7 Seriously Risky Foods on Cruise Ship Buffets

One of the best parts of cruising is the limitless food available day and night, but beware. Even with stringent regulations and sanitation programs, specific foods are more susceptible to contamination. According to the CDC, contaminated food or drinks can cause travelers diarrhea and other diseases.  We’re not saying skip the buffet; we are just suggesting passing on the following food items when your cruising.


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We’d be amiss to not include sushi as foods to avoid on cruise ship buffets. Raw foods need to remain at 40 degrees or below. Even with diligent criteria, uncooked items are more susceptible to bacteria.


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According to the CDC,  “salads are especially problematic because shredded or finely cut vegetable offers a lot of surface area for germs to grow on.” If you are craving a giant salad, wait for a sit-down meal to reduce the risk of raw vegetables that have been left out.


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Pasteurized milk in a sealed carton or bottle is generally safe. But practice caution when pouring milk out of open containers that have been sitting at room temperature, even a few drops in your coffee can make you sick. You may also want to ask a server if the milk is pasteurized, if it is not, skip the beverage altogether.

Lukewarm food

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Hot foods need to be kept at 140 degrees, if your potatoes aren’t piping hot, pass on them.

Scrambled Eggs

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Eggs are especially at risk for salmonella. If they aren’t properly cooked or again kept at high temperatures, you’re risking your health. Even eggs over easy are subject to bacteria. If you have a craving for eggs, opt for made to order omelets.

Potato or Macaroni Salad

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These picnic staples, made with mayonnaise, need to remain at 40 degrees or below to ward off bacteria. Skip the salads made with creamy dressings, just to be safe.


Condiments such as mustards, ketchup, and mayonnaise, are a breeding ground for bacteria. Stored in the refrigerator at home, these condiments pose little risk; however, on cruise ships, these are set out for an extended period. Add in tropical temperatures and public use, and the danger factor increases substantially.

Cruise ships take significant measures to ensure food safety, but certain foods are just more likely to cause illness and require proper preparation and storage. Ask yourself, if that cold pizza at midnight is worth losing a few great vacation days to gastro related illness. For useful apps regarding food safety when traveling, go to the CDC website and download their Travwell, Can I Eat This, and CDC Yellowbook 2018. These apps provide plenty of useful tips when traveling overseas as well as cruising. And make sure to check out these tips to stay healthy overall during your cruise.

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