There are a few ways to keep track of time on a ship, the position of the sun in the sky, the elevator carpets, and mealtime, with the latter being the most effective. Eating is a really big deal on cruise ships. No matter the meal people are lined up at the Lido waiting for those curtains to roll up. 6am, 11:30 am and 5:30pm begin the magical hours of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s a reason they put the Lido buffet on the highest floor. Taking the stairs makes you feel less guilty for consuming calories you didn’t even know existed even when you are full, but then again there’s always the elevator. Not only is there the buffet but now on ships there are specialty stands. For example on my ship, you can get a juicy burger from the hours of 12pm to 5pm at the Dive In and pizza nearly 24/7 from NY Pizza. Let’s not forget the specialty restaurants on this particular ship, Tamarind, Pinnacle Grill, and Canaletto. Oh and there’s ice cream that’s you don’t even have to let sit on the counter before you scoop.
There is certainly no lack of food on ships, but is it even good? This question is asked quite often by not only my friends but also by guests aboard. Everyone is always curious to know what a chef thinks of food. Now before I get into great depths let me just say I am not one to be easily impressed. My friends can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve declared something good at a restaurant. My most used words when describing food I’m eating out are “it’s ok,” so no offense to this ship but my standards are really high. This is not meant to be a critique but more of an explanation.
The Lido buffet is by far the biggest operation on the ship. Interestingly, I just found out it is called the Lido because it’s on the same level as the pool. It is a giant buffet of anything you can imagine complete with an Asian, pizza, pasta, salad, and sweet station. The menu constantly rotates (although after four months working here it doesn’t seem like it). The kitchen staff works around the clock to ensure this area is full. The food at Lido is sometimes amazing and sometimes not so great but it is nearly always edible. Breakfast is great here but I nearly miss it everyday because of my work schedule. For lunch and dinner I am normally most satisfied when I create my own salad adding in cold bar elements and telling them to go light on the dressing.
Dive In Burgers
This is one of those places you forget exists but is always there when you need it. Sometimes my work schedule has me miss lunch but Dive In is open in the afternoon for when I need a snack; yes a burger can be a snack. The best part of Dive In is the Dive In sauce that I highly recommend you put on everything.
I probably eat pizza about 5 times a week. The individual pizzas are really delicious and have convenient hours with my schedule. At least that’s my excuse for why I eat pizza so much. My favorite is the Central Park, all veggie with artichokes, olives, caramelized onions, but I add in pepperoni.
This is the Italian inspired restaurant on the ship. It is offset from the Lido and although it is its own restaurant I sometimes lovingly refer to it as the Cana-LIDO. Everything is meant to share here. The appetizers are by far my favorite.
This is the fanciest spot on the ship. A you can order a porterhouse steak bigger than your head as well as other steak house classics. You will certainly leave here very full with the wide variety of items to choose from. What is nice about the restaurants on the ship is the price includes appetizer, main course, and dessert.
Tamarind is an Asian fusion restaurant that is responsible for draining my shipboard account. You can get sushi, stir-fries and curries here. It’s great for group dinners and the atmosphere is very posh. Basically everything here is perfect and it’s become my escape from the hustle and bustle of the Lido deck.
So as you can see there are wide varieties of choices and if you are here for a week or two you will never want for anything. It’s the true definition of gluttony and probably the only place you will find it acceptable to eat cheesecake followed by ice cream. Even though I’ve been here much longer than two weeks and the food sometimes becomes monotonous I still find it acceptable to do double desserts or even double dinners. Also because my job gets me a sneak peak into the galley where all of these things are made I see first hand just how much work is put into them and I am grateful. I’m also grateful the gym is on the same deck as all this food.