Gourmet Prepared Meals Abound on Cruises

Gourmet Prepared Meals

If you like all kinds of food, then you are going to love the gourmet prepared meals that are served on cruises. No one should cruise purely for the food, but savoring gourmet prepared meals is a large part of the cruising experience.

I have had the privilege of sailing on three different cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises. They, along with seven other distinct cruise lines (AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, and Seabourn Cruise Line), comprise the British-American owned, World's Leading Cruise Lines (Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc). I base my knowledge of their cuisine and their gourmet prepared meals on my sailing experiences on these three outstanding lines.

On these major cruise lines, food is included in your ticket price. The exceptions to this are sodas (soft drinks), alcohol, specialty restaurant(s), and kiosks that sell designer coffees, pastries, ice cream, etc.

Most cruise lines, today, offer optional gourmet prepared meals in what they call their 'specialty restaurant(s).' For approximately $30.00 a person, you can have a full course dinner. These dining venues are more intimate and quiet, and for value, their gourmet prepared meals are better than those served in land based 'fancy' restaurants. Specialty restaurants have become known for their personal, almost one-to-one ratio, level of service. (Before sailing, check to see if your ship has a specialty restaurant(s), as there availability varies ship to ship. If you decide to dine at one, make a reservation as soon as possible.)

Carnival Cruise Line's specialty restaurant is its 'Steakhouse.' In addition to your entrée, you can select an appetizer, salad, side dish, and, of course, dessert.

Princess Cruises offers four specialty restaurants: 'Sabatini's' (Italian), 'Bayou Café & Steakhouse' (Cajun and Creole), 'Crown Grill' (seafood), and 'Sterling Steakhouse' (steaks).

And on Holland America Line, you will find: 'The Pinnacle Grill' (beef and seafood) and 'Tamarind' (Pan-Asian).

Want to combine the ultimate in sensory pleasure-food and romance? Well, if you are sailing on Princess Cruises, check out their 'Ultimate Balcony Dining' for gourmet prepared meals for two.

The array of gourmet prepared meals, offered on cruise lines, is mind-boggling. The neatest aspect of dining on a cruise ship is your ability to try any dish you like, and if you do not like it, return it, and order something else. There are unique opportunities at every meal, and I have outlined as many as possible.

Gourmet Prepared Meals - Breakfast

Gourmet Prepared Meals OneCredit: http://www.freefoto.com/images/09/04/09_04_13_prev.jpg

Eat breakfast. Health experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. On a cruise, it is also one of the best gourmet prepared meals. These three cruise lines have two major dining venues: a cafeteria-style eatery on the lido deck near the pool and one or two formal dining rooms. For breakfast, both spots are usually open for service. Hours vary depending on whether it is a sea day or a port day. Typically, the lido restaurant serves breakfast for longer hours. A large assortment of breakfast meats, eggs, breads, and fruits-a whole array of breakfast favorites are available. But why not try a fresh omelet or warm Belgian waffles, made-to-order. Gourmet prepared meals for breakfast! Go crazy, and enjoy the most important meal of the day…the doctor says so.

Gourmet Prepared Meals - Lunch

Gourmet Prepared Meals TwoCredit: http://www.freefoto.com/images/807/16/807_16_488_prev.jpg

Do lunch! Lunch is also served on both lido deck and in the dining room, and fluctuates its hours depending on whether it is a sea day or a port day. Lunch is a lot of fun. Frequently, these lines spotlight a given national cuisine each day. Monday might be Italian, Tuesday Mexican, Wednesday Indian, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity to try gourmet prepared meals from another culture. Given the fact that much of the crew hails from countries around the globe, the food is true to what you would eat if you visited that country. However, for those who are interested in strictly gourmet prepared meals featuring American fare there is always a huge buffet of traditional choices, not to mention the lines now have individual stands, which serve seafood, pizza, and stir-fry. They also have a grill (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.) and deli (sandwiches). Also, fresh fruits and veggies abound on cruises, so enjoy. By far, though, the best experience I had was on a Diamond Princess Hawaiian cruise where gourmet prepared meals were offered, reflecting the Hawaiian culture.

Gourmet Prepared Meals - Dinner

Gourmet Prepared Meals ThreeCredit: http://www.freefoto.com/images/09/17/09_17_6_prev.jpg

Savor a relaxing dinner. Dinner is a much more formal affair. Full five course gourmet prepared meals can be had in the dining room in the evening, allowing you to choose whatever combination and amount you like of appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, and dessert. For those not wanting to embark on this two-hour culinary affair, equally good gourmet prepared meals can be had up on the lido deck. The choice is always yours, and you do not have to do the same thing every night.

Gourmet Prepared Meals - Snacks Galore

Gourmet Prepared Meals FourCredit: http://www.freefoto.com/images/9908/07/9908_07_127_prev.jpg

Cure your midnight munchies! Now, if you are still hungry, these cruise lines offer some type of late night eats, with gourmet prepared meals around the clock at the lido restaurant. There is also complimentary twenty-four hour room service.

Gourmet Prepared Meals - Food Extravaganza

Gourmet Prepared Meals Five

Towards the end of your cruise (I know, you do not ever want to get off the ship!), these cruise lines put on a food extravaganza. By this, I mean it is their celebration of everything food. The pièce de résistance of the night is their display of fruits and vegetables, which have been cut and carved into everything from birds to flowers! Beautiful, and do not forget to bring your camera.

In Closing

Before booking your cruise vacation, check with the cruise line for the latest as to what is included in your ticket price, as policies and menus for gourmet prepared meals do change. Also, when you book your cruise, please be sure to notify them of any special dietary requirements you or a family member may have.

Sail away to paradise, and savor every morsel of your gourmet prepared meals.

Please click below to check out my other travel articles.

How to Book a Cheap Caribbean Cruise
How to Save Money with the Carnival Credit Card
Carnival Cruises from New Orleans
Carnival Sensation
Carnival Pride
Carnival Destiny
Carnival Paradise
Tortuga Cake Review
Black Coral Jewelry Review

*Eggs picture courtesy of: http://www.freefoto.com/images/09/04/09_04_13_prev.jpg
*Lasagna picture courtesy of: http://www.freefoto.com/images/807/16/807_16_488_prev.jpg
*Soup picture courtesy of: http://www.freefoto.com/images/09/17/09_17_6_prev.jpg
*Pizza picture courtesy of: http://www.freefoto.com/images/9908/07/9908_07_127_prev.jpg