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What are my food options on cruise ship?

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There’s so much choice!


On our cruise we had set dining times of either 5.30pm or 7.45pm which you request at the time of booking. For us, we found that after a day on shore, and then some time by the pool that the later dining time worked best for us.  We weren’t limited by the late choice as we were able to enjoy a cheese board and an evening drink before we went to our meal time.

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A couple of the nights they changed to open dining – this was on days where there was a late departure from the port so there was no need to rush back to the ship for your sitting, and you could also enjoy the ‘sail away’. Some cruises will always have open dining for the whole cruise in the main dining room, but it is common in the Japan market that they are set.

 Our 8 night cruise had 2 formal nights (in the set dining room).  It can often be a daunting task when packing for a cruise what to take when you read ‘formal”. Taking your evening gown when the cruise is a small portion of a much bigger holiday can seem like to a lot of space in your bag.  As a guide to expectations;

Formal Evenings – Evening gown, cocktail dress or elegant pant suit for women. Tuxedo, dark suit or dinner jacket and slacks for men

For any other Smart Casual Evenings the dress code is a bit more relaxed – Skirt/dresses and sweaters for ladies.  Pants and open neck shirt for men.

In any of the dining areas (except around the pool) there is a minimum dress expectation - no pool or beach attire, shorts, ball caps and shoes must be worn. 

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You’re not totally locked into a set dining experience though, you can still dine at any time in the buffet restaurant, which on our ship was open from 5am -11pm. The food types are changed out depending on the time of day.  There is a huge selection of fruit, hot dishes, and deserts etc. In other parts of the ship (generally near the pools!) We also enjoyed pizza, burgers/fries and icecream all day from 10am too.  And there is also a specialty Steakhouse, Italian and Sushi restaurant on board (these have an additional charge)

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Tea, coffee, water and lemon drink were readily available free of charge. Bars are open from 10am for soft drinks and alcohol. The bar items are charged back to your cruise card (to shipboard account), or off your drinks package if you have pre-purchased this.


The great thing about cruising is that you do have a choice.  If you love getting dressed up and enjoying an evening out then the formal nights may hold great appeal.  If you want a bit more of a casual feel to your cruise then you can use the other dining options that evening – there really is something for everyone. 

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