Live From Carnival Liberty: Has Anyone Seen the Buffet?

December 6, 2011 | By | 17 Comments

I’m hungry, and I’ve been hungry since about 12 p.m. today, at which time I was zipping through treetops in Belize after spending an hour on a bus and another hour waiting in line. It was a fun trip, but it was incredibly long, and the return bus ride had me ready to eat my Sail & Sign card. Once across the gangway, I made a beeline for the buffet, only to discover it had closed at 3:30 — an hour before passengers were due back from their time ashore.
I won’t lie — I’m a little confused by the hours of some of the eateries onboard. Options are extremely limited for those of us who don’t have dining times until 8:15. (The buffet is open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on port days or 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on sea days for breakfast, noon to 3:30 p.m. on port days or noon to 2:30 p.m. on sea days for lunch, and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for dinner.) So, I’m currently stuffing my face with my fourth Guy’s Burger Joint burger. (This time, I’m just eating one.) I discovered that the deli was also open, but the line was seriously long, and I was feeling seriously impatient. And, let’s face it, 24-hour pizza is for those nights when you’re dancing ’til the wee hours and suffering from pina colada overload.
Yesterday, when I attempted to generate some blog fodder by visiting the ship’s new BlueIguana Cantina, I was surprised to discover that it’s only open until 2:30 p.m. It opens at 7 in the morning. To me, that seems odd. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have burritos on the brain when I wake up.
At any rate, check back tomorrow (hopefully) for a post in which I pit Red Frog against BlueIguana in my “booze and burritos” report.
Check out our other Live From Carnival Liberty posts here.
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    17 Responses to “Live From Carnival Liberty: Has Anyone Seen the Buffet?”

    1. Becky
      December 6th, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

      I had the same problem while on Liberty 3 months ago. Very irritating. It was like that in Triumph as well.

    2. Frank Perez
      December 6th, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

      Are Guy’s hamburgers and the Blue Iguana free or they an extra charge item? They have never said on the blogs.

    3. dawn
      December 6th, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

      I was just on the Liberty (returned 12/3)…I found this to be an issue too…and sometimes, even if there was food, the quality was POOR.
      Good luck

    4. Kim Davis
      December 6th, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

      I was recently on a RC ship and have noticed a huge difference in the quality and amount of food offered. I’m truly concerned.

    5. Jim
      December 6th, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

      No problem on the Oasis or Mariner. Lots of good no-cost food all of the time.

    6. Wendy
      December 7th, 2011 @ 12:26 am

      We were on the Carnival Liberty immediately after dry dock (10/22-10/29) and we had the same complaints as well as many other passengers about the hours or…lack there of….of the buffets. We love sailing Carnival and were more than pleased with the upgrades but it seems that every year we cruise, the buffet times get shorter and shorter, and we end up in one long line, eating the same food day after day. Late at night after the shows was just as bad. The pizza bar was overly packed with people ordering and waiting for their food and the same midnight snack (it was NOT a buffet) was served every night. We should’ve stocked up on snacks from dinner in our cabin for the late night munchies.

    7. Cruise Critic
      December 7th, 2011 @ 9:19 am

      @Frank: They’re both free! :D

    8. david
      December 7th, 2011 @ 10:21 am

      Carnival needs to change this ASAP!! Beards are you watching?? :):)

    9. Laurie Cappellin
      December 7th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

      I sailed on Carnival for the first time last year. Was upset also at the times the food was unavailable. Sailed on Costa the year before and didn’t have that experience at all. In fact, the midnight buffet was incredible on Costa and there was more variety and it seemed like the buffet was always available. We went on many excursions and could always eat as much as we wanted after returning. Guests on Costa did mention that Carnival had really cheapened up on their food so can’t say I was surprised. No more Carnival for me!! Costa was so much better in every way!!

    10. Kim
      December 11th, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

      Ashley, you missed out! The iguana breakfast burritos were fantastic!
      I’m a devought Carnival person, but I have to be honest, the food my past two cruises has been really bad, and the buffet times do not make sense to me either.

    11. Marilyn R
      December 13th, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

      well I am a Carnival Cruise addict I love the cruise line. I can’t wait to try the Guys Burgers and the Blue Igwana. Not trying to be a prude here but we always plan our day around the way we want to eat so there has been no problem with getting the buffets for us. And we accept the fact we may be eating pizza if the buffett hours don’t fit our schedule. I have noticed the quality of food has changed in the restaurants at our evening meal and breakfast. Wondered if they just go to the buffett and fullfill our order and then serve us.Some meals are cold and stale not the fresh and hot cooked taste. I like my food sizzleing hot and fresh. And love it to be different than something I can get a home.

    12. Sue
      December 13th, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

      I only have two Carnival cruises under my belt but found the food on cruise #2 to be sorely lacking as compared to the first cruise. Times are obviously tough for everybody so it’s either raise the price or cut back on product/service. Personally – cruising is something I do as a luxury. I would rather spend more time saving up for a more expensive experience and enjoy a really GREAT cruise than end up with a lot of disappointment in mediocre food and lame service.

    13. Talliana
      December 13th, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

      We went on the Carnival Glory in November and I found the buffet hours to be an issue also. The deli option and pizza were always open but had really long lines. Food was a big disappointment also. This was my second cruise on Carnival and there has been a definite drop in the quality of the food at least on the free side. I guess you have to go to the restaurants with extra fees to get good quality items.

    14. Joanne Hice
      December 14th, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

      We were just on Carnival Magic and I saw the “Buffet Closed” signs for the first time. I was confused. We have previously gone to the buffet whenever we got hungry. We ended up with left over sweet rolls (not sure where he found them) and ice cream. One of the biggest draws to a cruise is the eating when you are hungry. Hope Carnival reviews their policy. Oh, and the “pay for” meals at the restaurants were not worth paying for.

    15. George
      February 2nd, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

      I haven’t sailed on Carnival since 1999 and am getting concerned on the comments on the quality of food. We are used to RCCL’s food and that’s pretty good

    16. angela
      May 16th, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      9 Carnival cruises under my belt & won’t be taking anymore. The buffets are always closed. Seems like I have to wait 30 minutes for 2 slices of pizza, a sandwich, or the same old room service. I loved Carnival when i started cruising but have seen it go down hill more and more every year. They don’t enforce the dress codes in the dining room either. It seems their ‘cheap’ pricing has attracted alot of riff raff that don’t know how to dress for dinner. No more for me. RC, here I come…

    17. Denise
      May 2nd, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

      Maybe the buffets have to be closed for cleaning and getting the next buffet set up, cant have the same food there all day long, and the place needs to be clean and fresh food set out as they schedule it. We went zipping too, and went to the deli area for a quick bite, then back to the cabin to shower and relax and decided to order in a couple really good sandwiches and tea….perfect.

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