Cruises are well known for their amazing food, from endless buffets and 24-hour room service to gourmet dining rooms, specialty restaurants, delis, sushi stations, pizzerias, round-the-clock ice cream, poolside grills and more. When you take a Carnival cruise, you can sample all these wonderful tastes, for free!
Taste All These Free Carnival Cruise Dining Options
It’s a common misconception among first-time cruisers that only main dining room meals are included in the cruise fare, when in fact, there are many different venues for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that are all free on board the ship. While the exact dining options vary on different ships, the most popular free dining choices on Carnival ships range from classic fare to customizable tastes to decadent deliciousness.
Main Dining Room
The classic Carnival cruise dining experience doesn’t get any better than the Main Dining Room on Carnival cruise ships. The menus change daily but always include hot and cold appetizers with soups, salads and fruit, as well as more exotic options. A vegetarian entrée is always available as well as classic favorites and port-specific selections, and the desserts are a rich variety of luxurious tastes you won’t want to miss. The Main Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, though breakfast and lunch hours can vary depending on the ship’s itinerary. The expansive Seaday Brunch is also offered in the Main Dining Room.
For casual, at-your-leisure dining, don’t miss the Lido Restaurant on board every ship. These buffets are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with extended hours to accommodate all dining time preferences. Different stations feature extensive salads, breads, soups and entrees, as well as specialty stations such as the Mongolian Wok or Tandoor with its flavorful Indian cuisine, and don’t miss the Sweet Spot for its selection of desserts. While some Lido Restaurant offerings remain the same each day, special entrees and tastefully paired sides do vary. This venue is also home to the Chocolate Extravaganza all-chocolate buffet offered once per cruise.
Pizza Pirate / Pizzeria del Capitano
If you crave a tasty slice, visit the on-board pizzeria, Pizza Pirate or Pizzeria del Capitano (name varies on different ships). Open 24-hours a day, you can enjoy hot, fresh pizzas including pepperoni, margherita, funghi, quattro formaggi (four cheese) and prosciutto, and you can top each one with extra parmesan cheese or red pepper flakes as desired. If you want a taste of fresh Italian but aren’t quite in the mood for pizza, you can enjoy a fresh Caesar salad instead.
Guy’s Burger Joint
There are no better burgers at sea than the fresh grilled creations of Guy’s Burger Joint, a Carnival exclusive venture with renowned chef Guy Fieri. In addition to several burger options – which you can customize at the extensive toppings bar – you can also enjoy the hand-cut fries. Don’t wait to get your burger fix, though, since Guy’s Burger Joint is only open during lunch hours.
Have a spicy bite at the BlueIguana Cantina for breakfast or lunch. From humongous burritos to a selection of fresh, made-to-order tacos, this is the ideal option for a feisty Mexican feast, especially when you top off your order at the salsa bar to give it your own signature twist. And don’t forget to add a side of chips and salsa for a bit of extra crispiness!
For a taste of grown-up freshness, sample Fresh Creations, a chopped salad bar located in the adults-only Serenity area (guests must be 21 or older). This is not your ordinary salad bar, and offers both specialty salads as well as made-to-order salads with extensive options for different greens, proteins, vegetables and dressings. This venue is only open for lunch hours on days at sea, however, so plan your sampling accordingly.
Pasta Bella / The Captain’s Pasta Bar
Get your carbo-load with delicious pasta at Pasta Bella (called The Captain’s Pasta Bar on some ships). Here, you choose your pasta, sauce, meats and fresh toppings for a customized dish, which you can easily pair with fresh bread or a crispy Caesar salad. Don’t wait for a better opportunity, however – this venue is only open for lunch.
For a cool touch of sweetness, Swirls fits the bill. This round-the-clock ice cream and frozen yogurt station offers the classic favorites vanilla, chocolate and strawberry in self-serve cups or cones, letting you enjoy the treat however you like it.
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que / Ol’ Fashioned BBQ
Get your grill on at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que or the Ol’ Fashioned BBQ station, available for free during lunch only (Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que is open with a more extensive menu for dinner at an extra charge). Here you’ll find slow-smoked meats and classic grilling sides such as baked beans, rolls and macaroni and cheese, along with a selection of sauces you can slather on to your heart’s desire.
If sandwiches are your go-to lunch favorites, you’ll want to go straight to the Carnival Deli. Open for lunch and dinner, the deli offers a variety of hot and cold sandwich and wrap options with different meats, breads and spreads. You can even customize each one to your liking, as all sandwiches are made-to-order.
Need to refuel after a round or two of fun at SportSquare? You don’t have to leave the activity area to grab an all-beef hot dog at SeaDogs, and you can top it off any way you like at the toppings bar. With such convenience, you don’t have to miss the next round of mini-golf!
Off The Grill
Classic grill goodies are available at Off The Grill, including burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, chicken tenders, shoestring fries and all sorts of toppings to give each option your own individual taste. Available for lunch and dinner, Off The Grill is always a popular Carnival cruise dining venue with its open-air seating and poolside convenience.
If you haven’t had quite enough with all these tasty treats, don’t forget that 24-hour room service is also included with your Carnival cruise fare. From continental breakfast fare to a selection of sandwiches, salads, juices and desserts, the classic room service menu is free. Some premium selections such as wings, chicken tenders, firecracker shrimp and the banana split, however, do have a small surcharge.
While the exact free dining venues vary on different ships and dining hours and menus are often adjusted based on itinerary and ports of call, there is always something new and delicious to taste on a Carnival cruise!