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Oct 11, 2011 01:12 PM

Does This Exist: A Cruise ANYWHERE with Good Food?

Has anyone out there ever been on a cruise that had good food? Like Chowhound-worthy food. I am guessing this doesn't exist, but if it does, I would love to know about it. And I don't mean cruises that eventually stop in a port where you can get good food, I mean a cruise where there is good food on the boat. Doesn't have to be fancy tasting menus either - just tasty.

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  1. I have been on cruises with excellent food. Try CRYSTAL CRUISES or SEABOURN CRUISES. Both lines have excellent food.

    1. The only cruise I've been on may not fit your criteria for the ship but the food was outstanding in every respect. A Turkish Gulet cruise on the coast of Turkey between Bodrum & Fethiye. The ship is a schooner style about 100 - 125 feet long and takes anywhere from 8 - 16 passengers. Probably the most relaxing, best tasting and overall enjoyable vacations I've ever had.

      The food was fresh prepared by the ship owner's wife every day 4 or 5 times a day depending on the schedule.

      7 Replies
      1. re: vanderb

        That does sound pretty amazing. I actually don't know what I'm looking for as far as the ship -- my ladyfriends said they wanted to "go on a cruise" (which I'm not all that into, but I could be excited about it if the food is good). They're probably thinking pool on board, yadda yadda, but maybe they can be convinced otherwise! Thanks to both of you!

        1. re: _emilie_

          Crystal and Seaborn are more luxury cruise lines and thus you are "paying " for a better level of service and food on board. Many cruise lines have optional dining facilities that are in line with upper tier restaurants for additional costs (above your cruise fare). There's a rolling debate amongst frequent cruisers as to which of the more moderately priced lines has the best chow. All thave their supporters and detractors, but Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean seem to have more supporters. RCL does have more optionally priced venues on their larger ships. But if you don't set your expectations too high and look for more chowhound worthy places to eat in the ports of call, you'll be just fine. For one thing on cruise lines' main dining rooms, if something isn't to your liking you can order something else.

          1. re: crewsweeper

            This is very helpful - thank you! Do you have a favorite?

            1. re: _emilie_

              Have been on Royal Carib, QMII, Celebrity, Holland American and Crystal. Crystal's food was, by far, the best. Really enjoyed my meals in all the venues. Have not been impressed with the others except for their specialty restaurants BUT they nickel and dime you whereas Crystal is all inclusive (including drinks). I hear that Regent is good.
              Go to and read the descriptions and the boards. We are going on HAL Noordam over Christmas (fit our time frame) and they are saying on the boards that the food is good. Of course, you don't know what their criteria is but..... I'm hoping!

              1. re: Linda VH

                Thanks Linda -- Crystal is sounding good. Have a great time on your HAL Noordam cruise. I'd love to read your take on that one when you return.

                1. re: _emilie_

                  Crystal is not all inclusive. They do not include alcoholic beverages or gratuities in their fares. This will change on Crystal Symphony on March 19, 2012 and on Crystal Serenity the change will take place on May 8th.

                  1. re: mamadem

                    Sorry, thought they were asking for 2012. I covered all my alcohol on Crystal with my Onboard Credits (and I really enjoy my drinks). Alcohol in the casino is free.

      2. This is a great question. CHOWHOUND should have a separate set of Boards for the Cruise lines and their ships. After a while - you get a sense of Itineraries and facilities -
        Solid info on good eats for Foodies - not so much.

        Places like Cruise Critic tend to reflect the tastes of the great middle - not Foodies.

        Info from fellow foodies would be helpful in choosing particular ships to choose next year - already locked in for this year and my expectations are low - more a "beach" style, free style -

        but would like a good shot at planning around a well designed and executed FOODIE cruise for 2013.

        10 Replies
        1. re: few

          wow - I bumped this and dead air
          too bad - because I really appreciate all the info on this site
          guess not much experience on cruises here

          1. re: few

            You should try for discussions there. I hear Regent has excellent food. Will see in September.

            1. re: Linda VH

              Thanks Linda
              I have browsed Cruise Critic - but not much sense of "foodie" there - more "lotsoffood" if you get my drift
              I always get a good beeline from CH's when I travel
              I was hoping for some cruise info, but I guess its not a big foodie kind of experience

            2. re: few

              I can't say whether or not the food will actually be good here, but someone out there hears the call for tasty boat travel:


              1. re: _emilie_

                what do you know - and I am looking at NCL Breakaway!

                1. re: few

                  I've never been on a cruise. That was reinforced after a friend went on a cruise and described it as eating as a team sport. There were multiple servings all through the day. It wasn't about quality but quantity. All you can eat of basic run of the mill cuisine no matter how ethnic the choice might be. Had no appeal to me. But if you have ever looked at the old time life cookbook on classic french cooking and read the chapter on dining on the old SS France - that's food. But its the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship.

                  1. re: few

                    I never wanted to go on a cruise because of all the bad things I heard, especially the food. Just got back from the Norweigan Jewel, I was forced/treated by a friend, and was pleasantly surprised at how good most of the all-inclusive offerings were. I especially liked the Indian station and my husband the Chinese, very authentic; we had some of each to start every meal. Breakfast they made omelettes to order, and crepes, but there was lots of healthy food too if that's what you prefer. The food was fine with us (and we are quite opinionated), some of the cakes and pastries a bit sub par but that was just as well. After the first few days, I tried to avoid most of the carbs and somehow managed to lose a couple of pounds despite feasting whenever I felt like it. And that is a miracle for me. The last night we dined in the included Tsar restaurant (ie no charge) and I had the most wonderful lamb shank cassoulet. You won't starve!

                    1. re: coll

                      Second on the pastries - worst part of the food on board ship. A croissant that never got NEAR butter! I was also "forced" to go on my first cruise - ended up loving it. About to head out on my 7th cruise - this time from San Francisco to Buenos Aires. There are definitely odd aspects of cruising, but I've been able to either ignore (or be entertained by) the weird stuff, and I love being on a ship being taken somewhere interesting!

                      1. re: Mistereks

                        I am almost tempted to take a cruise to Europe now: can't believe I'm saying that. There was something to do every minute, and you made new friends despite yourself.

                        1. re: Mistereks

                          When we stopped in Florida, I saw a SYSCO truck immediately pull up, so guessing they get the cheaper premade puff pastry sheets from General Mills/Pillsbury. Bet a lot of the cakes are premade too. Doubt they get actual complaints, with so much else to choose from. Their brownies and cookies were fine for a late night snack.

              2. Regent. Regent. Regent.
                But I hear Seabourn is good, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ScottnZelda

                  Just did my first Regent in September and I have to agree!!! Good food everywhere and while it is more expensive than some of the lines you have to remember that liquor is included. They were pouring quite decent wines and top shelf drinks.

                2. I have only cruised on Princess, but hear good things about Crystal and Seabourn. Problem is, you're paying 4-5x as much for your cruise as you would on Princess or Celebrity or RCL. THOUSANDS of dollars that could be spent on fantastic meals in port or before or after your cruise.

                  That said, I have found that the seafood on Princess has been pretty darn good, perhaps because they have to cook it to order. Princess also does a goat cheese souffle at least once a cruise, and it's delicious and rich. (I live in the Bay Area, and I know good when I taste it!) Mostly, though, the food you get will be very ordinary. Decent, mostly tasty, but nothing special.