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What to expect from food on your first cruise

Lobster Risotto

When you’re travelling to new destinations, discovering all the tastes and smells is a key part of the experience. Find out how we capture this on a Fred. Olsen Cruise.

Eating and drinking on board

Cruising with Fred. Olsen is about exploring the world in pure comfort and classic style, and our delicious food and drink is just one reason why our guests sail with us again and again.

Enjoying the exceptional on board dining experience we offer on our smaller, more intimate ships is one that truly sets us apart from other cruise lines. So if you’re new to cruising, you’re in for a real treat!

Whether you’re escaping to charming European cities on a well-earned short break or travelling the globe on an epic Grand Voyage, you’ll remember our elegant on board dining venues as fondly as the time you spend ashore.

Do cruises include food?

The price of every Fred. Olsen cruise holiday includes food. Our cruises include breakfast, lunch, five-course à la carte dinners and even late-night snacks from our main restaurants, as well as afternoon tea and self-service tea and coffee in selected on board venues.

If you fancy an extra treat outside of what’s included, these are available at an additional charge to make your dining experience even more memorable.

Each of our ships has a selection of stylish dining venues, providing you with tempting cuisine at every meal of the day. For the perfect post-lunch treat, you can spoil yourself with our premium Traditional Afternoon Tea service – enjoying a selection of delicious teas, sandwiches, pastries and warm scones, all accompanied by spectacular views from The Observatory.

For an extra special evening meal, each of our ships offers speciality dining in an exclusive venue. With everything from Asian Fusion and traditional Goan cuisines to perfectly cooked steaks and flawlessly grilled seafood, there’s always something different for you to taste.

What's included on a cruise ship food menu?

Full English Breakfast

Whether you’ve got a busy day of exploring ahead of you or you’re planning to while away the hours soaking up the sunshine on the deck, it’s important to start the day with a good, hearty breakfast. Usually served between 07:30 am and 10:30 am, our breakfast menu is varied and suits all diets and tastes.

You could visit the breakfast buffet and begin your morning with fresh fruit, cereals served with chilled milk and freshly baked pastries, all washed down with a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed juice. Or, treat yourself to a proper full English breakfast with bacon, sausages, black pudding, eggs and much more. There’s even the option to have a continental breakfast delivered directly to your cabin if you prefer.

Salad, bread and cold meats

Lunch is generally served on board between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm every day and can be as light or indulgent as you like. Take a seat in one of the main restaurants and order from a varied menu, or perhaps pop into the buffet restaurant for a quick bite.

Our starters, salads, soups and sandwiches are the ideal ‘light bite’, or if you fancy a larger lunch, we’ve got a vast menu of main courses to suit everyone’s tastes. If you’ve got some room left, our mouth-watering desserts are the perfect treat before spending the afternoon relaxing by the pool.

Afternoon Tea

In addition to your main meals, complimentary afternoon tea is available in each ship’s buffet service restaurant. Served between 3:45 pm and 4:45 pm, you can indulge yourself with sandwiches, savouries, scones and cakes, alongside fresh tea and coffee.

Fish dish in main dining room

Dinner time is when our dining experience truly comes to life, with our main restaurants serving mouth-watering five-course à la carte meals across two seatings. You’ll need to select either the first or second seating when you make your booking, with times available at either 6:15 pm or 8:30 pm. 

You don’t need to choose five courses every night, but if you fancy treating yourself, then there are plenty of options to enjoy. Perfectly prepared starters such as Norwegian gravadlax and tangy fruit cocktails are available alongside delicious soups and freshly baked bread. 

Choose from indulgent main courses such as lobster risotto and melt-in-your-mouth roast lamb, gnocchi romaine and grilled herb polenta, or enjoy classic dishes such as beef wellington or traditional Irish stew. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with an amazing dessert selection.

If you prefer a more casual and flexible dining experience, head to the dinner buffet between 6.30 pm and 9 pm to help yourself to a selection of delicious dishes.

Can you take food and drinks off a cruise ship?

Just as bringing food into another country is usually prohibited, we don’t recommend taking food and drinks off a cruise ship, whether you’re cruising with Fred. Olsen or another cruise line. Some ports have very strict rules and your food could be confiscated.

If you’re keen to take a small picnic with you for your visit ashore, and you’re unsure about the rules at your port, you can always speak to Guest Services on board, who will do their best to advise you.

What to wear for dinner on a cruise ship

At Fred Olsen, we want you to feel relaxed and comfortable whilst enjoying your dinner, so whether you’re eating at the buffet or in the à la carte restaurant, smart casual is completely acceptable. If you’re wondering ‘can I wear jeans to dinner on a cruise?’, then it depends on the restaurant you’re visiting. Ripped jeans may not be suitable in our à la carte and speciality dining restaurants, but a smart pair of dark jeans are perfectly acceptable. 

As a guide, we’d suggest wearing dresses and skirts or a pair of trousers, chinos or dark jeans, with a polo shirt, shirt or blouse for your à la carte dinners with us. If you’re dining in the buffet, you can get away with more casual attire, but please leave your swimwear and loungewear in your cabin! 

What about formal evenings?

Team member pouring Champagne for Guests on formal night

For those who have never cruised before, we’re sure you’ve heard about the on board formal evenings. Cruises of six nights or more will have at least one formal evening, giving guests the opportunity to embrace the glamour of our dining experience. 

A dinner jacket, dark suit and tie, cocktail dresses, full-length ball gowns or evening suits are all fabulous choices.

What makes our dining experience so special?

Team of Chefs in the galley

At Fred. Olsen, we want to make sure your dining experience is as special as the rest of your holiday. From the personal, attentive service you receive from our friendly waiters to the award-winning food and stunning views, our dining experiences are truly like no other. 

Excellent cruise ship food preparation is key for us, with each dish being cooked by our expert, passionate chefs. We always do our best to accommodate dietary requirements, ensuring we cater for vegetarian, vegan, low fat, low cholesterol, low salt, dairy-free, lactose intolerance, wheat-free and gluten-free diets.

Anyone with allergies or intolerances can discuss them with our Maitre’d or Executive Chef at the beginning of your cruise and we’ll be sure to serve dishes that suit your specific requirements.


We know that food waste on cruise ships can be a problem, so we always ensure our food waste is separated as best it can be before being offloaded at the next available port, or pulped and discharged into the sea, as food waste can be eaten by fish. We’re also able to incinerate some items on board. To help us minimise our environmental impact, we’d always encourage guests to order only as much as they need. That way we don’t have to throw anything away at the end of your meal. 

If you’re excited about our on board culinary experience, why not take a look at the speciality dining options available on your ship? We can’t wait to welcome you to our exceptional dining service. 

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