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Can You Bring Food Back to Your Cabin From The Buffet on a Cruise Ship?

One of my favourite things about cruising is the availability of food around the clock.

From a midnight snack to a full meal in the main dining room, there is always plenty of tempting food on offer. The buffet is also a popular spot for many passengers. But what if you want to enjoy that buffet food in the comfort of your own cabin?

The good news is, yes, you can bring food and drink back to your cabin from the buffet on a cruise ship.

Here’s how to do it and why you might want to.

Why Bring Food Back to Your Cabin?

Eating some of my favourite snacks in the cabin, onboard Norwegian Encore
  • Privacy and Comfort:
    • Sometimes, you want to relax in your cabin without the hustle and bustle of the buffet area.
    • Whether you’re catching up on a good book, enjoying the view from your balcony, or simply lounging in your pyjamas, eating in your cabin can be a more comfortable and private experience.
  • Late-night cravings:
    • Buffets often have set hours, but your hunger might not stick to that schedule.
    • Bringing some snacks or a small meal back to your cabin ensures you have something on hand whenever you feel hungry.
  • Enjoying the View:
    • If your cabin has a balcony, dining with a view of the open sea or a beautiful port can be a memorable experience.
    • It’s like having your own private oceanfront dining. I love to eat on my balcony, if I am lucky enough to have one.
    • When I sailed to Glacier Bay in Alaska, we had a great day on our balcony, we could eat snacks and drink in our room, and pop back in to get extra clothes when it got too chilly!
  • Multitasking:
    • Maybe you’re catching up on some work, watching a movie, or playing a game with family or friends.
    • Having food on hand allows you to enjoy your meal without interrupting whatever you are doing. I often work when I cruise, so it’s great to pick up some cookies to help keep me focused…

Find out more about my wonderful cabin with the fantastic views on Norwegian Encore here:

How to Bring Food Back to Your Cabin

  • Be Prepared:
    • While most cruise lines don’t mind if you take food back to your cabin, it’s a good idea to bring it on a tray or use a plate from the buffet.
    • If you cover the food with another bowl it helps prevent spills and keeps your food warm.
  • Use The Mini Bar
    • I often keep the food in the mini bar fridge until I am ready to eat it.
    • Sometimes I take the chargeable drinks from the mini bar and put them on the desk, to give me more room for my plates and drinks etc in the fridge.

You can always ask your room steward to remove the purchasable items from your mini fridge altogether. Then you will have more room for things you want to keep chilled

Carnival Magic fridge mini bar
You can take out the mini bar drinks and store them on the side, or ask the cabin steward to remove them
  • Keep things clean and Tidy:
    • Cruise ships pride themselves on cleanliness and hygiene. Make sure to tidy up after yourself, it’s not fair to make extra work for the room steward, they have a hard enough job anyway.
    • I usually stack all my empty plates and cups on the desk for the room steward to easily pick up.
    • Some people put their empty trays, half-eaten food and plates outside the door to be collected. I personally don’t like to see that, as I think it causes a hazard for those with mobility issues as they try and walk down the corridor. (It sure is a contentious issue though, as I found out in comments on another article I wrote where I mentioned this!

Read that contentious article below:

11 Things Polite Cruisers Do That Help The Crew on a Cruise

What Can You Bring?

Most items from the buffet can be taken back to your cabin. This includes:

  • Hot dishes: Pizza, pasta, grilled meats, and more.
  • Cold dishes: Salads, sandwiches, and fruit.
  • Desserts: Cakes, cookies, pastries, and ice cream.
  • Snacks: Chips, nuts, and other nibbles.
  • Breakfast: Bread rolls and bananas in my case!
My perfect cruise breakfast, bread rolls, banana and a cup of peppermint tea!

When Do I Bring Food Back to The Room?

I often go to the buffet to pick up late-night snacks at the end of the day.

Because i normally have my dinner in the main dining room at around 5 or 6pm, by the time i have seen the show and been to the bar, i am often feeling a bit peckish.

As I am now a morning or breakfast person, I often take fruit and bread back for the morning – particularly if I have an early excursion the following day or it is disembarkation morning.

The last thing I want to do is fight my way through a busy buffet, just to get myself a banana on the last morning of the cruise!

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Find out more about minibars and fridges in cruise ship cabins. The majority of cruise ship cabins do have a minibar in the room. The only exception I can think of was that there was no fridge in my cabin onboard Costa Smeralda.

Do Cruise Ship Cabins Have Fridges? (Mini Bars, Sizes & More)

Perfect food to store in the mini bar for a snack later on! (P&O Arvia buffet food)

Drinks /Beverages

My parents always keep a cup of milk in the fridge if their cabin has tea and coffee-making facilities. They prefer fresh milk to the small long-life cartons or sachets that the cruise line provides.

If I am sailing with a cruise line that provides cold drinks in the buffet, I often take one back, put it in the fridge and drink it later on.

When I was recently on a cruise on Celebrity Infinity, the cruise line provided takeaway cups with lids for you to take hot drinks out of the buffet.

I thought that was a great idea, particularly as Celebrity doesn’t supply tea and coffee-making facilities in the cabins as standard.

Celebrity supplied paper cups with lids so that you could take hot drinks out of the buffet.

Some cruise lines allow you to take a certain amount of alcohol or wine onboard when you embark. If this is the case and I have done that, I keep that in the mini-fridge so that we can enjoy an odd glass on the balcony.

Find out which cruise lines allow you to bring alcohol onboard here:

Can You Bring Alcohol on a Cruise? – Searchable Cruise Line Table

Cruise Line Policies

While the general answer is yes, it’s always good to double-check the specific policies of your cruise line.

I have never been on a cruise where I haven’t been able to take food back to the cabin, it wouldn’t cross my mind that I couldn’t do it!

Buffet food display Celebrity Edge
Tempting buffet food on Celebrity Edge

Before You Go

Find out what is the difference between eating in the main dining room and the buffet here:

What is the Difference Between Eating in the Buffet or the Main Dining Room on a Cruise Ship?

Drinks packages aren’t really worth it for me when I cruise. Find out why here:

Drinks Packages Aren’t Worth it For Me – Here’s How I Decide (Price Lists & More)

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.