the art of cruise dining

princess cruise formal night

during our 7-day southern caribbean cruise, the highlight for me, as is with any of the cruises i’ve been on with princess, is the attention to detail the waiters and assistant waiters will surpass to make sure you are not just well fed, but very well served.

i have heard a lot of people who haven’t cruised complain about the dress code in the traditional dining rooms. and i have to say to them, “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!”

yes, it is a pure pain in the ass to pack for a cruise. especially if you have a family like mine… of course, chaeli is still too young to pack for herself but i had to go out and buy my husband a couple of more pairs of smart casual pants without the big pockets down the side (he owns a few pairs of cargo pants and shorts but no other types of pants when jeans are not allowed).

but when you get to the traditional dining rooms, it is all worth the trouble. to add, if you are planning on going in the near future, choose fixed dining. that’s the only way you get the same waiter and assistant waiter (and head waiter) night after night. yes, you do give up your flexibility to choose when you want to dine but in all honesty, it is the traditional way of cruising and it is what you pay for – the service!

open-style dining is what we’ve tried once and i’ll never go back to it. the service can not compare to what you get when you have the same team of professionals get to know you.

by the third night, chaeli’s glass of milk was already waiting for her when she arrived. the assistant waiter didn’t have to ask how i take my coffee. they always knew to put my balsamic dressing on the side. these are the things they look out for – these are the things they are trained to do.

before you think that this sounds all so elitist, let me assure you, these people were never ‘our servants’. i never saw them that way. i saw them as professionals who knew how to serve. there’s a big difference. they show great attitude and complete pride with how they do their job.

it was a form of art.

doug commented, “she even knows how much room you need for cream in your coffee.”

i responded quite quickly, “yes, she does. after only a couple of nights, too. you’ve known me for over ten years and you still leave no room in my coffee!”

and as far as dressing in nicer clothes (as well as the two formal nights where all were dressed to the nines), while it sounds like an ordeal, the experience is something to try out. it may not be for everyone but for those who have not experienced it, try not to scoff at the idea. in the end, you might be surprised how much fun it is.

to add, our stateroom steward was equally, if not more, attentive. i have only the utmost respect for these people. their jobs are not easy but they make it look easy.

at the end of the week, on top of their daily tips, i gave each of the three main people an extra tip as well as a written reccommendation for them to get the employee of the month status (and just positive feedback for the records). if they reach a certain amount of recommendations, they receive extra time off.

and it is time off that they deserve.


5 thoughts on “the art of cruise dining

  1. Cruises are so great! We loved Disney Cruise line a lot out of all we’ve been on. When we left, it was sort of a shock because I got used to how they were treating me like a celebrity. Plus, things were always immaculate onboard-then when we went to Disney and I saw trash around and dirty glass doors, I was disgusted. We were spoiled for sure. šŸ˜›

    • we would love to cruise with disney one day! i’m actually a huge disney world fan – been there with my own family three times. the service that disney provides is outstanding. i believe you when you say you felt a bit shocked leaving the world of disney. i always feel that way after a disney world trip (especially as we stay in a disney resort). it’s hard to find good customer service comparable to that of disney.

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