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Carnival Food Review – EVERYTHING I Ate During my Cruise: (Photos and Menus)

If you are taking a Carnival cruise you might be wondering what the food will be like. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included at no extra cost on a Carnival cruise.

I’ve just disembarked Carnival Magic and in this post we will look at everything I ate in the main dining room, buffet, Guys Burger Joint and other restaurants. Menus are also provided.

Buffet – Included

The buffet on the Carnival Magic was open from early in the morning until late at night, it is split into two separate sections.

Breakfast was served 7am – 12pm. Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm and dinner 6pm-9.30pm.

Carnival Buffet

“Meals are served buffet-style, with an array of pastas, steaks, prime rib, grilled chicken, specialty salads and desserts along with a daily Chef’s Special.” 

Carnival Cruise Line

Below are some examples of my buffet meals. All of the food in the buffet is free and unlimited.

There was always a large selection of cakes available and cookies too.

Carnival Buffet

I found that the quality of the food in the buffet was good but I did find that the options were often the same on multiple days.

We usually ate breakfast in the buffet and although I am not a big buffet fan, there were lots of choices. I mostly had bread and fruit.

We didn’t ever see any drinks waiters in the buffet so I’m not sure if this service is offered within the buffet. If it was, they never approached us.

Within The Buffet Was a Deli

At the larger end of the buffet, there was a deli that served sandwiches and wraps throughout the day. This would often be open even if the main buffet was closed.

The deli was open 11 am – 11 pm.

There were a couple of vegetarian options but no markings on the menu to say which were vegetarian.

Carnival do have a separate team that deals with allergies and intolerances but it was a shame that this information was missing from a lot of the menus.

I often had to ask the waiters if a dish was vegetarian which could have easily been avoided had the information been on the menu.

My favourite thing to have at the deli was the mozzarella and tomato sandwich.

There were often lines for the deli and I did feel bad for the crew trying to make the sandwiches as fast as they could! The crew were always incredibly friendly and polite.

The deli also offered fries and chocolate chip cookies.

Carnival Deli

My main concern with the buffet was the lack of hand washing and hand sanitisation.

On most cruise lines you’ll have to wash your hands before you enter the buffet but this wasn’t the case on my Carnival cruise, there were no sinks by the doors and no crew member ever told me to sanitise my hands.

As guests all share the tongs I would usually get my food, sit down and then sanitise my hands before picking up food.

Main Dining Room – Included

Guests can either choose fixed dining, where you have the same table at the same time each night or flexible dining. We opted for flexible dining and it worked very well.

There was only one large main restaurant offering flexible dining but sometimes we would be sat on the upper level, and sometimes lower.

I preferred sitting on the upper level as it felt as though the tables for 2 had more space. Downstairs the tables for 2 were often so close together that it felt like you were sharing a table.

This is pretty common on cruise ships!

Starter #1Roasted Tomato Soup
Main #1Braised Beef Brisket
Main #2Featured Indian Vegetarian
Dessert #1Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake
Carnival Main Dining Room Food

I was very impressed with the quality of the food in the main dining room. I hadn’t expected amazing things from Carnivals food but we were always very happy with our meals.

The service was great and we never had to wait long for anything.

Below on the left is the always-available vegetarian Indian dish which I had a couple of times. On the right is the Carnival chocolate cake which was very tasty. It was gooey in the middle and always warm.

Carnival Main Dining Room Food

Below is the menu as it appeared on my phone. We weren’t given physical menus during our cruise and instead scanned the QR code on our phones.

If you don’t have a phone Carnival do have some physical copies of the menu but I never saw any guests using these during our cruise.

Carnival Cruises Dinner Menu

There was no allergen or dietary information on the menus which sometimes did make it difficult to know which dishes were vegetarian. You’d think it would be obvious, but it isn’t always.

On some cruise lines you’ll find that there are specials in addition to whats on the menu, we didn’t find that on our Carnival cruise.

Starter #1Vegetable Spring Rolls
Main #1Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Carnival Main Dining Room Food
Carnival Cruises Dinner Menu

The fried mozzarella seen below was my favourite starter.

Starter #1Fried Mozzarella
Main #1Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Main #2Grilled Tofu Steak
Dessert #1Cheese Plate
Carnival Main Dining Room Food

I was very happy to see a Tofu steak on the menu one evening, this was the only time I ever saw any and there weren’t usually any sources of protein other than cheese in my vegetarian dishes.

The staff were always happy to change dishes slightly or to put together something off-menu if there’s something you’d prefer.

Carnival Cruises Dinner Menu and Main Dining Room Food
Starter #1Cesar Salad
Main #2Barbecue Chicken Flatbread
Carnival Main Dining Room Food

Caesar salad was always available as a starter as you’ll find on most cruise lines.

It is possible to order a starter as a main or a main as a starter if you’d prefer.

There aren’t any limits on how many courses you can order, so if there are multiple things that take your fancy, order them all!

Many people order a couple of starters and a couple of mains. The waiters are very used to it.

Other Included Food – Guy’s Burger Joint

In addition to the food in the buffet and the main dining room, there was freshly made pizza and burgers served on the pool deck.

The poolside grill is called Guys Burger Joint and it was created by Guy Fieri.

For the first 5 days of the cruise I believed that there were no vegetarian options at Guys Burgers because there was no vegetarian burger on the menu.

I had resigned myself to a life of eating fries but when I did ask, they actually had veggie burgers!

They added one to the grill and freshly cooked it for me. I added onion rings and cheese and lots of other toppings (seen below right).

It was AMAZING I just wish I knew about it earlier in the cruise!

Carnival Guys burger joint

My partner Jono who eats meat said that the Guy’s Burgers he had were good, no better than the poolside grill on other cruise lines, but good.

Other Included Food – Blue Iguana

Also on the pool deck, there is a Burrito and Taco restaurant called the Blue Iguana.

Here you can create your own burritos and they are freshly made while you wait.

I had a rice and beans burrito and it was amazing. It may have been my favourite thing that I ate during the cruise. It was full of flavour and a great lunch.

Carnival Blue Iguana Food

Below are the topping that you can add to your burrito.

Soft tacos are also available.

Carnival Mongolian Wok

Other Included Food – Pizzeria Del Capitano

At the back of the ship there is a pizzeria where you can get freshly made pizza either by the slice or the pie.

The pizzeria was open 9am – 4am.

We would often go to the Pizzeria at night to pick up a pizza and a drink from the bar that was nearby, both were near our cabin so we would take these back to our room.

You are always allowed to take food from the buffet or any of the pool side restaurants to your cabin. Carnival don’t let you take food from the main dining room to your room, but everywhere else is fine.

Pizza #1Quattro Formaggi
Pizza #2Margherita
Carnival Pizzeria Del Capitano

Ocean Plaza Café (Extra Cost)

I spent very little extra during this cruise but the little bit of money that I did spend I spent on doughnuts at the Ocean Plaza Cafe.

The cafe was incredibly popular, especially on sea days.

Each of the doughnuts below cost $3, plus taxes.

Carnival are an American cruise line so taxes aren’t included in the prices that you see.

Both doughnuts weer good, but incredibly sweet. I shared them and even half was more than enough.

Carnival Ocean Plaza Cafe

Would I Recommend Carnivals Food?

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food on my Carnival cruise, particularly in the main dining room.

I did find the vegetarian options lacking compared to other cruise lines, but all the vegetarian food I had was good.

I particularly enjoyed the deli within the buffet, my burger from Guy’s Burgers and the cookies that were available most of the time in the buffet.

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