1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Best Cruises
  4. 5 Best Cruise Ship Buffets

5 Best Cruise Ship Buffets

The Lido Marketplace on Carnival Vista (Photo: Cruise Critic)
The Lido Marketplace on Carnival Vista (Photo: Cruise Critic)

Find a Cruise

Cruise ship buffets -- you either love the smorgasbord of all-you-can-eat fare and the uber-casual setting, or you hate the crowds, queues and food that's sat out a bit too long. Whether you're a fan or not, you have to admit that some cruise lines have put more effort into their pool deck dining venues than others. Our favorite buffets stand out from the rest with countless cuisine options, pleasant dining areas, helpful staff and a navigable layout, often with separate self-service stations. Feast your eyes on the five best cruise ship buffets you'll find at sea.

Updated October 10, 2019

1. Oceania Cruises' Terrace Cafe

The Terrace Cafe onboard an Oceania cruise ship.

Oceania's Terrace Cafe is likely the best cruise ship buffet we've seen at sea. This well-stocked and varied venue is arranged in stations to avoid the typical buffet congestion, and has food comparable to an upscale classy cafe. The service is great, too; the wait staff will load up your tray for you, and the chefs will cook food to order in full view of passengers. Even better, Oceania hosts different themed lunches and dinners every day, with fresh seafood, a carving station and an impressive salad island. Plus, who could resist the homemade ice cream that changes daily?


2. Princess Cruises' Horizon Court

Princess Cruises' Horizon Court buffet on Royal Princess

Princess Cruises' Horizon Court offers a diverse selection of cuisines, meals and snacks, including the Horizon Bistro Pastry shop, which serves freshly baked waffles, pastries and sweets daily. Breakfast choices are standard with the buffet's "Grab & Go" station, and live stations during lunch and dinner offer a rotisserie, a Japanese hibachi grill and build-your-own tacos. There is also a special buffet area designated for kids, and nifty hand-washing stations located throughout the venue.


3. Celebrity Cruises' Oceanview Cafe

Sushi at The Oceanview Cafe onboard Celebrity Eclipse

The Oceanview Cafe onboard Celebrity's Solstice- and Millennium-class ships, as well as Celebrity Edge, boasts some of the best international food at sea. This spacious buffet utilizes islands and active stations to serve a variety of cuisines, including stir-fry, sushi, pasta and pizza. It also has an exceptional salad bar, meat-carving station and dessert station. On some Celebrity ships with a high volume of Brits, there's even a British "comfort-food" area with different teas and fish and chips.


4. Carnival Cruise Line's Lido Marketplace

The Lido Marketplace onboard Carnival Horizon

The Lido Marketplace is the primary dining option onboard Carnival Cruise Line's newest ships, including Carnival Vista and Horizon. The buffet, which offers both indoor and outdoor seating, is separated into food stations designed to help with the flow of diners, especially during peak periods. Stations include the Carvery, Continental, Deli, Comfort Kitchen, French, Pizzeria and Sweet Spot. The buffet offers up a wide selection of meat and vegetarian options at all meals. Specialty drinks, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are available from the bar, and the pizzeria is open 24/7.


5. Azamara's Windows Cafe

Azamara's Windows Cafe buffet.

Located on the pool deck, Azamara's Windows Cafe is the main casual eatery onboard the line's three ships. Apart from an impressive selection at the salad bar, the meat-carving stations and a dessert display, Windows Cafe is most notable for its themed dinners, which vary from night to night. Azamara dresses up the space with tablecloths, wines and live entertainment and serves a variety of international cuisines, such as Italian, Greek, Indian and Asian. While Windows Cafe is a self-service buffet, dining staff members are always around to help serve passengers and to fill drink orders of any kind.



Find a Cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

How to Find the Best Cruise Bargains in 2019
It's the end of a decade, 2019, and a lot has changed in the world of cruising -- race cars, haute cuisine, digital everything -- but some tips on how to save on your next sailing stay tried and true. To uncover the best ways to land a cruise bargain this year, we spoke to travel agent experts and consulted industry surveys. What we found is that cruising shows no signs of slowing down, but getting on the right ship to the right destination might mean taking quick action. We've narrowed down the who, what, where and when of finding the best cruise deals in 2019 so you can spend less money and more time enjoying the seas.
What Not to Forget On a Cruise: 10 Things to Remember to Pack
We all know that sinking feeling when you realize you've left something important behind, whether it's your phone in the car or your wallet at the restaurant you just left. That feeling is much worse when you're on a cruise and discover that you've forgotten something at home. While not every "oops" will upend your cruise, some will, while others can prove to be enough of headache to put a dent in an otherwise great vacation. From A to Z, we list a few critical things not to forget the next time you cruise.
7 Ways to Outsmart Deck Chair Hogs
In the wee hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness, they creep. Their flip-flops smack across the pool decks of cruise ships everywhere as they shuffle like a horde of zombies armed with towels, sunscreen and books. If it sounds like a scene from a horror movie, you're on the right track. We're talking about deck chair hogs -- those inconsiderate fellow passengers who rise before the sun to stake out prime poolside real estate, mark it with personal belongings and then abandon it, rendering it useless to others. If you've had enough, we urge you to stand up to these selfish sunbathers and claim the deck chair that's rightfully yours. Join the peaceful revolution by employing the following seven tips for outsmarting deck chair hogs.

Find a Cruise