Carnival Radiance Dining

Katherine Alex Beaven

As mentioned, Carnival Radiance is teeming with food options (and you'll earn your feasting by waiting in long primetime lines). In addition to the onboard staples like the Lido Marketplace buffet and the Sunset and Sunrise main dining rooms, Radiance is packed with small eateries and specialty cafes and restaurants that will hit all your major cuisine cravings.

What Food is Free on Carnival Radiance?

Looking for free grub? Carnival has always got you covered, and Radiance is no exception. Pile your plate high and order to your stomach's content in the main dining rooms, buffet, and popular cafe eateries.

Build a burger at Guy's Burger Joint. Top your burritos and tacos how you want ‘em at the BlueIguana Cantina toppings buffet bar. Test out Shaq's new Big Chicken – a newly-debuted eatery that has quickly become a line favorite. Select a sandwich at the Carnival Deli. Go ham on some barbecue at the new Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse. Grab a slice at Pizzeria del Capitano, the ship's 24-hour pizza place. Treat yourself to all-you-can-eat frozen yogurt at Swirls FroYo, also open 24/7.

What restaurants cost extra on Carnival Radiance?

Carnival Radiance does have a few onboard options that will cost you extra to enjoy. Newly added options include the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, which accepts dinner reservations and serves up a delicious three-course steakhouse menu for a flat fee of $38 (drinks cost extra) and the Cucina del Capitano, a build-your-own pasta spot open for lunch and dinner right above the buffet. (At $15 a person, Cucina del Capitano may be the best specialty restaurant deal at sea.)

The Chef's Table is an exclusive experience that can book up quickly. This multi-course meal serves up chef creations that you won't find anywhere else on the ship. Other extra-fee specialty eats include casual spots Bonsai Sushi and the relocated Seafood Shack. Both of these restaurants are priced a la carte.

Carnival Radiance also has a Cherry on Top shop sweets shop where guests can get their fill of candy by the scoopful, as well as fanciful gifts and branded apparel.

Cruise Critic's Favorite Restaurants on Carnival Radiance

Need some help deciding which restaurants on Carnival Radiance are worth the wait or extra cost? Our top pick for casual eateries is without a doubt the chicken sandwich from Big Chicken, though BlueIguana Cantina is a close second. If you can't swing the Chef's Table, booking into the steakhouse is also a must (beware: portions are very generous). We're also happy to report that the main dining room delivered every time, though the ratio of vegetables was lacking (and – gasp! – there was no lobster on Elegant Night).

Drinks on Carnival Radiance

Bar hopping on Carnival Radiance is a great way to get a taste of the different libations and bar vibes the ship has to offer. We recommend starting out your morning at the JavaBlue Cafe, where you can grab a cuppa (and, sure, a scone or other pastry, why not?) to get the day started.

After you've been in the sun a bit, grab drinks on the pool deck at RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, if you please. While they have a similarly stocked bar, the menus are tweaked to fit their specific theme, with fun things like micheladas and frozen drinks up for grabs.

As evening approaches, catch a pre-dinner show with a drink at either Limelight Lounge or RedFrog Pub, which host karaoke, live music and more. Radiance also features Carnival's new Heroes Tribute Bar and Lounge where passengers can lift a toast to the men and women in the military.

Post-dinner, head to the Alchemy Bar and ask them to whip you up a bespoke craft cocktail as a nightcap or join the crowd across the way at the Piano Bar 88 where you can sing-along with your drink of choice into the wee hours of the night. There's also a bar in the casino, if you find yourself in a betting mood.

Now, the big question: Should you buy any of the Carnival Radiance drink packages? As always, this depends on how much of what you're planning on drinking. The only included beverages during the cruise are tap water at mealtime (or if you ask for it at a bar) and self-serve juices, tea and coffee. Bottled water, soda, specialty juices, espresso drinks and alcoholic beverages cost more, between $1.25 for bottled water, roughly $7 for beer and $20.00 for standard mixed drinks.

Note that there's a 15-drink maximum per 24-hour period and a five-minute waiting period between each alcoholic beverage purchase. Plus, while the Bottomless Bubbles drink package can be bought individually, the Cheers! drink package must be purchased by everyone of age in the cabin, regardless of whether they drink alcohol or not.

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