Cruise Main Dining Room

9 Cruise Main Dining Room Mistakes You’ll Regret Making

Are you going on a cruise? One of the best parts of cruising is the luxurious dining experience in the main dining room—fancy white tablecloths, bread baskets, attentive servers, and amazing food. However, many cruisers make common mistakes that can spoil their dining experience and, in turn, their cruise experience. 

Cruise Main Dining Room Mistakes

1. Ordering a Complicated Cocktail for Dinner

One common mistake I’ve noticed people make when dining at the main restaurant is ordering complicated drinks or cocktails for dinner. I must admit, I’m guilty of this myself since I want to get my money’s worth out of the beverage package. However, time and again, I’ve realized that ordering a complicated drink takes an eternity and often doesn’t taste as good as when you order from the bar. 

The reason for this is that your assistant server will either have to make the drink or go to a different location to get it, which can result in a subpar drink that takes too long to get to your table. So, my advice is to avoid ordering complicated cocktails and get them from the bar instead! This way, you’ll enjoy a well-made drink and without the long wait.

Cruise Main Dining Room

2. Not Knowing You Can Order as Much as You Can

Many first time cruisers don’t realize that they can order as much food as they want in the main dining room. Instead, they think they are limited to only a 3 course dinner. The truth is, the food is unlimited! 

So, if you see 2 appetizers that you like, go ahead and order them both. You can also order multiple main courses. 

What I usually do is order two appetizers and one main course and split another main course with my husband. Fortunately, the portions are not so big, so ordering more than three courses is manageable.

3. Not Coordinating Dishes as a Table

One common mistake many cruisers make is not coordinating their food order as a table. By that, I mean that it’s a good idea to discuss with everyone at the table how many appetizers and entrees they are planning to order. 

For example, if everyone decides to order two appetizers and one entree, then everyone should do the same. If you are the only person at the table with one appetizer and one entree, you will end up waiting when everyone else is having that extra appetizer. 

You want to make sure that everyone is in sync and has the same number of courses. Trust me, I’ve been there in my earlier days as a cruiser and wished I had ordered an extra course so that I didn’t have to sit there and watch other people eat.

4. Not Making Dinner Reservations

One of the most common mistakes cruisers make is not making dinner reservations. Even if you’re on a laid-back cruise, it’s always better to be on the safe side. If you don’t make dinner reservations, you’ll end up standing in line for a table. And during peak dinner hours, the wait can be painfully long. 

It’s best to make reservations for every day of your cruise as soon as you board the ship. I know that it can be difficult to commit to a specific dinner time, but you can estimate your dining time based on your daily activities. Trust me, this small effort will save you from the hassle of standing in line for a table!

Cruise Main Dining Room

5. Missing the Big Nights

It’s important to find out when the big nights are on your cruise, such as Captain’s Dinner and Farewell Dinner. These special evenings are when the main dining room serves the best food, with premium dishes like lobster and surf and turf, as well as fancier desserts like baked Alaska. 

On these big nights, the servers might even do a line dance or march out with your baked Alaska dessert! It’s always a fun and entertaining evening! 

Don’t miss out on these big nights, make sure you are dining at the main dining room and not at a specialty restaurant or the buffet. The main dining room is where you’ll want to be!

6. Not Having a Backup Plan

It’s always a good idea to have a few backup dishes, just in case you don’t find anything you like on the menu. On most cruises, the main dining room menu rotates daily based on a specific theme, but there are a few dishes that are offered every night. 

I suggest testing out some of the dishes offered daily, so you know which ones you like. They can be your backup dishes in case you are not happy with any of the dishes on the rotating menu.

For example, if there’s nothing particularly appealing on the menu that day, my backup order is usually Shrimp Cocktail, French Onion Soup and New York strip steak! 

7. Not Telling Your Server About Food Allergies

If you have food allergies, it’s important to tell your server on the first day of your cruise. They will make food that are safe for you to eat without any risk of cross-contamination. You will be able to place your order in advance so that the dish can be prepared exclusively for you. 

For example, my son has a nut allergy, and we always receive the menu ahead of time. We go through the menu for the next day and place his order. This way, he gets his food specially prepared, and it’s safe for him to eat without cross contamination.

8. Not Making Dinner Reservations if You’re a Big Group

One common mistake that people make when cruising with a big group is they don’t make dinner reservations. If you’re traveling with a large group, it’s really important to book dinner reservations ahead of time. 

You can’t just show up and expect to get a table for your party. First of all, it’s harder to get a table for a big group, and you’ll end up waiting for a long time to be seated. You may even end up having to split your group up just so you can get seated sooner. 

Imagine having to deal with this long wait every single evening! Save yourself from the hassle and make your main dining room dinner reservation for every day of the cruise.

9. Arriving Late for Dinner

One common mistake people make is arriving to dinner late. I admit that I’ve been guilty of this many times before, showing up late to my 6:30 pm dinner reservation. The issue with this is that you will feel rushed because they have another party coming in.

This can make it difficult to truly relax and enjoy your dinner. To avoid this, I suggest that if you’re running late, skip the main dining room and head to the buffet instead. This way, you can still enjoy your dinner without feeling pressured and rushed.

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