Travel

My Number-One Rule for Navigating the Cruise Buffet — Cruises for Food-Lovers

Going on a cruise is kind of like reliving your freshman year of college. It's new! It's exciting! There's so much to eat and drink (and no one to tell you you can't have ice cream three times a day). Cruise buffets don't just offer a few desserts — there are usually 50 decadent sweets calling your name. The same goes for baked goods: Instead of five types of bread, you'll find 25 freshly baked loaves begging to be buttered. And then there are the proteins, piled nearly as high as the ship's funnel.

It's vacation, after all — and I'm not here to play the parental role or deny you the right to treat yo self — but having failed at my first cruise eating experience (both health- and strategy-wise), I know that too much of a good thing can mean a week of discomfort masked by stretchy pants and caftans.

With multiple sailings on several cruise lines under my belt, I now feel like I've mastered the art of the shipboard smorgasbord. Here's my number-one rule for navigating the cruise buffet, plus a few more tips for eating well on a cruise ship.

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Food Writer Sarah Copeland Shares Her Delicious Life in Upstate New York — Bite-Sized Guide: Upstate New York

Welcome to our Bite-Sized Guides, your guide to destinations near and far for cooks who love food and love to explore the world. Your companion for our first guide to upstate New York is Sarah Copeland, cookbook author and mama to two little ones. Here's why she and her family love their life in the Catskills, and why we think you may enjoy a visit too.

I first came to the Catskills in 2001. I'll never forget the effect of the landscape as we sped up the Hudson on the Metro North: Everyone seemed to shed their city agenda for a warmer, more relaxed stance.

I was a brand-new New Yorker and, as it was Thanksgiving and I was far from home, I had been invited to spend the holidays with a friend, near his family home in Rhinebeck. We stayed in a big open barn, in a bed laid thick with pillows and quilts. Where I come from, barns were for hay and animals; here, they housed art, treasures, holiday feasts — and me.

That weekend, we gathered and cleaned dozens of wild mushrooms, sweated them with butter and shallots, and tossed them with simmering stock and breadcrumbs (the kind that didn't come from a bag). We sat by the fire. We played games. We told stories.

There were stories connected to most of the foods we ate, the bowls we ate out of, the land we hiked, the people we met. And there was space, the feeling of room above, beside, and beyond in all directions. Here, there was room to grow, the possibility of new.

For years after, I longed for this feeling, this simple, but magical life. And I wondered, Why weren't more people living it?

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5 Things You Should Know About Cruises from a Former Crew Member — Cruises for Food-Lovers

Have you ever been on a cruise? Perhaps your first time was on a Caribbean cruise line with thousands of passengers soaking up the sun and sipping on frosty beverages. Or maybe you opted for a smaller, more intimate experience on a river cruise ship. While I have enjoyed both (and many more in between, including a Disney Cruise, which was actually awesome), my initial foray into cruise life was as a crew member.

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Why Disney Cruises Are Actual Parent Vacations — Cruises for Food-Lovers

If you're a mom then you know that despite the many, many joys of child-rearing, it can leaving you feeling a bit haggard. If you are like me, you will find yourself day-dreaming of endless sunshine and a Cinderella-style night out in glass slippers. You will want, in short, a real vacation — and not just a trip somewhere in a car where the final destination has a kitchen and in-laws are involved.

If this is the case, then I encourage you to consider a Disney cruise. You hate Frozen, you say? You've heard that GD song one too many times and you can't hold it (i.e. your true feelings) back any more? Hear me out. Walt knows a thing about sprinkling Tinker Bell's pixie dust on every age — including adults.

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5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Luring Food-Lovers to the High Seas — Cruises for Food-Lovers

Have you thought about going on a cruise but been deterred by the prospect of sad buffets and cafeteria-style dining? Well, I'm here to tell you to think again. Cruise lines have caught on that travelers want more from their onboard culinary experiences and are busy reinventing every aspect to lure you on board.

Here are five ways cruise lines are going after the foodie set.

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The 2-Ingredient Cocktail Everyone in Lisbon Is Drinking — Travel Intelligence

I have always said (mostly to myself, but also to anyone who will listen) that Europeans are the best day-drinkers. They have always managed to strike the right balance of refreshing and relaxing that comes from a drink that is just boozy enough. Consider Italy's Aperol Spritz or Spain's Rebujito, a mix of sherry and lemon-lime soda, or the Kalimoxto, a combination of red wine and coke that's popular in Basque country.

My recent trip to Portugal confirmed my theory — and introduced me to a two-ingredient cocktail that will serve me well as summer turns to fall.

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