Why You Should Avoid the Buffet As Much As Possible on a Cruise!

1
1476
people in a restaurant with food on the counter

As an Amazon Affiliate, we may earn a commission on eligible purchases made through our referrals. Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Stomach flu, food poisoning, 24 hour flu  – whatever you call It, food born illnesses are quite common all over the world. The CDC estimates there are 48 million cases each year. So what steps are taken on cruise ships to prevent or at least reduce the risks of food born illness onboard?

The guidelines they are required to follow are the HACCP system, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. This requires chefs onboard to identify chemical, physical and biological threats at any step in the flow of food from delivery and storage to cooking and service. My wife and I have seen first hand how seriously this is taken with items like raw chicken, beef or pork being stored separately from each other to avoid cross-contamination as well as fruits and vegetables sorted to avoid one causing another to ripen too early, etc.

All of that taken into consideration, the meals you are served onboard in the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants are likely going to be the safest foods you can eat. So let’s talk about the buffet, and why you might want to avoid it as much as possible on your next cruise!

a hand sanitizer dispenser on a tile floor

Washy, Washy, Happy Happy!

Did you wash your hands prior to queuing up for the buffet? Do you think everyone else did? While hand washing stations are provided in addition to hand sanitizer, all you have to do is take a seat at a table near the entrance and see how many of your fellow cruisers skip this step in food born illness prevention.

a row of bowls with food in them

Serving Utensils

These things are there for a reason, so why do so many refuse to use them? While you may think it’s simpler to grab a bread roll or cookie with your fingers than with tongs, it’s gross so don’t do it! Unfortunately, many people and especially unsupervised children often do this and worse, change their mind and put whatever they just grabbed up in their hot little hands back on the buffet.

a row of bowls of food

Safe Temperatures

While the preparation requirements specified by the HACCP will be followed in the kitchens, once the food makes it out onto the buffet how sure can you be that it hasn’t been sitting there in that warmer or cooler too long? What about the condiments, is that mayo still cold or has it been in the sun for a while? I recently watched a child remove all of the sugar packets from the container on the table and play with them like playing cards. Once the child’s mother returned to the table she stuffed all of them back into the container.

Sneeze Guards

It goes without saying that people can be gross. I have witnessed both children and adults eating while waiting to place more selections on their plate in the buffet line. Consider their open mouthed chewing while looking over what might be your next selection, not to mention their handling of the serving utensils after their hands have touched their mouth while eating their buffet line snack.

a machine with a container of lemons

Beverage Stations

In the buffet area the beverage stations are generous and self serve. The glasses provided are typically on the small side, however, so many guests find that one glass of juice, water, or tea is not enough to get them through their meal. Unfortunately, they tend to take the same glass they’ve been drinking out of back up to refill with whatever beverage they want more of. In addition to some soft drink packages offering the option of a reusable cup with a chip that the soda machine reads to allow it to dispense the drink selected, there are also a great many guests who bring their own insulated cups to use for the free drinks onboard, which is a great idea unless they haven’t washed it for a while. Then there is also the whole issue of their having to remove the lid & straw in order to refill the cup and now they’re touching more surfaces with those same hands that just touched their straw.

a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant

The Sheer Number of People

Once you’ve maneuvered your way through the various options on the buffet, you have to get back to your table. This can expose you to even more potential food contamination in brushing past other guests with your exposed plate of food. A good solution to this problem is to use a second plate to cover your food plate, but this doesn’t always work if you have a lot or you have a tall sandwich that makes the top plate not fit totally over it.

So while some options at the buffet can be good and even safe choices in a pinch – say when your shore excursion runs long and you missed lunch but want something before dinner – there are many things to consider avoiding. The last thing anyone wants when they go on a cruise is to be stuck in your stateroom feeling miserable. So hopefully this helps you know what to avoid in order to have a happy tummy on your next sailing! – René

 

 

 

Follow Frequent Floaters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our magazine on Flipboard. You can subscribe to our once-a-day e-mail blast here! <-LINK 
Frequent Floaters partner offer!
CardMatch™
Offers may not be available to all users.

Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

1 COMMENT

  1. When given a choice, I much prefer a meal in a ship’s restaurant, ordered from a menu rather than the buffet (AKA the trough). It’s easy to spot the Americans at the trough. They’re the HUGE ones.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.