Food Diary: Norwegian Cruise
When people think about cruising, they think about food. I’ve talked to people who swear they gained 10 pounds on a cruise. And with all the free food and alcohol, I can believe it. Now we didn’t weigh ourselves before our cruise to the Mediterranean, but we did have a lot of great meals.
Norwegian Cruise Line is unique in their free dining set up, meaning you aren’t assigned a time to eat during your cruise. Now if you want to visit one of the specialty dining spots, then for sure you need a reservation. But all in all, it’s a free for all when it comes to dining, and it’s really nice when you have late port visits.
This blog post is broken up into what we ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I apologize if you get hungry just checking out the photos!
Breakfast on Norwegian Cruise
I always struggle with forcing myself to eat breakfast whenever we’re at home. Probably because I’m too lazy to get up and cook myself breakfast, and I haven’t eaten cereal in almost 10 years. Lucky for me, big breakfasts were offered every day on the boat.
In the Main Dining Room, Versailles, there was a sit down breakfast, with the same menu every day. I stuck with Eggs Benedict, while Dylan normally just got the breakfast special of eggs, bacon, and toast. Of course the restaurant was good, but it would always take about a good 30 minutes to go down, sit, order food, get it, eat, finish up, and head out.
It wasn’t until our third day on the cruise that we realized the main buffet, called Garden Café, had everything that the fancy restaurant had. Only buffet style. From that moment on we never had breakfast at the main dining room again.
We have never done it, but I did see others grabbing snacks at the buffet and putting them in Ziploc‘s to take on their excursions. Definitely a smart idea if you’re trying to save money while exploring different ports.
Truly though, most days we didn’t even get hungry while exploring ports during the day, because our breakfast would be so big. And you’re always on the boat by 5 or 6 PM, so if you can hold out, it’s definitely a money saver.
Here’s my same breakfast, from everyday on the boat:
Lunch on Norwegian Cruise
For the three days we were on board for lunch, we just had at the buffet! I always love how buffets have cuisines from different areas, I always head of that Asian section and Dylan is all about the tacos or sandwiches.
The outdoor grill at the pool, Topsiders Bar and Grill, had a lot of different options such as hotdogs and burgers, but since the buffet was just a few feet away, we never ate there.
Dinner on Norwegian Cruise
There are two types of dinner options on a Norweigian cruise. The first is free dining at their restaurants, and the second is a paid option at any of the specialty restaurants.
Free Dining Restaurants
The free restaurants were all just fine. The two main dining rooms are Versailles and Aqua, and they have the same menu changing daily. Aqua was definitely our favorite of the two dining rooms, and we found that we got seated more quickly.
When it comes to the two main dining rooms, because there is not an assigned time to eat, you do risk being seated with strangers every night if the 2-seater or 4–seater tables are taken. Because we made friends with this amazing couple – Lexa and Jake – most of the time we ate with them so we would get a table for just the four of us.
The ship also has an Asian fusion place called Ginza Asian Restaurant that is complimentary. We went one night with Lexa and Jake. It was pretty good, sort of basic Chinese food. But they had fun specialty drinks!
Lastly, there was a bar and grill style pub called O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill that was also free. We went there for late night stops a few times… it was definitely my spot when I was drinking late night on the ship. I think one of our visits was at 1 am.
Here are some appetizer shots:
And our dinner meals:
And of course, Dylan's favorite, dessert:
Like all cruises, there were specialty restaurants that had items that you had to pay for. Because we had the 3-Meal Specialty Dining Package, we got to visit three specialty-dining restaurants for no additional cost. We visited Cagney’s Steakhouse, tried Brazilian BBQ at Moderno Churrascaria, and had Teppanyaki.
On their own, these probably would have been a bit too expensive for us. But because it was part of our booking schedule, we loved having a bit of a date night.
We just chose those three restaurants, but total, there were seven specialty restaurants on the Norwegian Star, our ship. And to be honest, I think because they have so many nicer restaurants to choose from, they purposefully limit the find dining menu at the free eating spots. For example, on our last cruise that had more limited paid options we had filet mignon and sirloin steak almost every night. On this cruise, that was never on the menu at the free dining spots.
Overall, our dining on this cruise was great. We had wonderful meals, and never had any complaints. Still unsure about how much weight I gained, but I’m not worried about it!