Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carnival Carribean Cruise Food: Day 1

Carnival Conquest 7-day Caribbean Cruise

I'm back from a Caribbean cruise trip with my parents! This was my second cruise, and I wasn't sure about the food that awaited us on the Carnival Conquest. I did some pre-departure research on the vessel, and many cruise critics wrote that the Carnival line is not known for its food. That sounded like a dismal beginning.

The first thing everyone did after boarding the Conquest was hit the Cezanne buffet on the Lido deck for lunch. I was shocked that for such a gigantic ship with around 3000 guests, the buffet offered only 5 warm dishes and a dull salad bar. The buffet was three times as big on the much smaller ship of our Alaska cruise, Holland America Line-Volendam, and the quality was far superior. I thought that perhaps because the entire crew is busy getting ready for a new set of 3000 passengers, that food on the first day is bound to be disappointing. It turned out that the buffet remained hopeless throughout the 7-day cruise.

Cezanne Buffet on the Lido Deck

My Plate of Dull Buffet Food
Another option is Sur Mer, a small seafood joint above the Cezanne buffet. You order from a small list of bar grub, and a cook re-fries whatever you order. The food tastes as unappetizing as it sounds. I was so excited to see bouillabaisse on the menu. The broth was pitifully dull. There's nothing hearty about this stew from Sur Mer. But maybe I should applaud them for even trying to serve bouillabaisse on a ship.

Sur Mer

Calamari with Fried Zucchini; Bouillabaisse

And how about the 24-hour pizza bar by the pool? I ate it on my first day, and it was decidedly the last day I ever had that pizza. The dough wasn't cooked thoroughly so the middle of the pizza was a sopping mess.

Sausage Pizza
It's not a matter of me being a glass-half-empty kind of person. I'm just not easily fooled by quantity trying to count for quality. So I'm about to transition into a generous critic. Generally, the formal dining room food is better than the buffet on a cruise, and I'm grateful that this was the case in the Renoir dining room on the Conquest! However, sea-sickness prevented me from enjoying my first dinner, but I don't think I missed much because I think the food is always a bit off on embarkation day.

Renoir Dining Room

Cured Salmon and Candied Tomato-with dill cream and stewed apples and grapes in lemon dressing; Cocktail Shrimp

Tropical Fruits-marinated in lime juice and tequila
Peppercorn Steak; BBQ St. Louis Ribs-with cole slaw, fries, and grilled corn

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