Earlier this week, Carnival cruise director and funnyman blogger John Heald published the line’s new main dining room menus on his blog, prompting what has now become known as “Shrimpgate.” After viewing said menus, many Carnival fans and Cruise Critic members (in more than a half dozen threads on our forums) were astonished to learn that the line’s popular shrimp cocktail appetizer would no longer be available on a daily basis.
And while many cruisers seem genuinely pleased with the new selections, some were further incensed by Carnival’s addition of “comfort food” options such as fried chicken, meatloaf and barbecue ribs.
“Nothing wrong with any of those items, but on the Lido though. I am just saddened they are taking what was once equivalent to a four star restaurant when I started cruising 12 years ago and are reducing it down to a Chilis or TGIFs,” said member CruiseCat, summing up the sentiments of many main dining room traditionalists.
Others are accusing Carnival of cheapening its product without lowering cruise fares.
Member dclark said, “Cruising today is NOT always cheaper than it was in the past! . . . Yet, the cruise way back yonder had better food, better service (remember assigned servers?, better entertainment (3 shows, three headliners vs Freedom’s three shows, one headliner). It has gotten to the point where they shouldn’t even be compared.”
Considering that “grown-up” versions of down-home favorites such as macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and even pie are popping up in high-end restaurants in most major American cities, we’re not surprised that Carnival has gone this route. Not only is it cost-effective (hey, it’s cheaper than lobster!), but the move almost guarantees that self-proclaimed foodies and your average Joe will all find something to love. Why not be able to enjoy “St. Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs” one day and “Duet of Roasted Rack and Leg of Spring Lamb” the next? And we love the sound of the “Spicy Alligator Fritters …”
“I tried the menu on the Liberty in June,” said kybowler. “There are plenty of choices for all to enjoy (if you want to enjoy it). I like to try new foods or things I would not normally pay for when we go out.”
What about those cruisers howling that Carnival’s main dining rooms are akin to the local McDonald’s? Some just don’t get the comparison.
“I don’t get it. … I don’t know what I’m missing,” said LambKnuckles. “I see the lobster, the chateau, the mahi-mahi, the rack of lamb, the flat iron steak, the short ribs, the turkey, the jerk pork, the escargot, the tilapia.”
And as for Shrimpgate, member donoiv has a suggestion, “Who wudda thunk that Shrimp would cause such a ruckus. Grab 5 bucks … head out to your local Piggly Wiggly and buy your own shrimp! If you love it that much … eat it every night while you are at home and then maybe it won’t be such a devastating event when Carnival doesn’t spoon feed it to you at every meal … [or] drop a net off the back and grab yer own!”
Get a peek at the controversial menus here.
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