Beautiful view of the middle of no where.

Beautiful view of the middle of no where.

It’s been about a week since my vacation ended and I am finally writing my last post about my Carnival Cruise.  Then it’s back to posting about Houston fare! So this final post will focus on all of the food we had in the main dining room.  For traditional cruising, you eat your dinner in the main dining room. It is generally a three course meal with several menu options.  Best of all you can order as many of the options as you would like.  The dining room is the best place to expand your horizons and try some foods you have never had before!  This is all included in your cruising fee, so there is not cost for being adventurous here. If you did not like what you ordered you just politely ask your waiter for another option.

I ate in the dining room way too much to speak about every meal specifically.  So I am breaking this post up by course and I will highlight my favorites.  Generally speaking, the food was good and some meals were excellent.  While cruises may try to sell you on the idea of this fine dining at sea, let’s be real! It’s impossible to produce really high quality food in mass like that.  We were unable to make slight changes on many of the dishes because they were pre-made.  Again, I do think cruises offer great opportunities to try new things, but I hope people do not walk away thinking that all “fine dining” is like cruise fine dining.  It’s a bit better on land.  Anywho, here is all the food that contributed to me being unable to get into my work slacks when I returned home! Make sure to click through the galleries so you can see the explanations.

Breakfast

The buffet seemed to be the go to place for breakfast on our cruise for most folks. We had to be different though.  We preferred the main dining room for breakfast.  On days at sea our ship offered a “Seaside Brunch.”  Well you see the name of this blog, so obviously the word brunch meant I would in attendance for that.  I was ON time both at sea days 🙂  On brunch days the menu was a little more inventive (check out the gallery below to see what I mean).  On regular days they stuck with traditional fare.  I had the french toast the first day and pretty much stuck with it.  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it was my breakfast motto!  All of the other pictures are of others food.

Drinks

I am also highlighting our drinks here.  I watched a special on cruising some years back and learned that alcohol is one of the biggest ways that ships make money.  With the added gratuity on every drink, you end up shelling out about 10 dollars per drink.  On my Royal Caribbean cruise in 2008, most of the drinks came with a souvenir cup. I still have a few of them to this day.  A few drinks, particularly shot glasses, were souvenir glasses on carnival as well.  I kept my drinking to a minimum due to cost plus I would have adverse side effects with my motion sickness medicine.  Most of these drinks are my other family members so unfortunately I do not know the names of the drinks.  I love them, but they are lushes 🙂

Appetizers

The appetizer portions were typically pretty small. One to two pieces or a salad that amounted to a few bites.  This did not bother me because SO much food goes to waste on cruises. Start small and if you wanted more then you could get more!

Entrees 

Here is where we were true gluttons! Once we got the game down, we would order two entrees just to try it.  One of my cousins ordered three the last few days.  Each day included a menu inspired by the port of call, a few other interesting items and some standard food like a steak or grilled chicken.  In my group, half of us tried to be adventurous while most stuck to the safe bets.

Desserts

At some point I was the kid who did not like cake and ice cream, but today the dessert is my favorite part of the meal! As excited as I was for the final course, this was pretty hit and miss. When it was good, it was GOOD.  But those misses, whew, led me to the cafe downstairs for something else to fulfill my sweet tooth! Carnival will always laude their signature chocolate molten cake dessert.  For those who do not mind a cake that seems partly cooked like myself, then you will like this. Despite what they say though, that is not the best dessert Carnival has to offer. Check the gallery for my favorites.

Finally, the staff in the dining room really is amazing! They work really hard and spend so much time cruising that I do not think they get to see their family too often.   They greet you by name every day and go above and beyond to ensure that you have the best service. The staff even puts on shows a couple of the nights to entertain the guests. Our group did prepaid gratuities but we made sure to tip more on our last night.   We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the dining room!  Make sure to check the “traveling foodie” category for the rest of the posts about my trip!

My mother, sister and I on one of the formal nights. Here is a good tip, you don't have to go THAT formal if you don't want to. We stuck with maxi dresses.

My mother, sister and I on one of the formal nights. Here is a good tip, you don’t have to go THAT formal if you don’t want to. We stuck with maxi dresses.

Our crew with our waiter Jesus!

Our crew with our waiter Jesus!