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Monday, June 22, 2015

A Newbie Guide to Cruising Carnival Cruise Lines: the Food

a newbie guide to carnival cruise lines food

I have an entire series of posts planned for our recent Carnival Fascination Cruise trip, but first FOOD. It just seems like the very best place to start. I mean, you want to know how well you'll be nourished while on board your vessel. After all, if not properly nourished, you may not have the energy to partake in all of those fun shore excursions and beach time. I digress.

The food on board any Carnival Cruise Line ship is sure to be FANTASTIC! However, I can only speak for the Fascination. My husband and I recently took our two oldest boys right out of JaxPort, the local Carnival Cruise Line port here in Jacksonville, FL. For years, we've seen the ship in port, as we cross over the Dames Point Bridge, and said, "Hey, look! The cruise ship is in town." Yet, we've never boarded the vessel and set sail ourselves.

To say we were well-fed while aboard the ship is an understatement. We ate like kings and queens for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit. Chili cheese fries, cheeseburgers, and more fresh fruit. Steak, lobster, and shrimp cocktail. These are only a few of the foods we enjoyed while sailing with Carnival. Allow me to show you a few of our favorites, in pictures.

Breakfast on the Carnival Fascination
{breakfast looked like this just about every morning. yum.}

Shrimp Cocktail on Carnival Cruise
{the shrimp cocktail appetizer was so delicious.}

caprese salad on carnival fascination
{the Caprese Salad was amazing! I could've eaten this morning, noon, and night.}

seafood dinner on carnival cruise fascination
{Penne Mariscos. sauteed shrimp, calamari, and scallops on top of italian pasta, tossed with a tomato cream sauce. yum.}

Shrimp and Lobster on the Carnival Cruise Fascination
{on Elegant Night we feasted on steak, lobster and shrimp. don't be afraid to ask for seconds.}

Chocolate Molten Cake on Carnival Cruise Fascination
{i highly recommend getting this cake for dessert each night. you can get a different dessert, in addition to this. but, trust me, you'll be missing this Molten Chocolate Cake when you are back at home.}

All You Can Eat Ice Cream on Carnival Cruise Fascination
{endless froyo and soft serve. need i say more?}

"DIDJA" Menu

Let me tell you about a special menu that is featured on the dinner menu each night. It's called the "didja" menu, as in "did you ever." Each night there's a different food item that you may not have ever tried, or ever thought of trying. I urge you to try it. We did, and each night we either enjoyed it or were glad we could at least say we've tried it. Again, in pictures, here were our "didja" menu options.

didja Menu on Carnival Cruise Fascination

Alligator Bites on Carnival Fascination Cruise
{we enjoyed these Alligator Bites. they were more like hushpuppies with bits of alligator in them.}

Escargot on Carnival Cruise Fascination
{this was the Escargot. my boys and I each tried it, and we all doesn't have much of a flavor and it has the texture of a mushroom.}

didja menu on carnival fascination

sushi on carnival fascination
{the sushi was delicious. i would definitely get it again!}

We ALL enjoyed every morsel of food while on the Carnival Fascination. My son Jonah's favorite part about the food? The endless FroYo. Yep, that's right, you can get frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream, in a variety of flavors, 24 hours a day! Jonah would eat his meal {breakfast, lunch, or dinner} and then head straight to the froyo machine. If he was on his way to the Kid's Club, he would first stop for froyo. You rarely saw him without a cone in his hand. 

Shhh...I enjoyed the chili cheese fries a LOT. I might have gone and gotten them two or three times in the 3 days they were offered. Calories don't count on vacation. True story. 

My husband and I equally LOVED steak and lobster night. We asked for seconds on lobster, devoured our steaks and enjoyed a quiet meal, just the two of us. {We ditched the kids on Elegant Night. LOL Don't worry, they had pizza.}

A Few Helpful Tips from a Newbie Cruiser:
  1. When packing for your cruise, pack at least one elegant {or Sunday's Best} outfit.
  2. Check your Sign and Sail card for your dining time and location.
  3. On Embarkation day, check-in early and have lunch on the ship. The buffet will be open on Lido Deck.
  4. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to tell your waiter or maitre d'. They're there to help, and will do so with a smile. 
  5. Don't feel like dining in the dining room tonight? Feel like staying in your stateroom for the evening? Order room service. There's a menu in your room and you can order from it 24 hours a day.
  6. Each adult, aged 21 or older, may bring one 750 ml bottle of wine on board in their carry-on luggage. {up to two bottles per room, a $15 corking fee will apply to bottles with corks}
  7. Each person may bring up to 12 unopened cans/cartons of soda, water or juice in their carry-on luggage. {as of July 9, 2015, NO bottles of soda or water will be allowed to be brought on board. See Carnival's Liquor and Beverage Policy for all of the rules and restrictions.}
  8. Water, lemonade, and tea are available, at no additional cost, while on board. If you're a soda drinker, I recommend pre-purchasing Bottomless Bubbles. For a nominal fee, you can have unlimited soda and juice for the duration of your cruise. Bottomless Bubbles can be purchased at the Lobby, Casino, or Pool Bars. 
  9. To piggy back on Bottomless Bubbles, Carnival Cruise Lines also offers a plan for those who enjoy a cocktail or two. Cheers!, a prepaid bar package, allows you to order drinks and not get billed. Whether you're lounging by the pool or enjoying a show in one of the many theaters, you can do so with a cocktail in hand. {Some exclusion apply. Must be purchased for the full length of cruise.}
  10. The frozen yogurt and soft serve station, as well as the pizza bar, are open 24 hours a day!
  11. Check your cruise ship for special dining locations. For example, some of Carnival's ships have Guy's Burger Joint. {Yeah, that Guy, Guy Fieri from Food Network.}
  12. Try new things! While on vacation is the PERFECT time to try something that you've never tasted before.
Have you been a Carnival cruise? All this talk about food has my mouth watering. What dining/food tips would you add? 

Disclaimer: My family and I received a Carnival Cruise on the Fascination in exchange for social media sharing and articles on No script was given, all opinions are my own. All photos used in this article are property of 

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