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Last week, Royal Caribbean’s CEO, Michael Bayley, admitted that traditional buffets will be gone when the cruise line starts sailing again. Since cruise ships are known for their buffets, this news is quite shocking to some experienced cruisers.
Most hotels at the moment have also closed their breakfast buffets in favor of to-go meals. Whether these changes are temporary or permanent remains to be seen.
As a family traveling with kids, I’ve never been a huge fan of buffet dining.
Why I Never Loved Buffets
Before I had kids, I was never a huge fan of buffets to begin with. Growing up, my parents loved buffets. There was a buffet restaurant we went to many times when I was a kid. My parents likely thought it was a good value because it was cheap and we could eat a ton of food.
But meals at a buffet always felt weird to me. Eating a taco and lasagna on the same plate during the same meal grossed me out. I don’t like mixing my food genres. The only type of buffet where food mixing is ok is a breakfast buffet, because in my mind all of those foods are fairly similar.
Fast forward to having three kids, and then buffets really started to get difficult. After we got a table, my husband would escort one or two of our kids to get their stuff at the buffet. And yes, it was necessary to escort them because if not, they would either touch the food inappropriately and/or drop food off their plates.
I would wait at the table with our 3rd kid, they would come back and we would trade off. Once we got all three kids their buffet food, my husband and I would take turns watching the kids and getting our food. By the time we got our food, the kids would be done with their food and want to go back for more. And then the cycle would repeat two or three times.
Buffet meals with our kids were never relaxing or enjoyable. We were rarely all at the table at the same time.
Many of our buffet meals were character meals at Disney World. That adds a whole other level of stress. We had to keep an eye on the characters and make sure we weren’t at the buffet when they came around.
But As Kids Get Older….
I realize that many of the logistical problems with buffets are just when kids are younger. As they get older and more independent, buffets get easier.
Last year, when I sailed on Anthem of the Seas with my kids, I didn’t hate the buffet as much as usual. My boys were completely self-sufficient, and my 8-year-old daughter was mostly on her own (although she did drop some food). So, it took us less time to get through. I also appreciated that the buffet was well-organized and labeled, which made it easier for me to make a meal out of food in the same genre.
And, my tween and teen boys with their never-ending appetites took full advantage of the buffet with second and third helpings. If you have a teen boy, you know how they can eat endlessly.
I’m not devastated that buffets are going away since I disliked them prior to the pandemic. I do wonder if they won’t ever make a comeback due to hygiene concerns. I just hope that whatever replaces buffets takes less time than the formal restaurants on cruise ships.
Are you a fan of buffets, or are you glad to see them go away?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.