in a line. This isn’t enough to decide on a ship, but it is a consideration.

Whether you are on a ship with a traditional buffet or a more optimized layout, there are times when it will be very crowded. For breakfast, go early or late. If you are an early riser, you can have the place virtually to yourself when they open – usually around 7 a.m. If you can’t manage that, show up late. But be aware that certain stations may shut down earlier than others, and some things will be picked over. At lunch, it’s the same as at home. Don’t show up at noon and expect no lines. Find out when they open and get their early, or again go late.

Another way to beat the crowd is to look around. There are frequently other choices located close to the buffet but with different food, and often out of the way enough to avoid some of the lines. Many ships will have a pasta or stir fry bar. Many offer pizza – some have it twenty-four seven. Most ships have a grill where you can get hamburgers and hot dogs. A cold sandwich station is a frequent choice on many ships.