Carnival Firenze Dining

4.0 / 5.0
1 review
Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Carnival Firenze statue of David in Carnival Firenze's main Michelangelo dining room (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Bonsai Teppanaki on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Lobster Roll from the Seafood Shack on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
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Editor Rating
4.0
Very Good
Dining
Chris Gray Faust
Executive Editor, U.S.

Carnival Firenze has a nice mix of complimentary and specialty restaurants onboard. There are enough of the former where you don’t have to pay a dime for extra meals if you don’t want to.

But the prices for Carnival’s specialty restaurants have been kept under the $50 per person mark, save for the Chef’s Table, and given the portions and quality of these offerings, you might want to splurge one night or two.

Michelangelo MDR and David Statue on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Michelangelo MDR and David Statue on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Free Restaurants on Carnival Firenze

The Michelangelo Dining Room. With a statue of David replica standing guard at the top of the stairs, the two-deck Michelangelo Dining Room is glamourous in black and white, illuminated by gargantuan chandeliers. This is where MyTime Dining takes place, and having a reservation is highly recommended, as dinners can get chaotic. The menus here have a rotating selection of appetizers, including soups and salads; entrees, including options from Carnival chef partner Emeril Lagasse and desserts, as well as always available options. You can also upgrade your meal by paying a surcharge for a sushi boat from Bonsai or selections from Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse.

Chocolate Melting cake on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Chocolate Melting cake on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

On our inaugural sailing, service in the Michelangelo Dining Room was still pulling itself together, and meals extended several hours. You can expect dance and singing breaks too – “Mambo Italiano” plays often on Carnival Firenze – so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to eat here before your evening activities. We even experienced tableside visits from the ship’s magician.

You can also eat breakfast in the Michelangelo dining room and on Sea Days, it’s worth braving the crowds for the fabulous brunch.

The Medici Dining Room. Tucked away mid-ship on Deck 3, the Medici Dining Room offers set seating for guests who still like a reserved table and dining time every night. While the space isn’t as grand as Michelangelo, it still evokes an upscale Italian vibe, with patterned ceilings, cream and gold columns and curvy chandeliers. The dinner menu here is the same as you find in the other dining room. On Sea Days, Medici becomes the place for pasta, with choices like spaghetti carbonara and linguini with meatballs.

Lido Marketplace. No way around it, the ship’s buffet is busy. Expect lines at most times, especially when people are trying to squeeze in breakfast before a shore excursion. We did find that it was a little less chaotic if you went to the buffet sections toward the back of the ship, as opposed to those closest to the main Lido pool.

As with any buffet, there is something for everyone in the Lido. Breakfast has a (very busy) omelet station in addition to the usual American morning favorites. Stations at lunch included Comfort Kitchen, with items such as jambalaya and chicken pot pie; a highlighted Chef’s Choice international cuisine such as Italian or a favorite such as Tex Mex; a salad bar; a dessert bar and more.

Dinner has similar items, as well as a few options from the main dining room menu. For the late night crowd, the buffet has an array of favorites such as chicken fingers, meatballs, hot dogs, fries and chocolate cake.

We were surprised to find a new for-fee option, All Things Wings, in the center of the Lido. Luckily, Swirls nearby still has your free soft-serve fix.

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The seating area is built like an Italian garden, with lots of nooks and crannies. While the lines were long, we never had trouble finding a place to sit down. The walls are decorated with Italian posters.

La Strada Grill. We didn’t find this complimentary “Italian Street Food” station until the last day of our cruise. Tucked away on one side of Deck 5, La Strada Grill is actually more like a mini version of Guy Fieri’s Pig & Anchor, as it serves up BBQ and mac and cheese, in addition to Italian sausage sandwiches and panzanella salad. The upside: the lines here are not very long since fewer people know about it. The downside: The station is close to one of the smoking areas on the ship, and you will definitely smell it.

Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Guy’s Burger Joint. Perhaps the most popular venue on Carnival ships, Guy’s Burgers has been given a small Italian makeover on Firenze, with two burgers being added. The Pepperoni Pizza Burger adds fried mozzarella and yes, pepperoni, to the caloric gutbuster. The Super Melty Mootz goes for fresh mozzarella, with diced tomato and basil. (It’s hard to improve on the original). Guy’s Burger connoisseurs will notice that the bacon-heavy Pig Patty burger does not appear on Carnival Firenze.

Tomodoro on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Tomodoro on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Tomodoro. Billed as Mexi-Italian, Tomodoro essentially has the same menu as BlueIguana, with a few Italian additions (which we never saw anyone order). Burritos, tacos and other Mexican favorites are the name of the game here – and don’t forget the toppings.

Il Mercato. New to Carnival Firenze, Il Mercato is a hot and cold sandwich shop that also serves meatballs. Our verdict? The chicken ones were too dry but the pork ones were just right.

Breakfast Shack/Chicken Shack. A nice way to reuse the Seafood Shack space at the back of Deck 10 near the aft pool during breakfast and lunch, this spot was reliably free of lines. Fresh omelets are made here in the mornings if the Lido is too crowded. The Chicken Shack might not have the full menu of sandwiches that you get at Shaq’s Big Chicken on other Carnival ships, but it definitely satisfies any chicken finger cravings you or your kids might have.

Pizza slices on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Pizza slices on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Pizzeria del Capitano. Carnival’s onboard pizza shop hits better when it’s located back near the aft pool (as opposed to indoors as it is on some newer ships). Maybe it’s the sea air. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s harder to find at 1 a.m. Chances are, at some point during your cruise, you’ll line up for the generous slices – we love that they automatically give you two instead of one – and at that moment, it will feel like the best pizza you’ve ever tasted. (It’s not. But it hits the spot).

Fresh Creations salad bar on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Fresh Creations salad bar on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Fresh Creations. If you want to eat healthy with salads -- and you don't want to go to the Lido buffet -- this outpost in the adults-only Serenity Deck is your place.

Java Blue Cafe. You’ll pay for the fancy lattes, cappuccinos and milkshakes (both with booze and not), as well as gelato at this line favorite, located here near the Lido pool. But the pastries are free. They aren’t great. But they are free. (Our best suggestion – get the coffee card so your sixth drink is free).

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Carnival Firenze

Empanada & Pie ($). A new concept debuting on Firenze, this small counter near the Tuscan Lounge never seemed open when we actually wanted to try it (ie, it was open later at night when we were craving an afternoon snack). Four savory stuffed empanadas and two small pies are on order, along with four dessert choices. There are dips too! If you’re in a group, go for the sharing option.

Chicken wings (for a fee) on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Chicken wings (for a fee) on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

All Things Wings ($). A flurry of online outraged surfaced when Carnival fans discovered that the line was charging for chicken wings. What we wanted to know: is the price worth it? The wing devotee of our family gave it a go. His ruling: the wings, which are precooked and then heated up, as opposed to being fried, were tasty and juicy, but not as good as what you’d have at home.

Seafood Shack ($$). Lobster rolls and other seafood specialties can be ordered a la carte at this counter at the back of the ship near the aft pool. For $16, you get a fairly large lobster roll that two people can easily share.

Chicken parm pizza in Il Viaggio on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Il Viaggio ($$$). Carnival’s newest upscale specialty restaurant focuses on the flavors from around Italy, not just the red sauce southern Italian dishes you might be used to. The portions are large and there are some interesting menu items – we had no idea what to expect from the “chicken parm pizza” made on top of the chicken, as opposed to a crust (spoiler: it’s delicious, but feeds far more people than the 2 that the menu suggests). We’d shy away from calling this a date night restaurant, if only because you’ll walk out groaning from the sheer amount of food – which does not exactly lend itself to a romantic evening. Still, for $42 per person, the value is there (and please please save room for that mile high gelato pie).

Fahrenheit 555 ($$$). Carnival’s steakhouse is always a treat, and with the way that steakhouse prices have been going up on land, the fact that it remains under $50 per person is a bargain. We like that the portions are plenty big enough for you to be satisfied, but not so huge that you can actually finish your meal. We also have to say that our steaks here were better 00 in quality of the meat, seasoning and cook -- than what we’ve had on some luxury cruise lines recently. Bravo, Carnival.

Sushi boat at Bonsai Sushi on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Sushi boat at Bonsai Sushi on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Bonsai Sushi ($$). Sushi is definitely a craving and when it hits, it’s nice to have an onboard option. Our biggest surprise here was the value of the sushi boat – for $32, it feeds two people and is definitely cheaper than what you’d find on land. Try the specialty cocktails.

Bonsai Teppanyaki on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Bonsai Teppanyaki on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

Bonsai Teppanaki ($$$). You’ve probably heard most of the jokes already if you’ve frequented other teppanaki restaurants. But still, these group meals where the chef is also an amateur comedian bring the fun. Laugh, groan and get ready to catch any pieces of chicken that might come flying your way.

Chef’s Table ($$$$). Carnival has multi-course Chef’s Table meals on almost all of its ships. On Firenze, guests are offered what’s billed as an “enhanced experience” at enhanced prices, although those have been fluctuating, depending on the sailing (it was originally offered at $150 per person, but that has dropped significantly). The experience takes you into the Galley and offers wine with your dinner (although these are not usually super high-end wines). If you do the Chef’s Table, make sure that you’re someone who likes different styles of food and taste combinations – picky eaters will not be happy at a Chef’s Table experience.

Room Service ($$). Room service is available on Carnival Firenze 24 hours, but you’ll pay a fee for almost all items; only the very basic of continental breakfast items are complimentary from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Carnival Firenze

Stuffed mushrooms from Fahrenheit 555 on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)
Stuffed mushrooms from Fahrenheit 555 on Carnival Firenze (Photo: Chris Gray Faust)

For the money, the biggest values on Carnival Firenze remain the beloved steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, and Bonsai Sushi. Prices at these venues have been kept in line with what you’d pay on land – actually, a bit cheaper – for similar restaurants. Among the casual options, it’s hard to beat the breakfast burritos at Tomodoro – plus, you miss the lines inside the Lido. We were also pleasantly surprised by the Chicken Shack option during lunch.

Dietary Restrictions on Carnival Firenze

Carnival takes food allergies seriously, and a waiter will ask you before every meal if you have any sensitivities or preferences. The MenuMate software allows the staff to tell you immediately what items on the menu are available for you to eat, what items can be customized and which items to avoid. A MenuMate representative is also located at a booth in the Lido Marketplace to help you navigate the menu.

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