(5:40 p.m. EST) -- Carnival Cruise Line is putting new a la carte fees on late-night room service orders, as well as cutting the feature on disembarkation days. The changes will go into effect on January 14.
The fees, which will be placed on room service ordered between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., will be a la carte with menu items ranging from $2 to $6, Carnival brand ambassador John Heald said in a Facebook post. The menu will be expanded, with new options such as Greek salad; chicken Caesar salad; portabella and veggie burgers; grilled cheese, a bacon and tomato sandwich; roast turkey wrap; dark chocolate walnut brownies; doughnut sandwiches; and a banana split.
Carnival will continue to offer some complimentary room service selections -- mostly sandwiches, salads and desserts -- until 10 p.m.; the line already has some extra fee items on its room service menu that range from $2 to $6.
Room service breakfast also will remain free, although no longer available on days when the ship returns to its homeport. Breakfast will continue to be served at the Lido buffet, the dining room and Ocean Plaza (on ships that have the venue).
Heald said that the changes were put in place because of food waste. When passengers come in from late-night comedy clubs and shows, "they have the munchies, or at least they think they do," he wrote. "So they call 8000 and order 5 BLTs, 2 Rubens (sic), 3 plates of cookies for just two people. And they eat a little of it and leave most of it. There is therefore a massive amount of food waste that happens during the late-night time period."
Previously, Carnival's room service was always complimentary, while other cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines, charge fees for room service. Heald reiterated that Carnival has no plans to charge for room service at other times. Complimentary food also will be available late-night, at the pizzeria and deli.
On Cruise Critic's Carnival forum, members debated the new policy. "We usually don't get back into the cabin until midnight or so and we always order a chicken salad sandwich, as well as a BLT. Nothing ever gets wasted," said Greggy_D.
"Not happy about this one bit. This is one of the perks I have enjoyed in the past with my family," said timc.jb.
"I am very glad to see Carnival implementing this," said wegiekat. "I have worked in the hospitality industry for 22 years and by far one our biggest expenses is the wasted food from our free breakfast bar. It is simply amazing to see the food thrown away on a daily basis. Just because it is paid for with your room, there is no need to be wasteful."
--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor