We cruised on the Breeze in July 2015. It was an 8 day cruise and it was my first encounter with the American Table Dining.
A little back story. When I first heard Carnival was introducing a new menu, I could not wait. I was ecstatic and frankly felt like I was getting a little tired of the same menu over and over. We were so used to it, we knew what we were ordering for dinner based on what night of the cruise it was. I was more than ready for a change.
Then I started reading all the grumbling and I could not believe my eyes. Why were people so upset? Not just upset, but down right mad. The first thing that really blew my mind was... the new table décor did not include a table cloth. Seriously? Not having a table cloth ruins your dinner? I peeked under one of the table cloths once on another ship...it was an ugly formica looking table top... I would have covered it up too. That wasn't the case on the Breeze. They were beautiful wood tables with very nice centerpiece decorations. Most nights it was a bottle of wine that displayed the table number... not the cheap looking table numbers you used to get at a fast food burger joint. The plates had character, not just plain jane white. I thought the dining room looked very nice and elegant when I first walked in and come the first elegant night... there were the table cloths. I consider that a win-win.
I am not sure if this was to do with the American Table dining or if it was just a Breeze thing, but the bread came out with butter that was actually spreadable. I would prefer that on all ships please. Frozen, hard butter does me no good.
The first night we were greeted by our waiter and the menu was explained to us. On the left hand side you have your selection of appetizers and salads. The "Didja Ever" option is still there, it is now called "Rare Finds" but this time included options we haven't already had several times like rabbit and braised ox tongue. In the center is your main course and featured Vegetarian dish. If you do not like what is featured there you have the option of "From the Grill" in which you can order Fish, Chicken, Pork or Beef with an accompanying sauce of Chimichurri, BBQ, Béarnaise, Peppercorn, Roasted Garlic or Tomato Tapenade. You also have your choice of Side Dishes at the bottom. The Mac N Cheese with Bacon is a step away from heaven. On the right hand side of your menu is the Port of Call selection. It features a cocktail, appetizer and main course from the port you are in that day. It also gives a brief paragraph about that location and their influence on the food. The very bottom of your menu on this side features the Steakhouse Selections that you can purchase for an additional price of $20. They include options such as Broiled Main Lobster Tail, Surf and Turf, Filet Mignon, and New York Strip Steak.
I was perusing groups on Facebook the other day, which is how I spend a good majority of my spare time and I came across a post that said this... And I quote "Please, Please, Please tell me the American Table is NOT on the Magic in November. If so, this will be my first cruise to lose weight. I looked at the menu and I'm really trying to figure out what American Table Carnival was looking at when they picked this stuff??? Yuck, Yuck, Yuck."
If you wrote that and are reading this blog... Sorry, but don't knock it until you've tried it. I am not sure what she eats at home, but most menu's were pretty diverse. Not once did I sit down, look at the menu and think.... "Man, There is nothing I can find to eat on here." I found plenty every night and I thought everything was really good. I often found myself ordering the Port of Call selections and they were all amazing! I also thought the calamari and the flat breads as appetizers were really good.
Here is your one and only warning... If you are starving, come back to this blog later. Food porn pics are coming up...
That's plenty for now... I didn't follow my own advice and had to take a break to go eat dinner. I assure you, it paled in comparison to my cruise memories. Like I said earlier, I chose a lot of the Port of Call options, mainly because I really wanted to eat something different and I like trying new things. I looked forward to going to dinner each night because I knew it was going to be a good experience. Did I miss some of my old Carnival favorites... sure I did. I could order the Spring Rolls off the menu every night through the old menu ... they had Spring Rolls on the American Table and they changed the sauce. I had my heart and taste buds set and I was disappointed... but on the same note, Mark liked the new ones better and I found plenty of other new favorites.
So my overall take of the American Table is a Thumbs Up! My entire family liked the American Table Menu better and Mark agrees with me, the addition of the Port of Call is fantastic! I did a quick poll of my Facebook Cruise Group for this cruise and it was a good mix of Loved it and Ehh, it's alright, but could still use some work. Not 1 person wanted the old menu back. I did see this week that 4 more ships will be getting it and the Triumph is first on it. I have my eye set on another Christmas cruise aboard the Triumph this year and I will certainly be happy to have the American Table again!