The dining experience on a cruise ship is one of the biggest reasons regular cruisers love to book a vacation at sea.
In fact, a few months ago we ran a poll to see what factors mattered most when booking a cruise, and “food” was listed as one of the main reasons a certain cruise line or ship was selected.
Over the course of my 40+ cruises in the past I’m still amazed at the food quality and selection on almost every cruise I take. Some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life was on a cruise ship!
But not every food item on a cruise ship was held with the same regard when we took this question to our audience.
We recently asked our readers on Facebook, “What is one food you will not eat when on a cruise?”.
After reading through and sorting over 600 comments, these are the most mentioned answers to that question.
10 cruise foods avoided by our readers
It was clear from the start of this poll that seafood and fish would be among the most disliked foods. But even some foods that are staples of cruise food and loved by many veteran cruisers were mentioned on the list as well. Even that beloved cruise ship pizza and soft serve ice cream were not so popular with some of these cruisers.
Before we dive into the top 10 list here is a summary of some of the replies:
- Top dislikes: Escargot, Sushi, Frog legs
- Common foods mentioned: Seafood (general), Eggs, Buffet food, Lobster, Pizza, Soft serve ice cream
- Potential concerns: Oysters, Sardines, Salad, Liver, Salmon
- Veggie aversions: Asparagus, Brussels sprout, Celery, Broccoli
- Specific Tastes: Guy’s Burgers, Ceviche, Hot dogs, Chicken, Tofu
- A few mentions: Spinach, Cold Soup, Bread, Green Beans, Mushrooms, Calamari, Cereal, Duck, Coleslaw, Caviar, Grits, Lamb, Octopus
22% of all replies to this question mentioned escargot as the one food they would not eat on a cruise. While some consider snail a delicacy, others preferred to avoid the edible mollusk entirely. For many people, their first taste of escargot will happen on a cruise. After all, most of the time it’s already been included in the cost so why not try the slimy little treat, right? Well, it’s not for everyone, apparently.
Sushi was mentioned almost as many times as escargot. I was surprised to see this, as many cruise ships have sushi restaurants that are very popular and with reservations that fill up quickly. But again, it’s one of those foods that carries a stigma, and the quality of sushi can vary depending on the cruise line and restaurant.
3. Frog legs
Frog legs were the 3rd most mentioned food that our audience says they avoid on a cruise ship. The texture and taste of frog legs is not for everyone. Some will eat it as a dare and others just because it’s something new to try. In fact, in Carnival Cruise Line’s main dining room menu you will often find frog legs under “Rare Finds: food you always wanted to try but haven’t yet dared…”
I wasn’t surprised to see scrambled eggs mentioned so many times in the comments. Often the scrambled eggs at the buffet are runny and more of a powdered egg texture. One commenter stated, “Scrambled eggs! That is some powder mixed mess. Only order over easy or boiled”.
For this reason many prefer the omelet station as well, where you can order a fresh made-to-order egg breakfast.
5. Buffet food
Buffet food in general was not the dining option of choice for many who replied to this question. Freshness and cleanliness were some of the biggest reasons given for this answer. And there was also the hustle and bustle of standing in lines or bumping into other cruisers at the “trough”. I will mention that many new ships have transformed the buffet area and how food is served, and the industry has seen vast improvements over the years.
Lobster is often an extra charge on some mainstream cruise lines these days, and some cruisers would avoid it anyway. Some mentioned being able to get better lobster back home and others said that sometimes it’s overcooked. For me, Surf and Turf is one of my favorite meals to get on a cruise ship.
As popular as the pizza stations on cruise ships can be, there are some who prefer to avoid them. This comes down to preference as well. While you can order different types of pizza, the crust, thickness, and texture of the pizza will be the same, which is usually thin crust. I’ve had some fantastic pizza on cruise ships and still prefer the pizza from Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises. I just don’t enjoy the lines typically associated with the pizza stations when they are just coming out of the oven.
Another seafood item made the top 10 with oysters. This is one of those foods that can make people wary. After all, you don’t want to risk any kind of stomach issues when on vacation at sea.
The reasons given for listing “salad” as a food to avoid cracked me up. It wasn’t so much that people didn’t like salad. It was more the mentality of, “I’m on a cruise. Why would I eat a salad when I can fill my belly with prime rib and chocolate melting cake?” The same was said for avoiding bread on a cruise.
10. Anything I can get at home
This was my favorite answer by far and it was mentioned by several cruisers. A cruise vacation is the best time to try new foods that you either can’t get or can rarely get back home. You’ve already paid for the food in most cases so why not splurge and let your adventurous side meet your hungry side?
Some other foods that made the list
Other foods that cruisers avoided on a cruise ship included vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprout, and spinach. The inclusion of these responses could be based on a general dislike for veggies or some lack luster experiences with these food items on ships though.
Soft serve ice cream was mentioned mostly because of the numerous children who line up to use the machines and can cause a bit of a mess.
Guy’s Burger Joint was also brought up, which was a surprise to me as it was voted the most popular eating venue on a cruise ship when we asked about it on social media. Apparently, not everyone is a fan of this free dining venue on Carnival.
Another response I found of note was “anything healthy”. After all, when on a cruise you’re taking a break. And some like to use that time to let their eating inhibitions let loose a little.
This is a very subjective topic, so take this list with a grain of salt — or a whole saltshaker if you have to.
Being on a cruise is all about trying new things, and that includes new foods. You may find you actually like frog legs, escargot, or sushi.
Don’t let someone else’s food phobia steal your opportunity to give your pallet an enjoyable experience.
You don’t have to like everything, right? You can always find some incredibly tasty food on a cruise ship, and there’s more than enough to keep you full and happy.