Carnival Cruise Line has recently increased the pricing at multiple specialty dining venues fleetwide, with cost going up from just $1 per person to staggering increases of as much as $51 per person, depending on the ship and restaurant.
The new prices went into effect on December 1, 2023 and are now implemented on all of the line’s ships as holiday sailings get underway.
Specialty Restaurant Prices Increase
Multiple specialty restaurants aboard Carnival ships are now commanding higher prices after recent rate increases. While no official announcement was made for the price changes, the new rates for the most popular specialty restaurants in the fleet are confirmed on the cruise line’s website.
Not every restaurant onboard is impacted, and there is no associated increase in gratuity fees or other service charges at this time. Gratuities are automatically included in the per person rates for some specialty dining restaurants, though an additional 18% gratuity is assessed for Bonsai Teppanyaki reservations and guests may always extend additional gratuities at their discretion.
The new prices (all in USD) are as follows:
- Steakhouse – $49 per person (+$1 / 2% increase)
- JiJi Asian Kitchen – $24 per person (+$6 / 33% increase)
- Cucina del Capitano – $24 per person (+$6 / 33% increase)
- Bonsai Teppanyaki – $38 per person for lunch, $42 for dinner (+$3 / 9% increase for lunch; +$4 / 11% for dinner)
- Rudi’s Seagrill – $49 per person (+$1 / 2% increase)
It must be noted that prices differ for Cucina del Capitano aboard Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee, as that venue operates differently aboard the Excel-class ships. All guests on those vessels receive one complimentary dinner at Cucina del Capitano (unlimited free dinners on Carnival Jubilee), and a nominal $8 per person charge is assessed for additional dinners.
Other specialty venues and dining events, including Il Viaggio and the popular Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, have not had any price change at this time. Similarly, fees for room service are not increasing at the moment.
Most Dramatic Price Increase
The most dramatic of the specialty dining price increases is the Chef’s Table exclusive experience, a private, small-group dining event with a multi-course, wine-paired meal that includes exclusive menu items, behind-the-scenes insights, and other unique experiences. On some ships, a galley tour may be included, or a premium upgraded menu and “enhanced experience” may be offered for the elite meal.
Chef’s Table pricing has always varied among different ships depending on the size of the ship and how exclusive the event can be. Prices may also vary for select sailings, such as during inaugural seasons or holiday cruises.
The old pricing ranged from $80-99 per person, while the new price is $90-150 per person. This is an increase of $10 to $51 depending on the ship – an increase of at least 13% and as much as 52% per person. For an entire family hoping to enjoy this elegant and entertaining meal, this can be quite a shock to the cruise budget.
The rates for the Chef’s Table do not include an additional 18% gratuity that will be added to each reservation, making the cost on the most expensive ships – Carnival Panorama, Carnival Venezia, and the upcoming Carnival Firenze – a whopping $354 for a couple to enjoy the experience.
Why No Notice of the Increases?
While prices for specialty dining can be increased at any time without prior notice, Carnival Cruise Line does generally notify guests of impending increases a few days or weeks before the new pricing takes effect.
This typically gives booked guests the opportunity to make their reservations at the lower price point to take advantage of savings before they set sail. After the date of the increase, all new restaurant reservations – even for existing cruise bookings made before that date – are subject to the new specialty dining pricing.
There is no information available about why the price increases were not advertised ahead of time, which – while not required – is often considered a courtesy to booked guests. It is possible these increases may only be temporary tests, or an announcement may yet be forthcoming if additional price changes are still being finalized for other venues.
Of interesting note is that these dining price changes come at the same time Carnival Cruise Line announced increased Wi-Fi prices fleetwide. The internet price change does not take effect until December 8, and guests do have the opportunity to lock in the lower rates by booking a plan before the increase date.