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Carnival Luminosa Dining

Editor Rating
Liz Bond

While Carnival Luminosa might not be the largest ship in the Carnival fleet, there is a substantial range of food options. Budget cruising is more about filling up than fine cuisine and Carnival Luminosa is not a cruise for foodies.

The Main Dining Room, or Vela Restaurant, is the primary, non-buffet option and is popular at lunch and dinner for food. There is also a specialty steakhouse -- Fahrenheit 555, at an additional cost of $65pp for dinner with wine or cocktails extra.

Note: the Tacos and Burritos space will become BlueIguana Cantina while Burgers will get the Guy's Burger Joint livery sometime in the future.

Free Restaurants on Carnival Luminosa

Lido Marketplace on Deck 9
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Sandwiched between the Family pool area and Red Frog Rum Bar at the bow and the Serenity Retreat's adult's pool and bar aft, Carnival dubbed Luminosa's buffet the 24-hour Cruise Food Hall.

Breakfast runs from 6.30 am with self-serve continental items like cereals, Toast, pastries, cold meats and a limited fruit selection. From 7 am, servers whip up omelettes or fried eggs. At the same time, self-serve chafing dishes contain bacon, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, baked beans, and hash browns, with a different Eggs Benedict available daily.

Machine-brewed American-style coffee, sugary apple and orange juice and chilled water are available all day. Tea lovers may be disappointed with only Bushell’s black tea and green tea bags on offer. Full-fat and skim milk is available alongside sugar sachets and artificial sweeteners.

Roasts, curries and more are available at Lunch and Dinner, with some of the Main Dining Room dishes on an early dinner menu. Meanwhile, there's a short queue most lunchtimes for made-to-order sandwiches and hotdogs at the Artisan Eats Deli. The servers are kept busy at Burgers, Tacos, Pizzeria del Capitano, Chopsticks, Snags and Pies and 'Ol Fashioned BBQ station.

Overall, most buffet dishes were fresh, if a little bland. On more than one occasion, the food could have been much hotter.

On Day Six, the food crew unveiled a sweet surprise - a Chocolate Extravaganza at the Lido Marketplace. It was a parade of Chocolate Tim Tam Cake, chocolate pretzels, mini choux puffs, and cheesecake. The big hits were towering layer cakes glistening with dark ganache, Espresso palmiers, chocolate crackles, and chocolate banana marshmallow cake.

Tip: The pizza is made to order and tasty. So grab a salad, some wine, and a relaxed in-cabin movie night is just an elevator trip away.

Vela Restaurant

Vela is the main dining room and again, most dishes could have been hotter. It felt like the experienced crew were still learning the Luminosa ropes. However, these may merely be teething issues. All the team we encountered were friendly, courteous and willing to help at every moment. Drinks from the bar and wine by the glass or bottle are well-priced.

Sea Day Brunch is a little hit-and-miss in the two-storey Vela Dining Room. Other passengers reported overcooked 12-hour French Toast, and the Aussie Breakfast was sparing. A pre-prepared (read soggy) crouton with mashed avo masqueraded as Avocado Toast. On the other hand, Chia pudding with coconut milk and banana was delicious.

Themed nights in Vela proved much better. Italian night's highlights included a small but tasty Caprese salad entree, duck pappardelle and a reduced sugar passionfruit pannacotta to finish. Mexican night's Carne Asada steak was cooked as requested, hot and delicious.

Tip: Not everyone is a fan of the nightly choreographed ‘song and dance’ by the wait staff at dinner in the Vela dining room. Diners can request to eat in the adjacent Archipelago dining room. It’s quieter and may suit those who don’t need to wave their cloth napkins in the air to have a good time.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Carnival Luminosa

There are only a few options if you want something off the included menu.

Sushi Bonsai Express is inexpensive - $

$$ - The Seafood Shack on Lido Marketplace displays fresh and cooked seafood - mussels, prawns and more over ice.

$$$$ - If you're looking for a more refined dining experience, Fahrenheit 555 offers three courses at $65 and is well worth the splurge. Wine is extra; the menu lists recommended pairings at $$ per person. The service is a little brisk for a what is described as a fine dining experience.

$$$$ - The Chef's Table begins with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for just twelve guests. Then, a galley tour followed by a multi-course dinner with wine for $140pp.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Carnival Luminosa

Breakfast burritos are a great fresh, made-to-order option with Mexican or traditional scrambled eggs, shredded hash browns, salsas, extra jalapeños, cheese, lettuce and tomato all available. A separate self-serve fixings station with salsas and crema fresca is a few steps away.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Pizzeria del Capitano. Open from lunch to 4 am, and the menu is limited to Margherita, Pepperoni, Quattro Formaggi, Prosciutto and Hawaiian. Gluten-free is taken seriously here - with a separate prep bench and oven shelf. Other pizza lovers say you can ask for variations on the compact five pizza menu.

Fahrenheit 555 at $130 per couple plus drinks is worth a splurge for a special occasion or if your cruise is longer than seven nights. With ten entree and ten main courses to choose from there is something for everyone. A range of sides include a very good Mac ’n Cheese and six other vegetable and three different potato dishes.

The mushroom risotto, steaks and lobster tail are the stand-outs. If you want bragging rights when you get home order the oysters. While they are served fresh on ice and served with an apple mignonette they arrive under a glass cloche with smoke for full dramatic (and social media effect).

And if you like your dessert with a splash, the Art at your table dessert makes for a great Instagram post as chef splatters fruit gels and melted chocolate across an enormous dessert board.

Tip: Rumour has it that if you book a table at Fahrenheit 555 for the first night a free bottle of house wine is included.

Dietary Requirements on Carnival Luminosa

Guests with food dietary requirements are best to alert Carnival at booking. Still, the dining room crew do a fantastic job taking great care of coeliacs, the lactose-intolerant, vegetarians and those wanting a low-sugar alternative.

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