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Firepath

Why eat at buffet?

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15 hours ago, Firepath said:

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? 

 setting aside the  'taste is relative' argument.

 

 convenience.   have an early excursion?   swing by the  buffet and grab some scrambled eggs and bacon

 

variety.   a fairly decent selection of  items to cater to most palates

 

time.   dinner on the MDR can take an hour..or longer.   have a show that you absolutely don't wanna miss?   head to the buffet. lunch and breakfast you are typically forced to sit with perfect strangers  in the MDR and  it almost always takes a long time to be served.

 

dress code.  on those lines that still adhere to a dress code, whether it be for formal night or  the no shorts at dinner concept, the buffet only requires you to cover up the swimsuit and wear a shirt and shoes.  

 

families.   got a  squirmy toddler that won't sit still for more than 5 minutes at a stretch?   the buffet area is far more relaxed and there is a less chance of  Junior irking other diners with his antics.  

 

eating habits.  are you a grazer, liking a few bites of a lot of things?   do you  binge Indian curries?  have a huge craving for all the cantaloupe you can eat?  

 

there are other reasons to  eat( or not) at a buffet.  things like hygiene, personal wishes to be waited on  hand and foot etc.  

 

its all a matter oof personal preference 

 

 

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3 hours ago, ontheweb said:

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. 

I'll be saying "no cucumbers!'

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Breakfast....always the buffet as I usually only have a yogurt and some fresh fruit.

Lunch... if we're on the ship in the morning, it.depends on what we want to do on shore in the afternoon and we might not want to spend an hr and 1/2 for lunch in the dining room, so......buffet

Dinner: Buffet....never.

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My husband and I like both buffet and MDR dining, but we went on a luxury cruise with Silversea last year, and not having a buffet option in the evening was really a deal breaker for us. And, that seems to be the case for most of the luxury lines.

 

We're sticking to lines where there is a buffet option in the evening (next cruises are with Celebrity and the next with Oceania).

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My wife and I don't like the MDR. At all. Not even the idea of sitting with other people (which we absolutely, but really isn't an issue anymore with more two-person tables), but the experience is drawn out, and the food is mediocre but presented as significantly better than that. 

 

We'll either do specialty restaurants, or buffet. If it's, say, a six night cruise, we'll split 50/50. The buffet allows us to go whenever we want, it's quiet, it's relaxed, the choices are plenty, the food doesn't taste any worse than the MDR, and then we can go about our day. Frankly, any food on mass market lines is (to us) mediocre enough that food is not an important part of our cruise, though we very much enjoy nice, foodie-ish meals in our day-to-day life, so keeping dining times to a minimum and replacing them with more enjoyable activities is our preference. 

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When it's time for dinner,  I want food. I don't care about being served or waitstaff remembering my name. Service takes too long, I like choosing where to sit, and the MDR is usually fairly loud. 

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19 minutes ago, amawells said:

not having a buffet option in the evening was really a deal breaker for us.

I took a quick look and while there doesn't appear to be a buffet at dinner, their La Terrazza has it for breakfast and lunch and they have one or more casual venues.  I'm curious why lack of a buffet would be "really a deal breaker" for you.

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7 minutes ago, cruizergal70 said:

When it's time for dinner,  I want food. I don't care about being served or waitstaff remembering my name. Service takes too long, I like choosing where to sit, and the MDR is usually fairly loud. 

Is that your preference on land/at home also?

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As already said all buffets are not created equally, really dislike rccl buffet which is line we normally cruise on, celebrity is much nicer , don’t mind breakfast, maybe lunch never for dinner. 

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8 minutes ago, clo said:

Is that your preference on land/at home also?

I usually cook at home. So I have full control over the experience. 

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3 minutes ago, cruizergal70 said:

I usually cook at home. So I have full control over the experience. 

Sorry.  I meant when you're home and go out to dinner.

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41 minutes ago, amawells said:

My husband and I like both buffet and MDR dining, but we went on a luxury cruise with Silversea last year, and not having a buffet option in the evening was really a deal breaker for us. And, that seems to be the case for most of the luxury lines.

 

We're sticking to lines where there is a buffet option in the evening (next cruises are with Celebrity and the next with Oceania).

For us, we just like that option for a shorter or casual dinner, especially if we have been out on shore excursions all day. And my husband thought much of the dinner menus were too fancy as well .

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28 minutes ago, cruizergal70 said:

When it's time for dinner,  I want food. I don't care about being served or waitstaff remembering my name. Service takes too long, I like choosing where to sit, and the MDR is usually fairly loud. 

In too many buffets simply getting a table is a hassle, and we have usually been fortunate in table mates, making the experience more than just a quick belly-filling exercise.

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1 minute ago, navybankerteacher said:

In too many buffets simply getting a table is a hassle, and we have usually been fortunate in table mates, making the experience more than just a quick belly-filling exercise.

It's been a long time since we've been on a big ship.  Don't most of them have an option or two other than MDR, buffet and specialty?

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9 minutes ago, clo said:

Sorry.  I meant when you're home and go out to dinner.

If I go out, I usually based that on the food. Yes, I do sit down restaurants but I don't think being served is a big deal. 

 

I used to live in NYC and I go back every year. I've been exposed to some of the top restaurants. Most regular places are no big deal. Cruise ships included. 

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When we were on a Cunard cruise the only dining option was the MDR . It was also semi formal attire at every dinner meal.

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3 minutes ago, cruizergal70 said:

If I go out, I usually based that on the food. Yes, I do sit down restaurants but I don't think being served is a big deal. 

 

I used to live in NYC and I go back every year. I've been exposed to some of the top restaurants. Most regular places are no big deal. Cruise ships included. 

Can you please explain this statement re NYC .

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OP, as you can see, different people have different wants and needs--one size definitely does not fit all.

 

Most mornings I will get up and go to breakfast while Mrs. XBGuy sleeps in.  At home I will head to one of several local coffee shops.  If we are on a cruise, I will, generally, head to the buffet or to the dining room.  Here's the funny thing.  I am often a bit irritated in the dining room, because it is clear that the staff wants rush us out.  Two coffee refills seems to be the limit, and, often, it's only one,  I will not be defeated,  I head to the buffet, get a cup of coffee and take a seat.  There seems to be no trouble getting as many refills as I want in the buffet.  When I decide that I've had enough coffee, before I return to the cabin, I'll wash or sanitize my hands, again, pick up a plate and grab something to take back to Mrs. XBGuy (e.g., lox and bagel or a muffin or a croissant).

 

We, generally, don't eat lunch either at home or on a cruise.

 

We will often have a light snack in our cabin late in the afternoon.  For example, on Princess ships, there is a nice "deli" called the International Cafe, and they have a choice of terrific salads.  One of these goes very nicely with a glass of wine out on the balcony.

 

Our dinners are, usually, either specialty restaurant or room service or we might bring a slice of pizza or a burger from the Lido deck back to the cabin.  (I should mention that our cabin is quite well-stocked with wine.)  We very rarely have dinner in the dining rooms.

 

The exception to the we-don't-eat-lunch thing is that we actually do enjoy eating one or two meals per cruise in port.  This will, probably, be a late lunch but it might also be dinner.  This is always a welcome change from the ship's cuisine.  When we do eat in the port, obviously, dinner back on the ship is very light--maybe raw vegies and dip from room service.

 

Over the last couple years, we have developed a tradition on the last evening of the cruise.  We like to have our bags packed and out in the hallway before we go to dinner.  The clothes we wear to dinner are the clothes we will wear off the ship the next day,  We like to make sure that the room steward can get into the room that night--he has a few extra things he would like to get to before turnaround day and I like to leave an envelope for him at this time.  We will then take what is left of one or two bottles of wine with us to the buffet.  I am the first to admit that dinner in the buffet is not dining.  The food is, generally, more miss than hit.  For some reason or another, though, we get a kick out of this new tradition of ours.

 

As I indicated, the dining preferences of people are as varied as the people.  I, personally, am grateful that others have preferences that differ from mine.  The cruise industry does a good job of accommodating as many of those preferences as possible.

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19 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

Can you please explain this statement re NYC .

Peter Luger/Delmonicos in NYC vs a Ruth Chris/Sizzler in middle America vs a steakhouse on a ship.  A basic ribeye in the ship steakhouse really isn't all that special.

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20 minutes ago, cruizergal70 said:

Peter Luger/Delmonicos in NYC vs a Ruth Chris/Sizzler in middle America vs a steakhouse on a ship.  A basic ribeye in the ship steakhouse really isn't all that special.

Yes,I agree

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1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

In too many buffets simply getting a table is a hassle, and we have usually been fortunate in table mates, making the experience more than just a quick belly-filling exercise.

 

1 hour ago, cruizergal70 said:

When it's time for dinner,  I want food. I don't care about being served or waitstaff remembering my name. Service takes too long, I like choosing where to sit, and the MDR is usually fairly loud. 

 

We've eaten dinner in the buffet at least once on almost every cruise we've taken in the past decade.  I've never had trouble finding a table.  In fact, I've found dinners very quiet and pleasant, and the vast majority of tables are unoccupied.  It's breakfast and lunch that tend to be a madhouse.  

Edited by Aquahound

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1 hour ago, lenquixote66 said:

When we were on a Cunard cruise the only dining option was the MDR . It was also semi formal attire at every dinner meal.

 

What year was that?

 

Cunard [QM2] evening dining options

Included with fare:

  • Dining room [Britannia; Princess or Queens 'grill']
  • Buffet [Kings Court]
  • Chef's Gallery
  • Room service [surcharge for a couple of items]

Extra cost

  • Veranda [$$$]
  • The evening 'pop up' themed dining in the aft section of Kings Court [$]

I think the reason for a charge for the 'pop up' is so Cunard can say 'we have two specialty restaurants'

 

On a recent 19 day round trip crossing, there were 8 formal nights, the rest 'smart attire' - which seems to be dressier than other lines 'formal'. 

 

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3 minutes ago, TheOldBear said:

 

What year was that?

 

Cunard [QM2] evening dining options

Included with fare:

  • Dining room [Britannia; Princess or Queens 'grill']
  • Buffet [Kings Court]
  • Chef's Gallery
  • Room service [surcharge for a couple of items]

Extra cost

  • Veranda [$$$]
  • The evening 'pop up' themed dining in the aft section of Kings Court [$]

I think the reason for a charge for the 'pop up' is so Cunard can say 'we have two specialty restaurants'

 

On a recent 19 day round trip crossing, there were 8 formal nights, the rest 'smart attire' - which seems to be dressier than other lines 'formal'. 

 

1973 Cunard Ambassador sailed from Manhattan to Bermuda 

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1 hour ago, cruizergal70 said:

Peter Luger/Delmonicos in NYC vs a Ruth Chris/Sizzler in middle America vs a steakhouse on a ship.  A basic ribeye in the ship steakhouse really isn't all that special.

We did Delmonicos last year great dinner, we skipped it this year but will return next year.also grew up in nyc , so many great restaurants, some very reasonably priced. 

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