Over the years, cruise dining has evolved into more flexible, convenient methods. Instead of only having meals at certain times a day, or in a formal sitting room, cruise ships have made dining better than ever for cruisers.
There are several choices available for dining. While not all cruise lines offer these options, most of them now do in order to satisfy their guests. It is much easier for families to dine at their normal times, or even a little later in the evening if they wish.
Cafeteria style dining is a type of dining that is available. This is called "cafeteria" dining, as it is very similar to that of a school or hospital's dining areas. There is a large area set aside for tables and chairs, and a large buffet-style meal laid out that people may pick and choose their items from. Some of the items available in cafeteria style dining are fresh fruit, sandwich, and salad bars.
Formal Dining is also very popular, and a top choice for a romantic get-away. Couples, or even families or singles, can sit down at a formal table and be served a four course meal. The seating arrangements, timing, and food are all extremely formal, and a waiter will serve tables just like a formal restaurant. Formal dining options usually only serve twice a day, once in the late afternoon, and once at night.
24 Hour Dining is just as it says - food available 24 hours a day. Some ships now offer this option so that guests can eat whenever they feel the need to. This is extremely helpful for those who aren't used to the time-zone where their cruise is located, or just have a craving in the middle of the night. Some may have a buffet that is refilled every night, and others may just have a small cafe open that is available to serve visitors.
Another surprising option are specialty restaurants. Some cruise lines offer different styles of food in their kitchen, such as Italian, Chinese, Mexican, and other types of food. This is great for those who wish to have a variety each night and don't mind the extra cost. It is a great way to experience new types of food, as well.
One of the final options available for dining are restaurants inside of the cruise ship that guests see every day. Well known restaurants are now leasing space on cruise ships to serve customers with their own delicacies. As with the specialty restaurants, there are extra costs for this.
The only thing that the cruise lines don't offer for cruise dining are alcoholic beverages. These are not free, and do cost additional. Guests can order them from the waiter during any of their meals. In rare cases, formal dining arrangements may offer wine with a meal, but it depends entirely on the cruise line.