The best dining packages on cruises
Whether you like to book a cruise for the far-reaching destinations, the spa treatments or the all-star entertainment, there’s one element of cruising that we can all agree on – the food. If you’re new to cruising you may be wondering what meal package you should book, and which cruise lines are serving up the best deals from their dining room.
Dining packages on cruises vary from ship to ship and can range from the classic buffet option to Chef’s Table and special fine dining packages. If you’re interested in what dining packages are available for your next cruise, take a look at some of our favourites to get your taste buds tingling.
When it comes to including everything in one handy cost, Thomson Cruises has it down to a tee. With the All Inclusive option as standard across all ships, you can enjoy a full six-course evening meal in The Meridian Restaurant with no extra charges, or dine casually alfresco at the Terrace Grill with midday barbecue and pizza offerings. If you fancy living it up for one night, you still have the option to pay a little extra for silver service restaurants like Sirocco’s on the traditional-style Thomas Spirit.
Azamara Club Cruises
If you love a good buffet, Azamara Club Cruises’ classic food package – which includes the Windows Cafe – will be right up your alley. This casual buffet is the main eatery onboard both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. It’s mostly known for its fantastically fabulous themed dinners which vary from night to night, although it’s also got a whole host of different cuisines from Italian, Greek, Indian and Asian – as well as an impressive salad bar and meat-carving station. This package is a great deal for any cruisers looking for some good comfort food and little tastes of home.
If you want to upgrade for a bit more variety, Azamara also has a speciality package which includes their fine dining Italian restaurant Aqualina. Aqualina serves up delicious Venetian seafood platters and other beautifully artistic dishes. The Prime C steak house is also available in their speciality package, for another added dash of decadence.
If you want the full VIP treatment, some cruise lines offer the added bonus of a Chef’s Table. This decadent dining experience varies from ship to ship, but on Azamara you can enjoy expert wine selections matched perfectly with your five course meal and introduced to you by Azamara’s own sommelier.
Regent Seven Seas
If you’re looking for a little indulgence on your next cruise, Regent Seven Seas’ luxury meal package is for you. At the top end of the scale, Regent Seven Seas offers an extravagant food package without any hidden fees. This package runs alongside their business class bookings and gives you access to extra perks, including free wines and spirits.
The restaurants included in this deluxe package all serve gourmet-standard food in Michelin star-style dining rooms. Their classic steak house, Prime 7, boasts 28 day dry-aged beef and is where you’ll find glamorous American furnishings and decor. For a European flavour, this luxury meal package also includes Signatures Restaurant – aa fine dining spot that serves elegant French cuisine presented with flare and showmanship.
Royal Caribbean’s basic meal package gives you tons of variety, and is one of the top cruises for food. Even before you add on any extras, their classic dining package is chock-full of incredible restaurants and buffets. Venues like Sorrento’s New York-style pizzeria and Jade Sushi come all included in the price of your cruise holiday, and you can still dine and snack at up to 11 venues on board most of their ships.
Royal Caribbean’s newest offering Quantum of the Seas® also features big names such as Jamie’s Italian and the pan-Asian Silk restaurant, as well as 16 other dining spots.
Celebrity Cruises® boast several speciality dining packages, all with chic, design-led venues. Gourmet restaurant Blu gives you 360°C views and a top chef experience, while another popular package includes the cruise line’s own take on modern gastronomy, Qsine. This star-studded restaurant promises a unique experience under the guidance of a James Beard-awarded chef, and serves up interesting concoctions like sushi lollipops and popcorn fish and chips.
The Chef’s Table is available on some Celebrity Cruises as well, enabling you to have an excursion with the main chef to local markets at your port. After you’ve collected your ingredients you’ll be treated to a private dinner onboard using these fresh foods and spices. Celebrity Cruises’s food packages all come under the banner of formal and casual dining options and should be booked ahead of your cruise, though you’ll also have the option of booking on day one or two of the cruise if you should change your mind.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Lines has some of the best food on cruises, and their own specialty dining package covers several restaurants across their ships. You’ll be able to experience some of Norwegian’s French and Italian restaurants, the Cagney’s Steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaria and the Teppanyaki grill.
There are some more upscale fine dining restaurants not included in this package however, like Ocean Blue and Bayamo. If you wish to try out these Michelin star-style spots but don’t want to upgrade to a higher package, you can always dine here and then have the difference added to your bill.
Enjoying the food on your holiday is one of the most important aspects of any cruise. Get ready to set sail and enjoy all the delicious cuisine your cruise has to offer.
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