Somehow I only managed to put on 5 lbs whilst on my two-week cruise around Japan on my Princess Cruise earlier this month.
With such massive quantities of food available nearly 24/7, my penchant for buffets, and my lack of self-control, I could feel myself growing larger by the day.
Cruises are the ultimate test of one’s self-control. On the Diamond Princess, we had a buffet open from 5am to 11pm. A pizzeria and grill where you can order junk food (pizza, burgers, hot dogs, chips) to your heart’s content. All-you-can-eat ice cream at the ice cream station – soft-serve, hard scoops and milkshakes on request, including Japanese matcha green tea flavour. Afternoon tea and sometimes British pub lunches on sea days. A ramen noodle stand. 24-hour room service. Plus the main dining rooms.
I love all-you-can-eat at the best of times, so unlimited food for 18 hours a day is my kind of heaven. And one of my favourite places, of course, was the buffet.
The buffet selections changed on a regular basis with a combination of Japanese and international fare – one night there was a Mexican section, one night a Russian section, one night sashimi, one night my favourite katsudon, other nights different roasts on offer, at times, corned beef, yakitori, tonkatsu, California rolls, Monte Cristo sandwiches, Reuben sandwiches. That’s not to say that I loved every dish all the time, but every night, I always found several new items that I thoroughly enjoyed eating.
Within the buffet, there’s even a ramen station open from 11am to 11pm, alternating the three main varieties of ramen soup – miso, soy sauce and tonkotsu (pork bone) – though it’s not a patch on the ramen you actually get on terra firma in Japan (the noodles are too soft and are missing that firm, chewy bite).
The main dining rooms had two seatings for dinner with a different menu each night. The food was generally quite good, always beautifully presented, with sensible portions. You can select only 3 courses or however many you want! There’s no issue with having multiple starters or multiple mains. They will help you eat as much as you want and never judge – or at least not to your face!
The kitchen also makes their own homemade ice cream and they offer flavours in the dining room which change on a daily basis that you won’t find anywhere else. I’ll take a scoop of each please!
Overall, I was surprisingly impressed with the food, especially considering Executive Chef Nilo Palma and his 200+ team cater for 3,000+ people around the clock.
The food was far more memorable than my last cruise with Royal Caribbean and I carried home the extra 5 lbs to prove it.