FROM BUFF TO BUFFET

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Why do we eat more at sea? Does the salty air stimulate our inner Porky Pig? Is it because we want to get our fare’s worth of food? Or do we just eat it because it’s there – and it’s free?
Like cows, our “cruise stomach” seems to find extra compartments, and we pile on the dreaded “cruise kilos”.

Most cruisers go through three stages, from good intentions, to giving in, to giving up. Some people last longer than others, but most crumble at the first sight of a menu. Or dessert table.

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This is an hour-by-hour breakdown of how it usually goes…

Pre-cruise: “I am not going to eat too much. I will order from the ‘healthy options’ menu. I will go to the gym. I might even lose weight.”

Day 1
Morning
: “Woohoo! Cruise time! Let’s go!”

12pm: “We’re checked in! Finally! I’m hungry. Let’s get lunch before we look around.”

12.05pm: “Holy buffet! What a spread! They’ve got everything! Oh, look, it’s my favourite food! Oh, look, it’s your favourite food! Oh, look at how they carved that suckling pig into a swan! Look at all those desserts! This is amazing. I love cruising!”

12.06pm: “OK, just this once, I am going to have whatever I want. I’m on holidays. We paid for this.”

1pm: “Ugh. I shouldn’t have eaten all of that. But it’s OK, I’ll have a light dinner.”

2pm: “Oooh, they have a free ice-cream machine next to the pool. Perfect day for it. Can you go get me one? It’s a bit of a walk.”

3pm: “Free afternoon tea? Wow, I’ve never had afternoon tea on a ship. I guess we should see what it’s like. I’ll just have a cup of tea.”

3.10pm: “Ahhhhhh look at all the tiny sandwiches – so cute! And the teeeeny weeeeny cakes! Oh my god. They’re so small, one won’t hurt. We should try everything, right? We paid for this.”

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5pm: “Yes, why not, let’s have a pre-dinner drink to celebrate our holiday. I’ll just have a white wine spritzer. Wait. Only $8 for a cocktail? That’s very good value. Well, it is a special occasion. Pina colada, please.”

5.45pm: “Do we have time for another?”

6pm: “Five courses? No, no, no. I couldn’t possibly. But it all looks so good. Free steak! Free seafood! Chocolate soufflé! A bottle of wine? OK, just tonight. It’s the first night! Tomorrow I will be good.”

8pm: “Hell yeah, let’s go check out all the bars! We’re on holidaaaaaaaay!!! Woooooooo!!!”

Day 2
9am: “I’m only having fruit for breakfast.”
9.05am: “Argh, the breakfast buffet is as big as the lunch buffet!”
9.06am: “Oh, look, they have a chef cooking omelettes. Let’s get one while the queue is short. Quick!”
9.16am: “That was delicious. Right, so now I’m going to get my fruit.”
9.20am: “You should see all the different types of breads and pastries. I got a selection for you to try. I’ll just have a bite.”
9.40am: “Why oh why did I eat all those pastries? I don’t even like pastries. I need to lie down.”
11am: “Is it lunchtime yet? What? It’s only 11? What’s wrong with me?”
11.02am: “Do they have morning tea?”
11.45am: “Let’s beat the queue for lunch. I won’t have dessert this time. And then I’m going to the gym.”
2pm: “I’m too full to go to the gym. I’m going to lie by the pool and let it all digest. Come and get me when it’s time for dinner.”
6pm: “Damn, the menu is even better than yesterday. Forget it. I deserve to treat myself. And we paid for this. There’s only five days left. I’ll go on a diet when I get home.”

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Louise Goldsbury

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In 2013 I was named Best Travel Writer at the National Travel Industry Awards. And until someone corrects me, I'm claiming to be the youngest cruise editor in the Southern Hemisphere. Editor of Cruise Weekly since 2009, I also contribute to Sydney's Sun Herald newspaper and various travel magazines and websites.

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