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Carnival Panorama Dining

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
80 reviews
Editor Rating
Very Good
Dori Saltzman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Free Dining

Vista and Horizon Restaurants (Deck 3 and Deck 4)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D) Carnival Panorama's two main dining rooms are used for breakfast, Sea Day Brunch, tea time and dinner.

Horizons Restaurant on Deck 3 forward is reserved at dinner time for cruises with set time diner, while those who have selected the flexible Your Time Dining will eat in the Vista Restaurant at the back of Deck 3. Your Time Diners need to register for a table at a special counter near JavaBlue Cafe before heading to the Vista Restaurant to be seated. Alternatively, you can make reservations for dinner on the Carnival HUB app and the app will notify you when your table is ready.

Breakfast is only served on port days; on sea days it's a mixed brunch service (just lunch is never available). You'll typically head to the Vista Restaurant for both.

The brunch menu is eclectic -- funky burgers with a chia seed pudding, salmon super food salad, "brunch spaghetti" (and don't forget the seven-layer chocolate cake). We liked what we ordered -- a 12-hour French toast with peaches and a yummy frittata -- but were told we couldn't have a side of fresh fruit, which seemed odd. Pricy pressed juices are on offer, and are sometimes showcased in a rainbow of flavors, on trays.

Dinner was pretty consistent in terms of quality; the menu changes every day with a selection of appetizers, salad, entrees and desserts. An interesting daily option is the "rare find," like braised ox tongue. There is also an always-available menu of chicken, fish, pork and beef and of course, the infamous chocolate melting cake is on hand every evening.

We particularly enjoyed the port of call piece of each night's menu, which offered an appetizer and entree (and cocktail) inspired by that day's port. For instance, in Puerto Vallarta we had ceviche and a Mexican-style chicken.

For $20, you can enjoy a number of steakhouse selections like lobster tail or surf and turf, in the main dining room.

One downside of eating in the main dining room: we found the service to be slow, particularly with drinks. If you're looking to make a showtime or attend an event, be sure you give yourself plenty of time.

Lido Marketplace (Deck 10)
Meals: B, L, D, The buffet onboard Carnival Panorama consists of several food stations (some repeating), so walk front to back (Beach Pool to Tides Pool) first if you want to make sure you've scoured everything. You don't want to miss the homemade gelato machine or cake counter, plus there are additional seating areas if you can't find a spot in the main area.

A light Continental breakfast is served from about 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., followed by full breakfast service until noon. Breakfast gets busy, so remember there are two omelet stations and there are two or more of almost every station (hot dishes include scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, pancakes and more). You'll also find yogurts, cereals, fruit and breakfast sweets.

Lunch is served noon to 2:30 p.m.  Hot menu items vary by day, usually according to a theme, and there is always a salad bar.

Dinner themes on our sailing included Mediterranean (paella, lamb, chicken lemon soup and more) and Comfort Kitchen (shrimp and grits, pot roast, hush puppies, etc.). Dinner runs from about 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Late-night snacks are served from about 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Ocean Plaza Buffet (Deck 5)
Meals: B, L This small snack bar near Ocean Plaza has several hot and cold items at breakfast and lunch on sea days. It's a nice place for a light bite if you're taking part in trivia or other games held at Ocean Plaza during the day.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse (Deck 5)
Meals: L The spread at Guy's is free in the afternoon. Walk to the back of the restaurant, and exit along the outdoor Deck 5 promenade, to find servers at a lunch buffet who will help you fill your plate with pork butt, chicken and beef, coleslaw, potato salad, beans, mac 'n' cheese, collard greens and more. All of Guy's signature sauces are on hand to drizzle at will.

An ice water dispenser is located near the outdoor seating, but bar service is also available, for a fee. Pair your meal with a ParchedPig brew, made onsite, or enjoy a lemonade.

Carnival Deli (Deck 10)
Meals: L, D Open from about 11 to 11, the deli counter is within the Lido Marketplace, but is open when the hot buffet is closed. You'll find sandwiches like pastrami, along with favorites like grilled cheese. You can even grab some salted chocolate chip cookies.

We typically found a line here, but it's a handy, free go-to when the kids are hungry.

Swirls Soft Serve and Fro Yo (Deck 10)
Meals: 24/7 These soft-serve machines are dispersed throughout the Lido Marketplace, and are open all day long (closed occasionally for maintenance). Soft-serve ice cream comes in vanilla, chocolate or swirl, while we usually saw chocolate and strawberry frozen yogurt. Choose from a cup or cone.

Pizzeria del Capitano (Deck 10)
Meals: Snack Located just near the Tides Pool at the back of the ship, Pizzeria del Capitano offers tasty slices and pies, whenever you want, and even made to order. It's a nice option for those days when you return from an excursion and need a quick snack before dinner. Lines do form between standard mealtimes, so anticipate a wait. (Gluten-free pizza is available by request.)

Guy's Burger Joint (Deck 10)
Meals: L, D A Carnival standard on Lido Decks across the fleet, Guy's Burger Joint always comes through with tasty patties and fries from about noon to 6 p.m. Customize with cheese, onion ring and chili options, plus an entire toppings bar -- as always, free of charge.

BlueIguana Cantina (Deck 10)
Meals: B, L The breakfast burritos at this Mexican counter are one of our favorite things about dining on Carnival; huevos rancheros and arepas are also available in the morning. Lunch at BlueIguana Cantina is served daily, from about noon to 2:30 p.m., offering up tacos and burritos with gusto. Hot sauces, pico, corn salsa and watermelon slices round out your plate at the complimentary toppings bar.

Mongolian Wok (Deck 11)
Meals: L The venue for Ji Ji Asian Kitchen plays host to Mongolian Wok from noon to 2:30 p.m. near-daily for a free lunch service. The line forms early, but buzzers are handed out so you can leave if you have a significant wait time (and sometimes orders can be taken to go). Choose from an Asian salad or fried wontons; then customize your noodle bowl with your choice of protein, vegetables, noodles and sauce. It's a nice and straightforward way to enjoy a hot lunch away from the masses.

The Pasta Bar (Deck 11)
Meals: L Similarly Cucina del Capitano morphs into the Pasta Bar for complimentary lunch most afternoons from noon to 2:30 p.m. Wait times occur, similar to Ji Ji's next door, so inquire early.

Fresh Creations (Deck 15)
Meals: L A welcome respite from the fried food elsewhere onboard, Fresh Creations is essentially a salad bar at the adults-only Serenity Deck. It's also a nice option if you've snagged a clamshell sun bed and don't want to leave for lunch.

Room Service
Meals: 24/7 There is a small, complimentary room service menu, which consists of breakfast (cereals, pastries, eggs, yogurt, coffee or tea), as well as a handful of salads and sandwiches, along with chocolate cake, cheesecake and cookies.

Fee Dining

The Chef's Table (Deck 3); $95 per person
Meals: D The Chef's Table onboard Carnival Panorama is special with an intimate location tucked-away in a custom-built space behind the dining room with a view to the galley. The price might seem steep, but guests 12 and older are guided through a multicourse menu of vivid flavors and imaginative plating that is explained in detail by a master chef. The meal also includes a Champagne reception and a tour of the galley. All courses are paired with premium wines (for guests 21 and over).

This experience is not recommended for those with food intolerances, allergies or sensitivities.

Carnival Kitchen (Deck 4); $30 per person for one-hour class; $60 for two-hour evening class
Meals: Varies New to the fleet, Carnival Kitchen is more of a cooking class than a restaurant, although all classes include a meal, dessert or snack. The space has nine workstations for 18 chefs-in-training (must be 12 years or older), all tricked out with built-in induction burners, refrigerators, utility drawers and cool marble countertops (perfect for rolling dough). A tablet at each station not only holds the recipe, it broadcasts images from the lead table at the front so you can follow along.

Classes range from "Sushi 101" or "It's an Ice Cream Kind of Day" to "Mission Masala Tiger" and "Tailgate Party." There's a long table in the space where people can eat what they cook. What's cool about Carnival Kitchen is if you're making something that takes longer to bake than the class -- like a pie, for example -- you can sign up to eat it later at a restaurant or to have it delivered to your stateroom. Reservations for Carnival Kitchen go fast so book online before your trip.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse (Deck 5); a la carte, free for kids 12 and under
Meals: D At night, Flavortown comes alive with musical entertainment on stage and a full BBQ menu to tickle the palate. Even though lunch is free, dinner is a la carte -- but prices are reasonable. Appetizers are $4 and include chicken wings or trash can nachos; brisket, cedar plank salmon, chicken or pulled pork -- all run $8; and a sampler platter is $16.  Prime rib and baby back ribs are also available. Choose from apple cobbler or banana cream pie ($3) for dessert.

Fahrenheit 555 (Deck 5); $38 for adults, $12 for kids
Meals: D Carnival Panorama's steakhouse feels upscale, with a menu that includes bone marrow, Maine lobster bisque and heritage Berkshire pork belly among the appetizer choices, and Australian Wagyu beef, USDA Cowboy Steak and Dover sole as entrees. If you are looking to indulge your sweet tooth and love a good photo opp, order the "Art at Your Table" dessert.

Whisky lovers may want to check out the steakhouse bar, which specializes in the stuff and where cruisers in the know liked to spend time with a fine scotch.

Service was iffy and slow at times and most of the meats we ordered were decidedly underseasoned, but the beef was always cooked to order.

Despite the occasional glitches, it's nice for a date night outing, and it's definitely a good value, price-wise. (Tip: Don't sit next to the windows on nights when professional photos are being taken on the promenade; the constant flashing had us seeing stars.)

Bonsai Teppanyaki (Deck 5); $32 per person
Meals: L, D This small Hibachi-style dining room is closed off, but still visible to Deck 5 passersby, so they get to enjoy the show too. Each meal (lunch or dinner) includes a starter (shrimp, tuna or pork belly), your choice of entree to be cooked/performed live, and a dessert (green tea ice cream or chocolate bento box). Protein choices include filet mignon, lobster or black cod for no additional charge.

Bonsai Sushi (Deck 5); a la carte
Meals: L, D Attached to the teppanyaki restaurant is Bonsai Sushi, with seating along the Deck 5 promenade. Choose from a menu of various sushi, sashimi, noodle bowls and Japanese small plates. Prices range from $1.50 for a piece of sushi/sashimi to $5 for a sushi roll, $7 for a noodle bowl or $10 for a bento box. For $15 (or $22 for a couple), the sushi chef will personalize creations for you -- if you aren't super picky or allergic, we highly recommend this option.

Java Blue Cafe/Shake Spot (Deck 5); a la carte
M: Snacks The specialty coffee bar onboard is the place to go for lattes and other specialty brews; the quality is definitely better than what you find elsewhere on the ship. While you're here, get your sugar fix with a rotating selection of doughnuts, cakes, cupcakes and cookies, which have a la carte pricing.

At the same counter, the Shake Spot has milkshakes and floats; add alcohol for an adult afternoon treat. Lines form in the morning for coffee but otherwise, things move fairly quickly here.

Seafood Shack (Deck 10); a la carte
Meals: L, D
It makes sense to crave a little seafood when at sea, and a visit to Seafood Shack can remedy that. New England clam chowder in a bread bowl runs $4, while a lobster roll is just $10; there are plenty of fried shrimp and clams by the bucket or platter, as well as fish and chips ($6). Steamed lobster, snow crab and shrimp are available by the pound for market price, along with raw oysters.

Seating is located outdoors along the Tides Pool area, but shielded from the wind.

Ji Ji Asian Kitchen (Deck 11); $15 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under
Meals: D This pan-Asian restaurant has flavors that span the continent, with dishes from China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The staff urges you to order family style, although if you want a dish particularly hot or mild, you'll want to make that known (orders are taken using a small blackboard).

Appetizer standouts include dumplings and tamarind shrimp soup, while the Kung Pao chicken, Singapore chili shrimp and Hakka noodles were crowd-pleasing entrees. Definitely save room for the rose creme brulee; it's one of the best desserts on the ship. The included hot tea is a delicate green tea that enhanced the meal for us.

Service and atmosphere in Ji Ji's was among the best at any restaurant we encountered onboard, including the steakhouse (which costs more than twice the price).

Tip: We found the Thai iced tea on the specialty drinks menu to be different from versions we've had on land. 

Cucina del Capitano (Deck 11); $15 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under
Meals: D It's hard to beat the crowd-pleasing menu of an Italian restaurant, but Cucina del Capitano makes it personal. All of the Panorama's officers are Italian, including the captain, so you will find menu items marked with his recommendations -- including dishes supposedly culled from the recipe collection of his own mother, such as a seafood pasta entree called Trofie Verde - Mare Maria.

For such a small cover, the meal is well worth it; even the coffee seemed a step up, and desserts were intriguing, like a polenta cake with citrus cream and lemon sorbet -- not just your standard tiramisu and tartufo.

With so much that was good, we were disappointed that the atmosphere was so cliche -- we were okay with the red checkered tablecloths, but the soundtrack is a cringeworthy playlist of the most stereotypical Italian tunes, including "That's Amore." Interspersed throughout the meal, the servers stopped to do a forced musical number that they blatantly looked uncomfortable doing. Infusing a little fun in the dining room is the Carnival way, sure, but we recommend leaving that to the main restaurants, and allowing the food here to speak for itself.

Room Service; a la carte
Meals: 24/7 Select room service menu items cost between $3 and $6 each. These include breakfast sandwiches, pizza and a banana split. The Daytime Dining menu runs from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the Late Night Dining menu runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. -- there is some overlap with menu items, but nothing on the nighttime menu is free.

Pizza Delivery; $5
Meals: 24/7 Using the Carnival HUB app you can order a fresh pizza to wherever you are on the ship for just a fiver.

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