Where’s the Beef? Carnival Cruise Lines Scraps Porterhouse

January 6, 2012 | By | 18 Comments

The economy’s been bad. We’ve heard it a million times. Cruise lines have been facing a bit of a conundrum as a result: how to keep cruise prices low without sacrificing quality. It seems that, sometimes, it just can’t be done without some cutbacks.
A recent message boards thread caught our attention when we noticed cruisers complaining that porterhouse steak is no longer offered in Carnival’s onboard for-fee steakhouses. Passengers who pay the $30 flat fee to dine there can choose any entree from the menu. But, after what Carnival calls an “update of the steakhouse menus,” the 24-ounce porterhouse — a cut of beef that rolls New York strip and filet mignon into one — has disappeared. In its place, the line is now offering an 18-ounce prime rib chop. (Line representative Vance Gulliksen says the 14-ounce New York strip and 9-ounce filet also remain available.)
But the flurry of conversation over the change has led us to wonder whether it’s really an even swap — and what’s really behind the change. We first put in a call to Walter Kump, a butcher who owns Forest Pork Store in Huntington Station, NY. According to Kump, the wholesale difference between a prime cut of porterhouse and a prime cut (the type offered by Carnival) of rib chop is about $4.50 per pound — meaning the line now saves every time someone who would have ordered porterhouse orders the rib chop replacement instead.
That savings may be necessary. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), world meat prices are up some 17 percent year over year. Not surprisingly, cruise line execs have specifically mentioned the impact of beef costs on the bottom line during recent company earnings calls.
Carnival remains mum about its reasons for axing the porterhouse option — but we think the numbers moo for themselves.
Cruise Critic member pat55 had this to say: “CCL has done wonders with different cuts of meat. Looking forward to what they can do with snout, knuckle and ear … Sure beats Burger King.” And JaniceB adds, “DH will be disappointed if he can’t get his 24-ounce porterhouse! It is his favorite!”
However, not everyone is heartbroken, and some even see the change in a positive way. “I think someone is looking for something to complain about. Sounds like a good steak to me. I don’t think they have ‘lowered the standards,’ just changed the menu,” says Timmys mom. Echoing the sentiment is StingRaysfan, who says “DH wanted the 24-ounce in the steakhouse and it was a no go. He was very disappointed, but the steak he got was just as good and just a bit smaller. 24 ounces is a bit ridiculous…”
What do you think? Is the downgrade a fair trade for keeping prices steady? Are you perturbed by the move? Or do you simply think it falls into the “who cares?” column? Let us know in the comments below.
Did you know some lines charge for special main dining room steaks? Get embroiled in the great steak debate.
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    18 Responses to “Where’s the Beef? Carnival Cruise Lines Scraps Porterhouse”

    1. Tim
      January 6th, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

      I’ve had the 24 ounce Porterhouse a couple times and it was great. Nothing can replace that cut of meat. Bring it back.

    2. Myriam
      January 6th, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

      24 oz steak is ridiculous. Nobody should eat that much meat in one meal! The fanciest restaurants around here sell smaller steaks that are outstanding! The quality should be more important than the quantity.
      In any case… I refuse to pay extra to eat on a cruise, be it a steak or anything else! If I want to pay for a meal, I’ll do it at a restaurant when I haven’t dished out any money before I enter! We have plenty of those.

    3. Charisse
      January 6th, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

      24oz’s of Steak isn’t healthy for anyone!!!

    4. Jim
      January 6th, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

      For $30, it ought to be available.

    5. Steve
      January 6th, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

      Take the weight of the “T” bone out of the Porterhouse, and you’re not losing any beef. Plus, the Ribeye, Delmonico, or rib chop if you want to call it that, is considered the most flavorful cut, due to the marbling. I am biased as this is my preferred cut, so I’m not upset, I’m estatic.

    6. Loren Ficca
      January 7th, 2012 @ 12:10 am

      I am a vegetarian so it does not matter to me. The people complaining need to shut up. There are plenty of other food choices and they can get that moomoo somewhere else!!! They are blessed and lucky to be able to go on a cruise. There are too many people that die of starvation every day who would like something to eat. They have no choice.

    7. Lynn
      January 7th, 2012 @ 2:47 am

      Holiday or no holiday 24 ounces of meat in one sitting is ludicrous. That’s one and a half POUNDS of meat!
      The family members of the smiling Indonesian man serving you would expect to eat 2.5 times that amount of beef IN A YEAR!
      Also generally, people are eating less beef. USDA estimates 2011 U.S. per capita beef consumption at 57.4 lbs, down 13 percent from 10 years ago and down about 25 percent from 1980.
      A delicious steak is a wonderful thing. You don’t have to eat to excess to enjoy that.

    8. B
      January 7th, 2012 @ 7:06 am

      On my last cruise I had the prime rib chop. It was more than enough food and tasted great. I’d rather them downsize something optional than something that would affect everyone.

    9. Roberta Gerlach
      January 7th, 2012 @ 9:03 am

      A 2lb steak is an absurd amount of meat. We have eaten in the for-fee steakhouse and the portions were way too big. We saw much going to waste on all the tables around us. I cannot imagine that the 18 ounce rib steak is not adequate. If you choose a strip steak, or a filet, you are still getting a good sized portion of what makes up the porterhouse. In addition, the steaks are prepared beautifully, so you will always have a tasty selection.

    10. Vic
      January 7th, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

      My friends and I used to order Steaks like that too..that’s why I ended up 35lbs overweight and attending 3 funerals of friends of mine who died of sudden heart attacks right around the age of 50! One 24oz Prime (highest grade of beef also has highest fat count; extra fat=extra flavor) Porterhouse can have up to 1850 calories. That’s close to or over the total Daily caloric intake for many people without adding in the appetizers, side dishes, cocktails, & deserts. Add the 150 grams of fat and 450mg of cholesterol to just the beef alone and then the rest of the daily meals & snacks and it’s no wonder heart disease kills 1 out of every 3 people and obesity is at epidemic levels. Learning portion control was one of the major keys to helping me lose 35 lbs over 12 weeks.

    11. Tammi
      January 8th, 2012 @ 10:20 am

      Falls under ‘Who Cares!’ A 24 oz portion is way too much anyway, and who can complain about a good strip or filet mignon, or prime chop? They are all wonderful and I am sure that CCL does them right. P.S. $30 is still a real bargain for any of these meals – have you been out to a good steak house lately?

    12. Lillian
      January 8th, 2012 @ 11:51 am

      Someone better get their facts straight. First of all RCCL DOES NOT CHARGE for the Dining Room steak. However if you want a FILET MIGNON from CHOPS , there is a $14.95 charge to be paid. That price includes Potato and Veggie. NO CRUISE LINE SERVES FILET any longer as part of the Main Dining menu!!!

    13. Linda
      January 8th, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

      I agree for a $30 fee it should be on the menu! Carnivals food is not that great to begin with the one thing they have good is the steakhouse and on Magic the Italian Restaurant!

    14. Joanne Hice
      January 9th, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

      Some people will gripe and complain about everything. We don’t usually eat in the for fee restaurants (we did try Cucina del Capitano on the Magic and didn’t like it one bit). Hubby has always said the prime rib, steak, or whatever he gets in the main dining room has been excellent. I don’t eat beef so for me it definitely falls into “Who cares”.

    15. Bob
      January 9th, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

      I had the Porterhouse on the Freedom last April, it was great. I am going on the Freedom again 1/22/12, guess I won’t be visiting the Steakhouse now.

    16. Cathy
      January 9th, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

      My husband has thought of ordering the Porterhouse a few times on our cruises, but opted not to because he knew there would be so much waste, he’s just as happy with one of the smaller steaks with no waste. 24 ounces is ridiculous!

    17. Dave Morris
      January 9th, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

      the 24-ounce porterhouse
      Do they serve it with a side of Lipitor and include an angioplasty the next day?
      People probably have “the right” to commit death by cholosterol overdose but they are prob the same masochists who get mega plates of bacon.
      If/when the wife and I go to the extra cost eateries, we order one ~12 oz steak + some seafood dish and then share. Many Americans seem to believe a cruise ticket is an entry into “The Biggest Glutton – Love Boat Edition”. Just opinion.

    18. Troy Lavender
      June 25th, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

      I preferred the porterhouse cut to a ribeye. I only order a porterhouse for special occasions and paying a premium for a special restaurant on a cruise would qualify as such an occasion. Bring back the porterhouse. Make it smaller (16 oz) if you desire, but for those who prefer a porterhouse to other cuts of steak, should have that option.

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