I hope you’ve enjoyed my foodie travels through Barcelona, Spain. Now it’s time to start seeing the rest of the Mediterranean! After spending 3 nights and 4 days in Barcelona, Spain. My husband and I boarded the brand new Carnival Breeze. We picked this cruise for its itinerary not for the ship or brand. However, we are loyal Carnival cruisers so it was a plus that we got to sail on a brand new ship throughout the Mediterranean. The ship was huge and had so many dining options. I can’t imagine only sailing on this boat for 7 days. You would never get to try all the options. Thankfully, we were on the ship for 12 days and had a little more time to try everything although we still didn’t have enough time in our days to try everything. *Remember, we ate lunch off the ship every day we were in port and ate dinner in Venice.
Ever since the first time Carnival introduced the Mongolian Wok on its ship it has been a tradition of mine to get a wok bowl made on the first day for lunch. As soon as we boarded the ship that was the first place we went to. The lines are always long, but well worth the wait. I love it because you can pick and chose all of the veggies you want as well as a choice of 3 proteins. Which I typically tend to skip and just have a veggie loaded bowl with a few rice noodles!
After lunch, we made our way over to the RedFrog Pub on lido deck. They also have a RedFrog Pub on deck 5 as well that typically has live music throughout the evening. My husband is big into craft beer and he was pretty excited to give Carnival’s signature craft brew a try. He enjoyed it and had a few while we were on board throughout our trip. One thing we never got to do was have food at RedFrog. They have a “bar” style menu with conch fritters and chicken wings for a fee of $3.50 per plate. SO next time, we are on a ship that has a RedFrog we will sure to check that out.
Later that evening we continued to explore the ship and stumbled across The Taste Bar (deck 5). That evening they were showcasing two items from Cucina del Capitano the for-fee Italian restaurant on board. The hand whipped ricotta bruschetta was out of this world delicious and Nonna’s meatball wasn’t too bad either. It was a perfect pre-dinner appetizer (even though neither of us were really hungry to eat dinner at all that night). We ended up eating at Cucina del Capitano on a whim one of our evenings (I think it was the evening we were in Naples). Unfortunately, I failed to bring my camera and document our meal. Our meal was amazing and for the fee of $12 per person you got a lot of food! After that night, I begged my husband each night there after to eat at the Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, we never made it back to the restaurant. So I guess that means we just need to go on another cruise to make it over there.
We splurged our first night of the cruise and treated ourselves to the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse on the Carnival Breeze. This is another for-fee restaurant with a steep charge of $35 per person. You were allowed to order 1 appetizer, 1 salad/soup (or 2 appetizers with no salad or soup), a main entree, and a dessert. It’s not like a free for all like all the other restaurants on board. We ate at the steakhouse the first night because I had heard through the grapevine that all those who dined on the first night received a free bottle of wine! So to me that was a deal in itself! My husband chose the escargot as his appetizer which he said was out of this world and the best he has ever had. I went with the ahi tuna tartar which was good, but very salty and had tons of citrus in it. The chef brought out a mini meatball and a gazpacho tasting for us to try. We both chose to try the lobster bisque which was kind of a disapointment. It was more like a lobster puree with very little pieces of lobster in it. I was expecting chunks of lobster.
Four our main course, I opted with the filet mignon and lobster tail. Both equally delicious. I’ll have you know that I finished all my lobster and half of my steak. At this point I was so full, but I felt like there was no turning back. My husband opted with the spice-rubbed prime ribeye steak. He isn’t a big steak fan but he has had a few steaks in his time that have knocked his socks off. He was hoping that this would do the same. Sadly, it wasn’t very flavorful. When you read “spice-rubbed” you would think it would be bursting with flavors. He still says it was good but not as great as some of the other steaks he has had. Not pictured are the sides we ordered. They let you order as many sides as you’d like. They aren’t super large for multiple people to share (mainly to take a bite and try). I opted for the Yukon Gold Mash with Wasabe Horseradish sauce and the Creamed Spinach with Garlic. Both were equally delicious and of course I had no problem finishing either of them. My husband enjoyed a loaded baked potato and some steamed broccoli (he ordered that knowing I would want some)!
Even though we had a massive meal we were not about to skip dessert. Lets face it–its the most important part of any meal! My husband went with the cheesecake with hazelnut biscuit and I enjoyed the chocolate sampler. The picture of the cheesecake does not do it justice. This slice of cheesecake was like the size of my head! And it was creamy and rich tasting. A complaint I often have with cruise lines is that they don’t produce a good piece of cheesecake. This premium cheesecake was amazing! Our almost 3 hour dinner was delicious, and I’d definitely eat there again on future cruises even though some of our courses weren’t as great as others. I still highly recommend it because for the quality of food and the price you would never be able to get a full meal like that off shore!
I know that Guy Ferreri was just in the news on not good terms (his new restaurant got the worst reviews in New York Times history); however, his burger bar on the Carnival Dream got an A+ in my book. I’m not a big burger person and definitely have to be in the mood for one. Let me just tell you–I craved burgers on this trip after having just one! I think we had 5 burgers in total (in a 12 day span)!
It did strike me odd that they had a “menu” yet when you went to order a burger they were not cooked to order per say as you requested it from the menu. They handed you a burger with or without cheese and a hearty helping of the most amazing fries (EVER). Then you proceeded on to the toppings bar where you made your own burger. I actually like this better only because I was able to put as much bacon and onions on my burger that my little heart desired!
I was excited to see that Carnival has created a special “comedy” brunch for seas days. However, once we attended the first brunch we realized that there wasn’t anything too special about this other than the menu. The menu is Mexican themed and after reading it online it sounded awesome. Meh… after our first experience at brunch I wasn’t sold (yet my husband kept insisting we go back. First off, I don’t eat egg yolks and only eat egg whites. I’ve been like that forever now. I’ve never had an issue ordering egg whites on a cruise ship. That was until I tried customizing my brunch options and I got a big fat NO! I was shocked and frankly taken back from it. I ended up complaining to the maître d’ given the fact that all of these brunch items should be cooked to order so I really didn’t understand what the big deal was. The next time we arrived at the dinning room for brunch I had to give my order to the hostess which was beyond inconvenient and of course I got my food as soon as my husband finished ordering. (Pictured above: Bloody Mary, Juevos Rancheros, Fruit and Cottage Cheese Dish, Bread/Muffin/Pastry Basket).
Another big downfall about this comedy brunch is that there really ins’t any comedy. The comedians from the night before talk for 5 minutes give one family-friendly joke and go on there way. Its mainly to remind everyone to make it to the comedy club that evening. I think this would be much nicer and probably more like an actual comedy brunch if they hosted this in the comedy lounge and had it held as a premium event. Needless to say, I’ll skip this brunch the next time we sail on Carnival. It’s not worth my time and energy to argue with waiters over an egg white.
Another for-free feature that Carnival has added to the larger fun ships is Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ. This is only offered on sea days and when I read reviews online about it everyone complained of long lines. Well that was right on par! We got to the bbq joint right after it opened and waited 20 minutes in line. Keep in mind I woke up feeling horrible that day. SICK! It was the day we were getting into Venice–the port I had looked forward to the most. I was hot and cold with the chills, a sore throat, and stuffed-up nose. I really wasn’t in the mood for bbq but we wanted to give it a try. After waiting in line we finally got our food and went inside to eat (its served outside on the 5th deck). We had a few bites and both of us hated it. All those minutes wasted standing in line for horrible bbq. Now, keep in mind. We are from the south. We know good bbq! So we are
kind of bbq snobs.
Thankfully, the place where we chose to sit for lunch just so happened to have a salad and soup bar. I had no idea nor was this really advertised any where on the ship. It was where we had the tasting on our first night. I think it was a gift from above that one of the soups they were serving was chicken noodle. At the time my husband still wasn’t feeling good (he started getting sick a few days before me). We both ditched the bbq and downed 3 bowls of soup, each. Then after, our bellies were full I asked my husband if he wanted to go back to our room and take a nap before hitting the streets of Venice, Italy. That nap is what got me through a fabulous evening in Venice (more of that to come later)! I did learn that The Taste Bar is opened for lunch on sea days and served up salads, wraps, and a choice of 3 soups. Its not busy and the quality of food is great!
We also had the opportunity to eat at Bonsai Sushi towards the end of the cruise. This is Carnival’s first for-fee sushi bar. For the price and quality of sushi I felt that it was very good. You don’t get a large selection which is unfortunate, but you get quality sushi (way better than the free stuff they hand out). My husband and I split a ship ($15) which came with miso soup for two, side salad (on the boat not 2 individual salads), Bonsai Triple E Roll, California Roll, and 6 pieces of sashimi. We also tried the Tuna & Mango Tartare for an additional $3. We were plenty full and for under $25 you can’t beat a meal like that!
Another place not pictured is the Blue Iguana Cantina. We had breakfast there one morning. They have a burrito bar as well as make fresh huevos rancheros almost daily. Once again, we had issues with the egg whites. Even though they were cooking eggs for huevos rancheros they could not cook me egg whites. So I had the pleasure of standing in not one but two lines! By the time I got my egg whites and waited back in the Blue Iguana Cantina line my eggs were just about cold, and they cut the line off after me because they were closing. Trust me–at that point I would have probably went irate on them if they would have not served me. I will say that my burrito was tasty. After we got back and doing more research I read online that they served arepas for breakfast as well. No where was that posted. During the lunch hours of 11:30-2pm they serve tacos and have a salsa bar out for both breakfast and lunch.
We ate in the sit-down dining room almost every night. The food was average. Nothing really stood out and of course because we love to cruise I have my favorites like the Chocolate Molten Cake. I ordered that just about every night for dessert. Some nights it came out runny and other nights it was thick like cake. Either way its good in my book. My husband and I are big cruisers and really enjoy cruising. Sadly, over the years we have both noticed that Carnival’s quality of food has declined. Its still edible but we find ourselves board with dinner on an almost nightly basis. I think it might partially have to do with the fact that we’ve cruise so much.
Do you like to cruise? If so, is there a favorite dish you enjoy eating?
Just found your blog and think I’m going to love it. I was googling for the Carnival arepas recipe and stumbled upon your post on the Carnival Breeze. My husband and I just got done with an 8 night Carnival Breeze Southern Caribbean cruise. I love your reviews and pictures. You described everything almost the same as I would except for a few updates.
I honestly thought the food quality overall was better than most of my past Carnival cruises (6 down so far, starting back in 1999 and cruising every year since 2000 on some cruise line or other). I think I felt that way because of all the options. We ended up in Cucina del Capitano twice, the first and last nights. We didn’t splurge on Farenheit 555, but after reading your post I wish we would have.
Guy’s Burgers were AMAZING. But on our cruise, they were cooked to order. When I ordered the straight up, it came with the SMC (Super Melty Cheese), the lettuce, tomato and special sauce. I just added tons of pickles, jalapenos and shoe strings at the toppings bar.
Blue Iguana Cantina was my favorite though. I had 3 burritos while I was on the ship, all were breakfast burritos that I had post workout. It took me a couple of days to discover the arrepas, they were on the side with the tacos, in a casserole type dish. Holy moly, they were amazing. As I said before, that’s how I actually found your site, becuase I was googling for the recipe.
We didn’t find the BBQ joint till the last sea day, and it was kinda on accident. I had read in the paper that the salad bar would be open at Tastings on 5 and wanted that, and my hubby noticed the BBQ. He said it was just ok. But I loved the salad bar at Tastings.
You’re right that 8 nights weren’t enough, because we never got around to trying the sushi either.
I really enjoyed the Sea Day brunches. I’m a savory breakfast girl, and my husband likes the sweet stuff, so it was perfect for us. Both times we went, I got macaroni and cheese, caesar salad and desert. He always stuck with breakfast items. I ordered the hen diablo with my mac and cheese on the last day and it was so delicious.
My favorite dish I had from the formal dining room was a Thai Chicken soup. It was absolutely spicy and delicious. We also liked the braised short rib, any type of fruit soup served off the appetizer menu, and I allowed myself to get the chocolate melting cake one time. After our last cruise, when I discovered they are 1,000 calories a pop, I promised not to have one every night ever again 🙂
I really enjoy eating a good hot dog and fries for lunch on days at sea. And I was disappointed that I couldn’t find this out on the lido deck on the Breeze. But then about half-way through, I realized that they have an actual old-timey hot dog stand called Sea Dogs up on 12 on the Sports Deck. I never got to try it, but it was really cute.
I’m glad I found your blog. I love to eat, cook, cruise and travel in general 🙂
I agree with you Katie! Carnival’s food quality HAS declined–our past cruise left us disappointed. 🙁
I think its just a sign of the times. All of the paid restaurants were awesome though!
Awesome post! I really enjoyed your adventure and got lost in your pictures. That is what I love about the internet. I can experience diverse places without even leaving home.
addie | culicurious
Great recap! I’ve been on exactly one cruise before and we enjoyed the salad, pizza and sandwich bars much more than formal dining. After the first night, we ditched the formal dining for the remainder of the cruise. Sounds like ya’ll had some pretty good options otherwise, tho. 🙂
Addie I’m all for formal dinners but after 12 nights its nice to switch it up! Plus, a mega-ship like this your options are endless! 🙂
Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups
Sorry the food was just mediocre! I don’t think that’s just with Carnival–I feel like that’s the same with a lot of cruise lines. Cruises have become such inexpensive ways to travel and sometimes the food and service just isn’t as luxurious and I remember it being in the past. Hope you still had a wonderful trip, though!
Jessica I think your right. We still had an amazing time. If I had my way I would have eaten at all the paid restaurants the entire trip. The food quality was much better! 🙂