This question was answered on our Q & A Wednesday show on July 12, 2017.
There’s no better way to get your cruise started than with your first meal onboard. Fighting hordes of other cruisers, some of which may have been traveling extensively to reach the ship, can be a less than appetizing experience. If you’re lucky to board your ship early enough (before 11:00), then you’ll most likely have your choice of places to eat with minimal wait or crowds. More often than not, boarding commences close to lunch time and the majority of guests head straight to get something to eat. The most popular and busiest lunch spot is the buffet area. Most guests don’t even realize there may be other options open. On some cruise lines, the main dining room may be offering embarkation lunch where you’ll receive table service and order from the menu. Other alternatives include the pizzeria, outdoor grill or consider getting a small bite to tide you over from one of the ships snack areas. One last note, if you do head to the buffet, try to go the section furthest away from the main entrance. Most people will stop at the first food line they see, so by moving further away, you’ll likely have less crowding.