Cruise ship food! - So much choice! Not enough time!
It’s not a great day for a sail,” said the Bag Carrier, as our umbrellas blew inside out in the gale force winds between bouts of thunder and lightning and downpours of rain, as we headed for Circular Quay on our way to board the Majestic Princess on a 13- day cruise to travel from Sydney back to Auckland.
The embarkation process was fast and efficient and after the long walk to find our cabin, and having had no breakfast or lunch, we were hungry. We very quickly discovered that one thing was for sure. You are not going to starve to death on a cruise ship! Around every corner there seemed to be another bar or cafe or restaurant or nook and cranny, tempting us with another decadent morsel of food or drink! One of the biggest problems you’ll have travelling on a cruise is getting enough time to try everything on offer to eat.
Firstly we checked out the buffet restaurants. On most Princess ships they are called The Horizon Court but on the Majestic Princess they were called the World Fresh Marketplace Buffet and Bistro and had an extension area called The Bakery. They were two large adjoining areas. One area had the usual traditional Princess furnishings and decor, and the other area, where The Bakery was situated, was lighter in style and more modern. This was the best place to go if you were in a hurry or wanted a casual, self help meal or snack.
Breakfast at the buffet was the usual hotel style breakfast fare catering for many nationalities, with probably everything you could wish for, including an egg cooking station, but we found it was often a struggle to find a table at breakfast time. Other breakfast options were to go to the Allegro Dining Room and have your breakfast served at your table or order it the night before and spoil yourself with room service for an exotic breakfast on your balcony.
At lunch and dinner we felt the food at the buffet was sometimes a bit tired looking or not hot enough or maybe dried out under the heat lamps. It was perfectly edible, but probably because of the large number of guests, the food was a bit ‘cafeteria style’ looking, as opposed to the better and more tempting presentations on the buffets on mid sized ships.
We usually ate dinner at the elegant Concerto or Allegro Dining serviced restaurants and both the food and service were always excellent. There were two specialty restaurants for those who wanted a gourmet experience. A nominal charge was made for dining at these restaurants. The menus and food for both restaurants were designed by Michelin star chefs. Harmony Restaurant featured modern Cantonese style food and La Mer featured French cuisine. The other fee paying restaurant was the Crown Grill; a steakhouse offering delicious steak and prawns and Surf n Turf type dishes.
But wait! There’s more, much more! Alfredo’s Pizzeria served pizzas and some Italian dishes. Outside by the pools there was Chopsticks Noodles Bar, Swirls Ice cream & pop corn kiosk and a Lobster Grill which also served burgers and hot dogs.
And last, but not least, our favourite for coffee and decadent treats, the small International Cafe which served specialty coffee and teas and was open 24 hours. The cabinet food of pastries, salads and paninis changes during the course of the day.
We were only glad that we didn’t discover the delicious fresh Nutella- oozing breakfast doughnuts until our last day or we would have disembarked considerably heavier than when we boarded!