Last updated: 12:16 PM ET, Mon April 06 2015

Carnival Testing Extra-Cost Room Service Items

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Carnival Cruise Line | Theresa Norton | April 06, 2015

Carnival Testing Extra-Cost Room Service Items

Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line will test a new room service menu that includes items that cost extra — such as chicken wings, pizza, fried shrimp and sushi — but will continue to offer complimentary choices as well.

The pilot program will start April 12 on the Carnival Imagination, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Pride, and depending on guest reaction, might be rolled out to other ships, the company said.

“The expanded room service menu is designed to significantly broaden and upgrade the line’s culinary choices available for in-room delivery,” the Carnival said in a statement. “There continues to be a wide range of complimentary choices, and these new fee-based options are simply intended to create even greater choice and variety for our guests.”

Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line announced it was testing a room service fee of $7.95 per order on Norwegian Breakaway and $4.95 on Norwegian Getaway. The fee is being tested on an upgraded room service menu.

On Carnival’s menu, items still available at no charge include seven hot and cold sandwiches, three salads, three desserts and eight beverages, along with a continental breakfast menu with cold items.

New items that cost extra are chicken wings tossed in honey BBQ or Buffalo sauce, $5; spicy fried shrimp with French fries, $6; cobb salad, $4; chicken quesadilla with guacamole, $5; Philly cheesesteak, $5; cheese or pepperoni pan pizza, $5; side order of French fries, $1.50; cheese and crackers with grapes, crackers, bread, lavosh and shaved Parmesan cheese, $6; and Mediterranean mezzes including hummus, tzatziki, grilled pita bread, olives, lavosh and feta cheese, $6.

Also, since the Carnival Pride has a Bonsai Sushi restaurant, that ship will test room service delivery of sushi from 5:30 p.m. until midnight. That menu includes California roll, $5; spicy tuna, $5; tempura roll, $7; and Triple E Roll with eel, eggplant and egg, $7.

Meanwhile, complimentary sandwiches include tuna salad, roast turkey, ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and bacon, lettuce and tomato. Hot sandwiches at no extra charge are grilled American cheese and grilled Reuben with corned beef and Swiss cheese. Sandwiches are prepared on white, whole wheat or rye bread and served with potato salad, cole slaw, potato chips or pretzels.

A garden salad, Caesar salad and vegetable platter with dip also are available at no extra charge. Free desserts include New York cheesecake, assorted cookies and chocolate cake. Coffee, hot chocolate and milk are still available at no cost.

Carnival room service is served 24 hours on all ships. Also, the pizzeria is open 24 hours on Carnival ships. Carnival still recommends tipping for room service delivery.

Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald, who writes a very popular blog, posted the new room service items on his Facebook page. It of course generated hundreds of comments, with some viewing the additional cost as a further erosion of the inclusive nature of cruising.

“This is infuriating and frustrating,” one post read. “I can't believe foods as simple as these have such ridiculous prices. So much for the inclusive nature of cruise room service. I’m very disappointed this is even being considered.”

Another viewpoint: “So the menu was changed and some items are gone, not a big deal, and if some items are added at a cost they are there as an option. You want wings you pay. Having choices is good. Carnival and all other companies are always looking to make more money.”

Yet more comments noted that favorite selections disappeared. “Sadly my favorites are gone! I loved the shrimp salad, steak sandwich, and fajita wrap and those are MIA! I’m not loving the new menu at all.”

Others pointed out the roast beef and brie sandwich is gone as is the roasted New York strip loin and cheddar cheese on French bread. Heald responded to the many comments lamenting the loss of the open-face shrimp sandwich.

“I also saw lots of comments that, while welcoming the additional items, were sad to see that the open-face shrimp sandwich was not on the new menu. I will therefore speak with the (executives) and see if they can put this back, no promises, but as always I will try for you,” Heald wrote.

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