Shellshocked: Are Cruisers Losing Out On Lobster?

February 6, 2014 | By | 36 Comments

For many of us, one of the best parts of a cruise holiday is that we have every excuse to eat what we like, whenever we like. It’s our time to indulge in lots of tasty treats. But could it be that cruise lines are cutting back on our favorite food offerings?
Many passengers view the lobster dinner as something of a cruise ship institution — right up there with the Baked Alaska parade, perpetual chocolate fountain and (albeit, of course, passengers are not encouraged to eat them) amazing ice carvings.
Perhaps indicative of a trend, it seems the traditional mainstay of captain’s party nights is not quite as prevalent as it used to be. There have been mutterings that these coveted crustaceans have left certain cruise ships altogether — or, even worse, in some cases if you want them you have to pay for them. What’s more, some canny cruisers have begun asking if the lobster you get for free in the main dining room is the same as the one you pay a supplement for in a fine dining restaurant.
Though it might come as a shock to those of us partial to claw and tail meat from the undersea arthropod, there are other members who say that lobster is overrated. Although it didn’t appear on their menus, they said there were unlimited Alaskan crab legs — which in their view taste better.
So is a lack of lobster down to cruise lines cutting costs or the fact it’s not such a hot culinary catch anymore? And what have you noticed missing from your cruise menu? Let us know in the comments.
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    36 Responses to “Shellshocked: Are Cruisers Losing Out On Lobster?”

    1. abel
      February 6th, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

      Alaskan crab legs??? Yes please!! I’ll take that over lobster any day….anything she is a sham.

    2. Kaye Coleman
      February 6th, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

      Oh, man. I’d gladly give up lobster to get crab legs. I like crab so much better than lobster.

    3. Pathfinder
      February 6th, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

      I just finished a 4 night cruise on the Carnival Paradise 3 days ago. On our elegant cruise night we had lobster on the menu and it was delicious! Our waiter even brought us an extra one even though we never asked for it.

      Love Carnival Cruise Line, this was my 5th cruise with them and will continue to book with them….

    4. Mario San Diego
      February 6th, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

      On all the cruise we’ve been on Lobster has been offered only on the first dress night. Crab legs were not offered because we were on a seven night cruise. They are only offered on ten or more night cruises.

    5. Ray Watters
      February 6th, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

      I noticed on our last cruise on Royal Caribbean (Nov 2013 – Mediterranean) that lobster and steak were at the bottom of the menu in the main dining room (Reflections)at a price. As I recall, “Surf & Turf” was priced around $34.00. The quality of the steak offered as part of the normal fare was of much lower quality than on previous cruises.

    6. Tom
      February 6th, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

      I never have liked lobster,so it makes no difference to me. I do miss the traditional Captain’s party with the champagne, dancing, caviar, and everyone dressed in their best. And the Champagne Tower Midnight Buffet is seldom seen anymore. Afternoon tea is missing as well on many ships, and if they do have afternoon tea they wrongly call it High Tea

    7. Ingrid
      February 6th, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

      What I missed last cruise was the escargot. That is something I can usually only get on a cruise and have always looked forward to them. Nowhere to be found.

    8. SUZANNE Williams
      February 6th, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

      That’s strange they say it was a bumper crop from the fisheries in Eastern Canada..

    9. suzanne smith
      February 6th, 2014 @ 5:31 pm

      We have noticed the rare appearances of lobster and the total elimination of escargot.

    10. ernursens
      February 6th, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

      As someone from the east coast where lobsters are fished I was very disappointed with the lobsters served on my cruise last April was tasteless, I don’t care for rock lobster tails and that was what these were. We are cruising again this year and I will have the prime rib instead this time.

    11. Beverly Coulson
      February 6th, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

      Was just on the Explorer of the Sea and on lobster night we were able to have as much as we want. They were nice size lobsters, not the little bity ones we’ve gotten on other cruise ships.

      It’s one of our favorite things to eat on it.

    12. Susan Traub
      February 6th, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

      Plenty of lobster on the Celebrity Summit we just got off.

    13. Dean Smith
      February 6th, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

      I have noticed that Shrimp Cocktail is not an every night occurrence on NCL and Carnival. Maybe there is an overall shortage of all seafood.

    14. Irene Klocko
      February 6th, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

      Yes, the food is not as good. At the end of each cruise, you got a newsletter that said how many pounds of meat, flour etc was used…no more. Because they use a food service. Also, breakfast was always an adventure on Celebrity. Now it is the same thing every day…pathetic!Also, lobster is small, mixed with bread, & touch. No more midnight buffets or even the last nite huge buffet. It’s sad.

    15. Dianne Gintz
      February 6th, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

      I have always had lobster on all 15 of my cruises. I hope it continues.

    16. Sharon Curtis
      February 7th, 2014 @ 1:19 am

      We could have everything mentioned above on our cruise on the Crown Princess in Jan.
      There was a great variety of foods offered, & Lobster on Elegant night.And it was very GOOD!- – No complaints about the food at all!
      We had afternoon tea, & the buffet was open till 11 o’clock almost every night!!
      Only trouble is . . .we got used to eating whenever we felt like it! Not good for the waistline, but mostly ate healthy.

    17. Donna Loper
      February 7th, 2014 @ 1:31 am

      I am planning a cruise to Hawaii in Nov. and I hope they have lobster at least one night. I love the things but only the cold water ones from the North east coast. I think I will call Princess and see if they will have them at least once. If not may I will try an other line. The snails? I can live with out them.

    18. Jon Vassil
      February 11th, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

      I had them once on my Carnival Miracle cruise in November and several times on Grand Princess 15 day to Hawaii Jan 19. I had multiple helpings each time.

    19. Debbie Crain
      February 12th, 2014 @ 1:59 pm

      We love the lobsters. We look forward to that every time we cruise on any line. We usually order 2 up front so they want have to go back and get it. We use to have cherries jubilee, banana’s flambé done at the tables. Guess they got away from that for safety reasons. Need to have more soufflés. Would love one every night if we could. On Royal Caribbean we asked for one every night, they wrote in their little book and we did have it every night. They were so nice.

    20. Lyn Thomas
      February 12th, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

      I dunno but I vote with my wallet. If Mama ain’t happy … not goin’ out on that scow again. I don’t expect much from a $499 cruise but I DO expect something from it’s big brother. And if I don’t get it, I don’t go back. Simple.

    21. B Thompson
      February 12th, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

      We went on a 4 night Disney Cruise (Magic) in early January and the only lobster we saw were two pieces, the size of a very small marble as part of an appetizer.

      In addition, the choices for dinner were quite disappointing. Rarely any beef, mostly fish, roast chicken or pork. Nothing close to haute cuisine offered by so many other cruise ships.

      There was NO “Captain’s Dinner”, nor was formal attire recommended – it was “optional” one night during the cruise and sadly, many people showed up in shorts.

      There as no baked Alaska (or any other dessert) parade. In fact, there was no chocolate dessert ever offered during our 4-day cruise.

    22. Pam Landrum
      February 12th, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

      Just returned this Sunday from our cruise on the Carnival Magic. Great time, but very disappointed in the food. We did have lobster the first formal night but it was so small, only about 3 bites worth. Would have ordered 2 if I’d know how small they were. No crab legs of any kind. Would rather have them than the lobster even if they are a bit more messy to eat. Love Carnival. Hopefully they’ll take note.

    23. Robert
      February 12th, 2014 @ 3:27 pm

      Been on over 40 cruises, yes the food has gone downhill. Steaks not near as good as they use to be. No broiled fish such as cod, maui maui, or other cold water fish. Took our grandchildren on a Disney cruise out of Orlando during the month of May, every day they had stone crab claws, they said “they were in season”. As good as lobster.

    24. Mike
      February 12th, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

      On the RCCL Allure in Nov. of 2012 I had escargot and shrimp cocktail every night. We sailed on the Oasis this past October, and the Allure again last month. They only offered escargot one night only. The waiter said that because very few people ordered it there was a lot of waste. Now it is offered only one night. They still serve lobster on the second formal night. I ordered one for the entree and one more for dessert(along with baked alaska). Every night a strip steak is offered( average quality), and a tenderloin one night(quality was very good). But the tenderloin at Chops Grill is unbelievable, for a price of course.

    25. KLM
      February 12th, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

      We love Carnival. Have sailed on 35 cruises.
      Yes, the food is not what it used to be. The shrimp cocktail did disappear for a while but thankfully has returned as a nightly selection. The lobster is yummy but, sadly, not much there. Please no crab legs to replace lobster. It is a treat! We always go to the Steakhouse Dining Room – and there we pay extra but food is outstanding and the lobster more plentiful. It is worth every penny. Two nights of lobster…great!!! Just returned from the Magic! Great time, excellent service, super cruise line director, Noonan, memorable cruise! (FOG)

    26. sharon
      February 12th, 2014 @ 5:02 pm

      We cruised on RCI in September last year and i was very disappointed that there was no lobster night was really looking forward to it you could have it if you paid for it which of course i did

    27. Diane
      February 12th, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

      Was very disappointed with the lobster (served only once) on the last 2 cruises on Princess & RCCL Oasis. Very small & served with shrimp. I was particularly disappointed on the Princess cruise to New England — thought I’d be getting plenty of Maine lobster! By the time I figured out that I had to go to the paid dining room for decent lobster, the cruise was over.

    28. Kym
      February 12th, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

      I sailed RCL in Oct on a Med itin and again in Jan in the Caribbean. 12 night Med never served Lobster, but the Oasis did on a 7 night, although as stated previously by someone else, rather small and served with shrimp. I too would prefer crab legs!

    29. Bonnie Adams
      February 12th, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

      My husband and I took a RCCL Freedom of the Seas Western Caribbean in December of 2013. We only had lobster on the second formal night. No crab in sight. Also a note on the menus stated a world wide shortage of escargot, yet we had it out of Grand Cayman. I do agree the quality of the food has diminished. Choices gave been streamlined. Portion sizes have shrunk. But given the cost of traveling on land, cruising is still the best bang for the buck.

    30. Karen Rice
      February 12th, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

      Just got back from sailing 10 days on EMERALD PRINCESS. We had lobster on the second formal night. Escargot was available, and shrimp cocktail’s every evening. Plus the food at the International cafe was delicious and various. You won’t be sad sailing with PRINCESS.

    31. Frank Hallisey
      February 13th, 2014 @ 7:14 am

      REAL lobster is never found on a cruise ship! The north Atlantic lobster normally called “Maine” or “New England” also includes Canada and would never include the tasteless 3 to 4 ounce tails from warm waters. The whole thing on cruise ships is a poor marketing gimmick sold to people who have never tasted a real lobster which is usually boiled or steamed to retain the great flavor and texture.

    32. graeme litteljohn
      February 13th, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

      We’re looking forward to our May 1st transit of the Panama sailing with Oceania. It’ll be our 5th cruise with them and food is a strong point with the line so have no doubt there will be New England/Canadian lobster for our anniversary celebration.
      Having to pay for the “specialty” restaurants in order to get decent steaks or seafood is antithetical to the Oceania experience where everything is included in all the restaurants! And no ties required!! Enjoy….

    33. Gail
      February 15th, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

      I LOVE lobster & really would love to have some, but my question is MUCH more important than that. I have been told by friends who cruise that diet soda is not available with your meals, only iced tea. I will die without my soda as I am a true addict (it’s cheaper than drugs). Is there any cruise line that includes diet soda as part of your dining package??? PLEASE let me know. I would really love to take a cruise, but with NOTHING to drink, I won’t make it.

    34. Gail Wetmore
      February 19th, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

      My husband and I love royal Caribbean and find the food to be just OK. The Lobster – not so good – but we don’t cruise to eat and it is difficult to cook for thousands of people. We will always cruise with RC regardless of the quality of the food. The bread and salads are always good.

    35. Bob
      June 11th, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

      My wife and I just just took our dads to Alaska on the Norwegian Pearl for early fathers day.
      we were severely disappointed with the food quality. On their Indian food night we noticed far more food going into the garbage than was eaten. and their idea of seafood was a tiny bit of shrimp mixed with rice and vegetables. and when we asked about lobster or crab legs we were told they were not they were not in season. To me a pathetic excuse for getting cheep.

    36. Jane S.
      July 31st, 2015 @ 9:02 am

      My husband and I have been on 15 cruises so far. Some are better than others with regards to food..however our attitude is that we never go home hungry,can always find something we like,and total cruise experience inc ports,entertainment etc,and price …far exceeds wether or not there is lobster. mind you…I love lobster! I consider it a treat. When cruising we go with flow. For us it has to really really be bad all around for us not to enjoy it. If you expect the best of everything for a low price you will be disappointed!
      Happy cruising! Enjoy it!

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