Carnival Cruise Line Begins Charging for Dining Venue

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Carnival Cruise Line has begun testing extra charges for ChiBang, a specialty restaurant aboard the line’s two Excel-class ships, Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration.

At the moment, the extra charges apply only on Mardi Gras, and all guests are still able to enjoy some free meals at the venue. Additional meals, however, will now incur a nominal $8 per person charge.

New Dining Charge at ChiBang

Carnival Cruise Line has recently begun adding a surcharge to some meals at ChiBang onboard Mardi Gras. While all guests can still enjoy one complimentary dinner at the restaurant per sailing, as well as unlimited lunch visits with no charge, the second, third, and more dinner visits now have an $8 per guest surcharge.

The cruise line is testing out this new charge at the moment, only on Mardi Gras though the restaurant is also present on Carnival Celebration and will be part of the dining lineup on the upcoming Carnival Jubilee as well.

Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has addressed the change, noting that it is a limited charge and only a test at the moment.

ChiBang on Mardi Gras
ChiBang on Mardi Gras (Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive)

“To give everyone an opportunity to dine in this unique venue, we are implementing a pilot project on Mardi Gras only, not on Carnival Celebration,” Heald explained. “All guests are welcome to enjoy a complimentary dinner during their voyage. A nominal charge of $8, per guest, will be assessed for additional visits.”

The note that the charge is “to give everyone an opportunity to dine in this unique venue” indicates the test is, at least in part, a way to manage crowds on a ship that can welcome 5,282 guests at double occupancy, or up to 6,465 guests when fully booked.

The $8 (USD) charge is certainly minimal, and only applies after a guest’s first dinner at ChiBang. “Lunch remains complimentary for everyone irrespective of the number of visits,” Heald confirmed.

The new charge only applies on Mardi Gras, not Carnival Celebration, and thus far, is not expected onboard Carnival Jubilee when she debuts from Galveston in December. This plan could change, however, depending on the success of the test period and guest feedback.

About ChiBang on Carnival Cruise Line

ChiBang is a unique dual-menu dining venue, featuring both Chinese and Mexican dishes, but not a fusion-style menu. Instead, guests can select from both menus for their appetizers and entrees, enjoying either Chinese or Mexican tastes, or both. Specialty desserts are also included.

“Mardi Gras is truly a game-changing ship and that, of course, includes her amazing dining options which offer our guests a broad spectrum of cuisines from around the world,” said Cyrus Marfatia, Carnival’s vice president of culinary and dining.

Mardi Gras Chibang!
Image Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Guest feedback drove the decision to create ChiBang and offer both Chinese and Mexican dishes, menus that were not previously available at other specialty venues in the Carnival fleet.

ChiBang’s delicious menu options include egg drop soup, shrimp pot stickers, lettuce wraps, Kung Pao chicken, mandarin honey crunch salad, and hakka noodles for Chinese flavors, with sopas, queso fundido, carnitas, steak ranchero, camarones diablo, and frijoles providing Mexican tastes.

For dessert, guests can enjoy coconut tea tres leches cake, crema catalana, or the specialty chocolate “C-Bang” chocolate and salted fudge ganache with ginger and caramel ice cream.

Free Onboard Dining Venues

Mardi Gras features more than 15 dedicated dining venues, many of which remain included in the cruise fare. In addition to the main dining rooms, guests can enjoy Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, or Shaq’s Big Chicken for casual fare, with Lido Marketplace providing the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Street Eats is another unique option for a rotating menu of unique tastes, or guests can indulge in amazing barbecue at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que. Unlimited ice cream and frozen yogurt is available at Swirls, while Pizzeria del Capitano has a selection of delicious pizzas.

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