Carnival Cruise Your Time Dining

By ,   November 25, 2015 ,   Food & Drinks

Carnival "Your Time Dining" is a review of all Carnival cruise dining options, information on seating times, dining room menu and dress-code (attire) policy and rules. We also have a great selection of best Funville reviews on this. Integrated with Carnival cruise secrets, tips and tricks and what is included in Carnival cruise pricesCarnival cruise menu samples (with the two American TABLE and FEAST menus) and the Carnival bar menu. Not to forget - Dr Seuss Carnival breakfast dining option.

On all Carnival Fun Ships there are 4 dining options - Main Dining Room, Fine/Specialty, Bistro/Buffet and the complimentary 24-hour room service. Enjoying your food on the boat is a major part of the whole "Fun Ship" experience. And it will go exactly nowhere if there's not plenty of fresh and delicious food on each and every ship in this so huge fleet. After all, everyone likes - and really has to eat.

Carnival "Your Time Dining" review

"Your Time" dining option is available fleet-wide (on all ships) - Breeze, Conquest, Dream, Ecstasy, Elation, Fantasy, Fascination, Freedom, Glory, Imagination, Inspiration, Legend, Liberty, Magic, Miracle, Paradise, Pride, Sensation, Spirit, Splendor, Sunshine (old Destiny), Triumph, Valor, Victory and Vista. This option was rolled out in 2009. Follows our Carnival "Anytime Dining" review (also referred to as "flexible dining") in the MDR/Main Dining Room.Carnival Cruise Line Dining - CruiseMapper

  • it's an open seating concept. Guests are allowed to choose their own dining time and tablemates, reservations are not required (but recommended), there's no surcharge.
  • the MDRs are two large and most elegantly appointed big-capacity restaurants with resort-casual dress code, excepting the 2 formal dinners per voyage.
  • on booking their cruises guests choose whether they want the traditional assigned seating at diner or the "Your Time". This is a "during the whole trip" choice, so choose wisely. And, of course, the bistro/buffet option is always on - no matter what dinner dining you've chosen.
  • there's also the old/traditional dining option available on all Carnival ships. It's perfect for guests who actually enjoy meeting new people onboard, plus the dining menu is exactly the same.
  • to enjoy the Carnival "Your Time" dining you have to show up at your assigned MDR anytime between 5:45 pm - 9:30 pm (see the dining times below) and you just wait for a table (it's on a "first come first served" basis). Your room card (S&S) will show your diner option. Often guests with traditional dining are in the same MDR, but on different floors.
  • "Your Time" dining is only for dinner times - breakfasts and lunches in MDRs are always "open seating".
  • you can request a table for 2 or more guests (depending on your group size). If you don't request it at breakfast, you'll most probably will be seated with other guests at your table.
  • group dining. You are a big/large group (all booked independently) and want to be seated close to each in the MDR. If all of you are booked through CCL, you can get your bookings "linked" so the Maitre D' know that you wish to dine as a group. If the bookings are through a travel agent, the agency can link them for you (CCL will deal with the agent, because he is the owner of the booking). So one of you have to gather all booking numbers and call Carnival.
  • Remember - 12 is the max number of guests at a table, but large tables are limited. If your group have many kids, you would be able to put them at one table.

Carnival "Your Time Dining" cruising experience

carnival cruise dining
There are passenger reports that this option has not so good to worse service. One of the reasons for that might be that there are sometimes longer waits before guests are seated. So make your reservations for the "Your Time" dining to ensure a table for your group. But generally speaking, the MDR service shouldn't be any worse - it's basically traditional dining without the worries of getting there on time.

  • Different or same waiter each night. Usually, guests sit at different table each night, but they can request at least the same area to ensure service by the same wait staff they had the previous night. Many passengers tip the staff extra to "more personal" service. Note: same table is not always available, so a reservation really helps.
  • The Carnival prepaid gratuities option is the most preferable one, but for a very well done service by the wait staff guests can always tip extra. Your S&S (Sail & Sign) card they can see who served you the previous dinner, so you can have the same waiters if you want. It's really nice to enjoy a "free choice" dining, but don't forget that there's no way you can change your Carnival dining options after you make them.

Carnival American TABLE-FEAST Main Dining Rooms experience

In December 2013 Carnival introduced its new dining concepts - American TABLE (casual) and American FEAST (formal). Both are dinner only dining options, with feature dishes influenced by some of the ports of call your ship is visiting. The new dining experience is currently available only on the Glory ship, next to follow in the schedule are Liberty (January) and Imagination and Inspiration (February).

With the "American" cruise dining, Carnival is going to test their customers and see how they will respond to a way more contemporary and region themed dinner style. The new American menus will be rotated daily in the main dining rooms. Feature appetizers are fried calamari and frog legs, while the list of feature entrees includes free-range chicken and lamb shank. The "port themed" entrees list includes mango salad, island chicken curry and mango chutney (in Saint Thomas, for example). Several grill dishes will be also available at dinner.

The American FEAST menu will be offered on formal nights. The yummy list includes crispy crab, prime rib, broiled lobster, flat iron steak, veal parmigiana and vegetarian dishes will be also available for ordering. As part of this new experiment, there's also a new food presentation starting with a very long list of wines (by glass and bottle, cost extra) and some featured cocktails (extra cost) will be also available at dinner in the Carnival ships' Main Dining Rooms. Since these new dining options are in a testing period, guest  feedback will be taken and reviewed. The new Main Dining Room menus are listed along with all the rest sample menus at the "menu samples" link above.

Carnival dining times and attire (Main Dining Room dress code rules)

  • Carnival dining options reviewBreakfast times (open 7.45 am – 9.00 am). Some Carnival ships are without a breakfast menu. Instead, they have the new "Punchliner Comedy Brunch" menu. On these ships there's breakfast only on port days and debarkation day.
  • Lunch times (open 12:00 – 1:30 pm, 4 luncheon menus) - open only on sea days/closed when the ship is docked/in port. The Carnival "Punchliner" ships (see the list below) no longer offer lunch menus - the substitute is the Punchliner's brunch (again - only available on sea days).
  • Dinner times  (each night 5 dinner menus, 6 different appetizers and soups, 2 salads, 6 entrees). One of two seatings - early (6 pm) or late (8:15 pm). Note: seating times may vary by ship/itinerary. Carnival "Your Time Dining" time for open seating at dinner (5:45 - 9:30 pm). The menus include the CCL's Classics selections (offered nightly) including steak, lobster, cured salmon, grilled chicken, candied tomato, pasta, Indian vegetarian dishes and a classic dessert menu of 6 selections, among which is the best ever "Warm Chocolate Melting Cake".
  • Formal Dinners (with selected wines) - the "Captain's Welcome Dinner", and "Gala Dinner" parties.
  • Items from the Spa and Kids menus are also available on request. The Main Dining option on Carnival is included in the cruise ticket price -multiple courses, classic appetizers, fabulous desserts, fine wines (at additional cost) at lunch and dinner.
  • Carnival dining attire/dining room dress code - in the MDR not permitted are shorts /swimwear, and no jeans at night.
  • list of Carnival ships with the "Punchliner Comedy Brunch" - Breeze, Dream, Conquest, Glory, Liberty, Magic, Miracle, Splendor, Sunshine.

"Dr Seuss at Sea" Carnival breakfast dining

This is the latest upgrade of the Carnival cruise dining options - Dr Seuss at Sea. It's a themed characters breakfast dining experience, part of the countless super fun ideas of The Fun line.

Dr Seuss at Sea debuted in 2014, which means Grinch will be joining you and your friends at sea, together with the rest of the Seuss's feature characters, like The Cat in the Hat, Cindy Lou Who, The Lorax, Ned and Jo Jo, Horton the Elephant, etc, etc.

Dr Suess breakfast is a family dining program that rolled out fleetwide in 2014. The list of  the "Seuss at Sea" events includes:

  • Green Eggs and Ham breakfasts, with Seuss-themed meals (think of moose and goose juices, colorful pancakes, green eggs and ham. And the serving staff will be dressed in a la Seuss uniforms, while the Seuss characters will interact with the hungry kids in the room.
  • The Seuss breakfasts will be at the first seaday of each Carnival cruise, with surcharge of US$5 PP. They will be held in Main Dining Rooms, open to all (not only to families).
  • If the Seuss breakfast fans number exceeds the MDR's capacity, they will offer you a second themed breakfast later in the voyage.
  • The "Seussapalooza" is another part of the Seuss at Sea experience - a costume parade on the promenade and outdoor deck spaces, with Seuss characters marching ahead and interacting with the passengers.
  • On Carnival Freedom and the new Carnival Vista there will be a dedicated area within the Camp Carnival kids lounge called "Dr Seuss Bookville" (for reading books, story telling, character painting, arts, crafts, games, many Seuss toys, etc).

Other Seuss-themed experiences on Carnival ships will be watching Seuss movies and special room decoration package. See below the Carnival lines' official video release:

Carnival dining options in specialty restaurants (Steakhouse & Supper Club)

carnival anytime dining reviewThe Carnival's Fun Ships have their "fine dining" fancy restaurants located on their Spa and Lido decks. The specialty dining option is dinner-only (5:45 - 9:30 pm). Reservations are recommended, there's plenty of food, the service is absolutely superior, with live entertainment. There's also a surcharge of $25-30 pp and formal dress code. The Carnival ships' gourmet restaurants successfully rival famous upscale chains. The only con is their small sizes in comparison to the ships passenger capacity, so is highly advisable to make your reservations online or early at embarkation.

  • The Carnival Steakhouse is located on Spa deck. The Carnival's Supper Club is located on Lido deck. They both offer seafood, steaks, an extensive fine wines list, premium spirits, great desserts, superb service. Think of intimate dining, your choice cooked beef, an amazing seafood selection, gourmet entrees and appetizers. The only disadvantage is their smaller size compared to the ships' passenger capacity.
  • All ships upgraded by the new Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 program and the newest Carnival ships of the Dream-class (plus the new Carnival Sunshine-class) also feature the "Cucina del Capitano" Italian family-style restaurant (free at lunch, with dinner surcharge $12/ $6 for kids 11+yo). Follow the above link to see which ship got what from all the new 2.0 upgrades, including from the list of the new ship dining venues.
  • All Carnival ships feature The Chef's Table dining tour. Its cost is $75 pp, capacity 12 guests, requires onboard booking. It's a multi-course dinner with a master chef, also includes a private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley.

CASUAL Carnival dining options (self-service/buffet)

  • carnival cruise dining options in specialty restaurantsThe Buffet is located on the Lido deck, it serves breakfast and lunch. The Buffet serves as Bistro at dinner: times (5:45  - 9:30 pm), made-to-order dishes, Carnival's signature sauces. The "Seaview Bistro" options include New York-style Deli, cafes (pastries, sundaes), specialty food stations (including Asian, Indian, Mexican, Grill, Salads, Pasta, Chicken), pool grilles (hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and steak sandwiches), a 24-hour complimentary pizzeria (7 kinds of pies, Caesar salad, garlic bread). Menus also include fish, meatballs, traditional bread. A salad bar, a 24-hour ice-cream parlor, low-cal and sugar-free desserts, pool-side bar & grill, a complimentary pre-dinner Sushi bar.carnival dining times
  • "Guy's Burger Joint" - a significant contributor to the Fun Ship 2.0 "fun food" upgrades. The Guy's burgers are the world's largest (3,591 pounds/1,630 kg) and best ever hamburgers at sea - plane and simple! Think of big hot juicy burgers and yummy hand-cut fries - which is exactly what you got from the Carnival's new partnership with the Guy Fieri celebrity from the Food Network TV channel.
  • "BlueIguana Cantina" (Mexican cuisine) - your choice freshly made tacos & burritos, homemade tortillas, chips, salsa.
  • "Bonsai Sushi" - the "seafood-and-soy-sauce spot".
  • "Ji Ji" (Asian/Mongolian cousine) - complimentary stir-fries for lunch, a nominal-fee menu at dinner.
  • "Mongolian Wok" - your choice meat and sauce, mussels, Szechuan, beef, Thai, chicken.
  • "The Punchliner Comedy Brunch" (by George Lopez) - the Carnival's new "eat and laugh" concept (with live comedy shows per day) - breakfast burritos, french toasts with mac n' cheese, etc.Carnival cruise dining room dress code
  • "Fat Jimmy's BBQ" - Italian sausage, barbecue chicken breast, pulled pork sandwich, salads.
  • "The Taste Bar" (international dishes).
  • "Pizzeria del Capitano" (open 24/7) - hand-tossed specialties.
  • "JavaBlue Cafe" - signature coffees & teas, cold drinks, baked treats.
  • "Shake Spot" - classic & special handcrafted shakes and floats.
  • "Coffee Bar" - specialty coffees and freshly brewed tea, homemade pastries, shakes, ice-cream sundaes, cakes and cookies.
  • "SeaDogs" (only on Breeze, Magic, Sunshine) - located at SportSquare, free of charge all-beef hot dogs and toppings.
  • "RedFrog Pub" (Breeze, Magic, Sunshine, Vista) - live music, ThirstyFrog Red (the CCL's signature brew), snacks.
  • Note: You can find all the menus in these menus by following the "bar menu" link above.

the complimentary "24-hour Carnival" ROOM-SERVICE dining

  • continental breakfast is available until 10:00 am.
  • this option also offers  deck-served full breakfast and lunch.
  • the room-service menu is listed at the "menu samples" link below.

Carnival Anytime dining reviews

(pros, cons & tips from Funvillers, and links to integrated articles)

  • "go eat whenever you want during the time listed, sometimes you wait for a table, you might not always have the same staff".
  • "if you change your mind about the "Anytime Dining"you can always call and see what's available. This is good to be done prior to sailing, but even on the ship you can go and talk with the Maitre D' and see if he/she can change it for you".
  • "booking late dining gives you time to clean up & relax after being in port/shore excursions. If you're very very hungry - you can always go to the buffet for a snack".
  • "I booked it (Your Time) because I like the idea of meeting new people & making new friends each night".
  • "It's great if you're not fond of schedules when on vacation".
  • "A con for me is that you can't rest & refresh in time for the early seating".
  • "Kids don't have to order from the kids menu only, and adults can order from it. The icecream sundae and the banana split as dessert choices at dinner are perfect! Just ask your waiter for it." The kids menu also offers sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and other absolutely not "kids only" stuff.
  • You can see the current kids menu on the TV (your cabin) or in front of the MDR. For more choices - check out the specialty restaurant or the Lido buffet. If you NEED privacy while you eat - get the room service (the menu's in your room)".
  • special dining requests - kid's menu, vegetarian, low calorie-fat-sodium-cholesterol, Spa and Fitness menus. All onboard dining venues are smoke-free.
  • "If you don't like anything in the MDR menu, ask the staff to bring you a steak, or grilled chicken breast - even though they are not listed."
  • "Any of the pasta dishes in the menu's main entree section are available also as appetizers"
  • list of free drinks on Carnival cruise ships -  tea, coffee, water, juice, milk (with breakfast).