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View Poll Results: 2012 - How do you rate the quality of Carnival Food?
It is excellent - better than ever 3 4.69%
It is slightly better than before 9 14.06%
It is the same - no better or worse 21 32.81%
I have noticed a slight degradation 14 21.88%
The quality has definitely gone down 17 26.56%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 26th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Default Fresh Opinions on Carnival Food Requested

I am just wondering - since I have not been on Carnival for awhile, how the food is holding up?

Many of us here at Cruisemates have said that Carnival had the best food in its price range, but they did have a bad quarter at the end of 2011 and food is one area where cruise lines are easily able to tweak the budget (there are not many places as easy as food for a cruise line to tweak the budget).

So - people who are regular Carnival cruisers - please vote. What is your take on Carnival food? Please vote and leave us your clarification for your vote below.

By the way - I put the year 2012 in the poll just for clarity, but feel free to vote if you have sailed on Carnival in the last 6 months.
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Old December 26th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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We were on the Fantasy in Oct and there was the new menu. The foods we had were as good as before but some of the changes to us were weird, such as adding meatloaf. That is such a basic meal and so individualized that we did not try it.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 05:32 AM
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Just back from the Inspiration. I was disappointed in the new menu. The food I had was as good as ever but the choices made me think I was in the local diner. My friends had the meatloaf and one sent it back the other said it was not great. Hamburgers in the dining room? Really? There are enough "comfort food" choices on Lido. Leave the hamburgers and fries up there.
Many people go on a cruise expecting a special dining experience in the dining room. I felt like that was mostly gone. Disappointing for those of us that really like traditional cruise dining.
I tried a few things from the "Didja" menu.The escargot is there now and no longer on formal night. I also tried the alligator fritter and it was very good. Did not quite have the courage to try the the frog legs. I missed the shrimp cocktails. They were offered once. I also missed the lamb. That was something I looked forward to every cruise.

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Old December 27th, 2011, 05:34 AM
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Just back from the Inspiration. I was disappointed in the new menu. The food I had was as good as ever but the choices made me think I was in the local diner. My friends had the meatloaf and one sent it back the other said it was not great. Hamburgers in the dining room? Really? There are enough "comfort food" choices on Lido. Leave the hamburgers and fries up there.
Many people go on a cruise expecting a special dining experience in the dining room. I felt like that was mostly gone. Disappointing for those of us that really like traditional cruise dining.
I tried a few things from the "Didja" menu.The escargot is there now and no longer on formal night. I also tried the alligator fritter and it was very good. Did not quite have the courage to try the the frog legs. I missed the shrimp cocktails. They were offered once. I also missed the lamb. That was something I looked forward to every cruise.

Laura
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Old December 27th, 2011, 12:31 PM
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Our last cruise aboard "Dream" we found the food to be about the same as before, but with some changes in the menu. The lovely Mrs. Jones (Vita) did enjoy some of the different choices aboard that ship, up on Lido, but I'm pretty much a "meat and potatoes" kind of a guy, so I was happy with what I got. I've tried the much maligned "meat loaf" and thought it was pretty good, and really enjoyed 98% of the food I received in the dining room. For us,,,,no problem!

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Old December 27th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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I was on Triumph last month, and this was the first time in the MDR were I was unhappy with service .. it was just so slllllllllllooooooooow.

Foods, more choices than ever, but I didnt care for most of the new choices. Instead of shrimp cocktail nightly it was spinach dip nightly on our menu (no guacamole and chips which I was lead to believe we would get).

I hated the spinach, and like it in some restaurants. Never ordered it after the first night. .. though it might have been a off night.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 03:14 PM
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I haven't been on a cruise since the changes, but, I have a coworker that just returned from the Valor and he said the food was horrible. Now, that may have just been his opinion. He had the pancakes from the buffet and said they were so tough you couldn't cut them. I would never try pancakes that have been on a buffet because you don't know how long they have been sitting there. The only meal he said they really enjoyed was the dinner club and he said that was fantastic. They ate in the dining room also and was not impressed with it either. Sounds like Carnival needs to go back to the way they were. I sure wished I could see for myself how the food is!!
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Old December 27th, 2011, 04:43 PM
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I agree about pancakes on a cruise ship. They are usually not any better in the MDR either.

One nice addition to the Carnival Magic is the waffle station (not sure of actual name) where they make waffles, french toast and pancakes to order...similar to the omolette station. They are fresh off the grill!
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Old December 28th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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It amazes me how many ships offer pancakes and waffles in the buffet but no hot butter nearby. They have syrup, but you are lucky if there is butter to put on the pancakes before the syrup.

You might find the tiny cubes of chilled butter somewhere, but they don't melt and then you have to go back and get syrup.

How delicious is freshly melted butter on pancakes and waffles? How easy would it be to set that up for people? Food scores would go up 25% on each cruise.

Anyway - I haven't been on Carnival lately and I heard a comment recently that the food had gone downhill, so I just thought I would ask.

The new Guy Fieri hamburgers are probably delicious, but can you eat a 1000-calorie hamburger for lunch every day? not me.
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Old December 28th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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The food has gone down quite a bit as far as we're concerned. On our last two cruises aboard Carnival, you had to ask them for fresh pepper. Our waitress said that was just one thing that they cut back on.

On our last trip, we tried the pizza a couple of times and it wasn't very good. There was NEVER a line for the pizza so I know it's not just our opinion.
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Old December 28th, 2011, 06:02 PM
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The Magic waffle station had 'soft' butter. They also had all the "fixin's" for Belgian waffles. They could also make french toast with jelly cooked in the center of the bread-that was new to me. The station was very different....I forgot to mention it in my review too...so thanks for the reminder.

Overall...I do think the food quality has slipped on Carnival. As has the service.
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Old December 28th, 2011, 10:49 PM
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We were on the Splendor earlier this month -- our 5th on Carnival in 5 years. I don't know how far back you have to go to say that it's worse now than it used to be...I can honestly say that from our first to the most recent cruise, the food's been pretty much the same. Also, food being subjective, what one person may think is wonderful, another may not like.

We were a group of six, including a 16-month old, and no one went hungry! We ate breakfast on the lido deck every morning; not much to say about that except that the scrambled eggs (powdered) are as nasty on Carnival as they are on every other line I've had them on! A lot of omelets were eaten; everyone enjoyed them. I had pancakes twice and didn't think they were that bad. I wish they had more of a fresh fruit selection. Lunch was mostly on lido; when you've got a 16 month old with you, you need to be quick! We ate dinner several times in the MDR and were pleasantly surprised by some of the new choices. My grandson (the 16 month old) LOVED the meatloaf; I thought it was pretty tasty, especially considering all of the negative comments I'd read about it. Without a menu in front of me, I can't really remember what we all ate, but I do know that there were no complaints from anyone in our group. My son in law's favorite was sushi at California Roll; 23 year old son ate a love of pizza!

I think the best food I've had on a cruise was on Celebrity, followed closely by HAL.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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Kinda like eating in a Dennys Diner. At what point does Carnival stop the cutbacks. Pay venues are now cutting back, porterhouse steak is gone. #16 Cruise in March on Carnival, hoping not the last!
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Old December 31st, 2011, 10:51 AM
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I have been on over 30 Carnival cruises going back to the early 80's. Remember when every night was a theme night? I am currently on the Pride, and felt I needed to chime in. Food is a very subjective subject so these are mine opinions, and if they don't match yours that's OK. Back in the late 80's, early 90's the food took a dramatic turn downwards, and I was about to write Carnival off, but around 1997 the food became quite good, and in my opinion remains so to this day. I still prefer Carnival's menu over Royal Caribbean's hands down. (again my subjective opinion!! ). For the last 5 years or so, many people were saying that Carnival should change their menu up, and when they did, the crap hit the fan!! Everything from the fonts used on the menu, to the "Comfort" foods. First, the Comfort foods did not replace any of the entrees on the menu. There are always a seafood, beef, chicken, & vegeterian entree items on the menu, plus the Every Day items to choose from. If you don't want meatloaf or Bacon Mac & Cheese, don't order it!! The Didja's for the most part are Great!! Alligator Fritters, Frog Legs, Shark, Escargot, etc. Something different for a change. The dessert menus are still somewhat limited. (who can eat chocolate melting cake everyday)!! On the cruise I am currently on, I have a few complaints. First, the first two days our food arrived luke warm. This was corrected. And my biggest complaint was that the 24 oz. Porterhouse is no longer offered in the Steakhouse!! I was so looking foward to that,But there are still a lot of GREAT choices that will keep me going back there at least once a cruise!!
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Old January 1st, 2012, 02:35 PM
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The new menus are not that different from the old and the quality is still very good. I tried the pancakes in the MDR and thought they were good.

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Old January 1st, 2012, 02:59 PM
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That just made me hungry - Happy New Year!
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Old January 1st, 2012, 04:47 PM
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In the past 6 months, we did the Triumph, Elation, Ecstasy and Magic....

on all these cruises, we found the "taste" of the food to be on par to a little better than on par with the other 40+ Carnival cruises....

I do NOT (in all caps) like the new menu presentation. It looks like a menu you would be handed at IHOP. And while that does not technically affect the "taste" of the food...it certainly influences the ambiance.

I also do not like the new 3 man system. The wait staff are now far to rushed. And on larger tables, I can see how this would affect the quality of the food where temperature is concerned.

We always have a table for 4 and we are always on time and (to date) have never gotten cold food.

But once your section has an entire table for 8 come in 30 minutes late, it can not help but affect the rest of the section.

I LOVE (again all caps) all the new choices Carnival has added in places other than the Main Dining Room. We have watched the addition of the deli, tandoor, pasta bar, burrito bar, asian bar, mongolian, roast chicken, fish-n-chips... over the years and I think these "free" improvements have been overlooked by some...especially during a time when other cruise lines are adding "for a fee" restaurants.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 11:01 AM
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I do agree that it is significant that Carnival keeps adding food dining options at no extra cost, where NCL and others charge more for alternative dining.

Of course, their "no extra cost" food is not exctly steakhouse quality, it is burritos and fish & chips. But it is good food and interesting. I personally love Mongolian BarBQ - and fish & chips, for that matter.

But the dining room remains the main place most people eat on Carnival, and it seems like they are adding a lot of money to run these alternative, many of which close down for dinner. It makes the experience better, but how does it affect the bottom line (havibg th emoney to keep dinner as the top meal).

When I now see cruise ships with new menus that only have two parts; starters and entrees, instead of salads, soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts all separate, it makes me wonder if the idea is to make you order less food.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
When I now see cruise ships with new menus that only have two parts; starters and entrees, instead of salads, soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts all separate, it makes me wonder if the idea is to make you order less food.
Not at all; our waiter made sure we knew we were welcome to order whatever we wanted. One night I had 5 starters and he didn't blink an eye.

Carnival's food is still good, just not as good as it used to be. We took a break from cruising between 2006-2010, and were disappointed when we returned. Not enough to affect our enjoyment of the cruise, just enough to remind us that the "old days" are gone, alas.

I agree with the message above, that the waiters are far too rushed now. I can honestly say that I don't feel the service suffered due to their increased work load, but they were running like madmen non-stop, and I dearly missed the opportunity to visit with them at leisure.

I recall with great fondness our first cruise on Inspiration in March 2002; our wait team had 2 tables of 10 and one 4 person table. 3 or 4 nights of the cruise the other 10 person table didn't show up so we almost had our own personal waiter and asst. for our table. What a great dining room experience that was. Oscar from Colombia and Henrietta from Slovakia set a standard that none since have been able to reach.

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Old January 4th, 2012, 06:36 AM
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Sailed Freedom last November, and thought the food quality was the same as I experienced on past Carnival cruises. I thought the Lido food and selection was better.

I usually sail Holland America, but believe Carnival is the best cruise value all around, including food.

Shelby
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Old January 8th, 2012, 08:30 PM
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I recently did back to back cruises, Royal Caribbean and Carnival and found the food on Carnival to be better than RCI with the exception of the extra charge steak and Portofino's. For me, service was excellent on both lines.
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Old January 9th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Well I am so glad to see this post. I intend to be on the Conquest in 12 very short days and my last cruise was on the Triumph June 2010. So a little time has elapsed since then and I was curious what had changed.

Breakfast is not a huge deal to me at all, since I tend to stay away from anything starch or sugar laden like pancakes, syrup, waffles etc... and will likely have an omelette, fruit and yogurt.

Lunch will likely be asian stir fry, reuben (Oh they do make a good reuben) or if something in the dining room looks exceptionally yummy, I will give it a go.

Dinner I wonder about. I know I would not order meatloaf anywhere... I will occasionally make it at home, about once every 2-3 years, but that is it. I don't have bad feelings about meatloaf, but once every 2-3 years when I thoroughly exhausted my food repertoire is enough lol. I am happy and relieved though that Ken liked it, because by golly if Carnival is brave enough to serve meatloaf (sorry I am having flashbacks to Mel's Diner) in their formal dining room, it had better be tasty. lol

I did ask John Heald to make reservations for d/h and I at the Chef's Table and I know we'll have one meal at least in the supper club. I hope it is half as good as our first experience in Harry's on the Liberty back in November 2005... a girl can hope. That was an eternity ago in cruise ship years...

Hopefully it will be wonderful and delicious. I'll let you all know when we return.
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Old January 10th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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With the latest of the latest menus, Carnival has gone back to making the Chateaubriand from tenderloin and not shoulder. Doesn't sound like a cutback to me.

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Old January 10th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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The food looks pretty good - and I like the Didja ideas, I would try Alligator fritters.

I asked the question because I know Carnival is struggling with profitability, and because I have heard comments from people about the food changing, but don't assume I have made up my mind. I just like to get feedback.

I would actually be surprised if anyone said food anywhere was getting better in this economy.
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Old January 11th, 2012, 12:53 PM
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My theory is that consumers in general, not just cruisers, have become increasingly chronic complainers, ruder, etc.

I've noticed changes in what food was served, but not in the quality or the level of service.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 12:03 AM
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Just got back from 7 days on Carnival Pride and feel that the food was not good at all. While the soups and the desserts were almost all very good, the food service and food quality has declined since the Carnival cruise I took last year. The food was rarely even warm, often dry and almost every meat was totally tasteless and oddly textured. The prime rib was particularly unappetizing. The soft serve ice cream machines were often dirty and/or empty. The ship needs improvements in many areas. The tables in the Mermaid Grill were cleared of dishes promptly, but the tables often needed to be wiped as they were not clean. Disappointing.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplesunrise View Post
Just got back from 7 days on Carnival Pride and feel that the food was not good at all. While the soups and the desserts were almost all very good, the food service and food quality has declined since the Carnival cruise I took last year. The food was rarely even warm, often dry and almost every meat was totally tasteless and oddly textured. The prime rib was particularly unappetizing. The soft serve ice cream machines were often dirty and/or empty. The ship needs improvements in many areas. The tables in the Mermaid Grill were cleared of dishes promptly, but the tables often needed to be wiped as they were not clean. Disappointing.

Thanks for your comments...and...welcome to Cruisemates.
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Old January 13th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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To further elaborate on my November 13, 2011 cruise on the Carnival Freedom, here's an excerpt from a review I wrote:

"I ate all my dinners in the dining room, and also had breakfast and lunch there when it was open for those meals. The food ranged from good to excellent. Some of the standout dishes included the braised short ribs, West Indian roasted pumpkin soup, pepper pot soup, Mongolian beef salad, cream of wild mushroom soup, Jamaican red bean soup, sweet potato soup, amaretto cake, and Grand Marnier soufflé. You can probably tell I really enjoyed the soup selections.

The first night in the dining room, I ordered the Indian vegetarian meal from the everyday menu and it was outstanding. The meal included a side item consisting of cumin-scented red onions baked into a yeast flatbread. It was one of the best things I’ve eaten in my entire life. The lobster tail served with shrimp on one of the elegant nights was mushy.

One day I had a great Reuben sandwich from the deli grill in the Lido, and the oatmeal in the dining room at breakfast was always served hot with no lumps. I used room service one time for lunch. I ordered a shrimp salad sandwich that was delivered promptly. The sandwich was fresh and tasty, and served with potato salad even though I ordered potato ships. I attribute the spud mix-up to a language barrier.

The first day on the ship I discovered the outdoor Tandoor station that offered a variety of tantalizing Indian dishes, including fresh baked naan. I ended up eating lunch there four out of the six days I was onboard."

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Old January 13th, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Pride? That is why I am not a big fan of the older Carnival ships.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 03:42 AM
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