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More inflation at sea: Cruise giant Carnival plans sharp price hikes at signature ship venues

Nov. 03, 2022
5 min read
Carnival Mardi Gras
More inflation at sea: Cruise giant Carnival plans sharp price hikes at signature ship venues
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Get ready for even more sharp price hikes at popular eateries on Carnival Cruise Line ships.

In an email sent to passengers Wednesday, the world's second-largest cruise brand said it would increase the fixed-price cost of dining in the many steakhouses on its vessels from $42 to $48 per person — a 14% jump.

The price hike will take effect Monday.

The line also said the cost of other extra-charge restaurants such as Bonsai Teppanyaki on specific ships would be going up, too, though it didn't specify by how much.

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The price increases come just months after an earlier price hike for Carnival restaurants sent the cost of its shipboard steakhouses up by nearly 11%, from $38 to $42. During that round of price hikes, the cost of the line's teppanyaki eateries rose by 9.4% and the cost of its Italian restaurants called Cucina del Capitano soared by 20%.

Combining the two price hikes, the cost of dining in a steakhouse on Carnival ships has now jumped more than 26% in less than a year.

The steakhouses on Carnival ships are considered the signature dining venues across its fleet.

The line blamed the soaring costs for food and fuel as high inflation has taken hold in the economy for forcing its hand, as well as ongoing supply chain challenges.

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CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

“We have all experienced the impact of inflation, higher fuel prices and supply chain challenges. The food supply chain challenges have been further complicated by global politics and a myriad of laws regarding how we source products and how crops and animals are farmed and handled,” the line said in the email to customers.

The email added that the company had "reached a point with our food costs ... where we must take some modest but specific actions, which we know most of you have done yourselves, whether with your dining out patterns or shopping to stock the refrigerator or pantry.”

Related: The 8 classes of Carnival ships, explained

Consumer prices over the past year in the United States have increased by 8.2%, as measured by the latest Consumer Price Index report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Carnival noted in its email that passengers who have prepaid for extra-charge restaurants in advance of upcoming cruises will not have to pay the higher rates.

The email also announced additional cutbacks and changes to food service on ships.

Perhaps most notably, the line said it would begin charging passengers who order extra entrees in its included-in-the-fare main dining rooms if they order more than two entrees. The new fee will be $5 per entree.

While a small charge, the new fee is a sharp departure from the longstanding tradition on cruise ships that passengers can order as many entrees as they want in included-in-the-fare restaurants.

Carnival also said it would eliminate the around-the-clock availability of complimentary self-serve ice cream on ships. Self-serve ice cream now only will be available from 11 a.m. to midnight.

For this move, the line cited food waste as the driving force.

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line

“While ice cream for breakfast or at 2:00 am sounds like a great idea when you’re on vacation, the truth is that we are seeing lots of waste, and this is one of those times when we ask guests to join us in our efforts to reduce food waste in a way that will have a negligible impact on the overall vacation experience,” the company said.

Carnival also said it would move lobster night on its ships to a date later in sailings.

The line hinted that even more dining changes could be coming as targeted "food waste reduction goals.”

The price hikes at onboard venues at Carnival come even as the line has been sharply discounting its base fares for some close-in sailings to fill ships, with some fall sailings selling for as little as $26 per day.

Related: Another major cruise line slashes fares below $30 a day

The result is that some Carnival fans have spent less to get on a Carnival ship this fall than they'll be spending once they get on board.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees