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Ship-food withdrawal part of cruising experience

By John Toth

The Bulletin


The ending of a cruise is always sad. The world of total vacation is replaced by reality. It is driven home shortly after getting off the ship, when I get hungry for the first time on land.


I want to go back to the Main Dining Room, or the buffet on the Lido Deck, or the snack shop in Central Park, or the Solaris bistro on the Solarium, an all-adult level. But they’re all gone.


All that’s left are the memories and a straight road leading to the house, where I will again have to fix my own food.


For a whole week on the Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, eating was never a problem - the problem was not to overeat too much. If we got hungry, we just went somewhere to eat. Pizza on the Promenade was one of my favorite choices for a bite in-between meals.


There were several restaurants on board that cost extra, but with all the options included at no  additional charge, I never got a chance to pay for any food on-board. A lot of people buy the dining package and eat at specialty restaurants. I’m too cheap to do that when there are so  many included options.


Food is everywhere, but on this trip, my favorite dining place was the Main Dining Room, where Sharon and I went at 5 p.m. nightly to be served by waiter William and assistant waiter Chester. Their task was to make sure that everything was just right.


I told them on the first night that I needed to watch my sugar intake, and I just wanted sugar-free desserts. No problem. Tea with lemon and no sugar? No problem. It was there before I could ask.


Our company at the table - Yvonne and Ed from near Monroe, LA. - was excellent. We shared a table all week and enjoyed their company. We also got to know some of the diners around us, but Yvonne and Ed were our consistent dining companions - except one night when they took a nap and slept through dinner.


We chose early dining on Royal Caribbean because we heard that anytime dining is a big hassle. It was. I’m glad we had a table guaranteed each night at a set time.


On Carnival, we prefer anytime dining. It takes only a few minutes to get a table. The difference was that we didn’t get the same table mates and servers each night.


On this most recent cruise on Royal, we used somewhat more self control when it came to eating. On two occasions, we ate a salad in the cafeteria for lunch - progress.


Breakfast was the works each morning, especially on excursion mornings, when we either were not going to have lunch, or it was going to be a late lunch. We made sure that breakfast would carry us for a while.


I didn’t take this cruise to go on a diet. I figured that I’d just worry about it after I get back. I was on vacation. I was not going to worry about gaining a few pounds.


However, I was worrying about all those delicious sugary desserts, which kept tempting me each time I sat down to eat. Fortunately, there were some pretty good sugar-free ones also. I behaved when it came to my blood-sugar level. I’m not messing with that.


“What do you want to eat?” I’m getting hungry,” I asked Sharon, after we drove home.


The thought that the ship’s food-service staff was not around us anymore was hard to accept.


“I’ll go pick something up,” I volunteered.


We both entered our transitional phase. The big test was the next morning when I turned the stove on to start making breakfast. There was no line to the omelet station. There was no omelet station.


I made a good breakfast in memory of the trip. It was part of our transition. Then we decided to get Chinese food for lunch - more transition.


Now, we need to find another cruise that fits into our schedule and repeat all this all over again. Maybe take it easy next time for breakfast and spend more time in the gym.


Nah, we’ll worry about it later.

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