Cruise Tip # 19 – Exploring Delectable Alternatives: The Ultimate Guide to Lunch on a Cruise Ship

Embarking on a cruise vacation is an exciting and memorable experience, and it’s not just about the destinations and onboard activities; the dining options also play a significant role in enhancing the journey. While many cruisers might rush to the buffet upon boarding, there are alternative lunch options that offer a more relaxed and satisfying dining experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore some hidden gems and lesser-known spots on a cruise ship where you can enjoy a delicious sit-down meal while everyone else makes a dash for the buffet.

  1. Specialty Restaurants

Most modern cruise ships boast a variety of specialty restaurants that offer unique dining experiences. These venues often serve cuisine from around the world, and the quality of food and service tends to be exceptional. While these restaurants may require an additional fee, the indulgence is well worth it for a special lunch on your first day at sea. Whether you crave authentic Italian, succulent steaks, or fresh seafood, there’s a specialty restaurant to cater to your taste buds.

  1. Poolside Grills and Cafes

Skip the crowded buffet and head to the poolside grills and cafes for a more relaxed ambiance. Many cruise ships feature outdoor eateries that serve up tasty treats like burgers, hot dogs, grilled vegetables, and fresh salads. You can savor your meal while soaking up the sun and enjoying the breathtaking ocean views.

  1. Room Service

If you prefer to enjoy your lunch in the comfort of your cabin or balcony, room service is a fantastic option. Most cruise lines offer complimentary room service for select items during specific hours, making it a convenient choice for a peaceful and private dining experience. Be sure to check the menu and order in advance to beat the rush and ensure you get your desired meal.

  1. Main Dining Room

While everyone else might be flocking to the buffet, the main dining room is often overlooked during lunch hours. The main dining room typically offers a sit-down lunch with a well-crafted menu featuring a variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The service is attentive, and the atmosphere is more refined, making it a perfect option for those seeking a quiet and elegant lunch.

  1. Exploring Portside Eateries

When the ship docks at a port of call, many cruisers venture off the ship to explore the local attractions. Alongside these popular excursions, consider seeking out local eateries near the port. Trying authentic cuisine from the destination you’re visiting can be a delightful and enriching experience. Just be sure to return to the ship before departure time!

  1. Tea Time and Afternoon Delights

Some cruise lines uphold the tradition of afternoon tea or offer delightful treats during certain hours. These elegant affairs usually take place in stylish lounges or designated venues. Indulge in a selection of teas, finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries for a sophisticated lunch experience.


On your next cruise vacation, consider stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the buffet and exploring alternative lunch options. Whether you opt for a specialty restaurant, poolside grill, room service, the main dining room, local portside eateries, or afternoon tea, there’s a diverse array of options to suit every palate and preference.


Dining on a cruise ship is not just about filling your stomach; it’s an opportunity to savor culinary delights while enjoying the journey and creating cherished memories. So, be adventurous, seek out hidden gems, and relish in the joy of an alternative lunch experience on your next cruise vacation. Bon appétit and happy cruising!

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