Ever since Carnival launched their new American Table menus people have complained about everything from the food to the lack of table cloths. A lot of those complaints come from people who have never actually given it a try. We had the opportunity to compare the old and new menus once when sailing back to back on one ship with the old menu and one with American Table. Click here to see how they compare.
The biggest change with American Table isn’t the menu itself, but the removal of tablecloths from the dining room except on formal nights. Cruisers are accustomed to dining on white table cloths regardless of the ship and complain constantly about this, but from an environmental standpoint it saves a whole lot of loads of laundry that would have otherwise needed washing daily. The naked tables look something like an upscale bistro. The only real problem with the lack of tablecloths is condensation under the glasses, a problem which could easily be solved by the addition of coasters, though as of my last time on Carnival that had not been done. Not having tablecloths on casual nights makes elegant nights stand out as something special with different table décor as well as the tablecloths.
We had the opportunity on the Vista to meet with Carnival’s Brand Ambassador and spokesperson John Heald and get his thoughts about American Table.
Cruise lines across the board have to do what they can to keep their costs down or raise fares. Complaining about the food seems to be standard now on all lines. Even when sailing with any line for the first time we hear repeat cruisers there say the food isn’t what it used to be. We have noticed that the food will vary considerably from ship to ship even within the same line, or at a later sailing on the same ship. Not just the dining room either, even the premium places that you pay extra for can have a dish that is far better on one cruise than another. I’ve had excellent and not so good food on different ships of the same line on more than one line. Quality of the food must reflect the chef and galley staff since even the exact same dish can be excellent or less than memorable from one cruise to another.
Overall we find some days with menus where lots of things sound good and some days where nothing really does on every line. The vegetable lasagna is a stand-out dish from Carnival’s American Table that is consistently good every time we’ve had it. Actually most of the pastas are usually pretty good.