Carnival Makes Major Dining Changes Passengers May not Like

The cruise line is blaming inflation for an end to a long-standing cruise practice (and an increase in the cost of specialty dining).

Many cruise passengers — at least when it comes to food — enjoy a mix of indulgence and exploration. When you eat in the main dining room on Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation Report, Royal Caribbean International (RCL) – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report, MSC, or any other traditional line you can both try new things and eat an awful lot.

A typical main dining room (MDR) dinner on any of those cruise lines starts with an appetizer/soup/salad course where you can have one of each or multiple of any category. If you want two shrimp cocktails, a french onion soup, and three Caesar salads your tablemates may have questions but your waiters won’t blink.

That allows people to push outside their comfort zone. Carnival even sometimes offers daring menu choices that might not be something you have ever tried before. If you order the escargot and decide you were right in thinking you don’t like eating snails, it’s not an issue because you can (or already did) order something else.

This practice also applies to your main course. If you want both the steak and the lasagna you can order full portions of both (or ask for half portions). And, if you don’t like what you order, the cruise line will bring you something else at no added charge.

That practice isn’t exactly going away on Carnival ships, but the cruise line has made a major change when it comes to MDR entrees.

Image source: Shutterstock

Carnival Wants to Curb Food Waste

Carnival shared an email to all passengers booked on upcoming cruises with a number of dining-related changes. The company blamed the changes on inflation, higher fuel prices, and supply chain challenges.

The food supply chain challenges have been further complicated by global politics and a myriad of laws regarding how we source products and how crops and animals are farmed and handled. At Carnival, we have worked very hard to minimize the impact on our guests, committed to our promise to make Carnival the most memorable, fun, and best-value vacation option on land or at sea. We have reached a point with our food costs, however, where we must take some modest but specific actions, which we know most of you have done yourselves, whether with your dining out patterns or shopping to stock the refrigerator or pantry.

The cruise line is also initiating a policy that will place a new limit on passengers dining in the MDR. 

“We want you to enjoy your favorites and sample offerings you haven’t tried before while dining with us in the main dining room, but we encourage you to follow the golden rule of dining: take what you want but eat what you take. And remember, you can always ask for a half-portion if something looks too enticing to pass up. Guests may continue to order a second complimentary entrée if they choose; however, effective immediately, a third entrée will incur a US $5 charge (AU$7),” the company shared.

Previously passengers had been able to order as many entrees as they wanted.

In addition to this MDR change, the cruise line will also limit access to another fan-favorite food choice.

“Complimentary self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt will be available from 11 am to 12 midnight (instead of 24/7). So, you can still have ice cream every day, multiple times a day, and as much as you want, but from lunch until a midnight snack,” Carnival wrote.

Carnival Raises Prices for Premium Dining, Keeping Lobster Night

In addition to these free dining option changes, Carnival has decided to raise prices for some of its for-fee restaurants. The key change will be that prices at the cruise line’s steakhouses will rise from $42 per person to $48. In addition, prices will rise at other eateries that are only on specific ships including Rudi’s Seagrill and Bonsai Teppanyaki, will also increase, but the company did not share what the new prices will be.

Carnival did lay out when these changes will take place:

For sailings departing through December 31, 2022: Specialty dining reservations paid in advance of the sailing will be charged the current price. Reservations made on board will be subject to the new prices. For sailings January 1, 2023 and onward: Specialty dining reservations already paid as of today’s date will be honored at the current rate

Carnival did make it clear that it won’t be eliminating lobster night in the MDR on sailings six days or longer, but it is making a change to that popular offering.

“In the main dining room, we will continue to offer lobster on itineraries of six days or more, but it will be moving to the second elegant evening (instead of the current offering on the first elegant night). The lobster isn’t going to swim away, we just ask that you wait for it further into your voyage,” Carnival shared.

Related Posts

Union Capital Financial Group Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands, does not provide investment services inside the United States. The company only provides consulting, advisory and educational services.