Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald has addressed a pair of food-related rumors recently, confirming one and debunking the other.
The rumors relate to buffet service onboard all Carnival ships, as well as the options for customized omelettes available both at the buffet and during the popular Sea Day Brunch.
Is Carnival Buffet Service Changing?
The first rumor is related to self-service versus served lines at the casual dining Lido Marketplace buffet. Concerned cruisers have asked Heald whether or not the buffet lines will become served – with crew members dishing out portions – or if they will remain self-serve, with guests choosing their own portions.
The questions are asked both with respect to food waste, as well as health and sanitation concerns over shared serving utensils.
“We are not, repeat not, changing from self service to a served buffet,” Heald confirmed.
Heald also asked a poll on his popular Facebook page about whether or not the buffet should remain self-serve or move to served dining. Carnival Cruise Line does take into account guest feedback whenever possible.
The poll results – with more than 4,700 votes counted – clearly show a preference for self-service, with 88% of guests agreeing that self-serve should be the way to go. Just 8% of votes would rather see the buffet served by crew members when possible.
Heald does acknowledge that served dining was the order of the day as part of health and safety precautions related to the pandemic, but it is unlikely that the service would change now unless there were a severe outbreak onboard a ship. Either way, some guests are always unhappy with how a buffet is served.
“If we were to say that the buffets were not self service and that a crew member must do it for you there would be some grumbling,” Heald explained.
At times, different cruise lines do shift to served buffets if there is an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness onboard. Some buffet items are always served regardless of the situation, such as meat carving stations or dessert options like cakes or hand-scooped ice cream.
As for food waste being a concern with self-serve buffets, guests can always opt to take smaller portions and simply get a second serving after they finish the first if they would like more.
“It will remain an all you can eat buffet and I should, with food waste in mind, remind myself and others that an all you can eat buffet is an offer not a challenge,” Heald commented jokingly.
Omelette Options Onboard
The second rumor Heald has addressed in recent days is a change in omelette options. Guests onboard recent sailings of different Carnival ships have noted that omlettes are no longer able to be customized during the popular Sea Day Brunch.
Instead, guests have a choice of three omelette varieties – cheese, ham-and-cheese, or vegetable omelete with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The only customization available is a choice of either cheddar or mozzarella cheese.
The Lido Marketplace omelette stations are also serving only the three types of omelettes, without additional customization. Previously, omelettes could be made with a variety of different ingredients, including bacon, mushrooms, arugula, spinach, and other types of cheese, including feta and swiss.
Several explanations have been given for this change. Fewer selections allows omelettes to be prepared more quickly, speeding up Main Dining Room brunch service and shortening lines at the buffet stations. Because of this, Heald has confirmed that for the time being, the new omelette options will remain.
“One of the reasons we are changing the slightly is to speed up the process,” he explained. “There are no plans to change back at this time.”
More pessimistic travelers are concerned that this may signify a permanent loss of options, but it is equally likely that this is simply a test of a new dining option that may yet be tweaked in the coming weeks and months. Heald has confirmed that the omelette stations on the buffet are not being eliminated entirely.
“You can still have a freshly made omelette of three different varieties made on the Lido,” he said.
It should also be noted that there are plenty of other breakfast options available, both in each ship’s Main Dining Room as well as breakfast burritos from BlueIguana Cantina. Other types of eggs are always available at the Lido Marketplace, including scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, and other options, depending on individual selections each day.