21 Foods You’ll Probably Only Ever Try on a Cruise!

If you ask seasoned cruisers, many will tell you that the available dining options when onboard are a major selling point when they come to book their stint on the sea.

After all, as the saying goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his belly – and ladies do love to lunch!


When you’re at sea, with as much food as you can eat thrown in, you can afford to be adventurous with your plate choices and if you don’t like something, just send it back and try something else instead!

If you are in the mood for some daring dining, there are plenty of things on cruise line menus that you may not have tried before.


Some are nice, some are naughty and some are just plain peculiar but there’s no excuse not to try them all!


1 – Bison Burgers

It’s not really something that we see in the UK but American liners, such as Disney, offer bison burgers as standard.

Did you know a bison burger is healthier than a beef burger?

So not only are you tucking into the rear end of a buffalo for the first time but it’ll be kinder to your waistline – something many of us could really do with when most of the food on a cruise is included in the price!


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2 – Escargot

AKA snails.

Don’t eat the shell though, just the inside bit!

If you’re sailing with Azamara, book yourself into the Aqualina restaurant to try a plateful of these French culinary favourites, in a different way.

There’s no classic garlic butter with these snails – just aubergine caviar for some earthy tones or dine in the Qsine restaurant onboard Celebrity and you can enjoy a lobster and escargot fritter, bringing together two shells of the sea and the soil – interesting!

Kinda gross, but interesting.

Do you think they’d allow you to take away any of the snail slime in a doggy bag?

It’s good for your skin, apparently!


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3 – A Pizza the Action

Everybody loves pizza, right?

Well the good news is that most cruise lines serve up a decent slice.

On Carnival Cruises, Pizzeria del Capitano boasts a brick oven and is open 24/7, so you can get a pizza the action whenever you get the craving.



4 – Carpaccio

If you like the sound of steak so raw it’s pretty much mooing, topped with a raw egg, carpaccio might just be your thing!

You can find it at the Prime C restaurant onboard the Azamara ships.

You don’t get a choice of how it’s cooked though because it doesn’t even see a grill!

However, it melts in the mouth and despite all the rawness is highly rated among hard-core food fans.


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5 – Calamari

Salt and pepper squid, anybody?

Don’t worry – you won’t be inked

Perhaps some octopus sashimi, onboard Crystal Cruises, may be more your thing?

With Nobu Matsuhisa at the handle of the ceramic knife in the Silk Road kitchen, you can guarantee it’ll be the best quality and perfectly prepared.

There’s nothing like a lovely bowl of tentacles to get the evening off to a great start – and you’re a sucker if you think otherwise!


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6 – Sushi Lollipops

And speaking of suckers…

These aren’t as weird as they sound but if you like the idea of sushi rolls being served to you on a stick, then the Qsine restaurant onboard some of the Celebrity fleet is the place to go.

Licking them may not be as effective as using chopsticks or a fork, though.



7 – Ham and Cheese Croissant-wich

These tasty morsels are a legend in their own time on Royal Caribbean, with repeat cruisers knowing to head to the 24/7 Café Promenade for their fix.

A savoury croissant filled with ham and cheese and topped with lettuce, tomato, mustard and mayo, the croissant-wich looks innocent enough but just one can be enough to form a cruise-long addiction.


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8 – Chocolate Buffet

It’s not weird but it is wonderful and wicked, all at the same time.

Imagine – a whole buffet cart, dedicated to chocolate and you don’t even need a golden ticket to try it.

Need we say more?

You can find this magical trolley on the Jewel and Sun class NCL ships – just get there early before the chocolaty sculptures are devoured and grab a snapshot before you tuck in.

Be careful though!

Go too crazy and you’ll be looking like Bruce Bogtrotter and saying goodbye to your closet of fitted pantsuits!




9 – Milk and Cookies

Not just any old milk and cookies – the ice cold milk and fresh-baked soft cookies that will be served to you poolside on Princess Cruises.

This little treat will save your liver from yet another cocktail and make you feel like a cosseted child again.


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10 – Fresh Donuts

We don’t care what anyone says, donuts are a holiday essential, whether you’re at the seaside or cruising the Caribbean.

On the pier-style Boardwalk on RCI Oasis class ships you’ll find a sweet little donut shop where the sugary treats are gratis and you can forget getting bored with plain old jam, ring or custard donuts – the rotating flavours here include Passion Fruit Glazed, Key Lime and Nutty Nougat.

Try to resist taking a box full at a time.



11 – A Guy Burger

Fine dining’s all well and good but sometimes what you really fancy is a big, meaty, juicy burger.

Let US celebrity chef Guy Fieri satisfy your cravings in a BIG way at Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival. With extras including donkey sauce, brown sugar BBQ sauce, super melty cheese and a Rojo ring, it’s a burger experience that you won’t find at your local drive-through.


 Video of Guy's Burger Joint

Video: Guy’s Burger on Royal Caribbean Cruise


12 – Sashimi

You’re sailing on the ocean – the least you should do is try some of the stuff that swims in it!

With sashimi, you don’t even have to worry about waiting for it to be cooked either!

Raw fish, such as salmon, yellowfin tuna and amberjack can be found on many of the sushi restaurant menus and is a great thing to try if you can get your head around the idea of eating a piece of fish that hasn’t even seen a searing pan.

NCL offers a decent sashimi selection on its sushi and sashimi menu but the king of sashimi can be found on Crystal Cruises at Silk Road.


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13 – Eel

No, not jellied like you’d find in an East End market.

Freshwater eel is one of the weirder things found on the Bonsai Sushi menu, onboard the Carnival liners.

It comes in a roll, alongside some BBQ eggplant (aubergine, to us Brits), tamago (Japanese egg omelette) and panko breadcrumbs.

The Celebrity Silk Harvest restaurant serves a similar freshwater eel (Unagi) roll. Chopsticks are optional but be safe in the knowledge that the eel won’t slither away if you do need to ask for a fork.


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14 – Crème Brulee

Ok, on the surface, this sounds pretty normal, so what makes it a must-try?

The fact that it’s served in an eggshell, hidden in a basket made of grass, that’s what!

Book into the ‘fun food’ Qsine restaurant on one of the several Celebrity ships that host it (including the Eclipse, Silhouette and Reflection) and you can enjoy this weird and wonderful spin on a classic French dessert.

You could do with some shortbread soldiers to dunk in it though… chef!!



15 – Modern Indian

We Brits love a good curry and being a great British cruise line, P&O know this.

They’ve brought Michelin-starred master of the madras Atul Kochhar onboard as one of their five Food Heroes and you can expect more than your usual massala, rice and naan at his Sindhu restaurants.

Mains on the menu (found on Azura and Britannia) include Goan Style pan roasted Lobster and Trio of Duck…………………. as well as a Lamb Rogan Josh for traditionalists.


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16 – Caviar

Mmmmmm… raw fish eggs, yum!

Caviar is said to be a rich man’s delicacy and can be tried on Celebrity cruises at the Murano restaurant (found onboard the Eclipse, Solstice and Equinox).

You even get a choice of caviar – Golden Osetra or Sevruga – aren’t you the lucky cruiser?

Even luckier are those booked onto a Seabourn Caribbean cruise that can enjoy champagne and caviar served in the surf, from a surfboard. Yep, really!



17 – Foie Gras

The Prime 7 restaurant onboard the Regent Seven Seas cruises serves foie gras with rhubarb chutney – what better way to bring out the flavour of plump goose liver than with a fruit that dinner ladies used to force you to eat?

Don’t worry though, this rhubarb will be ripe and mouth-wateringly tasty.

Can you bring yourself to try this controversial delicacy?


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18 – A Breakfast Burrito

Forget bacon and eggs or a bowl of soggy cornflakes.

Spice up your breakfast onboard with a breakfast burrito!

Carnival do a really good one at Seaday Brunch, as well as Fat Stack Pancakes, the Funniest French Toast and Loaded Mac n Cheese.

That little lot should keep you going until lunch – Lunch the next day!



19 – Liquid Lobster

Disappear down the rabbit hole in Wonderland on RCI’s Quantum of the Seas and this is just one of the magical treats waiting to be tasted.

As well as ‘Drink Me’ fish courses, you’ll also find truffled egg still in its shell, spearmint cotton candy, olive ice cream and espresso air.

Don’t be late!


 Video: Royal Caribbean's New Wonderland Dining

Video: Royal Caribbean’s New Wonderland Dining


20 – Best Shake at Sea

When is a milkshake not just a milkshake?

When it’s from the Carnival Shake Spot!

Choose between the ‘Black and White’, the ‘Strawberry Creamsicle’, the ‘Island Delight’ and more shakes, floats and spiked shakes than you can shake an extra wide straw at.



21 – Something Michelin-Starred

Ok so you won’t find Michelin-starred restaurants at sea but you will find Michelin-starred chefs, whether they’re in residence or have developed the menu.

Disney has French wonder chef Arnaud Lallement, P&O has Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar, RCI has Michael Schwartz and Cunard has Jean-Marie Zimmermann – all of which have struck fear into many a Michelin-starred kitchen.

Chances to dine on menus created and executed by the finest chefs in the world are rare – and expensive – so make the most of the opportunity to dine like a real foodie on your cruise, usually for a small supplement or for free!



So go on…be brave!

Be adventurous!

Be greedy!

How many times will you have the opportunity to eat and experience so many different tastes (unless you’re a frequent cruiser with an appetite for something other than the typical British meat and two veg diet, anyway!)?

The onboard chefs are among the best in the world, including household names like Marco Pierre White on P&O, Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz on Royal Caribbean and Nobu Matsuhisa on Crystal, so if anyone can get you to enjoy escargot, eel and fish eggs, they can!

Or you could just stick with the pizza and donuts.

Your cruise, your choice!


Big Ships vs. Small Ships

Big Ships vs. Small Ships: the Pros and Cons of Cruise Ship Size

allure of the seas cruise ship sailsToo big or not too big? That’s the question for a lot of cruisers thinking of trying a ship of a different size, whether they’re newbies or old salts. With mega-vessels featuring a dizzying number of amenities, dining choices and entertainment options, and small ships offering a more intimate and often exclusive experience, the size decision can be a difficult one.

We’ve compiled a list of elements to consider before making a choice about whether bigger is better or small is the way to go. Check out our pros and cons below.

Editor’s Note: For the purposes of this article, we’re considering “small” ships to be any vessel carrying 1,599 or fewer passengers and “big” ships to be anything with a passenger capacity of 1,600 or more.

Big Ships

Number of Passengers

kids cook as part of activity on celebrity reflectionPro: If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a crowd, a big ship is the place to do it. With some ships — like those in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class — carrying more than 5,000 passengers per sailing, it’s unlikely you’ll run into the same folks twice during a week long voyage. With so many bars, lounges and out-of-the-way nooks and crannies, it’s easy to find a spot for yourself, but those who like to constantly meet new people will particularly find mega-ships appealing.

Con: Sailing on what’s essentially a floating city can be overwhelming and likely won’t feel intimate. On large ships with poor layouts, lines for everything from the buffet to the theatre can be long, and good luck finding a deck chair by the pool.

Dining Options

geoffrey zakarian restaurant ocean blue on norwegian ncl breakawayPro: If you’re easily bored with eating in the same dining room every night, large ships provide lots of options to switch it up. On larger vessels, you can have sushi one night, Italian the next, French the following evening and seafood or steak the day after that. The possibilities are almost endless, which is a plus for anybody who’s a picky eater (or anybody who’s travelling with one).

Con: Chances are good that you’ll end up shelling out extra cash to dine at least a couple of the alternative eateries. Reservations can be difficult to come by for some of the more exclusive options; if you’re dying to try one in particular, book before you board.

Entertainment Offerings

princess theater on regal princess cruise shipPro: Larger ships boast more bells and whistles, so it follows naturally that they present more entertainment options. From comedians, game shows and Broadway revues to magicians, movies and dinner theatre productions, there’s something to keep just about everyone busy.

Con: Sometimes it’s difficult to decide where you want to be and what you want to do. Should I catch the movie on the pool deck or head to the lounge for karaoke? If I miss the show tonight, can I see it again during this sailing? Also, a select few events do carry an additional fee to attend, which can be a drawback.


the waterslide on carnival breeze cruise shipPro: Add ropes courses, skydiving and innovative water slides to the host of options that keep passengers busy onboard. Because larger ships offer something for just about everyone, they’re often a solid choice anyone who’s easily bored, couples or groups with varied interests and multi-generational groups. (Think bingo for grandma and grandpa, dinner shows for mom and dad, and innovative children’s programming for the kids.)

Con: As is the case with a large selection of entertainment options, having too many activity choices can make any cruiser’s head spin.

Small Ships

Number of Passengers

people sit under a sail on island windjammers diamantPro: Small ships, by definition, carry fewer passengers. You’ll likely see the same faces over and over on a daily basis and get to know them exceedingly well by the end of your sailing.

Con: If you’re someone who prefers to keep a low profile, a vessel with a larger passenger count is probably a better bet. On a smaller ship, a handful of annoying passengers can make or break a trip.

Dining Options

a dining room onboard regent seven seas marinerPro: Many small ships, due to their limited space, have only one main dining room for meals, and they generally don’t allow for anything other than eating at set times with set table mates. (Others might have alternative eateries, but they’re limited.)

Con: Menu options can be slim, especially with a shortage of alternative restaurants. If you’re someone who likes variety, you might have trouble finding it on a smaller vessel.

Entertainment Offerings

empty theater on seabourn questPro: You won’t find much in the way of casinos, theatre productions or magicians, but that leaves room for more educational pursuits. Small ships often provide enrichment seminars on everything from photography to local culture. Sometimes local performers are brought on board to entertain, as well. Think historians, musicians and dancers.

Con: If history and culture aren’t of interest to you, you might have trouble finding something to occupy your time on board. Be prepared to bring some reading material.


spin bikes and balls fitness center gym on azamara journeyPro: Because small ships don’t offer the plethora of amenities that large ships do, the sailings they provide focus mainly on the destinations they visit, rather than the vessels themselves. That means excursions are key, and they often focus on the history and culture of a region, making it easy for cruisers to immerse themselves in their surroundings and learn a lot about the places on which they call. Also, due to their tinier size, small ships can call on more remote ports that can’t accommodate mega-ships.

Con: Marathon shore excursions can leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. Prepare to spend a day on board relaxing and taking it easy if it gets to be too hectic.