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The truth of the matter is that we all got older and our diets changed. Years ago cruising was different. Passengers would gather in one central ball room and dance all night to a live band. By Midnight they would be in the mood for something to eat. They even served sandwich’s, snacks or pizza at 2:00 AM...after the Midnight buffet...and you could dance until dawn. Now most of us are in bed by 11:00 PM and our medical problems prohibit us from eating.:')

Too true, that!

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  • 2 months later...

My first cruise on Carnival had a midnight buffet and yes it was a beautiful layout, lots of fruit carving displays and ice sculptures BUT I would never eat the food because the germs freaked me out. The first thing I noticed was all the people lined up to take pictures of it....leaning over the food and talking and breathing all over it LOL No thank you, turned me right off. I barely eat at the regular buffet while cruising.. 

I haven't seen a midnight buffet since but I also switched to Princess so I have no idea if Carnival still does them. 🙂

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On 5/14/2017 at 6:26 PM, lenquixote66 said:

When I was on my first cruise ,on a Cunard ship it was mandatory dress up every night for dinner .There were no specialty restaurants ,just a MDR . There were midnight buffets every evening .

 

In addition every evening had top name entertainment .

Ah! The good old days of cruising. P&O was exactly the same, no need for formal nights, as every night was a dark suit or tuxedo. Even the cocktail parties had real drinks.

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I remember the last midnight buffet I have seen was on the Breeze in 2014. It was after we left Cozumel and was a Mexican themed midnight buffet. Carnival still does Chocolate buffet on any 7 night cruise on the last sea day in the afternoon. We always look forward to them especially the puff pastry swans filled with ice cream and the kids always love the chocolate fountain.

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1994 MS. Westward 4 night cruise. 1st night hit it hard and it was great. 2nd night still full from dinner but ate some. 3rd night... Sooo much food so late, grabbed a snack. 4th night small dessert bites wrapped in a napkin back to the cabin. It was great though. Where else could you eat pickled herring (nod to my Danish father) at midnight.

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  • 3 months later...
On 1/11/2017 at 6:13 PM, COMBOY said:

I too remember midnight buffets; but there is also a lot of waste. I don't think this was an issue when ships were smaller and carried about 1000, but now with 2000-4000 passengers it probably wasn't financial feasible plus it take lot of man hours that go into making those ice & food sculptures. There's still other food options that maybe not as opulent will fill your belly if you are hungry late at night. I agree it was a nice touch of a bygone era.

 

The Midnight buffet every evening was pure madness.   So much food and waste, or used for soup, salads the next day.    There is still lots of opportunity to eat all day.  

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I can remember the endless midnight buffets when we first started cruising.  My absolute favorite was a chocolate buffet held on our first Royal Caribbean cruise.  It was over the top decadent.  Now for the most part, they were just beautiful spectacles to see and take pictures of.  Most of the time the food, IMHO, wasn't anything special, but they were a sight to behold.

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On 8/12/2019 at 10:53 AM, ShawninFL said:

I can remember the endless midnight buffets when we first started cruising.  My absolute favorite was a chocolate buffet held on our first Royal Caribbean cruise.  It was over the top decadent.  Now for the most part, they were just beautiful spectacles to see and take pictures of.  Most of the time the food, IMHO, wasn't anything special, but they were a sight to behold.

 

There were exceptions to the bland buffets.  The Germans (Hapag Lloyd) had a Gala Buffet once a week and it was spectacular.  There was lobster, prime roast beef, smoked pork, crab legs, all forms of German delicatessen and Buluga Caviar.  When Regent Sea first set up business they had Apollo Catering and they put out a weekly Gala Buffet that included a 150 lb roast pig as well as all the best beef, sea food and poultry...a true extravaganza and really good to eat.  They also had themed buffets throughout the week and they were all excellent.  Their deli buffet was stellar.  They had homemade corned beef, roast brisket, pastrami, chopped liver and much more.  Even Chandris Line had super buffets when their Celebrity Line was first started.  They had very fancy offerings that were high quality and delicious.  Our dietary and nocturnal habits changed so the midnight buffets disappeared.  

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE
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After my wife and I first got together, our first melding-family cruise was on Majesty of the Seas.  The sailaway party on the pool deck included ice sculptures, desserts, and a buffet.  Our kids enjoyed partying under the stars, everyone like snacking outdoors at sea, and my brother-in-law drove the ice carver crazy by calling out what was being formed after only one or two cuts (he spent twenty five years in the hospitality industry).  I miss the parties, and think the last one I saw was about seven years ago.

 

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6 hours ago, PhillyDad said:

I. I miss the good old days of cruising!


According to your signature you are a young pup...lol.  I suppose even the X Zenith was still doing Midnight buffets in 1999.  The buffets on Zenith were excellent in that era.  

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16 hours ago, gottagoacruzn said:

Yes, I miss the midnight buffets, took lots of pictures of glorious food.

 

Food, glorious food!  Elaborate displays, ice sculptures, and the opportunity to sample items that looked delicious (and were) but, did I have an idea of what the item(s) really were when I put them on my plate?

 

I wonder if the kind of UPHS food service policies in effect today were being followed when those buffets were offered.  Food left unused after a certain amount of time now has to be discarded.  Food that can't be held at the temperature that food requires can't be served.  There was either much wasted food or was it offered as "gourmet leftovers"?  

 

The change to a smaller variety of offerings in the buffet restaurants during the late night hours is a more practical--not photogenic, to be sure--way of providing a late night snack.  (Or, as I have observed:  dinner, I think, for some of the performers in the Main Show Lounge that evening.)

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Oh yes, I remember the midnight buffets on N.C.L. and on formal night the gala buffet was over the top. I was younger then of course but remember sneaking off to take an after show nap and setting my alarm to get up and eat again. Also no free style dining, you had an assigned table and the same group and waiters everynight. It had its benefits as you were well aquatinted with you table mates by the end of the cruise, no need to start all over every diner with what's your name and where are you from..... each has its pluses and minuses, but I prefer what it has morphed into today. Good memories and still making new ones. 

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3 hours ago, samiam99 said:

I remember the midnight buffets on N.C.L.

 

My sole NCL cruise was aboard Sunward II.  A four day cruise from Miami to Nassau, Freeport, and their private island, but the nightly buffets were elaborate.

 

3 hours ago, samiam99 said:

Also no free style dining, you had an assigned table and the same group and waiters everynight. It had its benefits as you were well aquatinted with you table mates by the end of the cruise, no need to start all over every diner with what's your name and where are you from..

 

I so agree with your comment.  Your reasons are why opt for fixed seating dining on most cruises.  

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The Chocolate Buffet when we sailed on Norway was during the afternoon.  The many tables filled a large room.  I don't think many passengers ate a full dinner that night.

We have always had late dining, and always a leisurely meal with a lot of conversation among our tablemates.   We shouldn't have ever needed more food.  But regularly, at bedtime, Mr. S would say "I just want to get a glass of milk".  So we'd head to the midnight buffet.....and end up with some crab legs, cheesecake, etc.  Each night had a different theme.  And on several occasions, we'd run into our dinner mates, and have another hour or two of conversation as we ate.

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I still chuckle when I look at our photo of one of the displays on a buffet on Regal Empress.  Two roast chickens were propped up, with hard cooked eggs for heads, hats on the heads, one holding "cymbals" made of cucumber slices and one playing a guitar.  So clever and so well done.

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On 4/8/2021 at 1:42 PM, shipgeeks said:

I still chuckle when I look at our photo of one of the displays on a buffet on Regal Empress.  Two roast chickens were propped up, with hard cooked eggs for heads, hats on the heads, one holding "cymbals" made of cucumber slices and one playing a guitar.  So clever and so well done.


Lest we forget...the ice sculptures!  

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