Carnival Cruise Line Adds Dining Charges and Makes Changes

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With ongoing supply costs and waste a concern for all cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line has decided to make some changes to popular dining venues, including increasing costs for specialty dining and adding new charges to entrees in the Main Dining Room.

These increases follow a variety of cost increases for onboard dining options earlier this year, and are sure to be a concern to budget-conscious cruisers.

Multiple Dining Changes

In emails sent to booked guests, Carnival Cruise Line has announced several changes to its onboard dining venues, including new costs and menu changes. These new charges and other changes are being explained as reactions to higher operating costs and to mitigate food waste.

“We have all experienced the impact of inflation, higher fuel prices and supply chain challenges,” the email begins. “At Carnival, we have worked very hard to minimize the impact on our guests.”

“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.”

Carnival Cruise Line Ship
Photo Credit: Solarisys / Shutterstock

To mitigate these expenses, as well as food sourcing challenges, the cruise line will now add a surcharge to multiple main dining room entrees, increase specialty dining costs, and discontinue the 24/7 ice cream and frozen yogurt.

New Charge Added to Main Dining Room

The most startling of these new changes, made beginning on all sailings departing as of Monday, November 7, 2022, is a new $5 (USD) charge added per entrée in the Main Dining Rooms for any entrée past the first two a guest may order at the same meal. The fee will also apply to sailings in Australia, for AU$7.

This means guests will still be able to choose a first and even a second entrée with no extra charge, but will incur the fee for a third, fourth, or any additional entrees.

Many cruise line guests may choose multiple entrees to sample different dishes or enjoy a greater variety of tastes, as dining is a tremendous part of every cruise vacation.

Carnival Cruise Line DIning
Photo Credit: Costin Constantinescu / Shutterstock

Another Main Dining Room change is the broiled lobster tail, traditionally offered during “Elegant Evening” dinner services during cruise formal nights on sailings 6+ nights or longer. Now, instead of offering the lobster tail at the first formal night – typically the second night of a sailing – the lobster tail will only be offered on the second formal night.

Several years ago, Carnival Cruise Line removed the broiled lobster tail from all sailings less than six nights, instead substituting lobster bisque soup as an alternative and only offering the full lobster tail on longer, and therefore more expensive, cruises.

Specialty Dining Prices to Increase

In addition to the new main dining room charge, Carnival Cruise Line is also increasing the price of its popular Steakhouse specialty restaurant. As of November 7, the price will increase from the current $42 (USD) charge to $48 per person – the second price increase for the popular venue this year, making a nearly 25% total increase over the cost one year ago.

If guests prepay for steakhouse reservations on sailings departing through December 31, 2022, the lower price will be honored, but reservations made onboard will be subject to the higher fee.

Carnival Cruise Line Steakhouse
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line

Similarly, if guests on sailings from January 1, 2023 and later have already prepaid for steakhouse reservations, the new price will remain. Those reservations must be paid for by November 2, 2022, however, or they will be subject to the price increase.

The cruise line has also stated that prices for other specialty restaurants, including Rudi’s Seagrill and Bonsai Teppanyaki, will also increase, though the new prices for those restaurants have not yet been announced. It is also possible that other venues may also increase prices as further budget analysis is completed.

Ice Cream Limitations

Free ice cream 24/7 has long been a sweet treat aboard Carnival cruise ships, but no longer. As part of the initiatives to decrease food waste, the cruise line will now only offer complimentary ice cream and frozen yogurt from 11 a.m. to midnight each day.

“While ice cream for breakfast or at 2:00 am sounds like a great idea when you’re on vacation, the truth is that we are seeing lots of waste,” the email reads. “We ask guests to join us in our efforts to reduce food waste in a way that will have a negligible impact on the overall vacation experience.”

What Will Change Next?

These changes come after a full menu of dining-related changes Carnival Cruise Line has made recently, from increasing costs to removing pre-order options for bottles of alcohol to shortening the hours for the pizzeria to adding more fees for room service.

Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for further updates on Carnival Cruise Line changes, and discuss these changes on our message boards.

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