Hot on the Forums: Do You Take Food on a Cruise Ship?

August 15, 2014 | By | 16 Comments

Bunch of gummy bears
A cruise ship might seem like the last place on earth where you’d need to bring your own food. I always swore I’d never be the type of unadventurous person who’d take sackloads of home comforts on holiday, but sure enough I found myself stashing a pack of Scottish oatcakes and a box of tea in my suitcase for my last voyage. Cruise Critic’s U.K. editor, Adam Coulter, confesses to bringing his own Marmite onboard, too (Editor’s note: and PG Tips, a brand of tea).
So I wondered, who else brings their own nibbles on a cruise? Turns out, I’m not alone.
Cruise Critic member MrsCruise2007 says on the forums: “I always pack some small snacks…granola bars, trail mix, crackers. I am a continual snacker at home and sometimes just want something small to tide me over.”

KCruiser2014, meanwhile, confesses, “My husband has to bring his little gummy bears, cheese and peanut butter crackers and sweet tarts. Makes no sense to me, but he just likes to have his normal ‘munchies’ in his nightstand drawer.”
Kymbakitty says her husband can’t live without See’s Candy (posh American chocolate to our readers outside the U.S.): “He always takes two pounds (hand selected, of course) and shares it with housekeeping. I don’t think they care, but he lets them pick their own piece every day.”
Speaking of chocolate, member Heyabbott packs peanut and almond M&Ms, commenting, “Goes great with the Veuve Clicqout we bring.”
Others bring their own food for more practical reasons – special diets or diabetes, for example, or to save money buying lunch in port. Member Luvscruising2007 writes, “Usually peanut butter crackers or cashews or Nutrigrain bars… If the excursion is a long one, the snack tides us over until we return to the ship.”
And some like to bring a little something to pep up the cruise ship food. Member Anzula declares: “On my one and only cruise four years ago, I was so disappointed with the bland food I was dreaming of my hot sauce. I plan on bringing a bottle of Cholula this time in my suitcase.” (Again, for those not yet converted, this is a hot Mexican chili sauce.)
Meanwhile, member Moomoocow, an MSC fan, stashes the HP, a brown sauce that’s popular in the U.K.: “Because husband needs HP on bacon we pack HP sachets that you can start collecting in cafes before you go. You only need to pack 10 or so and it’s lighter and less risky than a bottle as it won’t smash. Wrap in plastic bag and put them in a shoe.”
Then there’s the tea question; Lipton’s Yellow Label, common to many cruise lines, often doesn’t cut it with Cruise Critic members. Carolin says: “I always bring my own [tea]. I drink PG tips which in my humble opinion is much better then Lipton.”
And going back to that Marmite, or for Australians, Vegemite, it seems editor Adam isn’t alone, as whole threads on the Cruise Critic forum are dedicated to it. Even cruisers paying for the very finest food and wine at sea can’t live without it. Member Hubbards says, in response to a question about whether the luxurious Crystal Symphony stocks either spread: “I was on the Symphony in Australia earlier this year and my Aussie friends brought their own stash onboard.”
What’s your secret cruising snack? Let us know.
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    16 Responses to “Hot on the Forums: Do You Take Food on a Cruise Ship?”

    1. Roberta Gerlach
      August 15th, 2014 @ 10:17 am

      The only “food” I might carry onboard, depending on whether I had to fly into the departure port, would be low sodium V8 juice. It’s high in potassium and one can at night will prevent any leg cramps after an active day. A variety of food offerings has always been part of cruising fun.

    2. Matt
      August 15th, 2014 @ 11:14 am

      Goldfish, M&M’s, Pretzels , Cashews, always have snacks for Happy Hour on the Balcony !

    3. Hugh Catlett
      August 15th, 2014 @ 11:44 am

      We take diet cokes and trail mix. Snacks for the stateroom.

    4. Kessa
      August 15th, 2014 @ 11:56 am

      I love tea time on the cruises, but always bring my own favorite tea from home (rooibos) for tea time. I also bring gummy bears because they help with dry mouth that is associated with Dramamine or Scopalomine. We also usually bring a special bottle of wine for the dressier meals.

    5. Shirley
      August 15th, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

      McVitie’s Rich Tea Biscuits

    6. Elizabeth
      August 15th, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

      Reese’s Peanut Butter cups for my husband and mini-chocolate bars (the Hersheys Variety pack) for wrapping dollar bills around for the room service people each morning. They love the chocolate. I have never received so many hugs and thanks from people as I do the ship’s crew who get one of those chocolate bars. I asked our cabin steward one time why and he said they don’t get much in the way of treats. One girl who did not speak much English and brought us towels hugged me when I gave it to her.

    7. Asiba
      August 15th, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

      Take food on a Cruise ? I have never even thought of it. This is surprising to me. Take food on a flight but on a cruise ?? Oh no –that’s not cricket !!

    8. Vicki Roberts
      August 15th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

      I go to the ice cream bar for a bowl of candy for my room. If anything I bring protein bars, and single serve crystal light packs…I always crave salty and love that Oasis and Allure have bags of chips!!!!

    9. Sowright4u
      August 15th, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

      We always bring a stash of mixed nuts to enjoy with our evening cocktails in our cabin or as an energy boost on excursions. Last cruise we brought snack-sized candy bars to share with our cabin attendants. They were a BIG hit!

    10. Mary
      August 17th, 2014 @ 12:45 am

      Diet Coke (because some cruise lines only have Diet Pepsi, yuck), and Smuckers’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They are round and sealed with no crust for the contents to seep out, so no mess, and individually wrapped. Good for when you’re going to ports and want something portable on the go.

    11. Patty S.
      August 20th, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

      Glad to hear not alone bringing snacks. Mixed peanuts, trail mixes & Herseys choc for grabbing with balcony evenings & when on excursions.

    12. Bill B
      August 20th, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

      I take along some small trail snacks for excursions, some REAL DARK Chocolate, deluxe mixed nuts for balcony evenings, plus my ‘gruel’ that I mix daily with skim milk & yogurt for breakfast. I’m have Celiac Sprue and have to be very careful what I eat. So I also have some things I know are ‘safe.’

    13. Catherine Fleming
      August 20th, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

      I always bring Gus’s Gourmet Pecans.Made in Fort Davis,Tx.Great Happy Hour treat.

    14. Loretta
      August 20th, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

      I bring Stevia sweetener, sea salt & a small bag of snack size candies. Candy is mostly for the bus trip back and forth. I will bring more candy next time for the cabin stewards.

    15. Desiree
      August 21st, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

      This last cruise I took bottled Diet Coke, Fritos corn chips and Sour Cream and Onion Pringles. Yummy!! Wish I would have brought myself a Milky Way as I was craving one on the ship.

    16. Caddygirl57
      November 24th, 2014 @ 6:37 am

      Does anyone else find the food on the cruise not appealing? Is it only me? And the deserts? What is wrong with them? Not enough sugar? We always bring food. I miss crackers, peanut butter, nuts and candy when we cruise.

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