One of our favorite things about taking a cruise vacation is not worrying about keeping our dining on budget, because it’s included in our cruise fare. Dining on a cruise can be a little confusing for first-time cruisers, so here are some answers to common questions about cruise dining..
Dining on a cruise ship need not be confusing or stress inducing.
Dinner Seating Times -Most mainstream cruise lines have 2 set dinner times. Usually around 6PM and 8PM. In addition, most have flexible dining (Anytime dining, Freestyle dining, etc.) where you can pick your dinner time. Remember that the reason for the set schedule is that the cruise lines gear the evening entertainment around when dinner is scheduled, so if you pick a odd time, you may miss a show or other activity. My family usually schedules dinner for the late seating. We are already used to eating later at home. We also check out table assignment soon after we board the ship and if needed request a change.
Dress Codes and Formal Nights - on many of the mainstream cruise lines, the dress code is much more relaxed than it used to be. Early in my cruising history, I do remember wearing a suit or rental tuxedo on formal nights and other nights dress slacks and a sport coat. Not so much anymore. While there are still plenty of people cruising that dress up for dinner, there are also people like me that for the most part wear dress slacks and a dress shirt (although I have been know for wearing a Hawaiian on occasion) . The choice is directly up to you. Still, shorts, swimwear, tee-shirts, tank tops and such are not allowed.
Here are some additional pointers I think that were missed.
- If you find more than one appetizer or entrée on the menu that you would like to try, order them. Also, some entree's are available as a appetizer, ask your server if it is possible.
- If you have a picky eater, request a children's menu. Although my daughter is older, she still loves Royal Caribbean's chicken strips and fry's.
- A cruise is a great place to try a new food that you do not know if you will like.
- Talk to your waiter and staff. I find it fascinating talking to them and finding out about where they are from and how they started working on a cruise ship.
- My wife I usually try to have breakfast and lunch in the dining room as well, although depending on if we sleep in, breakfast is sometimes not doable. Also sometimes lunch is not available when in a port of call. It is a nice treat to be served your meal.
Remember this, you are on vacation, enjoy and relax.