Speciality Dining on Cruise Ships Review

Challenge: Is dining on cruise ships good?

Cruise ships are notorious for having plenty of food available. Yes, passengers often complain after returning from their sailing of the weight they’ve gained from the soft serve ice cream, breakfast buffets and endless slices of pizza. There is always food around. Whether the bountiful buffets on the lido deck or the 24-hour room service willing to bring you a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk at 3 AM, there is always somewhere to grab a bite.

Solution: Yes, cruise ship food is good but specialty restaurants can make it OUTSTANDING! 

While the food is often “better than good” on cruises, we have found the food to be outstanding at the specialty dining restaurants.  We have dined at several of Carnival Cruise Line’s specialty dining restaurants and have found each to be up to par with mainland fine dining restaurants.

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. But, on a cruise ship you’re paying for that 10 ounce filet or the roasted duck or homemade eggplant Parmesan a small percentage of what you would pay for it on land.

For example, we had a top-notch steak dinner at Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Breeze. The atmosphere and level of service was that of a 5-star restaurant in NYC. I remember the moment I realized that this meal – including an appetizer, entrée and dessert was costing me less than a piece of steak at home. If it would be appropriate to eat red meat every night, we would have eaten at Fahrenheit 555 every night of that cruise. On the Carnival Freedom there is the Sun King Steakhouse. It too had great service but I found Fahrenheit 555 a more 5-star experience. Still well-worth the extra fee.

At Ji-Ji on the Carnival Sunshine, our dining experience was delicious and fun! Our waiter taught us Asian customs of luck. Following a fun traditional Mongolian game, we were asked to roll a die to see who would be our table host. Leanette, of, won! She helped create the order for our table – at JiJi you eat “family style.” Every item we selected was fantastic and filling. We ordered way too much. Be sure to learn from the waiter as to the appropriate number of dishes to order based on your table party. Also, be certain the order the duck appetizer. It was outstanding!

Specialty dining restaurants aboard cruise ships are raising the bar on dining options for cruisers. Be certain to reserve your table for your specialty dining experience.

My experience dining on cruise ships on the Carnival Sunshine, Freedom, Breeze were part of complimentary media trips. All experiences and taste buds are my own and not influenced.

Smart Products for Speciality Dining on Cruise Ships

  • Before you set sail, you will want to be certain the motion of the boat won’t hamper your dining and fun. Check out my Easy Motion Sick Remedies which details what to bring on board to keep the tummy from being queasy! 
  • Many dining options do have a dress code. Bring a “no ironing needed” dress that you can easily wear on the ship. Dress it up with some fun jewelry for a more formal night.  Buy a Black Travel Dress  on Amazon for ~$60.
  • No reason to carry a large purse on board. An easy, yet trendy, Michael Kors Crossbody in Black  is perfect even with your little black dress. Keep your room key, lipstick and maybe a mint in your little bag! Buy it on Amazon for $145!

Enjoy your dining and take lots of pictures! You’ll want to remember the incredible meals you had while sailing the great blue waters! 

Where should I dine next?



  1. smartypantsmama 19 August, 2014 at 12:14 Reply

    Speciality Dining on Cruise Ships Review

    Challenge: Is dining on cruise ships good? Cruise ships are notorious for having plenty of food

  2. Robin (Masshole Mommy) 20 August, 2014 at 10:19 Reply

    I haven’t been on a cruise in about 10 years, but I remember that the food was to die for. I would love to get on another cruise again sometime soon!

  3. BenSpark 21 August, 2014 at 08:02 Reply

    Well, now my mouth is watering and I want to go on a cruise. I’ve never been and would like to do so at some point, they look like a lot of fun. I would probably eat steak every night because I’ve go no will power to stay away. I think I should start losing my cruise weight now in anticipation of going someday.

  4. John 27 September, 2014 at 05:12 Reply

    Really amazing experience and feelings to a ship traveler. I haven’t been on a cruise ship in my life. Wishing to have a trip as early as possible.

  5. Shobha 14 October, 2015 at 14:49 Reply

    I’ve always wondered about this actually! My kids are big on buffets but my husband and I prefer quality to quantity. It didn’t even occur to me that the specialty restaurants may be the solution to our dilemma.

  6. Laura 15 October, 2015 at 01:24 Reply

    I completely agree that the specialty dining restaurants are worth it on a cruise. It makes it that much more special and the food is a step above. I wrote about the specialty dining on my recent Celebrity cruise a few weeks ago. It was well worth the extra cost.

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