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Will Cruise For Food – Do You?

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This past week I met, and had a discussion with someone who’s never been on a cruise. When I meet a non-cruiser, and they find out I write about cruising they normally start asking questions. This case was different. This man told me he hasn’t been on a cruise because on cruises they force you to eat too much. I wondered how many others might think of cruises in these terms.

When you wake up in the middle of the night with an URGENT need for Pizza. Is it because you’re pregnant, or you’re a veteran cruiser?

That person at the buffet seemingly overindulging at the buffet, piling two foot stacks of food on their plates, isn’t doing so voluntarily; they are being watched to be certain they obey the rules, and meet the required weight gain minimums.

All of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay should be placed on cruise ships. It’s really not such a bad plan really… if we make our enemies more obese than we are they’ll be less interested in the destruction of western civilization, culture, and society, and more interested in relaxing on a couch watching Dr. Phil.

The conversation did give me pause to give some thought to how commonplace this perception—–that cruising is all about food—and eating lots of it— is amongst those who have, or might someday, consider a cruise vacation.

Is the perception reality, or is it miss-perception?

Well, if you read cruise reviews, either user generated or “professional”, you’ll find fairly significant portions of almost all reviews dedicated to the discussion of food. Some will go so far as to list exactly what they ate for each meal, each day… and I’m betting those don’t include all the snacking they did at the grill, Pizzeria, and room service orders… to make sure they aren’t viewed as total gluttons.

A large percentage will talk about the “cutbacks and decline in food quality” which occurred since previous cruises. That’s generally not a real indicator of how the food actually was, as much as it a statement to prove what an experienced cruiser the writer is, and is used to help validate other opinions and comments they’re making in the review.

When both experienced and inexperienced cruisers read reviews they aren’t really interested in the colors and décor of the cabins, nor the ship’s public areas; they want to know how many times lobster is offered on the menu, and the discerning will want to know if it’s Maine lobster.

You see some complaints about overcrowding in the showrooms, and how you have to arrive there too early to get a good seat…. But are they are really just saying …there isn’t enough time to finish their 5th entrée, and 4th desert in the dining room, and still get to the showroom to get a good seat?

When returning cruisers are asked how their cruise was, their first response is the food was fabulous! The fact that they saw dolphins, or whales playing within feet of their balcony may come up sometime later in the conversation, and they may even forget to mention they were able to visit the most beautiful beach in the world. Yet, they’ll be sure to mention the great waiter who brought three appetizers for them to try without them having to ask.

While I “may” be exaggerating the scenarios ( as I like to do), gastronomic indulgences do indeed seem to carry unusual weight (note the pun) in determining if a cruise was good. And maybe even in choosing the cruise you’re going to go on.

So, perhaps it shouldn’t be so unexpected to encounter those, who like the man I had the conversation with this week, think that cruising is mainly about the food!

When you’re talking to friends and acquaintances about cruising do you talk up the food the most, without even thinking? Do you think that this word of mouth advertising may have more influence than the cruise line’s own advertising on potential cruisers?

Let’s meet at the buffet to discuss it.

– A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from CruiseNOID
Time July 8, 2009 at 9:37 am

I absolutely agree about the quantity of food comsumed. I do end up eating way more that I trypically would if at home or on any other vacation. Now, let me explain the reason why. I LOVE to experiment on what dishes they serve and try to replicate or modify them in any way. I thoroughly enjoy recipe creating and contesting so using the way they have prepared a dish and the way they serve is is a great base for inspiration.

I have made a conscious note and what I have found myself indulging in the most is the extra dessert because my favorite and first preference is baking THEN cooking.

Comment from jaxon
Time July 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Food is not the first thing I talk about with new cruisers, but it does come in to my conversation. I rave about the elegance of the main dining rooms, and the variety of choices and lovely presentations. In the dining room the helpings are really not generous — more a feast for the eyes, and frankly, oft times, it is the eyes and not the palate which are treated. I appreciate, and talk about the little things which make cruising special for me — being awakened by coffee and a croissant at my door, and getting blue cheese at my place setting every night just because I asked for it to be there.

I eat less every cruise, and I still gain weight. I do like sampling different things, and am appalled by those who waste food. I gain because my normal bowl of cereal with fruit for breakfast, and a couple tablespoons of tuna salad for lunch get far exceeded when I don’t have to do the cooking.

Comment from jaxon
Time July 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I should add, the first thing I say is how wonderful it is to unpack once, wake up to a new port and experience nearly every day, and be taken there while having a lovely, elegant dinner, a dance to a live band, and watching a tremendous stage show. It’s not the only way to travel, but it is the best way.

Comment from Bob
Time July 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Why is the food so important on a cruise? Except for a brief time ashore, the only choices for eating are those the ship provides. It is not like a hotel vacation where you must search the local area for all your meals, or even a resort vacation where you might chose to “go native” and leave your resort for dinner one night.

Many lament the demise of the midnight buffets, but maybe that is a good thing. It takes a little more focus off of food.

Comment from Tim Butler
Time July 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I love the food served on cruises! While this is not the first or second most important reason while we cruise it is one of the things we enjoy about a cruise. It is so nice to eat food you rarely see offered in restaurants or made at home. I love to try all the different foods I never ate before.

When discussing a cruise with someone else I always tell them about the 5 star dining that cruise lines offer on their ships. That they can order as much as they want and that food is always available when you are hungry.

Comment from Kuki
Time July 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Bob.. you make a good point.. you can’t eat someplace else… so you hope it’s good.

Tim.. Do you honestly think it’s “5 Star Dining”?

Comment from Tim Butler
Time July 19, 2009 at 7:37 am

To me it is 5 star dining. I drive a truck for a living and after eating in truck stops all the time the cruise food and dining experience sure feels like 5 star to me!

Comment from Texray1
Time July 20, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I could really care less about the food. I could eat frozen pizza every meal and not complain. I cruise to see new places and meet people. And to wage my lifelong battle against motion sickness.

I do enjoy eating in port for lunch every day.

I’m not saying ship food is bad. It’s very good, but just not a priority for me.


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