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Why do they put the cheap deli meat out on the buffet?  Even the lowest end buffets back home don't do that.  Like bologna and pimento loaf.  And it isn't Boars Head type deli meat, it looks like Oscar Meyer.  I could get a real sandwich around the corner at the actual deli.  Doesn't make sense to me.

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1 hour ago, Keys2Heaven said:

Lido is great for made to order omelets. But now, with the port day breakfast in the MDR, may end up just end up doing that. I'm not a buffet eater. I did my time standing in the chow line when I was in the military.

Agree on the omelets, how was that chow line food?😉

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1 hour ago, LightCruiser210 said:

Why do they put the cheap deli meat out on the buffet?  Even the lowest end buffets back home don't do that.  Like bologna and pimento loaf.  And it isn't Boars Head type deli meat, it looks like Oscar Meyer.  I could get a real sandwich around the corner at the actual deli.  Doesn't make sense to me.

No line ...... long line...... which to choose....  I would wager either of those food options are neither the names you mention.

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5 hours ago, KhaturtleQueen said:

I have a lot of food questions.  I am a newbie here and going with my husband on our first cruise in June (Carnival Liberty) for our wedding anniversary.  

We did our first cruise on our 20th anniversary. Be sure to let them know that you are celebrating and they'll do something extra for you.  I hope you enjoy yours as much as we enjoyed ours. Be careful though, it's addicting. 

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On 3/28/2019 at 1:59 PM, Tracey.kinney425 said:

What do they serve at the buffet vs the MDR?

We pretty much avoided the buffet. We were really turned off by their lines. They need to redesign how they present their food in their buffet, and add more choices. We’ve sailed Carnival, RCCL and NCL. NCL and RCCL buffets are set up way better, as individual stations, that you just pop over to whatever station you want. No lines. And they offer way more choices. Of the three, NCL buffet wins hands down, then RCCL, and finally Carnival. Don’t get me wrong, we love Carnival, and even have a B2B booked. But their paltry buffet offerings and their long line, keeps us in the MDR for breakfast and dinner, and lunch is at Guys Burgers, Guys BBQ, Blue Iguana Cantina, Pizza, or Pasta Bar. We ate lunch in their buffet just once on our March 2 cruise. I did grab a piece of cake, though, one day. Their cake selection was awesome.

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3 hours ago, Keys2Heaven said:

Lido is great for made to order omelets. But now, with the port day breakfast in the MDR, may end up just end up doing that. I'm not a buffet eater. I did my time standing in the chow line when I was in the military.

We did the Port Day Express breakfast on our last cruise when we noticed the lines at the buffet, we turned around and walked out, and headed directly to MDR. Yes, the omelette station in the buffet is good, but I can get an omelet in the MDR, and be waited on too. Carnival’s buffet lines are just a complete turn off to me, and something we never experienced on RCCL and NCL because of the way their buffets are set up—as individual stations that you just pop over to.

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10 hours ago, jimbo5544 said:

I would agree that Lido could have more variety, I posed that statement to a big Whig and he then asked like what?   I was struggling with an answer, you have thoughts?

Maybe fun toppings for pancakes and French toast other than maple syrup?

 

I think there are plenty of options, they are just very normative versions of breakfast dishes, but nothing really creative. Doesn’t really bother me, but it’s nice to have some more exciting options at Blue Iguana and the MDR.  

 

My real gripe about the Lido breakfast was lack of fruit variety. I would have loved some berries or pineapple, but every day was just honeydew, cantaloupe, and citrus segments. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, jimbo5544 said:

Choices are a good thing and we all have ones we prefer more than others.  I really do not want to degrade the thread, but we have NEVER had a hassle of sitting through dinner in the MDR.   Just the opposite we look forward to dinner each evening.  The other comment is that the dress code (other than significantly watered down casual elegance nights), there hardly is a dress code.  I would love to hear your thoughts on what dressing up for dinner entails.

Jimbo,

 

We do not consider sitting through dinner a hassle, but I have seen lots of people describe it that way because they do not like how long it takes or waiting in line (which I really have not experienced, even with YTD- except on elegant night).    Many people just seem to be more comfortable with the buffet experience for dinner.  Not us- we love eating in the MDR.  We sometimes will opt for the buffet if there is a movie on deck we really want to catch and we have a set time dining that interferes.  The movies are usually our night time entertainment so we found YTD works best for us.

 

You are correct the dress code isn't very strict.  My husband always wears slacks, a dress shirt and a tie, and on elegant night I wear something with dress slacks and a nice blouse with a jacket.  We never go into the dining room in shorts and t-shirts, even if it is allowed by the dress code. On our last cruise in February we were on the Fascination  which has only 1 sea day, and one of our elegant nights was on a port day near the end of the cruise and we were BEAT.  I had been fighting a cold the whole cruise and after a day in the ocean and sun- I literally could not find the energy to change out of my t-shirt.  🙂  So we ate at the buffet, and the prime rib was EXCELLENT.   

 

I didn't really mean to post in a way that made the food sound terrible.  It is just buffet food, and fresher than most buffets I have eaten at.  The best food available without an upcharge is the MDR and my husband, I and our grown up kids all enjoy it quite a lot.  We are leaving again next Friday on Horizon for the first time and are looking forward to dinners already!

 

Edited by pjhootch

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On 3/28/2019 at 6:50 PM, 30scruiser said:

The new buffet cakes are great! My only issue with them was they didn’t seem to repeat at all so there were some delicious ones I would love to try again but they never reappeared (although I didn’t check every day) Also they were only at lunch. At dinner they mostly have the same options as the MDR minus the WCMC.

 

 

I have noticed on several occasions that WCMC is in the desert section of the buffet. Usually after dinner late. Probably trying to get rid of them for the day.

 

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35 minutes ago, 30scruiser said:

Maybe fun toppings for pancakes and French toast other than maple syrup?

 

I think there are plenty of options, they are just very normative versions of breakfast dishes, but nothing really creative. Doesn’t really bother me, but it’s nice to have some more exciting options at Blue Iguana and the MDR.  

 

My real gripe about the Lido breakfast was lack of fruit variety. I would have loved some berries or pineapple, but every day was just honeydew, cantaloupe, and citrus segments. 

 

 

I think it may depend on the ship and the season.  On the fascination in February there was a lot of pineapple and watermelon with the other melons, but not a lot of citrus.  Berries are not as local as the melons and citrus and do not have much of a shelf life so that may be an issue.

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3 hours ago, LightCruiser210 said:

Why do they put the cheap deli meat out on the buffet?  Even the lowest end buffets back home don't do that.  Like bologna and pimento loaf.  And it isn't Boars Head type deli meat, it looks like Oscar Meyer.  I could get a real sandwich around the corner at the actual deli.  Doesn't make sense to me.

 

I've never seen olive loaf, but I have seen sliced mortadella, ham, salami and cheese. Those along with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, boiled eggs and the various breads and pasties. They are the components of a Continental breakfast that is preferred by international cruisers over the typical English/North American breakfast.  

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1 hour ago, grandmarnnurse said:

We pretty much avoided the buffet. We were really turned off by their lines. They need to redesign how they present their food in their buffet, and add more choices. We’ve sailed Carnival, RCCL and NCL. NCL and RCCL buffets are set up way better, as individual stations, that you just pop over to whatever station you want. No lines. And they offer way more choices. Of the three, NCL buffet wins hands down, then RCCL, and finally Carnival. Don’t get me wrong, we love Carnival, and even have a B2B booked. But their paltry buffet offerings and their long line, keeps us in the MDR for breakfast and dinner, and lunch is at Guys Burgers, Guys BBQ, Blue Iguana Cantina, Pizza, or Pasta Bar. We ate lunch in their buffet just once on our March 2 cruise. I did grab a piece of cake, though, one day. Their cake selection was awesome.

 

Are Guy's ,Blue Iguana, and the pasta bar an extra charge?

 

What does a typical meal for 2 cost at one of the speciality dining places?  I assume that we have to go to specialott dining to have a romantic dinner for two for our anniversary since the MDR is seating with others?

 

Do we need to make reservations ahead of time for speciality restaurants?

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4 minutes ago, KhaturtleQueen said:

 

Are Guy's ,Blue Iguana, and the pasta bar an extra charge?

 

What does a typical meal for 2 cost at one of the speciality dining places?  I assume that we have to go to specialott dining to have a romantic dinner for two for our anniversary since the MDR is seating with others?

 

Do we need to make reservations ahead of time for speciality restaurants?

Guys and Blue Iguana are free, never done pasta bar so not sure about that one.  The steakhouse is $38 pp, best place for a romantic dinner for two. However, you can request a private booth in the MDR.  On anytime dining, they may give you a pager to let you know when one is available.  You do need to make reservations ahead of time generally for specialty restaurants, but you can do that through your Cruise Manager on the Carnival website.  If you reserve the steakhouse the first night, they give you a free bottle of inexpensive wine, or half off their regular bottles.

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1 hour ago, pjhootch said:

Jimbo,

 

We do not consider sitting through dinner a hassle, but I have seen lots of people describe it that way because they do not like how long it takes or waiting in line (which I really have not experienced, even with YTD- except on elegant night).    Many people just seem to be more comfortable with the buffet experience for dinner.  Not us- we love eating in the MDR.  We sometimes will opt for the buffet if there is a movie on deck we really want to catch and we have a set time dining that interferes.  The movies are usually our night time entertainment so we found YTD works best for us.

 

You are correct the dress code isn't very strict.  My husband always wears slacks, a dress shirt and a tie, and on elegant night I wear something with dress slacks and a nice blouse with a jacket.  We never go into the dining room in shorts and t-shirts, even if it is allowed by the dress code. On our last cruise in February we were on the Fascination  which has only 1 sea day, and one of our elegant nights was on a port day near the end of the cruise and we were BEAT.  I had been fighting a cold the whole cruise and after a day in the ocean and sun- I literally could not find the energy to change out of my t-shirt.  🙂  So we ate at the buffet, and the prime rib was EXCELLENT.   

 

I didn't really mean to post in a way that made the food sound terrible.  It is just buffet food, and fresher than most buffets I have eaten at.  The best food available without an upcharge is the MDR and my husband, I and our grown up kids all enjoy it quite a lot.  We are leaving again next Friday on Horizon for the first time and are looking forward to dinners already!

 

fair enough 

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9 hours ago, KhaturtleQueen said:

 

Are Guy's ,Blue Iguana, and the pasta bar an extra charge?

 

What does a typical meal for 2 cost at one of the speciality dining places?  I assume that we have to go to specialott dining to have a romantic dinner for two for our anniversary since the MDR is seating with others?

 

Do we need to make reservations ahead of time for speciality restaurants?

Pasta bar is free at lunch. Becomes Cucina which is $15/pp at dinner. 

 

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9 hours ago, LightCruiser210 said:

Guys and Blue Iguana are free, never done pasta bar so not sure about that one.  The steakhouse is $38 pp, best place for a romantic dinner for two. However, you can request a private booth in the MDR.  On anytime dining, they may give you a pager to let you know when one is available.  You do need to make reservations ahead of time generally for specialty restaurants, but you can do that through your Cruise Manager on the Carnival website.  If you reserve the steakhouse the first night, they give you a free bottle of inexpensive wine, or half off their regular bottles.

The Pasta Bar is the Italian Restaurant at lunch only, and it is free. At evening there is a fee to eat in the Italian Restaurant, but it is a very small charge. 

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9 hours ago, KhaturtleQueen said:

 

Are Guy's ,Blue Iguana, and the pasta bar an extra charge?

 

What does a typical meal for 2 cost at one of the speciality dining places?  I assume that we have to go to specialott dining to have a romantic dinner for two for our anniversary since the MDR is seating with others?

 

Do we need to make reservations ahead of time for speciality restaurants?

Guys Burgers, Guys Pig and Anchor BBQ, Blue Iguana Cantina, Pizza, and Pasta Bar are all free. Great alternative choices to the buffet. Those that think Carnival’s buffet is great have obviously never eaten at the buffets on RCCL and NCL. On our last NCL Cruise, the buffet encompassed a HUGE area, with many different stations. We have gotten salad on Carnival and gone to the (separate) Deli, which is awesome, but that short little area of food, after waiting in a long line, was really disappointing to us. Perhaps I just missed something with their buffet. I will explore it further on my B2B on the Magic next year. I’m willing to give it an extra try. But we absolutely loved everything else about Carnival, that we switched back to booking only Carnival cruises. I just wish they’d redesign their buffet on their newer ships. Perhaps people cruising the brand new ships can report back to us all on how the buffet is on those ships. 

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10 hours ago, pjhootch said:

I think it may depend on the ship and the season.  On the fascination in February there was a lot of pineapple and watermelon with the other melons, but not a lot of citrus.  Berries are not as local as the melons and citrus and do not have much of a shelf life so that may be an issue.

On my last cruise on the Breeze, I noticed blueberries in sauce for pancakes. I had grabbed a plain yogurt and added those berries one day. If I brave the buffet, I pretty much stick to oatmeal, fresh fruit, and a plain yogurt with berries I add to it. The omelette station is good, too, but we generally eat breakfast in MDR, and I order an omelette there. You need to hit the buffet as soon as it opens, or you have an awful line to wait in—-especially on port days! 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, pjhootch said:

Jimbo,

 

We do not consider sitting through dinner a hassle, but I have seen lots of people describe it that way because they do not like how long it takes or waiting in line (which I really have not experienced, even with YTD- except on elegant night).    Many people just seem to be more comfortable with the buffet experience for dinner.  Not us- we love eating in the MDR.  We sometimes will opt for the buffet if there is a movie on deck we really want to catch and we have a set time dining that interferes.  The movies are usually our night time entertainment so we found YTD works best for us.

 

You are correct the dress code isn't very strict.  My husband always wears slacks, a dress shirt and a tie, and on elegant night I wear something with dress slacks and a nice blouse with a jacket.  We never go into the dining room in shorts and t-shirts, even if it is allowed by the dress code. On our last cruise in February we were on the Fascination  which has only 1 sea day, and one of our elegant nights was on a port day near the end of the cruise and we were BEAT.  I had been fighting a cold the whole cruise and after a day in the ocean and sun- I literally could not find the energy to change out of my t-shirt.  🙂  So we ate at the buffet, and the prime rib was EXCELLENT.   

 

I didn't really mean to post in a way that made the food sound terrible.  It is just buffet food, and fresher than most buffets I have eaten at.  The best food available without an upcharge is the MDR and my husband, I and our grown up kids all enjoy it quite a lot.  We are leaving again next Friday on Horizon for the first time and are looking forward to dinners already!

 

I do not consider a 2 hour dinner in the MDR a hassale, either. We look forward to it as the highlight of our night. It is our favorite part! And it’s not always 2 hours. We had YTD on our last cruise, and I don’t think dinner lasted more than 1 1/2 hours. I enjoy going back to my cabin and putting on a dress (or more casual Capri set) and heading to dinner. We are never formal anymore, but I do like to get out of shorts and put on something nice. The hubby usually wears khaki pants and a polo on Elegant Night, but his cargo shorts and a polo on other nights. I can see where if I was feeling poorly, I would not want to dress up and sit through a long dinner, and then the buffet would suffice.

Edited by grandmarnnurse

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21 hours ago, jimbo5544 said:

I would agree that Lido could have more variety, I posed that statement to a big Whig and he then asked like what?   I was struggling with an answer, you have thoughts?

I would say a section of healthier wraps, then an Italian section, a section offering carved meats, a warm sides selection of traditional American choices, a Mediterranean diet selections, seafood section, and more healthy salad options. I guess some of these can be obtained by visiting the Deli, Mongolian Wok, the Seafood Shack ($$), Pasta Bar and Blue Iguana. So, the more I think about it, a lot of the things they could expand on are actually served in various other areas of the ship, whereas you will not find that on RCCL and NCL—only their huge buffet. So, I guess I stand corrected. Although it outwardly looks to have paltry offerings in their buffet, you can get more variety by going to other places throughout the ship. 

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2 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

I would say a section of healthier wraps, then an Italian section, a section offering carved meats, a warm sides selection of traditional American choices, a Mediterranean diet selections, seafood section, and more healthy salad options. I guess some of these can be obtained by visiting the Deli, Mongolian Wok, the Seafood Shack ($$), Pasta Bar and Blue Iguana. So, the more I think about it, a lot of the things they could expand on are actually served in various other areas of the ship, whereas you will not find that on RCCL and NCL—only their huge buffet. So, I guess I stand corrected. Although it outwardly looks to have paltry offerings in their buffet, you can get more variety by going to other places throughout the ship. 

 

I grab a salad plate and wander from one spot to another adding items that are not at the salad bar, but are at other spots on the Lido deck.

 

For the new cruisers like OP who are trying to figure out what the food offerings are and where they are located- each ship is going to vary a little bit.   On all the ships the buffet is free and open at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with closed times in between meals.  All ships have a pizza place that is free and open 24 hours.  The lines get long at night when it is the only game in town besides room service menu for a charge.  Most people seem to like the pizza- me included.

 

Every ship has another free area like a deli where you can get sandwiches.  Location varies, hours vary.  Ships with Guys Burger's and Blue Iguana near the main pool (most of them I think at this point) offer that free but the hours are limited.  

 

At the Buffet you can always get coffee/basic hot tea/lemonade- 24 hours a day.  Also soft serve ice cream and sometimes frozen yogurt.

 

Some ships (maybe all now) have a coffee shop with limited hours, that for a fee,  serves fancy coffees (think starbucks) and pastries , milkshakes and cakes- nothing here is free. If you get the Cheers package it includes the coffees at the Coffee ship and milkshakes too.

 

Many ships have a steak house which is about $38 per person (does not include tip), reservation only.  The bigger ships and newly renovated ships have additional upcharge restaurants or food locations.  Some have a seafood counter with a charge per item.  Some have a sushi place with a charge per item.  There are the ships that have the pasta bar free at lunch that change to a $15 per person charge at dinner.  Some ships have Guy's Pig and Anchor barbque that are free at lunch (I think-) but not at dinner.  

 

The printed Fun Times in your cabin will help you figure out where all the food is and what food incurs an extra charge.  

 

We've been cruising for quite a while now and every now and then will eat in the steakhouse just to try something different.   We have had a coffee here or there, especially on departure mornings when Lido is a pain.   Overall, you can cruise and have a wide variety of food without paying any $$ beyond your original fare, and not feel like you are missing anything at all.

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I never have a hard time finding stuff I like at the buffet.  All the posts saying it is inedible are a pretty extreme exaggeration.

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1 hour ago, ray98 said:

I never have a hard time finding stuff I like at the buffet.  All the posts saying it is inedible are a pretty extreme exaggeration.

Agreed. The food is really quite good. I’m just nor pleased with the huge lines in the buffet, but the food is good.

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18 minutes ago, grandmarnnurse said:

Agreed. The food is really quite good. I’m just nor pleased with the huge lines in the buffet, but the food is good.

Maybe we've been lucky about when we've chosen to eat in the Lido buffet because most of the time the lines weren't horrible- MOST of the time! But I'm with you, in that the MDR will always be my first choice if we're not eating dinner in one of the specialty restaurants... I love being waited on!

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15 hours ago, KhaturtleQueen said:

 

Are Guy's ,Blue Iguana, and the pasta bar an extra charge?

 

What does a typical meal for 2 cost at one of the speciality dining places?  I assume that we have to go to specialott dining to have a romantic dinner for two for our anniversary since the MDR is seating with others?

 

Do we need to make reservations ahead of time for speciality restaurants?

 

Anything on Lido is free, with the exception of the Seafood Shack, which has upcharge items.

 

Recommend always making a reservation for the steakhouse. We've not been to the Italian or JiJi's (where available), so can't speak to that, but I would think you would have a reservation for those as well. Bonsai sushi was walk in (great food and highly recommend if you like that style).

You can always request a private table for the MDR. We usually ask for one when we book, but we prefer early dining.

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