Food/Beverages

Isn’t this what a cruise is all about? Seriously, you won’t have a problem finding food on the cruises. There is generally a buffet, table service restaurants and counter service locations onboard. You can find everything from pizza, burgers, fresh fruit to seafood, steaks and sushi onboard. You can even get room service on most ships!

It is important if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions to let your waitstaff know. If your allergies are severe or if you require specific foods, you should do this at least 2-4 weeks prior to the cruise in case the cruise line needs to get provisions onboard to accommodate you or advise you that you should bring that yourself. In general, food allergies are handled very well at your main dining locations. The counter service and buffet meals, along with room service, may have difficulties accommodating you. The best thing to do in these locations is just ask. A sugar free or gluten free option may be available, if you just let them know what you need. Be prepared however that one may not be able to accommodate you if you are outside of the main dining rooms.

On some ships, especially some of the premium luxury lines, alcoholic beverages are included. However, on most sailings you will find these need to be paid for. Some ships will offer beverage packages – wine, beer, cocktails – at a reduced rate. You should compare the pricing and the offerings to make sure you are getting a deal. On our last sailing when I realized how much I would have to consume to make the package pay for itself, I realized there was no chance it would be a better price for me.

Other beverages that may not be complementary include bottled water, fountain drinks, and specialty drinks (like smoothies or coffees). Again, some of the lines will have packages for these. They are generally charged as a flat fee per night of the cruise. You do have to purchase the package for the entire stay. A soda package usually is a better deal if you will be drinking 4-6 sodas a day.

On Disney, soda is complementary in the restaurants and at the beverage station. If you ask for a soda at a club or bar, you will be charged for this. On most lines you can get complementary coffee, tea, milk and juice (usually just for breakfast). The specialty coffees however, will generally come with a charge.

Many cruise lines will also offer pizza and ice cream. Some of these are complementary, and others will come with a charge.

One of the most frequently asked question about food and beverage on the cruise lines is “Can I bring on my own alcohol”? Again, this is based on what the cruise line allows. Some lines strictly prohibit alcohol of any kind being brought onboard. Some will permit wine only. With these, some will charge you a corkage fee at the port before getting on the ship, others will charge you only if you bring the wine to a dining room. People do try to smuggle alcohol onboard in water bottles, mouthwash bottles, just about anything. Keep in mind, if you get caught, your alcohol will be confiscated at a minimum.

If you purchase alcohol in a port of call or on the ship, your purchase will be held until the last night of the cruise. If you drink a partial bottle of wine and wish to carry it off the ship, you will not be allowed. You will have to leave it behind.

Disney currently has the best policy with regard to alcohol. You are permitted to bring on any alcohol, provided that it is in your carryon luggage and can fit through the luggage scanners in the port (similar to an airport). If you purchase alcohol in a port of call, you can also bring that back to your cabin at the time of purchase, the cruise line doesn’t hold it for you. If you do bring a bottle of wine to the dining room however, you will be charged a corkage fee.