Pleasing Picky Eaters on a Cruise

Picky eaters are a constant source of frustration for parents. Whether they are as specific as refusing to eat anything but chicken nuggets cut into dinosaur shapes with tater tots on the side or as pliable as being amiable with any variety of chicken tender and potato product, picky eaters are cause for planning.

One of the best things about cruise ships is the typically eclectic array of dining options available. These span the dining buffets to mid-tier restaurants to restaurants you need to book far in advance. The good news is these specialized restaurants often focus on one type of cuisine, like steak or sushi, where the general dining rooms typically offer a wide range of options.

Before your cruise, do your best to catalogue the things your picky eater will and won’t eat. If that limited menu includes anything typically included on a child’s menu, there is a good chance the general buffet’s kids section will have it. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line has several options for passengers. Doing the proper research for whichever cruise line the family is taking will go a long way toward booking a cruise to please the entire family.

Dining Hall on the Norwegian Cruise Line Pearl.

Dining Hall on the Norwegian Cruise Line Pearl. Photo: Photo: Sean Pavone –

If the rest of the family wants to indulge in some specialty dining, do not be afraid to take the picky eater to a buffet before the rest of the family’s reservation. If only one person is eating, a trip to the casual buffet dining room can take just a few minutes, allowing the family to make it to their reservation, or dining room, in just a few minutes.

Cruises can also be great places to break down walls regarding what kinds of foods kids will eat. Convincing children to try new things, especially when it is similar in color and texture to current favorites, will be easier if they see a big brother or sister enjoying that same food.

Pleasing picky eaters will never be easy. Children are stubborn and can become set in their ways in a way that is near disturbing to onlookers and people who don’t spend a lot of time around them. If kids always have the option to return to one item they like on the cruise, even if it is a treat like ice cream, they can be convinced to eat throughout the rest of the cruise. Cruises offer the opportunity to try new things, especially for kids who have not tasted many worldly cuisines, but breaking through the picky shell can be tough.