It is tolerable. I worked on Carnival Spirit, Conquest, and Pride and didn't like the staff food. Whenever i could i would go up to lido and eat which after a while isn't much better. Supper club is delicious, and i would do that once in a while after approval. The staff dining is like a little buffet section and you can also order of the menu - which usually had 3-5 items.
For example on Princess if you were allowed to eat in the officers mess it was pretty good. You could order from the passenger menu with the exception of certain items, or you could eat from the buffet trays if you were in a hurry. The crew mess however was buffet trays only so not always the best!
On Regent even for the officers, its all buffet tray food & to be honest is not all that great - although all the other perks of working here far out weigh the downside of the food...
Its a question of balancing up the pro's & con's of whichever company you decide to work for at the end of the day!
Good luck :-)
I worked on RCCL and the ship I was on had 2 messes, one for crew and one for officers and staff but everyone was allowed in both. The food was pretty limited though and very repetitive. If you are quite fussy you might struggle and after a few months you definitely look forward to eating in the ports you visit!
Every night in the officer mess there was salad, steak, chicken, dhal, mashed potato, rice, fish and a couple of other options that changed every day, the crew mess had the same plus food from the Philippines etc. It certainly wasn't the standard of the food passengers got in the dining room
Depending on your rank you can also visit some of the restaurants that are open for passengers and that can add some variety.
As most have said - it depends on your job title and what ship you are on.
Many jobs give you access to passenger food for all meals - except in the buffet - not in the dining room.
The food on any cruise ship will get repetitive after a few months no matter what ship you are on - although if you are lucky enough to work on a luxury ship you will get some very special meals once in awhile.
In NCL the food in the staff mess and officers mess were pretty much the same.
People allowed in the officers mess (Officers, Pursers, Hotel management etc) had in addition the possibility to order from the pax menu. My experience was that the officers most of the time ate what was offered, while the pursers and hotel folks ordered from the menu. Why it was like this I don't know
1st Officer Norwegian Cruise Line 2000 - 2003
I am told that due to the ethnic nature of P&O staff they used to have more than one staff kitchen but now there is usually just one preparing meals for all. Most staff appear to be Indian & Phillipino.
I've worked on the POA for a year and I have to say that the crew mess food is usually very good. Of course there will be hit or miss times but in general I felt very well fed and if I didn't like the current days menu I could always eat off the ship.