The other day I posted an overview of the changes made to Royal Caribbean’s Independence Of The Seas. One of the new things is the Fish & Ships food venue, located on the aft port side of the pool deck. This replaces the original ‘Squeeze Juice Bar’ which is on all three of the Freedom-class ships but frankly has never been popular. Squeeze suffered from a poor location, very few people ordering the fresh juice choices, so it wasn’t long before Squeeze became just another bar. Sort of an auxiliary pool bar.
As with most new things added to older cruise ships, Fish & Ships food comes at a price. And it seems Royal Caribbean is mighty proud of the menu. Prices range from $10 for deep fried haddock and chips (french fries) to $3 for a Chip Butty, which is an English snack comprising white bread with butter and chips on it, often with another condiment such as ketchup or mayonnaise added. Of course, for no charge you could go into the Windjammer buffet and make your own from the fries, bread, and butter on the serving lines.
As part of its ongoing effort to keep culinary offerings fresh and enticing for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet.
The menus for Carnival’s steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates.
Baked Alaska – the classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue – is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.
The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer new appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado “Leche de Tiger”; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve. These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion. Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.
The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy’s culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along withRisotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale – a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage – and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta. House-made burrata – an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor – has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available. The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships – Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze – with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.
Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata. There’s also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a “Breakfast Board” with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread. For those on the go, a new “breakfast express” is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all “in and out” within 25 minutes. An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered. Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.
The line’s delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps. Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning. See the new deli menus here.
Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to “Pizzeria del Capitano” offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies – from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto. The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.
With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.
Princess Cruises has officially announced its third annual Culinary Cruise Series, featuring famed Miami-based chefs Brad Kilgore and Scott Linquist.
Sailing on Regal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale from February 11 – 18, 2018 to the Western Caribbean, these two chefs will team up to offer guests a variety of curated culinary experiences and demonstrations for travelers looking for an exclusive foodie experience.
This seven-day, four-port Western Caribbean cruise will include a selection of daily activities and adventures for cruisers to participate in with the acclaimed chefs. Guests will be able to participate in chef-led cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings, Q+A sessions, experience special menus featured throughout the ship’s restaurant and bars, and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them.
Guests will also be able to explore parts of the Caribbean and Mexico alongside these chefs as each lead a customized excursion. Noted for his Mexican cuisine, Chef Linquist will lead the Cozumel excursion in Mexico, while Chef Kilgore will lead the Jamaican excursion. Other port stops include Princess Cays Bahamas and Grand Cayman.
Named Food & Wine’s 2016 Best New Chef, Brad Kilgore launched onto Miami’s culinary scene in 2015 with the opening of Alter in Miami’s hottest new neighborhood – Wynwood. After winning countless awards with Alter including Restaurant of the Year by Eater, he set his sights on Downtown Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center and opened BRAVA by Brad Kilgore inside the famed cultural institution. Showing no signs of slowing down, Kilgore plans to debut two new restaurants in Miami in the next coming year. Bringing his progressive American cuisine to Regal Princess, Kilgore will showcase some of his favorites including Short Rib Wellington with Truffled Mushrooms and Free-Range Chicken, with Popcorn Hollandaise.
Joining Chef Brad Kilgore will be fellow Miami-based Chef Scott Linquist. Linquist, founder of the wildly successful Coyo Taco located in Miami’s buzzing Brickell Financial District, as well as famed Wynwood arts district, will bring his upscale Mexican flair to the seven-day excursion featuring some of his most unique taco creations such as Coyo’s charred octopus tacos with salsa veracruzana and pickled jalapeños. Chef Linquist plans to expand the success of Coyo Taco with new locations coming in Miami Beach, West Palm Beach and Panama.
Adding a touch of sweetness to this cruise will be one of Princess Cruises culinary partners, Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, based in Fort Myers, FL. Trained in France, and named the Inaugural Inductee into the Chocolatier Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine, Love’s creations blend premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and artful designs that are perfect for chocolate lovers. Love will be leading several cooking demonstrations and curate chocolate tastings.
Carnival is on a roll (pun intended) with new menus lately. Yesterday John Heald announced new menus for the steakhouse and Cucina Del Capitano trattoria. Today he featured the new menu for Carnival’s very popular deli sandwich venue on his Facebook page.
I love the deli on Carnival ships. It’s often my lunch choice on embarkation day because new cruisers don’t know about it and they just see the main buffet and queue up there. It’s also very good. The new menu doesn’t have one of my favorites on it – pastrami – but corned beef remains with the Reuben, and they will still make you a regular corned beef on rye. Even if it’s not on the menu the deli staff has always made what you wanted as long as they have the ingredients in front of them. I’ve often wondered why they didn’t have sandwich classics such as the BLT or a meatball sub. I’m happy to report that both are now on the menu.
The new menu also adds potato salad and french fries. One thing missing for years was a side item for the sandwiches so I’m glad to see these additions.
The new menu is currently on Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory with more ships coming soon.
Carnival Cruise Line will introduce its first-ever teppanyaki dining venue when the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe in spring 2018.
If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of Teppanyaki, the name is derived from the combination of the words “teppan” or iron plate with “yaki” meaning grilled or pan-fried.
Located on Carnival Horizon’s Promenade Deck, Bonsai Teppanyaki will offer a wide-ranging menu with authentic delicacies from the Far East prepared by highly skilled chefs who will create tantalizing dishes on custom-built stations that form the center of the venue’s two eight-seat tables. With only 16 seats available reservations will be highly recommended. The restaurant will offer both a lunch and dinner service.
In keeping with Carnival’s atmosphere of spirited and participatory fun, dinner at Bonsai Teppanyaki will be a fun culinary experience with chefs engaging with diners and dazzling them with their amazing knife skills and other performance elements.
Each meal will begin with an appetizer sampler of five items such as Miso Soup, Pork Belly Yakitori with Sesame Asparagus Fries, and Spicy Tuna on the Rocks with Onion Sesame Sauce and Den Miso. Guests will then choose an entree with choices including Lobster Tail with Yuzu Cream and Citrus Kosho, Filet Mignon with Truffle Salt, Garlic Chips and Champagne Cognac Flambe, and Black Cod with Soy Reduction, plus other items. For dessert a Chocolate Bento Box with Green Tea Ice Cream will be featured.
“Carnival is all about providing our guests with a wide array of choices and that, of course, includes a seemingly endless array of delicious culinary options,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “The new Bonsai Teppanyaki promises to be a wonderful addition to the Carnival Horizon, offering delectable cuisine from the Far East enhanced by show-stopping performances by our talented and engaging chefs,” she added.