Can you tell I'm new at this? I keep asking questions.
When docked at a port from 7am to 5 pm do you go back to the boat to eat? Are there pre-arrenged places to eat on the island? My concern is with catching a stomach bug or something else while drinking and eating at different ports.
Food of one kind or another is pretty much always available on board. You are free to come back to the ship anytime you want for any reason.
If you choose to patronize restaurants/bars ashore, it's completely up to you. You pay the bill like anyplace else. There are no prearranged "safe" places for you to eat ashore, but I suggest to you that it's generally not something to worry about. I see more in the press these days about people getting sick on ships than at port stops.
So I recommend doing what seems convenient and enjoyable.
We almost always just go back to the ship for a quick lunch, change of clothes, etc. then head out again or stay onboard. There is usually a nice lunch buffet or you can have a regular sit down lunch in the dining room, your option. Once in awhile we get back onboard late, but there was still late afternoon snacks, so finding food onboard has never been a problem.
Its totally up to you. We usually have a really good full breakfast on shore days so that lunch really isn't a concern. If we do get hungry and the ship is near we will go aboard and grab something from the buffet. If we are having a lazy strolling shore day then we will probably stop at a cafe or bistro for a bite to eat. Get recommendations from fellow passengers and the cruise ship as to good places to eat.
We are usually a little bored with "cruise ship food" and look forward to having a bite somewhere ashore. Using restaurant review websites you can often find some pretty good eats that are entirely safe. Besides food is a big part of the culture of all regions.
We are the opposite of Donna; we ALWAYS eat lunch ashore. We cruise for the itinerary and spend as much time ashore as possible. Our upcoming cruise on Serenade of the Seas will be number eight for us so we've developed our own list of favorite restaurants in most of the Caribbean ports. If you'd like some suggestions let me know what your port stops are and I'll tell you about the places we like.
I like to sample the local cuisine of any country I travel to. For me this is the reason to travel in the first place, to see where and how other people live. Let's face it, it doesn't matter what line you cruise on, that food is definitely not local.