Is a cruise full of Europeans for you?by Lisa Cheng | August 19, 2016
When you book a cruise full of other Americans, you know exactly what to expect when it comes to your fellow passengers and the services on board. But you can encounter a bit of culture shock if you head out on a “European-style” cruise. The presence of other nationalities — Italians, Germans, French, and British, for example — can change the tenor of the experience way more than just onboard announcements in multiple languages. Don’t know if a ship full of Europeans is for you? Here are eight things to consider:
1. The menu may be unfamiliar.
European ships cater to European tastes when it comes to cuisine, which could signify delicious regional specialties that are a must-try (think filet mignon and pork with foie gras on the French-based CroisiEurope, made-to-order pastas and pizzas on MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises, and smoked reindeer and arctic char on Norway’s Hurtigruten). But it also generally means fewer choices at the buffet and on restaurant menus, and the lack of items you consider staples. For example, “Italian-style” breakfast mean pastries, cold cuts, and other non-heated dishes (no eggs, hash browns, or bacon).
2. The customer isn’t always king.
Europeans service tends to be laid-back and less intrusive than most Americans are used to. For Americans, that suggests an indifferent staff that may not be attentive enough. Whatever your point of view, expect varied attitudes toward your requests. Some staffers won’t go out of their way or will complete requests in their own time; others may surprise you with service as on-point exceptional as what you’d expect at home.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.