International Love Affair

Food is definitely one of the main reasons why a lot of people love to travel! Yet when I say that I cruise a lot of people look at me as if I have lost my marbles. But those of us who are in the know, know that really those who are missing out are really the ones who should question themselves. 

Thousands of Brits go to all inclusive’s every year and there are innumerable documentaries about the holiday gluttony that occurs. People, seem to go crazy over the fact that there is a lot of food! But here is what I don’t understand:  At every all inclusive resort I have come across food has not been twenty four hours. Yet people flock to them as if they are the messiah. 

On cruise ships food IS twenty four hours a day. So my question is why the funny look when I say I’m going on a cruise? I have succeeded in finding a step up from the thing you idolise. Surely, I should be the one looking at you as if you have gone around the bend.

In my experience all cruise lines allow you to eat twenty four hours a day. That is not to say that late night snacks are free on all lines. But food is certainly never far away! In fact I’ve had many a cruise director joke that the passengers need to eat every fifteen minutes, simply for survival. 

On Princess cruises, you can eat 24/7 for free, from the international café. A dining institution that I have been absolutely head over heels for since I boarded my first Princess ship; the Emerald Princess back in 2014.

A lot passengers don’t actually know that the international café is free – I have been asked by my fellow sailors many a time if the cakes are free…Once someone asked me if they were free ten days into a voyage and all I could do was stare at them in horror; they had missed out on ten days of free cake. All because they didn’t read the brochure. So I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you and tell you all about my favourite place to eat when I’m at sea aka my second home. 

Princess cruises don’t use the word lobby like hotels nor do they say atrium like most cruise lines. They say Piazza! Because the focal point of the ship is based around the premise of an Italian piazza. A place where you can gather for coffee, grab a bite to eat, watch the world go by or see some street style entertainment. 

The piazza is ringed by dining venues; that vary depending on which ship you are on. There could be Vines a Spanish tapas bar or Gelato an Italian Gelateria. But there is nearly always an International Café! Which serves up different cakes daily, alongside a variety of salads, sandwiches, quiches and the occasional pie. On certain days it also serves soup or the odd full meal, for example, I got back on after a port day once and a chef was making pasta in a giant wok. It’s also a fab place to grab breakfast! A little known fact is they make breakfast sandwiches really similar to egg mcmuffins. 

The sandwiches and salads are a little fussy for me. Mainly because I have a deep hatred for mayonnaise…Seriously, I know it’s weird but even the smell of it makes me feel a little sick.  But I definitely eat enough cake for several passengers. The international café is my favourite place to be, to watch the world go by and to eat snacks at all times of the day. Including, lemon meringue pie and hot chocolate at 3am because I party hard like that. 

Nearly everything you find at the international café is free of charge and included in the price of your cruise. If you want tea, coffee or hot chocolate to go with your cake, then you’re going to have to pay for that. Unless of course you have a drinks package (I swear I often pay for my drinks package in hot chocolates alone) On ships that do not have a Gelato bar – There is often a Gelato section on the side of the international café. This also comes at a small charge, I believe it’s $3 for three scoops.  But besides from those two things you don’t need to worry about your shipboard bill at all! You can eat as many snacks (or in my case as much cake) as your heart desires. Just please don’t blame me if your clothes get a bit snug. 

Once, you have tried this dining venue you will find that you yourself are a part of wild international love affair. Sounds saucy I know, let people make their own assumptions, their theories will be rather amusing. But don’t worry the rest of us cruise addicts will always understand that you simply mean you just really really like snacks.

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