7 Best Free Dining Options at Sea
There’s no denying that one of the most important things on a cruise is the food, and food tastes even better when it doesn't cost extra. Some complimentary venues are better than others, so we have gathered what we think are the best in the industry. Without further ado, check out some of the best free dining venues at sea.
1. Guy's Burger Joint - Carnival
Overview: Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri’s first joint effort with Carnival is arguably the line’s most popular dining venue to date. Once you’ve selected one of the delectable burgers at the poolside eatery, head to the toppings bar to pile on your favorite tasty additions. Let’s not forget about the delicious fresh-cut, seasoned fries, either.
Best Thing on the Menu: The Ringer, which includes super melty cheese, bourbon and brown sugar BBQ sauce, and a rojo onion ring
Find It On: Carnival Breeze, Conquest, Dream, Ecstasy, Elation, Fantasy, Fascination, Freedom, Glory, Horizon, Imagination, Inspiration, Legend, Liberty, Magic, Panorama, Paradise, Pride, Sensation, Sunshine, Triumph, Valor, Victory, and Vista
Member Reviews: “This was my go to place during the day! I loved the hamburgers and the staff was always friendly. I liked that you had the bar area to put what you wanted on your burger too.” - Tiffany1993
“This is the BEST quick service restaurant there is on the ship!! We ate there twice.” - jpaul1208
2. O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill - Norwegian
Overview: Named after a former Norwegian Cruise Line president, O’Sheehan’s is a large space, themed like a neighborhood Irish pub with deep wooden furniture and photos on the walls. It’s open 24/7, and the menu has a surprisingly large variety for every meal of the day. All the food is complimentary — all you’ll pay for here is drinks.
Best Thing on the Menu: Fajitas, chicken wings, and brownie cheesecake. Also, O'Sheehan’s is a great spot to grab a quick cooked-to-order breakfast.
Find It On: Norwegian Breakaway, Dawn, Epic, Escape, Gem, Getaway, Jewel, Pearl, and Star
Member Reviews: “O'Sheehan's had the best chicken wings I have ever tasted. Ever. Anywhere! O'Sheehan's fajitas were amazing too...I loved being able to stop late at night to get a tea or glass of milk and dessert or late night snack. Service was consistently good. Sometimes, there was a bit of a wait: 20-30 minutes. However, I think this is something Norwegian greatly improved upon.” - DawnRuss
“OMG this is a great place! We used this as a meeting point most days with others in our group. Nice pub fare menu, great drinks and you can hear and see the action from the atrium below. Well worth the stop, especially mid - later on in evening.” - dlrmsmith
3. The Boardwalk Dog House - Royal Caribbean
Overview: The Dog House is the line’s take on the food truck scene. There’s a variety of gourmet hot dogs and sausages on the menu, as well as sides and salads. On most ships, it’s open on both sea and port days until 7 pm, which means everyone has a chance to grab their favorite hot dog.
Best Thing on the Menu: Coney Island Dog, The Big Apple
Find It On: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas
Member Reviews: “This place has the best hotdogs in the whole entire world. They always make it right and it is good every time. I would actually rate this a 10/5 if I had he chance to.” - jacobf17
“So cute and good hot dogs!” - jennolson
4. Guy’s Pig & Anchor, Cucina del Capitano, and Jiji Asian Kitchen - Carnival
Note: We lumped these venues together because even though they charge extra for dinner (except Pig & Anchor on select ships where no dinner is offered), all of them serve a complimentary lunch that's worth checking out.
- Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse is a free lunchtime venue available on sea days. There are a variety of meats, barbecue sauces, and sides to choose from.
- Cucina del Capitano is the line’s specialty Italian restaurant, which is for-fee at dinnertime with a full menu. At lunchtime, it’s complimentary and called the Captain’s Pasta Bar where you can choose your pasta, sauce, and mix-ins. Portions are large, so arrive hungry!
- Jiji Asian Kitchen is an Asian restaurant on select ships, and operates just like Cucina does. Dinner is for-fee with a full menu, and lunchtime is a free noodle bowl bar where you can customize what you want.
Best Thing on the Menu: We’d recommend the brown sugar barbecue sauce at Pig & Anchor, but the rest is completely up to you! The beauty of being able to customize your lunch is that everyone has different preferences and can find something they love.
Find It On:
- Pig & Anchor: Carnival Breeze, Dream, Horizon, Magic, Vista, and Panorama
- Cucina del Capitano: Carnival Breeze, Horizon, Magic, Sunshine, Vista, and Panorama
- Jiji Asian Kitchen: Carnival Horizon, Sunshine, Vista, and Panorama
- Pig & Anchor: “Great selection of meats, good taste, the line to order was long but went fast. I recommend trying it.” - JanetMathis
- Cucina del Capitano: “Excellent food! Choose your pasta menu at lunch! Price included in your cruise for lunch menu. Excellent ambiance, black and white photos of Carnival Captains and fleet....beautiful restaurant! One of my favorite places on the ship.” - AlmstDr1
- Jiji Asian Kitchen: “Had lunch here very good.” - MwKKqt8Voey
5. Wheelhouse Bar Pub Lunch - Princess
Overview: The Wheelhouse Bar on Princess ships is styled to reflect a traditional British pub. In that fashion, some ships serve a traditional and complimentary pub lunch on select sea days (other ships serve the pub lunch in a different venue). This includes bangers and mash, ploughman’s lunch platter, and — most notably — fish & chips. There’s also a wide variety of beers on tap from around the world, but drinks cost extra.
Best Thing on the Menu: Fish & Chips
Find It On: All ships in the Princess fleet
Member Review: "Don't miss the free British-style Pub Lunch served here. Fish and Chips were divine and dining companions raved about the Ploughman's lunch too." - SimonCommunity
6. The Manhattan Room - Norwegian
Overview: The Manhattan Room is actually one of the three main dining rooms on a few of Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships, and stands out because it’s one of the only main dining rooms at sea that provides live entertainment during dinner. Entertainment varies from ship to ship, but expect live music and dancing.
Best Thing on the Menu: The menu can vary from ship to ship and day to day, but opt for the Chicken Cordon Bleu if you see it.
Find It On: Norwegian Breakaway, Epic, Escape, and Bliss
Member Reviews: “This was the best place to eat. The service was exceptional, the food was good and the waiters were very attentive. The menu had a good selection of standard dishes as well as daily special choices.” - eghost
“This was our favorite restaurant for many reasons: 1. It's free! 2. The atmosphere is so nice - inviting, yet a bit upscale 3. Service was awesome - friendly and attentive 4. Food was AMAZING! 5. Having the opportunity to listen to live bands and dance with dinner was so nice!” - GoGators7
7. Alfredo’s Pizzeria - Princess
Overview: Time and time again, guests rate Princess Cruises’ Alfredo’s pizza as the best they’ve had at sea on any line, anywhere. The sit-down venue has an open-kitchen design, where you can watch the chefs hand-make your pizza and then enjoy it piping hot.
Best Thing on the Menu: You can’t go wrong with any choice here, but the Margherita pizza is always a hit. Also, keep an eye out for a special ship-specific pizza on the menu, such as the Pizza Royal Princess or Pizza Majestic Princess.
Find It On: Grand, Sapphire, Royal, Regal, and Majestic Princess
Member Reviews: “Great complimentary pizza and other Italian dishes. Wonderful service.” - Bucky63
“Very nice place to eat, they do not charge and if you ask they may even make you a custom pizza.” - WYO1living