Why You Should Skip The Buffet On Your Next Cruise

Travelers looking to experience many destinations on a journey without unpacking at every stop often find cruises extra appealing. Setting sail on a cruise ship is a great way to get where you're going with a collection of convenient perks included. From the onboard activities and casinos to the exciting shows, cruises cater to passengers with interests of all types.

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of any cruise is the vast options available when it comes to dining. According to High Seas Cruising, nearly 30 million passengers cruise globally each year. Each cruise booked comes with multiple options for curbing cravings along the way.

Cruise Fever took a look at Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas which is capable of carrying 6,000 passengers to demonstrate just how much food is available onboard to guests. The ship's dining report showed that across 14 specialty restaurants with 350 different daily dishes, a buffet, and a main dining room, a seven-night cruise carried no less than 2,100 pounds of lobster tails, 5,000 pounds of French fries, 2,500 pounds of salmon, and 9,700 pounds of chicken, to name a mere fraction of the total.

With so many options readily available, it can be hard to know where to start. While the buffet is eye-catching to many for its easy access and never-ending lineup of options, skipping it for the dining room could actually be a better choice. It might just land you with a more fulfilling dining experience overall.

The dining room elevates fresh fare options

Every cruise ship designs buffets differently, but the overarching concept is similar. Onboard buffets provide pre-prepared food options at different stations for passengers to pick up throughout the day. Sometimes servers man stations to help dish out meats and pasta or to cook up an omelet.

Many buffets offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options daily. Passengers can return as many times as they'd like to pick up finger foods, ice cream, or entrees. While the idea of endless nachos may seem inviting initially, the buffet dining scene doesn't come with a guarantee on how long these items sit before you pick them up. It also isn't promised that much will change in selections despite the sheer quantity of food available.

If you're looking for guaranteed fresh fare onboard and more elevated options, skipping the buffet and heading to the dining room is often the right choice. Some passengers hesitate to visit the dining room regularly because they're worried they won't have enough options available on the daily menu. Other passengers don't want to have to dress up to sit down and dine either.

The good news is, you can order as many starters, entrees, and desserts as you want off the dining room menu. There's no limit to how you order, and when you do, you'll find you have freshly cooked selections delivered to your table. Even better, there are no heating lamps required.

Enjoy socializing and customized service

The convenience of the buffet is evident, but it doesn't account for the social interactions you can enjoy when you head to the dining room each day. Tables and dining times are typically assigned in the dining room which means you have the opportunity to get to know your tablemates well throughout your sailing experience. This can lead to lifelong friendships or just make your cruise experience more meaningful in the moment.

Another benefit found in the dining room as opposed to the buffet is the customized service available. The wait staff are generally assigned to specific tables for the duration of the cruise which means they get to know what you like by what you order up. With a little time, they can typically make tailored suggestions as you cruise along.

Building this rapport with your server can be particularly helpful when you're cruising with kids who are picky eaters. For these little ones, the options of a buffet can be overwhelming and stressful. Having a server ready to go who knows what will work and what doesn't is bound to make your dining experience less frustrating all the way around.

When you book your next cruise, consider making the dining room your destination for meals and leaving the buffet for snacks. It's a great way to enjoy quality food onboard with plenty of options available and meet new people too. You'll also enjoy customized service with every passing nautical mile.