Royal Caribbean Chocolate layer cake
Chocolate layer cake, one of the signature desserts aboard Royal Caribbean.

As many know, cruising is one of the greatest ways to see the world.  Whether it’s visiting the ports of the Mediterranean, the colorful shores of the Caribbean, the majestic sights of Alaska, or the romantic shores of Hawaii, there’s so much to see and do.  On board ship, dining adds a whole other “taste” to any cruise vacation.  Whichever cruise line travelers choose to with, they’re exposed to new things and a whole other realm to explore.  Whether they’re in for family dining or sharing a table with eight to ten of their fellow guests, dining makes any cruise experience memorable.  Further, any on board dining experience allows passengers to expand their comfort zones and look forward to exploring even greater opportunities.  Whichever cruise anyone has returned home from, and experienced on board dining, they will be left wanting to sail into the unknown again and again.

Every cruise line offers a wide array of on board dining experiences.  There’s traditional dining and visiting specialty restaurants, which passengers can choose their dining time.  The flexibility is endless.  The one cruise line which has really outdone itself is Royal Caribbean.  They have added new dining experiences for guests to experiment.  Wherever in the world they wish to sail to, the options are plentiful.  Royal Caribbean has its traditional time, which passengers are given the early or later seating.  Guests are given flexibility with the “My Time” dining experience.  Guests are given a choice of a table for two or a table to share.  Royal Caribbean features a wide array of specialty restaurants on its ships, including Portofino, Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, Seafood Shack, and Giovanni’s Table.

For those who enjoy intimate cruising, Celebrity provides passengers with on board dining experiences they’ll never forget.  There’s the main dining room where they share a table with fellow passengers, along with a menu featuring a world of choices.  Celebrity also features speciality dining venues such as Qsine, Blu, Tuscan Grille, and The Lawn Club Grill.  Qsine features a “uniquely unordinary” approach to dining.  Blu is an Aqua Class restaurant where the dining experience unfolds like a rose, petal by petal.  The Tuscan Grille is an Italian steakhouse with a nouveau twist.  It’s traditional Italian dining, united with added contemporary influences, and the cuisine served in abundance.  At the Lawn Club Grill, passengers are treated with the joys of interactive outdoor grilling with ocean views in an open-air setting.

Like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, Princess provides guests with great dining experiences, too.  Princess features the traditional dining which guests can share tables with six to twelve people.  Guests have the option of “Anytime” dining, which they can pick an eating time between 5:30pm and 10pm.  Princess is also well-known for its wide variety of speciality restaurants.  The speciality restaurants on board Princess’s ships are Sabatini’s, Crown Grill, Sterling Steakhouse, and Bayou Café & Steakhouse.  Sabatini’s is a sit-down Italian restaurant, featuring an array of antipastos, signature pastas, authentic Italian specialities, and irresistible desserts.  Crown Grill features an open theatre-style kitchen where the chefs prepare fresh seafood including lobster, scallops, clams, and cook-to-order steaks.  Sterling Steakhouse is a traditional New York style steakhouse, with a touch of Princess flavor.  Passengers can choose their steak from a presentation tray and watch their selection be prepared and cooked to perfection.  The steaks come from the Sterling Silver brand, which are hand cut and expertly aged for their incredible flavor.

One of the newest additions to Princess’s speciality dining experiences is the Bayou Café & Steakhouse.  With its spicy mixture of French, Spanish and African influences, New Orleans cuisine is one of the oldest culture-driven cooking styles in American history.  At the Bayou Café & Steakhouse, passengers enjoy traditional Cajun-and Creole-influenced dishes such as peel-and-eat shrimp, gumbos, jambalaya, and crawfish.  To top any meal, a host of fun drink selections quickly takes them down to the “Big Easy”.  It is one of the many inviting dining experiences for first-time and avid cruisers to enjoy.

Norwegian Cruise Line, known for its Freestyle concept, offers open dining times and speciality restaurants on board all of its ships.  In the Freestyle concept, the guests are given much more latitude in their dining experience, so they can enjoy all there is to do and see throughout their cruise.  Norwegian provides its passengers with a traditional dining room experience with open dining times.  Aside from the main dining rooms, Norwegian’s ships feature speciality restaurants such as La Cucina, Cagney’s Steakhouse, Tapanyaki Japanese Steakhouse, Orchid Garden Asian Fusion, and Le Bistro.  Note: Those who plan to sail on Norwegian must reserve their specialty dining times before cruising or as soon as they board the ship.  All throughout Norwegian’s ships, a network of digital screens show the dining time availability in all restaurants.  Some passengers feel better searching for any restaurant with a dining time that they’re content with. Many guests prefer the traditional route.  After all, they are on vacation.

The one cruise line which has revolutionalized on board dining is Disney Cruise Line.  Disney Cruise Line features a concept blended with the traditional style of on board dining.  Disney features the new and innovative “rotational dining”.  In rotational dining, guests rotate through three restaurants, and get the same server every night.  Aside from rotational dining, Disney provides adult exclusive dining.  The two adults-only restaurants are Palo and Remy.  Palo is located onboard all four of Disney’s ships; Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy.  Palo features northern Italian cuisine and occasionally serves brunch on select cruises.  Remy is featured on board the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.  Remy is known for serving up the finest in French-inspired cuisine.  However passengers wish to enjoy their Disney cruise, the waiting staff allows them to “be their guest” so to make their dining experience as magical as they possibly dreamed.

Cruising is definitely the best kind of vacation experience anyone can ever enjoy.  Aside from  fun activities and shows, exciting shore excursions, and never-ending duty-free shopping opportunities, the cruise lines constantly “wow” their guests with the one experience they’ll never forget; dining.  Whether enjoying a traditional dining experience or experiencing an intimate dinner in a speciality setting, cruise ships of today have it all.  From steak, to seafood, Italian and French cuisine, and health-inspired cooking, cruise passengers have so much to look forward to.  Whenever the next cruise will be, passengers should consider eating at a speciality restaurant they have never tried.  There’s no harm in trying something new.  Passengers might want to try out “My Time” or “Anytime” dining and meeting fellow passengers each night.  For those who like being adventurous, rotational dining is a great experience to try out.  No matter what the preference are or wherever the cruising bug takes them, there will always be plenty of great options on the menu.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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