Everybody in McMurdo eats at the unique cafeteria. Three meals a day except Sunday when breakfast and lunch become one brunch. No alcohol except Saturday night when you can bring your own (you can buy alcohol at the souvenir shop). The food is pretty good and they offer a wide variety of dishes. When supply from New Zealand has been delayed by bad weather, fresh goods like salad are more scarce. When I was there there was always salad and fruits. Finally there is the famous frosty boy which is the ice cream machine, a must-have obviously.
When we camped in the middle of nowhere in Antarctica, we cooked ourselves. We brought tons of food, frozen meat and vegetable, cans, bread, everything you can dream of. Everything froze of course. So we defreeze the goods by hanging them at the top of the tent with the propane burner on. We cooked with our tent mate although we sometimes had group diners in the party tent. We even cooked a turkey for Christmas in a small oven brought for the purpose! And we had fantastic pizzas from frozen dough. Of course all the water you drink or need for cooking, you need to go and get outside, just break some nearby ice and then melt it!
During the day, we would try and find a place protected from the wind and picnic! Hot tea or soup in thermos is really nice in the field. You also put water to drink in a thermo (pour it while it is boiling hot, otherwise it would freeze before you get a chance to drink it)!
There are 3 bars in McMurdo, all of which have a very limited choice in terms of alcohol. Cheap wine from New-Zealand and the US, one brand of whisky, one brand of vodka, kalhua, beer, etc... But it is still great fun to go and have a drink! You can pay cash with American dollars. My favorite is The Coffee House (first picture) which used to be the officer's lounge when McMurdo was ruled by the navy. It has Antarctica antiques to decorate it, like old sledges, and the round shape of the roof make it unique. Gallaghers is the other bar I went to, a little too drab for my taste (in terms of decoration) but it has pool tables. The third bar, Southern Exposure, used to be the smoking bar but now all bars are non-smoking at McMurdo.
Faraday Bar in Vernadsky Point is considdered to be the "southernmost public bar on earth" and The Barman in Faraday Bar is obviously always very happy to see new faces there instead of just the same scientists living there all of the year round.
There was great music, we even started to dance ( animated by the Vodka....), there is a billard-table as well and you will also be able to play Dart there.
Favorite Dish: The most common drink that you will get in Faraday Bar , will be Vodka from Ukraine of course : 3 US$ is what you will have to pay for a large glass of 4 or 5 cl.
Before my trip, I had read in Antarctica travel books that we should only expect basic types of food onboard. In other words, it was not going to be extravagant fanfare. However, the Orlova kitchen staff does an AMAZING job with the meals. Breakfast was always a buffet, but the lunch and dinner was always a 3-course meal with wonderful a la carte options that include a great variety of international cuisine. Among the more memorable ones are the king prawns, the South East Asian curry, the paella, the koulibiac and beef stroganoff. The desserts were works of art and if you are celebrating your birthday on the ship you'll have a very nice surprise :)
Vegetarian options were always available, and they somehow were able to keep the vegetables fresh all the way to the last day of our cruise! Two thumbs up for the Orlova catering team!
Very good imaginative food and excellent service throughout voyage. Imaginative as ship had no ports to call at to take on new supplies until we reached the Falklands. Uneaten food was reused by turning eg meat into pate, vegetables into soup & creating salads etc very skillfully.
Service always superb, nothing too much trouble at anytime.
On landing days a buffet lunch and dinner was served. At sea a buffet lunch and a set 4 course dinner(2 sittings for this) .
Favorite Dish: The soups, homemade and delicious, had two bowls a day regularly.
The food on the ship was great. Very few complaints.
You are served breakfast (buffet) //
lunch (sometimes buffet, other times a la carter) //
dinner (a la carte)
You are served dessert at lunch and dinner every day. Good stuff.
Also, snacks are availabe in the mean time.
Cold makes you hungry (?!) = very easy to gain weight.
Favorite Dish: Chocolate brownies....mmmm
The main restaurant on board ship was large and although quite formal in style a little institutional in atmosphere. Nevertheless we enjoyed eating here and the delicious meals were one of the highlights of the holiday. There were four courses every evening, but we restricted ourselves to three, choosing either a soup or appetiser rather than both! There was a choice of several options for each course, always including a vegetarian dish and at least one that was marked as lighter and healthier – very helpful given the amount of eating it was possible to do on board ship!
The service was excellent, helped in part by having the same waiter and wine waiter every evening – the incomparable Wayne and Edgar. We got to know both of them pretty well by the end of the trip. One helpful detail of the service was that any unfinished bottle of wine could be labelled and saved for us to have the following evening – the bottle would always be waiting for us when we arrived for dinner.
Favorite Dish: I can’t remember individual dishes I’m afraid, but I do recall that the soups were particularly good. On the last evening they pulled out all the stops for an extra-special meal, which culminated in a Baked Antarctica (i.e. Baked Alaska) paraded around the room by all the waiters and accompanied by music and sparklers!
There was a choice of places to eat on the Marco Polo – a self-service café with direct access to the large open-air seating area (where hot drinks were always available), or a more formal restaurant. For all meals there was a free choice of where to eat, and we chose mainly to eat in the formal restaurant for breakfast and dinner, and in the café for lunch. The latter served hot soup and other light meals, and also very good ice-cream. And yes, it might be freezing outside but you can always enjoy good ice-cream!
While you could visit the café at any time, for dinner in the formal restaurant you had to go at the time of your allocated sitting. There were two of these sittings and we’d been asked to select one in advance. One was quite early, the other a little later than we would normally eat, but we chose this one and found it worked out well. We would have a pre-dinner drink in the lovely bar, while it was still light enough to enjoy the amazing scenery and ice-bergs drifting past, then go into dinner for what proved to be the quieter sitting. We’d been able to pre-book a table for two, which we were pleased about – it’s not that we’re anti-social, and indeed we enjoyed meeting many of our fellow travellers over breakfast and lunch, but for dinner you were expected to sit at the same table every evening and it would have been unfortunate to find ourselves with less congenial companions.
As well as the same table, we were allocated the same waiter and wine waiter every evening – the incomparable Wayne and Edgar. The service they provided was excellent and helped to make every meal a special occasion. See my other tip for more about this formal restaurant.
In addition to the three main meals of the day, afternoon tea (with cakes) was served every day, and a late night snack for hungry night owls. We didn't partake of either of these as three big meals really is enough. And all of this is included in the price of your cruise - so watch that waistline!
The food on board the MS Nordnorge was spectacular! We had the feeling, that we were constantly eating, and we just could not resist:
A breakfast buffet and lunch with a wide selection of food, and a three-course dinner was served every day. We had a choice of fish, meat or vegetarian for dinner. Beer and wine were sold at lunch and dinner, non-alcoholic drinks were included.
This "restaurant" can be found in the museum of Port Lockroy. The military base has been turned into a museum now and many of the former collegues have donated things to authentically reconstruct, what it was like back then! I especially liked the kitchen and the storage room, but I must confess, that returning to the ship and having a fantastic lunch there, was even more appealing!!!
As with the tip on "hotels", in Antarctica your ship also is your restaurant! The "Marina Svetaeva" had two dining rooms, one large, one smaller. While the smaller one was a little more intimate, it also suffered from difficult access to tables at the back. The food and service in each was identical.
The chefs were from Australia and New Zealand, providing what could best be described as good quality hearty food of a varied and 'international' nature.
Breakfast was "help yourself" to cereals, juices, porridge, toast, plus something hot such as eggs, bacon, baked beans, croissants - the hot dish changed daily. Lunch and dinner were usually two courses, either main plus dessert or entree plus main. These meals were provided as friendly table service by Russian staff. On Christmas Day and New Years' Eve the cooks excelled themselves (Christmas lunch was five courses) - but those are special cases.
There was ample food and, because of the long stretches at sea, relatively little exercise. As a result, there was something of a risk to waistlines!
We were very well fed on board Explorer.
Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style. Dinner was a 4-course meal affair, sometimes even 5-course during special evenings like the "Captains Welcome Dinner" and the "Captain's Farewell Dinner".
Favorite Dish: I think my favourite meal was breakfast. Pretty much any breakfast food you can imagine was there, to satisfy the various tastes of our international crowd: from muesli & yogurt to eggs & sausage!
Since everyone that can even gain access to McMurdo is somehow funded, there is no charge to eat at the station's dining facility.
The food is surprisingly delicious, the only trouble I have with it is that they provide too much!!
This photo is from the Christmas Dinner they provided, with fancy white sheets!
Cocktails. I tried most of them on board.
Well, we have lots of time on Drake passage.
I figured if we are going to feel sick, I might as well try all the cocktails around. Afterall, no difference between getting sea-sickness & allergic to alcohol. ;-)
Well, luckily for me, I didn't get sea-sickness or allergy either. But I got to try all those wonderful liqueur for free ;-)