The buffet is usually one of the cruise ship’s most popular restaurants. It’s normally included in the general price of the cruise and has enough range to satisfy even the fussiest eater.
However, it can also be controversial. A cruise expert recently warned passengers to stop skipping the queue.
One cruise passenger posted on Reddit: “Are we allowed to fill our personal plastic containers with buffet food? We will be leaving the ship and exploring but want to take food from the ship and pack it for later during the day while we are out exploring.”
Cruise guests will usually get off the ship in the morning and spend the day in each destination before returning to the vessel in the evening.
One person said: “Wow. I can’t think of anything more tacky, quite honestly. Take a box of granola bars on the cruise with you if you must, for when hunger strikes and food is nowhere to be seen, but practices like this are exactly why Venice stopped allowing cruise ships to dock in their ports.
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“Passengers would come off the ship, bring a picnic, tour the sights, leave their garbage in the city, spend as little money as they could get away with, and sail off leaving the city more worn than it was before without really doing much to contribute to or take part in the city.”
Local residents in many top cruise destinations complain that cruise holidaymakers don’t contribute to the economy as they don’t spend much. Buying lunch or a coffee out can help to benefit the local economy.
The guest continued: “Every time you partake of a place’s beauty but don’t contribute to its economy you are taking from the people who live, work and maintain that beauty you enjoyed so much.”
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However, whether people consider the practice tacky or not, there’s another reason it might not be a good idea to take food off the buffet.
Many destinations have strict rules about importing fresh food and guests could be fined if they do so.
Reddit user ‘elflans74’ said: “Many cruise destinations do not allow food from the ship to go to shore, particularly fruit, seeds, nuts etc. So be careful and make sure it is allowed.”
Cruise guests can always ask the ship’s crew if they’re unsure about taking an item of food ashore.
It’s best to stick to prepackaged snacks such as cereal bars or chocolate as these are unlikely to present an issue.
Cruise crew may also be able to recommend good restaurants and cafes that are close to the port.
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