If you’re taking your first cruise with Cunard you may be wondering what is included in the cruise fare. I’ve cruised with Cunard and in this post we’re going to explore the included food options.
Do Cunard Cruises Include Meals?
Yes. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all included on Cunard cruises. Afternoon tea is also included. Guests have a number of included dining options to choose from including the main dining room, buffet, room service and pub.
When cruising with Cunard I always stick to the included options and if you want to do the same this is totally fine. That said, there are speciality options which cost a little extra but can add a lot to the cruising experience.
On every Cunard cruise ship you will find a buffet. All food in the buffet is included in the cruise fare and you are free to eat as much or as little as you’d like. The process of eating in the buffet is very relaxed and easy, you simple show up when you’d like to eat and pick anything that you’d like.
The buffet on Cunard cruise ships is open 24 hours a day!
Take an early continental breakfast or perhaps something more hearty a little later. Join us for lunch or dinner, with freshly prepared options taking inspiration from around the world, ranging from sushi to salads, to tempting roasts and delicious pizzas to order. So join us for a bite, whenever you’re feeling peckish. – Source.
Cunard buffets have a range of options but the food onboard is definitely geared towards British tastes. Being from Britain I love being able to order some of my favourite foods like Yorkshire puddings.
Most Cunard buffets are made up of the following sections:
- Carvery Meat
- Daily Specials
- International Dining
- British Classics
Which Drinks Are Available In The Buffet?
At all times you’ll find water, tea and coffee in the buffet. Any drinks found in the buffet located by the food are included in your cruise fare and you are able to simple help yourself. There will be a number of types of tea and coffee available for you to choose from, I’m personally a big fan of a peppermint tea and Cunard had this as an option.
At breakfast time you’ll also find juices included.
Main Dining Room
Every day breakfast and dinner will be served in the main dining room, the dining room may also be open for lunch but this usually depends on the itinerary of the ship. The main dining room, as the name suggests, is probably where you will have most of your meals on a Cunard cruise.
In the main dining room you will be waited on by the wait staff who will take your order and bring your food to you. Guests are free to order as much or as little as they would like, if you want to have two desserts, go ahead! It’s not a problem.
When taking a cruise with Cunard guests will be assigned a set time and table for dinner. If you don’t want to eat in the main dining room one evening this isn’t a problem, you don’t have to let anybody know you simply just don’t show up and dinner will start without you. If you are sharing a table with others it would be considered good manners to let them know but you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s hard to contact people on a cruise ship so this may not be an option if you don’t know them very well.
The main dining room does have strict dress codes on all nights and this was one of things that most took me by surprise during my first Cunard cruise. It’s actually why I started this website, I was used to cruising on cruise lines which didn’t really have enforced dress codes so my Cunard cruise came as quite a shock.
To learn more about the dress codes, including what you definitely cannot wear, check out this post:
Cunard have a range of afternoon teas available on their cruise ships but the one that I am always most interested in is the free option! I LOVED afternoon tea during my Cunard cruise and it’s amazing how fast you can get used to having another meal between lunch and dinner. A number of other cruise lines do try to do afternoon tea but it’s nothing quite like the afternoon tea on a Cunard cruise.
Afternoon tea is served on a first come first serve basis and guests simply show up and are seated when they arrive. You’ll often find classical music playing such as a string quartet or a classical singer. Food is served to you by waiters who wear white gloves and it’s all a very sophisticated event.
At afternoon tea you’ll find the following:
- Tea (Twinings to be precise)
- Sandwiches (A selection of different breads and fillings)
- Cakes (A variety of cakes)
- Scones (With jam and cream)
A champagne afternoon tea is also available but this comes at an extra cost. To learn more about what to expect from afternoon tea on a Cunard cruise, and to learn which afternoon teas cost extra, check out this post: Cunard’s Afternoon Tea: The definitive guide
Is There Any More Complimentary Food Options On Cunard Cruises?
On almost all cruises that I’ve been on there has been an extra charge for room service. I was surprised to find out on my first Cunard cruise that room service was included!
I often used room service when I didn’t want to get dressed to go to the main dining room but also wanted something different from the buffet. I have great memories of eating room service meals on the balcony with my family.
There is no charge for items and no delivery charge either. As Cunard are a British cruise line and we aren’t accustom to tipping delivery waiters there is no pressure to leave a tip with the person delivering your food. Of course they would never say no but don’t feel as though you need to. Cunard will automatically add gratuities to your onboard account to cover tips for staff.
The room service is available 24 hours a day! That is incredible. Below is an example of a Cunard room service menu:
On all Cunard ships you’ll find a small pub which serves classic British pub food such as bangers and mash and beef wellington. The pub on the Queen Victoria serves a great fish and chips if you ever get the chance to have it!
The pub is also the location of things like daily trivia and always seemed to be quite a popular spot onboard.
Speciality Dining On Cunard Cruises
There are a number of options which cost extra on Cunard cruises. These aren’t mandatory and it is totally possible to go on a Cunard cruise and not pay a penny extra for food. That said, if you do want to splash out and treat yourself to a special meal the following are options:
One of the most popular speciality restaurants on Cunard ships is the steakhouse. Most cruise lines will have some sort of Steakhouse and Cunard’s is called the Steakhouse at The Verandah.
If you’re seeking alternative dining, Steakhouse at The Verandah offers a sublime experience, whether it’s lunch or dinner. Showcasing specialties such as prime USDA grain finished New York strip steak and Alaskan king crab, alongside dishes celebrating British provenance such as Salt Marsh lamb rack, as well as renowned Wagyu beef from farther afield, the menu is a celebration of the fine provenance of the US, British Isles and Australia. – Cunard.
Al Fresco Dining
Cunard offer guests the opportunity to really eat under the stars. Weather permitting of course! This does come at an extra charge but I can imagine that it’s amazing if you are sailing through somewhere picturesque and the weather is good.
On Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth you even have the choice to indulge in dining al fresco at the Lido. Naturally this option is weather permitting but it’s a memorable way for you to experience the thrill of being at sea or in an iconic location, especially when accompanied with live entertainment.- Cunard
One thing that isn’t included in a Cunard cruise is gratuities.
To learn more about gratuities, including how they also affect drinks and spa treatments, check out this post so that you don’t have any nasty surprises on your cruise:
Where To Next?
There is not a lot that I love more than going on a cruise, meeting new friends and realising that I paid considerably less that everybody else for the exact same cruise.
Finding and booking a cruise is no easy task. I’ve been able to cruise for as little as $50 per night and I regularly save over 75% compared to advertised brochure prices. You can do it too!
If you have any cruise questions or stories/photos you’d like to share, please join us in our Facebook group!