Sunday, June 21, 2009

Good Shipboard Coffee and Other Oxymorons

Ship coffee or rather the swill passed off as coffee, is generally agreed by most to be, quite frankly, god-awful.

I have to have my morning cup of coffee. If there is none in the house - which rarely happens - or if there is no milk to put in it - which often does happen - I can't start the day. So although I know shipboard coffee, either delivered by room service or served in the dining rooms, is going to be bad, I still drink it, employing mind-over-matter techniques to convince myself otherwise.

There are a few ways to get around this. Many ships have specialty coffee bars where you can have a pretty decent cup made. Of course you have to pay for this but it's usually about half the price of, say, Starbucks.

The coffee in the dining room can be hit and miss. I have found on some ships that if you order an after-dinner coffee that requires some prep - espresso, latte or cappuccino - it's often not too bad. Some ships have their "make-your-own" type coffeemakers in their lido restaurants. Again, hit and miss assuming you can figure out how to work the machine in the first place without spewing coffee all over the place.

Some people pack along their own coffeemaker and coffee. My hats off to you. However, I have enough trouble fitting all my shoes into my luggage and after about two hours on a cruise there is no visible counter space in our cabin. I'm not quite sure where we would fit a coffeemaker.

On our last Princess cruise, both my husband and I thought that the room-service coffee was actually not too bad. Honest. Usually I just barely finish a cup, enough to convince myself I've had my morning cup of coffee. This time I had a couple of cups each morning. Maybe we were just lucky that voyage.

But when it comes to my morning cup, I will happily take the worst a ship can offer over the best from Starbucks, grabbed on my way to work.

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