These 8 Cruise Lines Have The BEST Food

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Cruises can be an excellent way to experience some of the world’s best food. Whether you are a food enthusiast or prefer a relaxed buffet, there’s something for everyone. But which cruise lines have the best food?

eating food on balcony of a cruise ship

Before moving onto the list, some background is important. The cruise lines listed aren’t just my personal opinion. I’ve cruised a lot and experienced many of the cruise lines mentioned below. But I’ve also read the reviews from the top cruise websites and forums, which are unbiased and full of honest customer opinions.

From this, I’ve put together the eight cruise lines that have the best food. Read on to find out more.

Which Cruise Line Has The Best Food?

The cruise lines with the best food include Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Viking River Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. However, each cruise line has its unique selling point, from how the food is presented, the ingredients used and the variety of food. 

The definition of “best food” varies based on individual taste, budget, and dietary restrictions. Therefore, exploring different options that cater to your specific needs is important. Read on to find out more.

1. Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises have some of the best guest reviews regarding food. They offer luxury food, but they also have a few relaxed options too. They clearly show their commitment to providing the best dining experience at sea.

Alongside the main dining room are several speciality restaurants, including Toscana for Italian cuisine, the Polo Grill, its signature steakhouse and Red Ginger, for Pan-Asian dishes. And there is no additional charge for any of these speciality dining rooms.

Polo Grill
Polo Grill

Guests have reported that the menus are diverse, with a choice of regional dishes and classic cuisines with fantastic presentation.

However, if nothing on the menu meets your needs, you can have your meals made to order. This is particularly great if you have any special dietary requirements, such as allergies or if you are vegetarian or vegan.

Polo Grill's Pork Belly
Polo Grill’s Pork Belly

2. Seabourn

Next, the ultimate ultra-luxury cruise line, Seabourn. They are a member of one of the world’s most prestigious gastronomic and fine-dining societies – the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

Every dining venue onboard presents its unique ambience and a variety of dishes. Yet, they all share a common theme, using the best ingredients and the finest culinary techniques.

Food on Seabourn Encore, The Colonnade

Guests have reported the delicious food, served in beautiful settings with flawless service. Others have expressed that their partnership with American chef Thomas Keller also sets Seabourn apart, which brings a unique “wow” factor to their dining. 

The Grill by Thomas Keller Seabourn Encore
The Grill by Thomas Keller

The main dining area and a few other restaurants cater for vegetarians and vegan diets. However, if you have any special dietary requirements, there is an option to pre-order. You can contact Guest Services before the cruise, so they can ensure there are enough raw ingredients for the chefs to work with and to enable them to be creative and vary the meals during your trip. 

3. Celebrity Cruises

Year after year, Celebrity Cruises frequently win several food awards, such as the Cruiseline Member Choice Awards for food and dining.

With various choices, each ship has a vast selection of restaurants, from the impressive Main Dining Room to the laid-back Oceanview Cafe. For a bit extra, the speciality restaurants offer options from Tuscan Grille’s Italian classics to Sushi on Five’s Japanese delights.

Oceanview Cafe
Oceanview Cafe

And that’s not all, Celebrity offers an innovative dining experience at ‘Le Petit Chef’, merging technology with gastronomy. Imagine your dinner table transforming into an immersive experience where a mini chef prepares your meal – a 3D animation show on your table whilst your food is being prepared. Reviews have reported that this is also great fun for kids too.

Le Petit Chef
Le Petit Chef

With a wide variety of food, there’s a choice to cater to everyone, ensuring all dietary requirements are met. You can also pass your requests on to the chefs, who are happy to create something just for you.

4. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is one of the leading cruise lines for fine dining. Their restaurants offer a mix of styles, including food from around the world, comforting home-style food and top gourmet meals with specially selected flavours.

They have also worked with many top chefs, such as Curtis Stone and Ernesto Uchimura, who have created some award-winning burgers.

Princess Cruises noodles
I loved these noodles on Enchanted Princess

One of the best experiences guests have noted is that Princess Cruises offers a “Chef’s Table Experience” (on Royal Class Ships). Here you get a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen, followed by a multi-course tastings dinner with wine pairings. 

Princess Chef’s Table
Chef’s Table

If you have any special dietary requirements, Princess Cruises has a range of food for everyone. As with many cruise lines, some have noted that the choices can be repetitive, however, in the main dining room, the chefs are more than happy to meet your needs.

5. Viking River Cruises

Many Viking River Cruises food reviews describe the focus on local dishes, exceptional quality, and variety, with the whole experience exceeding expectations. They have destination-focused dining made with fresh ingredients inspired by your port of call.

Viking river cruise ship

There are also plenty of restaurant choices, including speciality restaurants, which are all complimentary. From the main dining venue to World Cafe, giving live cooking creating an interactive experience, to The Chef’s Table, where you can enjoy a culinary experience during a multicourse tasting.

The Chef’s Table
The Chef’s Table

Their lunch and dinner menu has a section with classic meals which are ‘always available’. The rest of the menu changes daily, ensuring the food is not too repetitive. Guest reviews indicate that this is great regarding special dietary requirements, as there is a choice rather than the same meals over and over again. 

6. Norwegian Cruise Line

If you prefer a more relaxed dining approach, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) may be the best option for you. Unlike other cruise lines, they offer a freestyle approach as there are no fixed dining times, so you can eat when you want.

Main Dining Room on Norwegian Encore
Main Dining Room on Norwegian Encore

Just because of the relaxed nature of dining, the quality remains high. There are beautiful dining rooms, buffets, and 24-hour eateries. If you want something different, they also offer speciality restaurants for an additional cost.

Cagney’s Steakhouse is one of the restaurants that gets high praise from guests, with premium cuts of beef and a great ambience.

Prawns on the buffet on NCL ship
Prawns on the buffet

However, if you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options, NCL can still be a good choice. Most of the menu options are not vegan, but a generous selection of vegan-compatible dishes is readily available. You’ll find opportunities at every mealtime and a special vegan lunch and dinner buffet. 

7. Disney Cruise Line

You may think that Disney Cruise Line’s food may be just the typical food you get at a Disney theme park. Yet, there is an excellent balance between family-friendly options with gourmet dishes.

For Disney enthusiasts, they do offer Mickey-shaped food and princess-themed afternoon teas. Although, if you’re a foodie, there are plenty of options for you too. 

Word of Marvel restaurant
Word of Marvel restaurant

You can expect many dining options included in your fare, such as the themed main dining room and the casual Cabanas buffet. The speciality restaurants, like Remy and Palo, take you to the heart of French and Italian cuisine. 

Dining at Palo
Dining at Palo

There are also a few other magical touches, such as ‘rotational dining’, where guests rotate between three dining venues throughout the cruise and take their waitstaff with them. This gives you a personalised service, so they will already know your preferences. This is particularly good if you have dietary requirements, as the staff will be ready to accommodate your needs.

8. Royal Caribbean

From their impressive main dining rooms to the casual buffet dining at the Windjammer and snacks and pastries at the Cafe Promenade, Royal Caribbean has a wide array of options included in your fare.

If you may fancy something different for an additional cost, there are plenty of speciality restaurants, such as Chops Grille or Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian restaurant.

Restaurant on Mariner of the Seas
Restaurant on Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean also explores contemporary and even unconventional dining options. For example, in the Alice-themed Wonderland restaurant, you can choose dishes based on five natural elements: the Earth, Sea, Fire, Ice and Sun. Or you could explore the modern Mexican restaurant Sabor and the Sugar Beach ice cream parlour for a sweet treat.

Royal Caribbean Main Dining Room food
Royal Caribbean Main Dining Room food

With the incredible variety of food at Royal Caribbean, they can accommodate dietary needs, including food allergies, gluten-free, kosher and low-fat diets.

The Bottom Line

Each cruise line’s food on offer has something unique to offer. Nevertheless, the best depends on your preference, such as the ambience you’re looking for, the dining style and your dietary needs. 

Although each cruise ship does offer fine and casual dining, some cruise lines are better than others. If you’re looking for fine dining Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Viking River Cruises may be your best choice. 

If you’re looking for more of a casual experience, NCL, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribean may be more suitable. Lastly, all of the cruise lines mentioned cater for special dietary needs, but when it comes down to the variety of food Oceania Cruises, Seabourn, and Celebrity Cruises offer the most choice.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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4 thoughts on “These 8 Cruise Lines Have The BEST Food”

  1. We just got off a 7 day Princess cruise to discover that the main dining room menu had recently changed. Unfortunately, it was nothing like the good meals we had previously enjoyed on Princess. What a disappointment. Ditto for their Pizzeria (not at the pool). Neither my husband nor I could cut my gluten-free crust into bite size pieces, so I only ate the topping. International Cafe mid-ship was very good. We look forward to cruising again on Royal.

  2. Where does Carnival and Holland America stand in your list of good food on cruises?

  3. We thought the food was terrible on a 15-day Viking River Cruise we took from Amsterdam to Budapest. The daily meals, designed to reflect local cuisine, appeared and tasted like commissary food. I should note that the Viking longboat was beautiful, and their logistics is second to none. Regardless, there are so many cruise lines with excellent food, Azamara, Seabourn, and Celebrity, that we simply won’t take another Viking River Cruise.

  4. Hi Jenni

    Currently on Celebrity Beyond for a 11 day cruise. Went to Cosmopolitan Dining room first two nights in the cruise. Experience was do awful I didn’t return for the rest of cruise.
    1. Temperature- cool
    2. Tables- they are so close that you felt on top of the next table.
    3. Staff- called us by the wrong name.
    4. Maître D’ – after 1 hour 15 minute wait. I approached the maître d’ and let him know that the 20 minutes to be sitted turned into 1 hour 15 minutes . He immediately found us a table.
    He seemed surprised and mentioned that the lady taking reservations said we were waiting for 10 minutes.
    We gave this dining room a second chance, and it really was not much better.

    We ate in the ocean view restaurant for the rest of the cruise, with the exception of four nights specialty dining.

    Specialty restaurants were much better. And This was our first time sailing on Celebrity. I had no idea what to expect but I will be going back to Royal Caribbean the next cruise

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