Cruising Food Travelling

A Feast At Sea – Dining On Board The Carnival Spirit

Earlier this month Carnival Spirit left her dry dock in Singapore after undergoing a $44 million dollar refurbishment, which included the addition of 7 new restaurant and bars. I hopped on board the ship this weekend when she arrived in Brisbane and did my best to sample as many of them as possible as we sailed back to Sydney.

Guy’s Burger Joint

Top of my list of the new restaurants to try was Guy Fieri’s burger joint. Guy (of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fame) has created a menu of 5 American-style burgers for Carnival Spirit, which includes the Pig Patty (a burger stuffed full of bacon), which I couldn’t resist trying. With gooey melted cheese, juicy meat and a bouncy bun, the burger was as good as I hoped, but it tasted all the better for being able to consume it at sea.

Guy’s Burger Joint also includes an option created just for the Aussies – the Boomerang Burger, which comes with the Aussie’s beloved beetroot, and Donkey Sauce made from tomato relish and aioli. Over at the Toppings Bar you can customise your own creation by adding more salad, gherkin, caramelised onions or mushrooms.

Guy Fieri's great burgers served at sea

Guy Fieri’s great burgers served at sea. He’s left some messages for punters on the table.

The southern-style fries are good too!

The southern-style fries are good too!

Get your toppings here

Get your toppings here

Opening hours: 12pm – 6pm
Location: Lido, 9 mid
Price: included

Bonsai Sushi

Bonsai Sushi caught our eye during our cruise on the Spirit’s sister ship Carnival Legend but we never had a chance to try it. So on this trip we stopped by for an extended lunch to try everything we’d missed out on.

One of the things I immediately loved about Bonsai Sushi is the attention to detail. Everything from the tiny bonsai table settings to the food ordering has been thought through. You place your order as you would in a restaurant in Asia by ticking the items you want on a list. Be warned though, the portions here are cruise-ship generous so don’t go ticking too many boxes!

The food presentation is incredible too, with Miso Soup poured in front of you and the option to order a selection of sushi, rolls and salad served on a wooden ship. Everything we tried (and we tried a lot!) tasted great. You must try the Wagyu Kakuni, Tempura Roll and shrimp Sashimi, and pair it with a Japanese beer, of course.

Perfectly laid table at Bonsai Sushi

Perfectly laid table at Bonsai Sushi

One of the very generous sized sushi rolls

One of the very generous sized sushi rolls

Sushi on a boat, on a ship! The servers were incredibly sweet too.

Sushi on a boat, on a ship! The servers were incredibly sweet too.

Opening hours: 5pm – 12am
Located: Promenade, 2 mid
Price: Extra but very reasonable – $8 for a 8 piece Tempura Roll, $19 for the whole ship! View the whole menu here.

BlueIguana Cantina

Opposite Guy’s American burger joint on the Lido Deck is a colourful new Mexican corner. The BlueIguana Cantina serves a range of tacos and burritos with your choice of spicy (or not so) toppings. The décor of the cantina is as fresh and vibrant as the menu but the thing you need to know is that this place is open at breakfast too. Head over from 7.30 to grab yourself a breakfast burrito and start the day the Mexican way! We were so full after the Chef’s Table experience (see below) that we couldn’t possibly try one ourselves but the guests were raving about them. (See also I Ate My Way Thru’s Instagram for pics.)

Fresh tacos and burritos cooked up at BlueIguana Cantina

Fresh tacos and burritos cooked up at BlueIguana Cantina

Decor as bright and fresh as the food

Decor as bright and fresh as the food

Time to salsa

Time to salsa

Opening hours: 7.30 – 10.30 and 12.00 – 2.30
Location: Lido, 9 mid
Price: included

Chef’s Table

The Chef’s Table dining experience is something guests can do on average once per cruise and if you love your food I recommend you get it booked. Starting with champagne in the lobby and an introduction to the chef, the night involves an incredible 7-course degustation dinner, plus canapés and a galley tour.

Enjoying canapés in the kitchen as part of the Chef's Table experience

Enjoying canapés in the kitchen as part of the Chef’s Table experience

On our first cruise I kept wandering how they managed to feed so many people so well every night so the Chef’s Table was my chance to find out. Chef took us behind the scenes to see how the main kitchen operates and explained how he orders the food supplies based on the profile (age, nationality, sex etc.) of his guests.

Fun fact: during an average week on board the Carnival Spirit guests will consume 250kg of prime rib, 3300 racks of lamb (more if they’re Aussie!) and 28860 eggs. At dinner the F&B Department serve 7,200 plates per seating, which means a plate leaves the galley every ½ second.

Needless to say the kitchen operates like a well-oiled machine!

Whilst sharing these facts Executive Chef Soumen Banerjee blew us away with morsels of intricately crafted canapés, including Mango Spheres, Beef Carpaccio on air pillows and Chocolate Bacon. And this was just a warm up act for the main menu which was served in a private dining room.

The complimentary wine was free-flowing as we worked our way through outstanding courses of Beef Blanket, Duck Textures, Barramundi and Wagyu, to name a few.

Dessert was a beautiful plate of Sea Salt Praline Chocolate, Raspberry Mojito, Sweet Lime Cake, Apricot Vanilla Gel and Citrus Cream. I didn’t think I’d be able to fit any of it in and yet somehow I found myself licking the plate clean!

Just some of the courses at the Chef's Table

Just some of the courses at the Chef’s Table!

Opening hours: usually held just once per cruise so enquire when you board
Located: various
Price: $75 per person

Other Options

I couldn’t fit another thing in during my 1.5 days on Carnival Spirit but there is a total of 25 bars, lounges and dining options on board the ship including; the Nouveau Steakhouse, Empire Dining, Playa Grill, Fountain Café, Cherry On Top sweet shop, Alchemy cocktail bar, Red Frog pub and (soon) Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ.

It's always cocktail o clock at the Red Frog Pub

It’s always cocktail o clock at the Red Frog Pub

For more information and bookings see a travel agent, contact Carnival Cruise Line on 13 31 94, or visit www.carnival.com.au.

I was hosted by Carnival Cruises for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own.

You might also like:

Diary Of A Day On Board The Carnival Legend

12 Things I Didn’t Know About Cruising

Tips For Cruising The South Pacific

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Hannah
    September 15, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Wow! So many delicious options! I don’t consider myself a cruise person (although I’ve never actually done one, truth be told!) but this could tempt me! x

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      September 15, 2015 at 8:26 am

      I wouldn’t say I’m a cruise person either yet I have done 2 now and I find myself looking at what other routes there are to explore. My experiences so far with the Carnival Cruises have been very favourable – good entertainment, really great food and adults only area which are a haven!

  • Reply
    Leonie Parker
    September 15, 2015 at 9:54 am

    All the food looks so yum

    Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go

  • Reply
    Kristin
    September 18, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Wow, such wonderful dining options! Tempted to try Carnival along with Holland America, as I’m hearing absolutely wonderful things about their food. I’ve only tried Disney so far – absolutely love them but I’m curious about what else is out there!

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