Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Cruise Diaries--Eating My Way Through The Caribbean

For good reason, cruises have a reputation as a giant floating buffet. On our ship, the Voyager of the Seas, we had these food options included in our fare:
  • Three meals a day in the Dining Room.  
  • And three meals a day in the Windjammer Café
  • Nonstop snacks and coffee at the Café Promenade
  • 24/7 room service
  • Soft-serve ice cream machines with boxes of cones just waiting to be filled
In addition to the standing options, there was also one poolside Late Night Buffet, and poolside lunches on some days at sea. And options you could pay extra for, like a fancy dining room, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and hamburgers and fries at Johnny Rockets.

There was alcohol available.  Lots of it.  Anytime you walked into a bar or sat on the pool deck it didn't take long before a waiter came by and asked you if you wanted a drink.  No worries if you declined the first time; it seemed like they came by every ten minutes or so.

Before left, I'd read on the Internet that the average weight gain on a cruise was 5 pounds. I was NOT going to be that person!  The morning we left I stepped on the scale and noted the result.  The morning after we got home I repeated the process, and was overjoyed to find out I hadn't gained a pound.  I can't believe I didn't, because I ate WAY more than I usually do.

Most mornings we ate breakfast at the Windjammer buffet.  It had every breakfast food you could think of: several types of eggs, potatoes hashed and fried, multiple types of breakfast meat, waffles, pancakes, bagels, and pastries. There was also cold cereal and a nice selection of fresh fruit (cut up strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon, bananas, oranges, and apples).  The first day I had a hot breakfast, but on the second day I discovered there was an urn of oatmeal in the middle of the line.  For the rest of the week my go-to breakfast was a bowl of oats with raisins and brown sugar along with a bowl of fruit. Sometimes I added a small pastry, or grabbed a piece of bacon as I passed that part of the line.

Three of the seven days we were in port for lunch.  I ate what was offered, including dessert.  On the at-sea days, we moved around for the mid-day meal--a couple of times in the dining room, once in the Windjammer, and once for BBQ on the pool deck.  I tried to include a large salad or a lot of vegetables with each meal, sometimes choosing a vegetarian option.

Most days I had at least one between-meal snack in the promenade, but tried to make it a cup of fruit.  However, I have to confess that the small sandwiches they offered were pretty darn good, and the pizza wasn't too bad either.  Once when I got hungry in the late afternoon (we didn't have dinner until 8:00), I was at the Windjammer for a salad when the dinner buffet opened at 5:00.

We ate dinner in the dining room every night. The menu was divided into appetizers (cold and hot), salads, and entrees. The dessert menu came separately, after the main course. Each night I'd order an appetizer, a salad, and a main dish. I NEVER passed on dessert!

I discovered the Vitality food choices at dinner the first night. Several of the menu items were starred, indicating they were low-calorie and healthy. I didn't go out of my way to order these choices, but if I'd narrowed a course down to one of two items, and one was from the Vitality menu that's the one I'd get. I also limited the bread I ate. For meals in the dining room, a waiter came by several times with basket containing an assortment of breads. I'd choose something whole grain, and not have seconds.

(For the most part I drank coffee, tea, or water, with an occasional lemonade thrown in, which also had the nice side effect of keeping our shipboard charge account low.)


  1. good idea to limit the bread. I'm staring at a yummy carrot cake right now and decided to have melba toast for breakfast!

  2. I have never, ever been on a cruise, but it's not because I don't want to - it's just that my hubby flat out refuses to go on one (sigh).. from reading this, I reckon I may just have to go on one with my sister, instead - you've verified one of the excellent reasons why I MUST take one!