Going on a Cruise Part 4 – The Food!
This is the final post on cruising for a while. And it’s a food post! In my first post on cruising I talked about the basics of cruising. In the second post, I showed how to get the best deals when booking a cruise. In the third post, I provided tips on saving money while on board and on your trip to the cruise port.
I’m all out money saving tips, so here’s a picture post of the different types of food you can enjoy on board.
In my first post on cruising, I mentioned you can get “Five star dining every night. Or all you can eat buffets, burgers, pizzas and ice cream.” One poster took exception to the “five star dining” comment, claiming that’s just hyperbole, and that the food is just adequate.
We thought the food was pretty good, but not everyone agrees. The food varies from cruise line to cruise line, ship to ship, restaurant to restaurant, and even night to night. It’s possible we’ve had a string of good luck with the food on the five cruises we have taken so far.
We really enjoy the variety of dishes because we get to experience things we don’t routinely cook at home.
Are we foodies? I hate the connotations that go with the term “foodie” – snobby, elitist, holier-than-thou, overly concerned with authenticity and presentation instead of taste. We just like to find good food, cook in our kitchen, and eat. We also love to try new foods while on vacation like we did in Mexico this past summer. So I’m not sure if we are foodies or not.
Here’s what happens when you sink too far down the foodie rabbit hole and lose your common sense (and taste buds):
“The taste is a lot richer. It’s pure, it’s pure.”
Now it’s time for some good cruise eats! Bon appetit!
A typical meal
I found a copy of the menu from the formal dining room. The menu changes each night. Here’s what you get to choose from for just one night:
- seared tuna
- broccoli salad
- veggie spring rolls
- navy bean soup
- gazpacho andalouse
- tortilla soup with braised chicken
- shrimp cocktail
- flatbread w/ apple, bacon, and parmesan cheese
- a variety of salads
- braised rabbit
- veal parmesan
- seared Tilapia
- rosemary lamb shank
- baked ziti
- chick pea biscuits with roasted squash and peppers
- vegetarian Indian medley with ~5 different veggies, papadum, yogurt sauce, etc
- steak tacos
- salmon fillet
- flat iron steak
- chicken breast
- pork chop
- corn and veggie succotash
- loaded baked potato
- sauteed beans with bacon
- mashed potatoes
- basmati pilaf
- steamed broccoli
- chilled rhubarb almond strawberry soup
- chocolate melting cake (unimpressed with this one!)
- passion fruit flan with a coconut/tapioca/basil syrup
- coconut lime cake
- fresh tropical fruit plate
- cheese plate
- ice cream assortment
- pie a la mode
That’s all free. There was an extra charge on this night for lobster, surf and turf, filet mignon, and NY strip steak (though that stuff was free at other times on the cruise). This was their “American Table” menu focused on traditional American cuisine with some twists thrown in, plus a couple things to recognize the port of call for the day (tortilla soup and steak tacos for Cozumel, Mexico).
That sounds like a foodie-approved menu to me. I know almost all the food we received was well executed in terms of seasoning, texture, temperature, flavor, and presentation (how I usually evaluate a plate). The buffet restaurants of course are much closer to average, and you can definitely find the cafeteria grade eggs for breakfast for example (just skip those and go to the egg/omelet station for a fresh omelet, sunny side up, over easy, scrambled, or however you take your eggs).
It’s hard to save room for desserts when the main courses are so good.
I’ll let the reader decide for themselves whether cruise food might be worth trying based on these pictures. I can’t say with certainty that everyone, including foodies, will be happy with the cruise cuisine, but in our experience the dozen or more restaurants on board offer enough variety to satisfy burger-n-pizza folks, picky tastes, healthy eaters, carnivores, vegetarians, and low carbers.
Check out all the posts in the Going on a Cruise series:
Going on a Cruise Part 1: Overview (this post)
Could you manage a week on a cruise ship with all this food?