Carnival Raising Specialty Dining Prices, Limiting Ice Cream Hours, & More

In an email sent to booked passengers, Carnival Cruise Line announced that beginning November 7, it will bump up the prices of specialty dining in some cases. In addition, the line is also making other tweaks to its food offerings, including limiting ice cream hours and charging for third servings in the dining room.

“We have all experienced the impact of inflation, higher fuel prices and supply chain challenges. The food supply chain challenges have been further complicated by global politics and a myriad of laws regarding how we source products and how crops and animals are farmed and handled,” the letter from Carnival President Christine Duffy said.

“We have reached a point with our food costs, however, where we must take some modest but specific actions, which we know most of you have done yourselves, whether with your dining out patterns or shopping to stock the refrigerator or pantry.”

The beginning of the email Carnival sent to booked passengers explaining their upcoming food changes onboard.

A Number of New Dining Changes on Carnival Ships

The letter explains multiple specific changes that will be taking place starting this month…

Increase in Specialty Restaurant Prices
The first change mentioned is that the steakhouse price across the fleet will increase from $42 per person to $48 — a bump of about 14%. As well, Carnival says prices at “specialty dining restaurants on specific ships, i.e., Rudi’s Seagrill and Bonsai Teppanyaki will also increase.” However, specific price increases for those other restaurants weren’t mentioned.

Carnival does say that passengers who have already paid for these restaurants will be grandfathered in at the current price.

Lobster Night Moving to Second Elegant Night
In addition to price increases, the cruise line says that the lobster served on elegant night will also see a change.

“In the main dining room, we will continue to offer lobster on itineraries of six days or more, but it will be moving to the second elegant evening (instead of the current offering on the first elegant night). The lobster isn’t going to swim away, we just ask that you wait for it further into your voyage.”

No More 24/7 Ice Cream
The cruise line says that it is also trying to limit food waste, and in that vein it will no longer offer complimentary self-serve ice cream 24/7 on the ship.

Instead, the hours will change from 11 a.m. to midnight.

“While ice cream for breakfast or at 2:00 am sounds like a great idea when you’re on vacation, the truth is that we are seeing lots of waste, and this is one of those times when we ask guests to join us in our efforts to reduce food waste in a way that will have a negligible impact on the overall vacation experience,” the letter said.

New Charge for Third Entrée
There is also one more change that’s being implemented to reduce waste. In the main dining room, it’s a well-known secret that you can order multiple entrees. So if you want to try two or three dishes, then that’s ok.

That will still be allowed, but Carnival says that “guests may continue to order a second complimentary entrée if they choose; however, effective immediately, a third entrée will incur a US$5 charge.”

The letter also encouraged guests to “take what you want but eat what you take.”

Are More Changes on the Horizon?

One thing to keep in mind is that the changes may not be the last that we will see. Some language in the letter leaves the door open for further tweaks to what’s offered on the ship.

Specifically, Carnival says that it “will continue to look closely at consumption habits and guest preferences so that we can meet our food waste reduction goals.”

“If we see a menu item that is not popular or think of a better way to serve a food item that can reduce waste, we owe it to our planet to make the right change, while still assuring you plenty of food and tasty treats,” the letter said.

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  1. We rode Royal Caribbean this past December (2022) and the pizza was available 24/7. I didn’t see were they limited the ice cream (but they do now have a crew member stationed at the machine to serve it to you. Just booked a cruise in Mar’23 on the Carnival Mardi Gras… hope its not a letdown.

  2. Sorry about the water, wow, $10 dollars. How are people on the cruise reacting to cut back of ice cream? Are there lines starting at 11:00 p.m.? What about in the dinning room with 3 entrees charge? Are people ordering more appetizers?

  3. Thanks for the update! Also, the pre order of a liquor bottle in the stateroom is gone. Not even a notice. Only saw it on social media!

  4. This really takes the cake, again very surprisingly cheap. This is not about waste, never seen cups of uneaten yogurt. I have been a frequent Carnival cruiser since the original Mardi Gras, the midnight buffet is long gone, that I can understand. But to limit the ice cream and yogurt, it was only open on 2 stations forward and aft, I think. There is no maintenance other than refilling it, unless machines are broken, which is not uncommon on Carnival. So in more than a month we have the room service charges, $5 dollars for peanut butter sandwich (other cruise lines charge flat room service charges) and also moving lobster to second formal night on longer cruise (used to be lobster on 4 day cruises years ago).
    The move of lobster to second formal night is a cut back as well, less people come to sit down dinner later in the cruise. I sometimes get 2 entrees but sometimes get more than 2 appetizers, that is next, even though they are smaller and smaller portions and vegetable sides. Carnival say it isn’t so!

  5. Call Carnival and they reference section H even telling me a few moments ago I can expect additional changes before my Jan21 sailing on Mardi Gras including the possibility of a fair surcharge being required before boarding. Carnival is definitely stepping back from their obligations and customers have zero legs to stand on with their contract..except let them win this battle and go elsewhere in the future.

  6. All okay, except for the ice-cream. That stuff is really cheap, and I love getting a quick cone before bed, but after midnight. Shoot, they already don’t keep all the stations open 24/7, so just limit it to one set outside those hours. With the Pizza Pirate changing hours and now the ice-cream, it’s a total let down. My cruise next month won’t be the same


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