Woman Unhappy in Front of Cruise Buffet

8 Cruise Buffet Mistakes You’ll Regret Making

You know how amazing the cruise ship buffets are! But did you know that there are some common mistakes that can ruin your buffet experience? Today, I’m sharing with you some common cruise buffet mistakes that you’ll definitely want to avoid. Trust me, you’ll thank me later! Also, below I’m giving you my travel loyalty program tracker as a free printable (I use it to keep track of all the cruise, airline and hotel loyalty numbers and password!)

Cruise Buffet Mistakes to Avoid

1. Missing Out on the Cooked-to-Order Station

One of the mistakes that new cruisers make when they are at the cruise buffet is they miss out on the cooked-to-order station. They don’t realize that there are omelet and waffle stations during breakfast, or wok and pasta stations for lunch and dinner. 

These stations are my personal favorites because the food is made fresh, right in front of you. Trust me, it tastes so much better than the food that’s been sitting out on the buffet table for a while. If you’re looking for fresh buffet food, make sure to order from the made-to-order stations.  

Also, don’t be afraid to improvise and customize your cooked-to-order meal. For example, I like to get smoked salmon from the cold section and ask the cook to add it to my made-to-order omelet! 

2. Not Scoping Out the Entire Buffet Line

The buffet on a cruise ship is usually massive and covers an entire deck. Each section of the buffet has different types of food, so don’t assume that one side is the same as the other. In fact, cruise lines often have themed dishes on one side and another type of food on the other. 

I once made the mistake of not exploring the entire buffet during a Princess cruise. On the last day, I discovered a section with tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa, and I was so sad to have missed out on unlimited guac and chips! 

So, my advice is to make the most of your cruise buffet experience by checking out the entire buffet. Don’t miss out by settling for just one section.

Cruise buffet mistakes to avoid

3. Missing Out on Theme Nights

It’s unfortunate that cruisers often miss out on the fun buffet theme nights. I know most people prefer to dine in the main dining room for dinner and skip the buffet that evening. 

But did you know you can do both? If there’s a theme night that looks interesting, why not eat there too? You could eat in the main dining room and then drop by the buffet to check it out. 

Personally, I like to go to the buffet to graze and have a little snack so that I can sample the buffet theme night. I’m always on the lookout for the sushi night, I’ll usually have an early dinner first at the main dining room, then go to an activity, and then head up to the buffet to have a few sushi. Some might find this excessive, but I’m a foodie and I just can’t resist trying out the different dishes!

3. Not Eating Outside

One of the things that people miss out on at the cruise buffet is they tend to eat inside. Next time you go to the cruise buffet, you might want to try dining outside on the deck. 

Many cruise ships have tables set up outside, and it’s a real treat to sit outside and take in the sunshine and ocean breeze. I know it’s a bit of a walk to the buffet line, but trust me, it’s worth it! 

It’s a unique experience that you can only enjoy on a cruise ship- have your buffet lunch while soaking up some sun and admiring the beautiful views!

4. Going to the Buffet on Embarkation Day

One common mistake that many cruisers make is heading straight to the buffet on embarkation day. While it may seem like a good idea, the buffet on embarkation day is as bad as it can get—hectic and stressful. Everyone else has the same idea, so the buffet is extremely crowded, and finding a table can be a challenge. 

I made this mistake on a Norwegian Cruise once. I was juggling my tray of food, carry-on bag, and trying to keep an eye on my toddler—it was a very stressful experience! 

So, to avoid this chaos, I suggest skipping the buffet on embarkation day and heading to the main dining room or one of the other restaurants that are open. You’ll have a much more relaxed and enjoyable dining experience – trust me!

5. Missing Out on the Free Juice at Breakfast

It’s easy to assume that you have to pay for juice at the cruise buffet, but the truth is that there are free beverages available. Many people miss out on this.

Most people don’t realize that there are more free drinks served during breakfast than during lunch and dinner. For example, at breakfast, you can typically get free orange juice, apple juice, and cranberry juice, while at lunch and dinner, only the iced tea and lemonade are free. 

To avoid missing out, ask the buffet servers about the complimentary drinks during breakfast (every cruise line is different). 

Don’t forget to bring an insulated water bottle with you if you want to have juice throughout the day. That’s actually what I do! Just refill your bottle with juice, and you’ll have a refreshing drink on hand whenever you need it.

Cruise buffet mistakes to avoid

6. Going to Do the Buffet During Peak Times

One common mistake that cruisers make is going to the buffet during peak meal times, which can be overwhelming with the crowd. To make your buffet experience more pleasant, try going early or late. This way, you can avoid the rush and enjoy your meal in a more relaxed atmosphere. Check out: 10 Food I’ll Never Eat at a Cruise Buffet

7. Eating Too Much at the Buffet

One mistake that people make at the cruise buffet is they overeat. To avoid this, it’s important to pace yourself and not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of food available. 

If you don’t pace yourself you can end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. 

It can ruin the rest of your day! So definitely pace yourself. Instead of serving yourself a full portion, scoop a sample size instead. That way, you can enjoy a variety of dishes without feeling too full or wasting any food. Trust me, your stomach will thank you later!

16 Cruise Ship Embarkation Hack (How to Board the Ship Faster)

Free Loyalty Program Tracker

Get Your Free Travel Loyalty Program Tracker

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it to keep track of all the loyalty numbers and passwords of various cruise, airline and hotel loyalty programs. I hope you like it!

Cruise Loyalty Program Tracker

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