For many people, dining is one of the great pleasures of a cruise holiday (or any holiday for that matter), with the chance to try exotic new dishes and the complete lack of guilt for indulging thanks to the ‘we’re on our holidays’ spirit. The major cruise lines have spent millions making their on-board dining experiences as delicious and delightful as possible, serving up menus which would rival the very best on-land eateries.
So, I was delighted to be asked by Cruise1st Australia to contribute to their round-up of great cruise dining hacks to save time, effort and money. Here are just a few of the great tips and tricks shared by savvy cruisers to help you make the most of the on-board buffets, speciality restaurants and (for the ultimate in luxury travel) room service.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Special Requests
First up is a trick which I’ve learned over the years, that you shouldn’t ever feel scared about asking the on-board waiting staff for something a little special. It’s easy to build a rapport with your waiters as you’ll see them most days, so this can make it easier to request something off menu or a little daring.
Whether you’ve got a special dietary requirement, or just have an off-menu hankering for something a little unusual, cruise lines are well known for their accommodating nature. The waiting staff and kitchen often go to great lengths to help meet your special requests – and the larger cruise ships are usually packed full of an incredible range of ingredients, making it possible.
Check the On-Board Packages and Take Advantage
The second tip comes from Cruise Miss, aka Danielle Fear, who advocates doing a little pre-cruise arithmetic and checking whether the on-board drink packages could lead to a saving. She highlights the fact that these packages can often save cruisers even more than they’d expect as they cover everything from fruit juices to spirits.
Plus, having an unlimited drinks package means you don’t have to worry about carrying cash with you – ideal for a relaxing break away.
Peruse the First Night Offers
The first night of a cruise is traditionally a time for guests to get a lay of the land, and often that means heading over to the main dining room instead of the speciality restaurants. With this in mind, many cruise lines offer special deals for the pricier dining venues on the first night – and savvy cruisers are quick to snap these up.
So, when booking a cruise be sure to ask if there are any first night deals available, and book yourself in for a cut-price luxury meal. That’s what John Shallo of Cruise Addicts recommends.
Pack Up a Lunch for Shore Excursions
Johanna Castro of Lifestyle Fifty shared this thrifty little tip – pack up plenty of the complimentary fruit, drinks and goodies before leaving the ship for an excursion. This is a great way of saving time and money, keeping you fed and watered whilst you explore new countries. This tip is especially great when cruising through busy tourist-focussed areas where prices for drinks and snacks may be eye-wateringly high.
Plus, the great selection of refreshments found on cruise liners means you can take a different packed lunch and snack bag every day.
Read More Tips for getting the most from cruise dining…
While these are just a few of the many travel hacks the experienced cruises offered, I recommend that you read the entire list for yourself. The next time you’re on a cruise, try one or all of these great dining hacks and let me know if they helped you.
Maybe you’ll have a few of your own to share and if so, leave them in the comments section below. Until then Bon Voyage and Bon Appétit!