September 10, 2009

The Meal Plan and the Meals

Filed under: — admin @ 11:56 PM

Cruise Ship Food

I’m sure that you’ve all heard about cruise ship food. On the cruise ship, all meals, snacks and Ice tea or coffee are included except for hard and soft drinks. The menus are fantastic and in a week’s time, they go through the following:

  • Meat and meat products 5500 lbs
  • Poultry 2000 lbs
  • Fish 1200 lbs
  • Seafood 1500 lbs
  • Butter and Margarine 1100 lbs
  • Fresh Vegetables 8000 lbs
  • Potatoes 2500 lbs
  • Water Melon 1800 lbs
  • Eggs 13500 pcs
  • Dairy 3000 qts
  • Sugar 700 lbs
  • Ind. Sugar Packages 20000 pcs
  • Rice for crew 2100 lbs
  • Flour 2900 lbs
  • Ice Cream 200 gallons

On the Alaska road tour, you are on your own and popular opinion including wild stories will lead you to believe that restaurant food costs about 50% more in Alaska due to material shipping and labor. On the tour portion of our trip, there were fourteen days of meals unaccounted for. The cruise line offers up a “tour meal plan” to “help” with this problem and so I pre-purchased their plan that included 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners. Figuring $18 for breakfasts, $15 for lunches and $50 for dinners, the total equals their $409 per person cost.

I later found out that their plan did not cover any meals at Anchorage or Denali and that other various lunches plus two dinners were included with the trip anyway. It also mandated eating all meals at the hotel restaurants which are owned by the cruise line. It did include three meals on the McKinley Explorer that were excellent. (I had never eaten a meal on a train before.)

On our tour, the cruise came first and I had already pigged out with full cruise meals and desserts and I was ready for a diet by the time we got to our land tour. My best dinner at Fairbanks (king crab) was only $38 and most dinners were about $25. You do your own math. Everyone has their own best way and their own opinion. My point is that one should think it out before plunking down the dough for those meal plan vouchers.

Unless you have a teenage boy that’s a voracious eater, I figure a $10 breakfast, a $10 lunch and a $25 dinner should feed you very well on your own expense. Paying $18 for toast and coffee is NOT a bargain. Or, if you plan on eating full meals, buffets and desserts at every stop then the meal plan might be a very good deal and it certainly is convenient.

Not at all included:

  • Anchorage (Dinner Breakfast Lunch Dinner)
  • Denali (Dinner Breakfast Dinner Breakfast Lunch)
  • Fairbanks (Lunch)
  • Dawson (Lunch)
  • Whitehorse (Lunch)

Included anyway:

  • Kenai Fjords (Lunch)
  • Tundra Wilderness (Lunch)
  • Dredge #8 (Lunch)
  • Yukon Queen (Dinner)
  • Minto Resorts (Lunch)
  • Whitehorse (Farewell Dinner)

Meal Plan coverage:

  • McKinley Explorer (Breakfast Lunch Dinner)
  • Fairbanks (Breakfast Dinner Breakfast)
  • Tok (Dinner Breakfast)
  • Dawson (Breakfast Dinner Breakfast)
  • Whitehorse (Dinner Breakfast Breakfast)

As you can see, the cruise line’s land tour meal plan coverage was incomplete, expensive and unnecessary and of course, you’re on your own anyway at the pre-cruise and post-cruise airport hotels. So, if you plan on taking this tour trip, be forewarned!

The Sand Bar and Grill at Juneau

The Sand Bar and Grill at Juneau

In Juneau, it was great to have a good friend to guide us to lunch and dinner spots that were away from the tourists. The Sandbar (Glacier Highway & Industrial Blvd.) had the best Halibut & Chips in the territory and all the locals knew it!

The Grumpy Griz at Tok, Alaska

The Grumpy Griz at Tok, Alaska

Most towns have lots more restaurants than just the hotel where you stay. It’s variety vs. convenience. Here’s one that I wish we had tried in the small town of Tok and any larger town has dozens of choices. Next trip to Alaska, we will fly in, rent a car and go here and there. The first time was a learning experience.

Lunch at Sourdough Joe's

Lunch at Sourdough Joe's

I didn’t take many food photos on the land tour. Here’s Sourdough Joe’s lunch menu at Dawson City in the Yukon Territory.


Google is your friend for finding out where to eat!

See our pictures and full story here: Alaska Cruise Tour

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Copyright by Harry Matthews, Inc. © 2009