Punchliner Sea Day Brunch Review

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#1
Michigan
41 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
We just got off of the Carnival Miracle where we were the first cruise where they rolled out this new Punchliner Brunch program.

If you are not familiar with the concept you soon will be as they plan on introducing it on all (many?) of the ships over the next year.

Carnival Miracle (April 2012)
Carnival Breeze (June 2012)
Carnival Dream (Sept. 2012)
Carnival Conquest (Oct. 2012)
Carnival Glory (Nov. 2012)
Carnival Liberty (2012)
Carnival Splendor (2012)
Carnival Magic (2012)
Carnival Sunshine (April 2013)

What they have done is introduced the Comedy Club into a brunch in the main dinning room. So on sea days there is no breakfest or lunch as there was in the past, but brunch starting at 9am till 2pm-ish. During your meal a comedian will do a short 10-15min comedy routine every hour.

The menu is a mix of breakfest and lunch items, many of the same things we have seen on the normal breakfest menu with a few twists like cereal encrusted french toast, filet mignon and eggs, some mexican inspired dishes and the lunch side includes a samon dish, caesar salad with different offered toppings, and some other items. This menu does not change.

My take, as well as my familys is this is a real bummer of a deal for cruisers. We always felt the breakfest could use a little spicing up and so this did this but you need to wait until 9am to have breakfest and as we always enjoyed the changing menu of lunch in the dinning room it completely eliminated this. It should also be noted that there is no lunch served in the dinning room on shore days. However, the regular breakfest (not brunch) is served in the dinning room on shore days.

In addition, the staff is sitting guests all over the dinning room so as not to hammer the wait staff in any one area, but the comedian only stands in the general center of the room (at least on the two sea days we were in the dinning room) so you can't see him in many cases and comedians (at least the two we saw) really had a difficult time connecting with the guests and getting into a routine in a 15 min window with guests all over the place.

It seems to me that Carnival got great feedback from there comedy clubs (we like them a lot) and said hey lets expand this program and also eliminate some food costs with getting rid of lunch in the dinning room. I believe this will push more people to the buffet on the Lido deck (just what my waistline needs....not!).

This was such a disappointment to my wife she would like to start looking at a different cruise line as she misses the variety she got at lunch, didn't enjoy the comedy and wasn't happy with the hours the dinning room is now open and we are veteran Carnival cruisers of a half dozen cruises.

Like I said we are veteran Carnival cruisers looking forward to getting our platinum status one day, so we aren't Carnival haters, but if you like the dinning room (which we clearly did) I believe you are going to hate this program. It also seemed that Carnival has revamped the dinner menu as well, of course no shrimp cocktails (only 1 formal night they had them), but it seemed the whole menu was toned down a bit with fewer unique items and more run of the mill "comfort foods" and standbys like fried chicken, flat iron steak, samon all available every night.

We love cruising and part of the appeal was the almost exotic nature of the event and that was enhanced by the dinning experience, We recognize that Carnival is the value leader, but I would hate to think that they are now trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator vacationer and forget about the rest of us.

I would be interested in anyone elses opinion of their brunch experience.

Chris
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#2
Wichita Falls, Texas USA
4,174 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
This is the 1st. I've heard of it. Sounds interesting.

Doug
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#3
Raleigh
470 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
We were on the same cruise as the OP and also attended the brunch 2 times. We've never eaten in the DR for lunch so I can't comment on missing it. The menu was a nice change from the standard breakfast one. My kids loved the choc chip pancakes, I tried the breakfast burrito which was good as well. The only problem we had was waiting about 40 min for our food. We took it in stride especially since we found out this was the first time they were offering this. (It was worse the 2nd day we did it which was Easter Sunday and much more crowded). I'm sure it will get faster as they fine tune everything.
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#4
barnegat, nj
2,397 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Oooooh! This is interesting. I understand why you didn't like it so much, especially since your wife enjoys lunch in the MDR. For someone like me who loves the MDR breakfast but hates having to get there so early on sea days this could be pretty cool. (Plus I am NOT a fan of MDR lunch, so I wouldn't miss that in the least) I too am curious to hear what others think of this brunch.
Thanks so much for the info!!
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#5
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
2,975 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by spitracer
... So on sea days there is no breakfest or lunch as there was in the past, but brunch starting at 9am till 2pm-ish..
Chris
I hope it not fleet wide in the future. Its not for me and I HATE the buffets. If so I at least have the option of other lines.
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#6
columbus,ohio
2,577 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Thanks for posting. Someone was asking the other day about brunch onboard, didn't know what they were asking about. This explains it pretty good. Sounds like the menu items are worth a try. Love the omelet station on Lido but hate fixing the buttered toast.
#8
Massachusetts
1,274 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
So is it a buffet or a sit down brunch ordering off the menu??

We always say we are going to try MDR breakfast and this cruise was going to be it. We are on the Miracle tomorrow.

I love brunch but if it is a buffet type of service I will just go to the lido.
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#9
Michigan
41 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
It's a set menu and they bring the food out to you.

I believe this is going to be fleet wide by the looks of the roll out schedule.

I posted on John Heald's Facebook, not sure how to send Carnival direct feedback, but will figure it out.

I think it might be OK for this to continue with a little bit of tweaking, but as it is, it really needs work.

Again it's my 2 cents and the rest of you will ultimately get to experience it for yourself. As always some will love it others maybe not so much.

Chris
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#11
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
2,975 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by spitracer
I believe this is going to be fleet wide by the looks of the roll out schedule.
Please tell me other lines wont do this.

I like breakfast and lunch in the MDR. I don't want to wait until after 9 for breakfast and prefer MDR at those times because its no rush and quiet. 40 minute wait for food? Even if they improved I bet it still would be 20 minutes.
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#12
Texas Hill Country
1,152 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Love the Punchliner Comedy club but I am disappointed to hear we won't be able to enjoy a quiet breakfast & lunch in the dining room. We never go to the buffet.
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#13
298 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I am so disappointed by this. My favorite part of our last cruise was breakfast and lunch in the MDR for the variety and the ambiance for meals that are normally boring. I think this is a BAD change and I am so thankful my next cruise will avoid this issue.
#14
2,002 Posts
Joined May 2008
I'm for this...I'm going on the Miracle in a couple of weeks and am looking forward to trying this out.

I remember when "tea time" was empty....and then it became so popular they had to give it more room.

I bet this happens with the brunch.........
#16
Las Vegas
133 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Thanks OP for the post.. This sounds great to me.. we'll definitely give it a try...
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#17
1,945 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
We tend to sleep late, unless we're going on an excursion. Either of these scenarios preclude us from going to the MDR for breakfast. As a result, I could wrap my head around a filet and eggs around 10:00 AM. Sounds like a nice option and looking forward to trying it.

Only problem, I don't see a roll out date for the Freedom and that's my next Carnival cruise, in May 2013.
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#18
Toms River, NJ
514 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
This was such a disappointment to my wife she would like to start looking at a different cruise line as she misses the variety she got at lunch

Your wife would switch cruise lines because she doesn't like the variety of food at lunch? seriously?
#19
Cincinnati
1,326 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
One of our favorite parts of cruising is the MDR breakfasts each day and the lunches on sea days. It's a bummer that they went down to just one lunch menu but I can handle that. This new program does not appeal to me at all. We like comedians and go to their evening shows, but we like talking to other cruisers at mealtimes.
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#20
77 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I love that breakfast will be available at 12-1pm. Looking forward to trying this out myself.

But just to clarify...this isn't the *only* time & place the comedy show(s) will take place...is it?