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No more round-the-clock pizza? Carnival makes some cuts to food service offerings permanent

August 7 2022
5 min read
Carnival Radiance cruise ship sailing at sea
No more round-the-clock pizza? Carnival makes some cuts to food service offerings permanent
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Bad news, Carnival Cruise Line fans: You'll no longer be able to make around-the-clock pizza runs on the line's ships.

In a notice sent to travel agents in recent days, the world's second-largest cruise brand said it was making a recent cutback to the hours of the 24-hour pizzerias on its ships a permanent measure.

Carnival said the Pizza Pirate and Pizzeria del Capitano pizza outlets found on its 23 vessels will now permanently close every night at 4 a.m. and remain closed until 9 a.m. in the morning. That means no more very-late-night or very-early-morning pizza runs on Carnival ships, depending on how you view the hours after 4 a.m.

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It's just one of several mostly small trims to food service offerings that Carnival is making. Among others:

  • Late-night snacks will no longer be offered in ship buffet areas.
  • The hours for the Sea Day Brunch held in the main dining room of ships on sea days will be cut by one hour. The dining extravaganza now will end at noon on sea days instead of 1 p.m.
  • Passengers will no longer be able to request complimentary cakes in the main dining room for special occasions such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries. As an alternative, passengers can have candles put into a regular dessert ordered off the daily dessert menu.
  • A buffet-style array of breakfast and lunch items will no longer be available at Ocean Plaza, a gathering spot found on seven of Carnival's more recently built ships.

In another notable change, Carnival will also do away with hanging room service menus for passengers to fill out and leave outside their rooms at night to request a room service breakfast for the next morning.

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line

Room service for breakfast will still be available, but passengers must call the room service department in the morning to place an order.

Carnival paused dinners in The Chef's Table recently due to staffing shortages but has brought them back. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Several other signature food offerings on Carnival ships that were paused in recent months will continue to be paused for now but could return eventually, according to the notice to travel agents, including:

  • The Chocolate Extravaganza buffet, which is normally offered once per cruise near the end of a sailing.
  • Afternoon Tea Time, which usually occurs on sea days.

Carnival initially announced cutbacks to a range of food service offerings on its ships in May, citing staffing issues.

“Our rapid and successful restart has required us to bring back thousands of crew members in a very short time, which has increased the number of resources needed for government officials to process the large number of visa applications and slowed down our ability to fully staff some of our functions, including our culinary team,” Carnival told TPG in an email at the time.

In a statement to TPG over the weekend, Carnival spokesperson Chris Chiames suggested that not all the changes mentioned above were set in stone. A separate Carnival spokesperson had earlier told TPG that the notice to travel agents was sent in error and the line still was "working through" some of the decisions on food service.

"We sometimes make adjustments to our offerings to reflect a variety of factors," Chiames said in an email to TPG. "We are very proud of the fact our guests love our food and dining options, and understand that some react to even the slightest modification. While we are still sorting through a few decisions, our goal is always to deliver an outstanding guest experience, and if we need to make changes, do so in a way that minimizes the impact and maximizes our ability to deliver our guests a great vacation."

Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line

The good news for foodie-focused Carnival fans is that at least one popular venue on Carnival ships that closed earlier this year due to staffing shortages, The Chef's Table, has reopened across the Carnival fleet. The venue offers a semiprivate, multicourse, chef-led dining experience with a hefty price tag.

Also reopening as of this weekend on all Carnival ships is the extra-fee Italian restaurant Cucina Del Capitano, which has been shuttered (for dinner only) on most Carnival vessels since mid-May due to staffing shortages. The venue has only been open since mid-May on a single Carnival ship, Mardi Gras.

Carnival was the first major cruise line to return all its ships to service following the COVID-19-related pause to cruise operations, with all of its vessels back in operation by May 2. But the line has struggled to quickly bring back enough staff to operate all of the venues on the vessels.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured photo by (Photo courtesy of 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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