I don’t think I’m alone in scorning cruise ship buffets as breakfast venues. Oh, the food is usually okay if you stay away from the scrambled eggs sitting in the steaming tray. However, the restaurant was always packed on docking days, the queues at the omelette station were endless and it was impossible to find an empty table. Too noisy when I’m hungry and don’t drink caffeine.
Carnival Cruise Line has worked hard to solve that problem and Carnival may be the best example of this solution in the workplace. In addition to the famous trio of breakfast options – buffet, main dining and room service – I found seven other breakfast spots on board during my first look at the ship this week. They are not technically secret, as they are prominently listed in the Carnival Hub app and on digital signage around the ship. However, I call them secret because many of them are pretty quiet in the morning and I don’t think many cruisers are taking advantage.
Here are seven secret breakfast places that I would love to visit to enjoy a delicious breakfast without the hassle of buffets.
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Cost: Included in your ticket price.
Shaquille O’Neal’s friend chicken diner made its debut on a cruise ship (Mardi Gras of Carnival) in 2021, and it will also appear on Celebration, serving up fried chicken and cake Chicken sandwiches make for a delicious quick casual lunch by the pool. While the line was long at lunch, there were only two people in line when I showed up for breakfast – despite the location’s location just a few steps from the crowded buffet area.
The breakfast menu is limited to chicken and biscuits, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches with or without sausage or bacon, and a three-cheese omelette. You can even enjoy a portion of fries, though a better option is to grab the tastier breakfast potato from the buffet as you pass by.
Blue Iguana Cantina
Cost: Included in your ticket price.
BlueIguana returns in Carnival; Favorite Mexican restaurant across the fleet. While it’s best known for its burritos and tacos served all afternoon, its breakfast options make it hard to sleep.
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My husband ordered a breakfast burrito with eggs and chicken sausage, but I opted for the tacos and arepa because that was out of stock. Huevos rancheros are also offered. And, yes, the salsa bar is open in the morning because take it from me – eggs definitely taste better with some hot sauce or salsa on top.
Emeril’s Bistro 1397
Emeril Lagasse’s breakfast is worth it in my book, and you’d be hard-pressed to find his Southern Creole cuisine on many cruise ships. The menu is small but it has a wide variety. Each dish costs 6 dollars.
Vegetarians and cruisers who love a sweet breakfast (that’s me) can enjoy banana crepes, sweet potato waffles with pecans, and whipped cream. Savory lovers can order shrimp and ice blended, a po-boy breakfast – consisting of eggs, bacon and andouille pork sausage – or poached eggs and fixins (fixins are slow-cooked beef) in a sauce Creole hollandaise. Beignets ($5) are on the regular menu, and I suppose you could also order these in the morning. My plan is to find out tomorrow before our day in Nassau!
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | beer factory
Cost: Included in your ticket price.
Choose Flavortown as a stop on the breakfast train if you want to avoid the buffet crowds, but don’t expect morning kebabs or trick sauces. Carnival Celebration uses the Pig & Anchor space to set up a small version of the breakfast buffet upstairs.
I didn’t stay and eat but I did review the food, including breads, pastries, yogurt, cheeses, hot dishes (including shakshuka, salmon benedict, eggs, sausages and pancakes) and cereals, along with a drinks counter. This area has a lot of seating, you will easily choose a table. Alternatively you can dine at Deck 8 behind the Patio Pool, that would be my choice. The industrial style of the Pig & Anchor area suits the restaurant, but I found the space dark and unappealing.
Cost: Includes food, a la carte coffee.
JaveBlue Café is neither secret nor crowded because it sells specialty coffees and teas to all the cruisers that a boring coffee buffet won’t do. However, I don’t think most of the Celebration Cruisers realize that you can get free hot breakfast sandwiches and breakfast pastries there – and rows to order breakfast items. That’s separate and shorter than the coffee line.
Place variations of eggs and ham or sausage on English bread or muffins, as well as croissants and danish bread. The bartender (pastrista?) might put you in the oven to let the cheese melt. (It will melt. Yesterday afternoon I ate a cheese empanada and almost burned my tongue because the cheese was too hot!)
Breakfast with green eggs and ham
Cost: $10 per adult, $8 per child 14 years and under.
Breakfast Dr. The kids’ favorite Seuss is back from a pandemic hiatus, but I saw no ads on board for Friday’s event. I knew it should be on offer so went to my Hub app, tracked time (with two seats) and checked in. Another mom sitting at the pool overheard me talking to my daughter about it and she asked me how she could sign up. Someone clearly let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, since breakfast was packed.
On Masquerade Celebration, the event takes place in the Carnival dining room decorated in a colorful freaky style in red and blue; it also has an ice sculpture of the Cat in the Hat and the decorations in the center of the table is his iconic red and white hat. Children’s music was played through the speaker system and Things 1 and 2, Sam I am and Cat herself posed for pictures. Breakfast options include French toast topped with fruit cereals, red and white stacked pancakes and – of course – blue eggs and ham served Benedict style. Know that the options lean towards too sweet; you might want to stick with the omelette unless you really like frosted waffles.
Sea day brunch
Cost: Included, with a few a la carte options.
The Sea Day Brunch on the first beach day of our cruise was packed, so obviously the secret was out. Or, perhaps cruisers arrive for breakfast in the typical main dining room and find themselves faced with a mile-long brunch menu. Our ride was full of Platinum Festival guests and other former passengers who knew most of the tricks. If you don’t know the secret, here it is: You shouldn’t miss the Carnival Sea Day Brunch.
The menu features everything from 12-hour French toast to steak and eggs, delicious yogurt parfait (heavy with hazelnut granola, very tasty), eggs Benedict and burgers. You can pay extra for freshly pressed juice, crab and avocado sandwiches, lobster Benedict or Emeril’s shrimp and dough. There’s even a dessert and kids menu with both breakfast and lunch options.
By all means, head to the Lido Market during Carnival Celebration for a hot or cold breakfast or order a made-to-order omelette. I love the beach vibes in the venues and the seating nooks and crannies along the sides. But if you’re tired of the crowds, are looking for a quiet meal, or just want something out of the ordinary, try one of these seven secret breakfast spots.
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