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Firepath

Why eat at buffet?

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I am a new cruiser having only been on one in the past 15 yrs. We tried the buffet and it was not very good. On the other hand, the MDR was very good. We didn’t try any specialties. Even though the buffet on our cruise was poor, it will still busy most of the time. My question is, why do some people eat there mostly? Is the buffet good on most cruise lines? Do people not know there are other free options? Is it faster, more choices, do you like to see what you’re getting before you order? 

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Timing, mainly, for us- especially if we're on an early tour, or want to attend a lecture, or see a show. Especially after a long day out, when we don't need a 3 course meal, and can't face an hour+ in the MDR.

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Some people like to get  in, eat & get out in a hurry  usually the MDR takes longer 

Plus they can help themselves to the size  portions they prefer  in the buffet

JMO

I prefer the GDR

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I normally eat at the MDR rather than the buffet, but some buffets I found to be pretty good. Plus sometimes I like to have a couple bites of 10 different things rather than a larger portion of one or two things. It's quicker and more convenient than the MDR if you have somewhere you need to be, and on Carnival there are good options like the sweet spot (cakes) and deli located in the buffet area.

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Because they can:classic_biggrin:

 

But seriously, sometimes the timing for dinner is longer than some people want to be part of and so, yes, the buffet

is quicker. You pick what you want, sit down, eat and go (if you want).  Sometimes people don't like what is being

served in the main dining room and they prefer what is being offered on the buffet. Sometimes they don't want

to have change clothes as some cruise lines ask for you to wear long pants (for example) and they want to stay in

their shorts so they can eat in the buffet.

 

You will find lots of people don't even enter the dining room anymore.

 

Different strokes for different folks!

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I should have said, I prefer the main dining room and so normally I eat dinner there or I may go Specialty.  I may

do the buffet for lunch but for dinner, personally, I like sitting down and being served:classic_smile:

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We love the buffet On our last cruise we never went to the MDR. We have been on cruises where we have been to the MDR but sometimes we just want to stay casual and that was the case on our last one. We have met the nicest people in the buffet which you can do in the MDR as well but without the time constraint in the MDR. A lot of the evening meals mirror the specialty entrees being offered in the MDR plus a lot of other choices as well We also have spent many evening meals hanging with some of the crew Some memorable meals were spent with cruise directors and other staff who go there to eat and we really appreciate the time we spent with them Had a blast and would not have been able to experience that in the MDR But don’t get me wrong there are times when a great meal is to be had in the MDR especially for special occasions such as our 60th birthday dinner which was great and the staff in the MDR made it great Could not have had the same experience in the buffet 

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Totally depends upon the ship. We have been on ships where the buffet food was fairly decent and other ships where the buffet food was barely edible swill.  For example, we did an AK cruise this past summer on the Golden Princess.  We ate our breakfasts and one lunch at the buffet.  The buffet food made Denny's seem like gourmet dining.  Worse selection and quality of ship food I have ever eaten.  As I mentioned, on other ships the buffet food wasn't bad.

 

DON

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I always eat breakfast in the MDR.  On sea days, I'll eat lunch in the MDR.  For dinner, I'll do either depending on what is being served in the MDR, if I don't want to sit for an hour+ or just for a change. 

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Nearly always eat in the buffet. We don’t usually eat more than a main course and dessert, and prefer a relaxed meal. I do like to see what’s on offer, rather than have to rely on a description, and maybe try a small portion of two or three items rather than commit to a single choice. We also eat a lot more accompanying vegetables than are usually served in the MDR, and it’s easier to serve myself than having to ask for extra portions.

 I enjoy being able to decide when I’d like to eat, choose my own portion size and pick my preferred table and eating companions. 

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1 hour ago, Firepath said:

...why do some people eat there mostly? 

All "buffets" are not created equally.

 

We cruise almost exclusively on Oceania where the closest any dining venue gets to being considered a "buffet" is the casual Terrace Café.

 

Like all other dining areas on an O ship the Terrace food is not better or worse than the more or less formal settings ranging from GDR to Pool Grill (same goes for the never-a-charge specialty restaurants which are different only in that the menu is very focused and the settings are more intimate). Rather, with a space is designed for convenience, the Terrace Café has self-selected seating (both indoor and al fresco) and the food is served by galley staff at various stations (that's right - no touching by passengers with less than stellar hand washing habits). There's a la minute cooking including steak, lobster and ethnic specials nightly as well as a sushi bar and constantly changing salads and entrees - often including one or two dishes from the GDR menus for that day. Desserts, including five times daily baked goods are varied and exceptional. And, of course, there is full bar service.

 

Since our cruises generally exceed three weeks, our main "go to" for dinner on an Oceania ship is the casual Terrace Café, particularly on port days with late returns to the ship. Our GDR meals are mostly for those occasions when there's favorite items being served or we've accepted a dinner invitation (and don't mind the long meal time). And we plan for the specialty restaurants for those occasions when we want the total Italian, Asian, French or Steakhouse experience, particularly on sea days.

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We are NOT fans of buffets....but at lunch, if you're at the pool, it's the closest place to grab and go with some food.  We do most of our dining in the dining room....I mean, we're on vacation...what else do we have to do?  Being SERVED is lovely!  We ALWAYS do breakfast in the DR....and most dinners....once in a blue moon, we'll either eat ashore, or go to a specialty.....but it's the dining room for the most part!

 

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It's purely convenience.

On port mornings, I want to eat and get on shore so I can explore.  After a long port day, if I haven't eaten dinner ashore, I don't want to clean up and sit through a formal dinner service. I just want to eat, kick my shoes off, and crash.  I'll also use the buffet on formal nights, because I am not interested in dressing up for a banquet experience.

 

During sea days, I'll use the MDR because time is not a factor.

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DW would eat only at the buffet. She does not like people serving her. She does not want to spend that much time at dinner. She likes to make her own salad. And if you do not want to do every formal night, you can go casual there.

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life style choice, convenience..... many reasons some not all choose buffet dining over seated service. My niece would go to the buffet with three children, while my wife and i would do the main dining room. The next  morning we all met at the buffet before departing on a shore adventure.  I gotta tell ya Disney cruises can be exhausting .... 😁 

Edited by c-boy

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12 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

DW would eat only at the buffet. She does not like people serving her. She does not want to spend that much time at dinner. She likes to make her own salad. And if you do not want to do every formal night, you can go casual there.

Well, she better stay off Oceania.  She can't make her own salad but rather tell them what she would like on it. And she's still going to be 'served' as they dish up all the food.  No DIY.

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Buffet when you want a quick snack and a wide choice, dining for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner is usually a long winded affair.  No question the food is better by a country mile, but you wait and wait and wait.     Clearly the good of sitdown you really have to make an effort to go gluttonous, as it is frightening even for me when I go to the buffet, LOL

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On port days we do buffet breakfast for convenience and speed. If it's a sea day and we're on Carnival, though, I head straight to Blue Iguana for huevos rancheros and arepas (I'm going to miss that on our next RCI cruise). Lunch will usually find us in the buffet since we're usually hanging out by the pool and don't want to change clothes. But at night, we prefer the MDR. It's nice to have a relaxing meal and be waited on. We don't mind how long it take. In fact, we like lingering over our dinner.

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According to some posts I've read on the RC and the Celebrity forums that the evening buffets have excellent selections and the atmosphere is nice and quiet. 

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4 minutes ago, davekathy said:

According to some posts I've read on the RC and the Celebrity forums that the evening buffets have excellent selections and the atmosphere is nice and quiet. 

We have found this to be correct on our RCCL sailings RCCL is where we had the best times in the evening enjoying our meal with some of the crew who would be in the buffet dining and invited us and others to join them Not big crowds but a small intimate gathering easily possible toward the later dining time 

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We usually do the dining room or a specialty restaurant for dinner.  This past summer though we did a two week cruise to the Baltics and primarily ate in the buffet because we were so exhausted from our tours.  For breakfast we ordered room service on port days to save time.  The buffet meals were very good and we enjoyed them.  

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On our last HAL transAtlantic, dr'spin and I chose to eat at the Lido several evenings, including a couple Gala nights. Not because we didn't want to dress, but because we had eaten so much in the MDR as to be uncomfortable! 

 

The Lido often had some of the same entrees as the MDR. If they didn't and we were set on a choice, we would change plans (as we were Anytime-Dining)!

 

Breakfast and lunch, I prefer the Lido. OTOH on a cruise with many seadays, a late buffet breakfast and early MDR dinner (with espresso and boat drinks to tide one over) can keep the calories within bounds.

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10 hours ago, clo said:

Well, she better stay off Oceania.  She can't make her own salad but rather tell them what she would like on it. And she's still going to be 'served' as they dish up all the food.  No DIY.

We've been on Holland America where you also tell them what you want in your salad. She gets more than she would have taken by herself, but she does get only the ingredients that she wants and no others. 

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We will grab a bite at the buffet after a long day of touring - the MDR or specialty restaurants are a longer dining experience and, if we are tired, we prefer to get something from the buffet.

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