Carnival Makes Two Menu Changes That Guests Might Not Like

Room service fees and deli changes are causing a stir for Carnival Cruise Line, but why? What has REALLY changed?

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Effective October 1, 2022, Carnival Cruise Line has made significant changes to its onboard room service menu as well as the Carnival Deli. With changed menu offerings and new a la carte charges, not all guests are pleased with the changes.

Room Service Menu Changes

Many cruise travelers enjoy taking advantage of room service to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, light snack, or easy meal in the comfort and convenience of their staterooms, and many cruise lines offer delicious room service menu options.

In recent years, however, cruise lines have begun to add fees, service charges, and gratuities to room service orders, whereas the service used to be entirely complimentary.

Now, Carnival Cruise Line has followed the trend, eliminating all complimentary room service options except the continental breakfast menu, offered only from 6-10 a.m. Free choices include fresh fruit, a selection of cold cereals, toast, pastries, yogurt, and assorted breakfast beverages, including milk, juices, coffee, and hot tea.

Room Service Menu Header

Also on the breakfast menu are some delicious breakfast sandwiches, but those come with a $5-6 charge as well as an automatic 18% gratuity per room service order.

For the rest of the day, every option on the “Leisure Dining” room service menu now has a charge, ranging from $3-8 per item. These charges are $1-2 higher per item than the previous room service menu, where some options were still complimentary.

Now, the least expensive items are a side of French fries or a “giant” chocolate chunk or oatmeal raisin cookie for $3 each, while the priciest snacks are the spicy fried firecracker shrimp, which come with a chili ginger dip and curly fries at $8 (gratuity extra).

Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has explained the reasoning for the new charges as a means to help lessen food waste.

“One of the reasons we are implementing these nominal fees is because of food waste,” Heald said. “Many cruisers would order multiple sandwiches and food items and end up leaving 70% or more uneaten.”

Carnival Room Service

Heald goes on to say that “we have all seen those plates outside of the cabin doors,” referring to many cruisers’ practice of moving dirty plates and uneaten food outside in the hallway, which can clutter the halls and create a safety hazard.

Heald does admit that there are other reasons behind the change. While he does not specify those other reasons, costs are undoubtedly one factor, not only to save the expense of wasted food, but also to collect the additional charges at a time when the cruise industry continues to struggle to recover from losses during the pandemic shutdown and current economic condition.

Another reason behind the change may be to alleviate extra work on employees. If less food is left in hallways, there will be less need for crew members to patrol every stateroom deck to collect dirty dishes.

Upgraded (and Still Free) Deli Menu

Not all Carnival guests are willing to pay additional charges for room service, which can quickly add up if ordering a meal for a family with diverse tastes.

Every Carnival cruise ship, however, does offer a range of complimentary dining options, though guests will need to leave their staterooms to take advantage of different delicious dishes.

Of special interest is the Carnival Deli, which has also upgraded its options in conjunction with the room service change.

New Carnival Deli Menu
New Carnival Deli Menu

The new Carnival Deli menu offers 14 sandwich options – 8 hot and 6 cold – with either cole slaw or French fries as a side. New to the menu are veggie burgers, a hot steak and cheese sandwich on a hoagie roll, and a classic chicken salad sandwich.

The remaining deli menu items are largely the same as previous deli offerings, including hot dogs, grilled ham and cheese, meatball sandwiches, reubens, and tuna salad sandwiches.

Some options have been removed from the menu, however, most notably two of the previous wraps as well as the salted chocolate chip cookies. It is likely that these items may not have been exceedingly popular, and trimming menu items can help improve service efficiency and speed.

More Complimentary Options

Other complimentary casual dining venues on Carnival ships include Guy’s Burger Joint, Shaq’s Big Chicken, BlueIguana Cantina, Pizza Pirate, Swirls, Mongolian Wok, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que, and more.

Operating hours and venues vary by ship, but every ship in the Carnival fleet has at least 2-3 extra complimentary dining options.

Also free of charge are the Lido Deck restaurants and each ship’s main dining rooms during meal service hours.

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