Anyone who’s ever been on a cruise will tell you that there’s no shortage of food onboard. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks can be had at your leisure on the Lido deck — but as tempting as the buffet may be, there are some real finds to be had onboard … some may even change your life! Here are a few of my favorite cruise food picks that have me dreaming for more, long after my vacation has come to an end.
Best Appetizer: Slow-Braised Pork Belly from Ji Ji Asian Kitchen
Listen very closely because I’m going to share the single best bite of food that I have ever had in my entire life. This little morsel isn’t found at a fancy restaurant in NYC, Miami or London — it’s from Ji Ji Asian Kitchen on Carnival Sunshine. Surprised? So was I.
The moment I took my first bite of Ji Ji’s Slow-Braised Pork Belly it was as if angels were singing. I know this sounds dramatic, but all of my tablemates agreed that this was one of the most mouthwatering appetizers we’d ever had. And just to make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I returned to Ji Ji on Carnival Sunshine more than a year later and had the same experience with the pork belly. I would book a cruise just for this. No lie.
Best Entrée: Grilled Cowboy Steak
When it comes to steak, you often get what you pay for. I know firsthand that a good quality ribeye at a fine steakhouse is no less than fifty bucks. And when I’m in the mood to splurge, I will happily pay the fee for a juicy cut of medium-rare beef.
One of the best steakhouse deals that I’ve come across in my travels is a complete three-course feast for $35 at Carnival’s Steakhouse. Yes, you read that right: Appetizer, entrée and dessert for $35! And the quality is on-par with the most well-known premium steakhouses on land. My personal fave is the 18oz bone-in Grilled Cowboy Steak. It’s always perfectly cooked and each juicy bite melts in your mouth. You can’t find this quality for the price anywhere else.
Best Dessert: Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
You’ve probably heard the hype from at least one person who has taken a Carnival cruise, and I’m here to tell you everything that’s been said is true. The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake on Carnival is truly one-of-a-kind. Once you’ve had your first bite of this delicious fudgy dessert, it will be hard not to order it night after night. And when you come home, you’ll dream about its chocolatey decadence. Ok, maybe that’s just me. Luckily I have the recipe on hand and can make it whenever I wish. There’s nothing like it when on board a cruise (with an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream!).
Best Quick Service: Guy’s Burger Joint
A good burger is one of my biggest foodie pleasures. I’d like to think that my taste buds are well-versed when it comes to spotting a tasty beef patty loaded with melty cheese. And though I’ve probably had hundreds of different burgers over the course of my life, only a handful make the shortlist. One of the standouts is Guy’s Burger Joint.
At first bite, I agreed that Guy’s Burgers were superb. But then I took another … and another and I just couldn’t stop until my ‘Strait Up’ was devoured. The beef was juicy, the cheese was melty and the bun was super soft. Guy’s special sauce makes this burger complete.
Honorable Mention: Unlimited Room Service
Now, I’m not going to claim that cruise ship room service has the best food, BUT … and this is a big one … just the fact that you can order room service, whenever you wish, without a heavy fee or service charge is life-changing in itself. Have you ordered room service from a hotel lately? Just a sandwich and a drink are upwards of $30! Now times that by three or four for a family — insane! Having the freedom to order what you want without having to think twice is a game-changer that can’t be ignored.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.