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Carnival Splendor Food – Everything I Ate on My Cruise From Sydney to the South Pacific

Carnival Splendor Food – Everything I Ate on My Cruise From Sydney to the South Pacific

Planning a cruise on Carnival Splendor from Australia? Carnival Splendor food was a little different than what I’ve found on Carnival cruises from the US or Europe.

On my South Pacific cruise roundtrip from Sydney, Australia in January and February 2023, I decided to document all the food I tried, so you can have an idea of what to expect if you’re sailing Carnival from Australia.

The menu choices were often a little different from Carnival’s menus in other parts of the world, but there were also a few familiar favorites.

In this post, I’m including everything I ate on my cruise, both aboard the Carnival Splendor and in port.

Tip: You can use Carnival’s free HUB app once you’re on board to find each restaurant’s open hours and menus to help you plan your meals.

Day 1 – Embarkation Day: Sydney, Australia Sunday 1/29


On embarkation day, I almost always skip breakfast. I want to save my appetite for all the yummy food on board! Instead, I had three almond milk lattés from the complimentary espresso machine at my pre-cruise lodging—the fabulous Little National Hotel in Sydney’s Central Business District (review of my stay coming soon!)

Lunch: Guy’s Burger Joint

I boarded the Carnival Splendor right around noon. It was the perfect time to enjoy one of my Carnival embarkation day traditions—a Pig Patty from Guy’s Burgers!

The Pig Patty at Guy’s Burger Joint

Guy Fieri’s poolside burger joint on Carnival ships serves up made-to-order hamburgers and seasoned fries, and my fave Pig Patty comes with cheese, pickles, onion, donkey sauce, and a bacon patty.

Tip: If you (like me) can’t stand raw onions but love them cooked, ask to hold the onion and then just add some grilled onions to your burger from the toppings bar!

Snack: Swirls self-serve ice cream

One of my other favorite traditions on Carnival ships is to indulge in a self-service soft serve ice cream from Swirls at the Lido buffet. You can have as much as you want for free!

I usually have vanilla and chocolate swirl with sprinkles, but I didn’t see any sprinkles this time so I enjoyed it plain. I forgot to snap a pic of my ice cream cone, so here’s a photo of one of the soft serve machines on Carnival Splendor.

I forgot to snap a pic of my ice cream cone, so here’s a photo of one of the soft serve machines on Carnival Splendor

One of the two machines had frozen yogurt as a choice, which I’d never seen before. I think it was strawberry, but I didn’t sample it myself.

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

I was cruising solo on this trip, so I opted for a set dining time. Carnival usually does an excellent job putting solo cruisers with similar ages and native languages together at a set dining table.

This time was no different, although I shared my 7:45 PM table for ten in the Gold Pearl Dining Room with just two others (hi Lisa and Erica!) for the entire cruise.

I wasn’t super-hungry, so I decided to have two starters instead of a main course. I started with the Caesar Salad, which on Carnival is always very small (you can always ask for two).

The croutons were strangely tiny and stale—I’ve noticed that Carnival’s croutons are often sub-par, so I wasn’t very surprised and just ate around them.

Carnival’s Caesar Salad includes Romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan, and tiny croutons

I continued my embarkation day dinner with the Baked Meat Balls starter, which was served with polenta, steamed tomatoes, and provolone cheese. I think the provolone was incorporated into the polenta, and the dish was topped with grated parmesan.

The Baked Meat Balls starter in the Gold Pearl restaurant was served with polenta, steamed tomatoes, and grated cheese

The meatballs were moist and flavorful, and I loved the addition of polenta to the meat and tomato sauce.

For dessert, I ordered the cheese plate, but received the fruit plate instead. It always makes me laugh that whenever I order a cheese plate I never know what I’m going to get. Half the time the waiter brings me cheeseCAKE, sometimes I’m served a fruit plate, and sometimes I actually do get my plate of yummy cheese.

The fruit plate included sliced watermelon, orange, pineapple, and mango, along with a few seedless green grapes

This time it was fruit, and I decided to just go with it. My plate included sliced watermelon, orange, pineapple, and mango, along with a few seedless green grapes.

You may also like: How to Have the Best Embarkation Day on a Cruise

Day 2 – Sea Day Monday 1/30

On my first sea day aboard Carnival Splendor, my breakfast choices were to either brave the crowds at the Lido Marketplace buffet or to head to the MDR for a sea day brunch. I decided to skip breakfast or brunch knowing that I wanted to save lots of room to try Masala Tiger, the ship’s buffet-style Indian venue, for lunch.

Lunch: Masala Tiger

Located on Deck 9 near the Serenity pool deck, Masala Tiger is only offered on one ship in the fleet—and I was on it!

I love the unique flavors and spices of Indian food, so I was excited to try Masala Tiger. I loaded my plate up with a variety of hot and cold dishes including Peshawari chicken, dahi bhalla, tandoori cauliflower, onion jeera pulao, and garlic naan.

I sampled the Peshawari chicken, dahi bhalla, tandoori cauliflower, onion jeera pulao, and garlic naan on my first lunch visit to Masala Tiger

Most of the dishes were exactly as I expected, and totally delicious. The tandoori cauliflower was way spicier than I thought it would be (check the menu for spice levels—this one had a two-chili rating, which I didn’t notice at first).

Dahi bhalla (lentil dumplings in yogurt) was something I’d never tried before. The dumplings looked like meatballs, so I thought it would be a hot dish. Instead, it was cold and a bit bland so I only ate one. But the excellent garlic naan made up for that disappointment.

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

I was looking forward to dinner, which was themed as “Island Night” in the main dining room. With a special menu including many Caribbean specialties and just a couple of Polynesian dishes, I was surprised that a cruise to the South Pacific islands wouldn’t have more local flavors. But Caribbean food is yummy, so I planned to sample as much as I could eat!

Related: 15 Delicious Foods in the Bahamas You Need to Try

I started with the Poisson Cru, a raw fish appetizer advertised as marinated tuna with lime and coconut milk. I was surprised to also see sliced raw red onion (which I immediately picked off), chili peppers, scallions, and some kind of shaved orange fruit that might have been mango.

Menu descriptions on Carnival don’t always note everything included in the dish—probably because the availability of ingredients can vary—so tell your server if you have any food allergies or strong preferences.

Once it was de-onioned, my poisson cru was tasty but spicier than expected due to the chilis.

The Poisson Cru starter: marinated tuna with lime and coconut milk, sliced raw red onion, chili peppers, scallions, and possibly mango?

Next was the Chana Avocado Salad. As usual on Carnival, I knew not to expect a “Big Salad” à la Elaine from Seinfeld. But this teeny avocado salad also featured equally tiny bits of avocado, along with the promised tomatoes, cucumber, rocket (radicchio), and tamarind dressing. Small but yummy.

Chana Avocado Salad featured avocado bits, tomatoes, cucumber, rocket (radicchio), and tamarind dressing

For my main course I ordered the Rasta Pasta, mainly because of the fun rhyming name. I also have a hard time turning down shrimp, or prawns as the Aussies say.

Along with the shrimp, the menu promised capsicum (bell peppers), coconut cream, and island spice. I felt that the amount of shrimp and peppers included with the penne was skimpy for a main dish. But the spices and coconut cream made a tasty sauce. Plus the small portion left me plenty of room for dessert!

The Rasta Pasta included penne, prawns (shrimp), capsicum (bell pepper), coconut cream, and island spice

To round off my meal I chose the Tahitian Coconut Cake with vanilla cream, which was advertised as “lower calories, no added sugar”. Although I try to avoid gaining weight on a cruise, I usually skip the no added sugar desserts because I don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners.

But this cake was fantastic, and if I didn’t know it was lo-cal I never would have guessed it.

The Tahitian Coconut Cake with vanilla cream was advertised as “lower calories, no added sugar”

Day 3 – Sea Day Tuesday 1/31


On a cruise from Australia, I knew I had to try a traditional Australian breakfast at least once! I was pleased to see that the main dining room menu included an Aussie “Brekkie” (that’s Australian slang for breakfast) on its Sea Day Brunch menu.

The meal included eggs cooked any style (I asked for over medium), baked beans, Australian-style bacon, smashed avocado, grilled tomato, mushrooms, and sausage. It also comes with toast (not pictured—you all know what toast looks like).

The eggs were verging on over-hard, but I actually like them that in-between way. There must have been a mind-reader in the kitchen!

The single sausage was fine, as were the small serving of mushrooms and very lightly grilled tomato.

The Aussie Brekkie on the main dining room breakfast menu included eggs cooked any style, baked beans, Australian-style bacon, smashed avocado, grilled tomato, mushrooms, sausage, and toast

I thought that the kitchen must have been out of avocado, but I soon found it hiding under my eggs and happily slathered it on my wheat toast.

One of my least favorite parts of the Aussie Brekkie was the baked beans. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, aka Bean Town. I’ve also lived in the UK, where beans at breakfast are totally normal. I still don’t get it. Sorry.

The other letdown was the bacon. My Aussie-style bacon was a limp, undercooked, blob of pork. I wasn’t even sure how to eat it! Do you attempt to cut it with the butter knife provided, or pick it up with your fingers?

Don’t come for me—I know I can’t judge an entire country’s bacon quality on one cruise ship breakfast. The United States might have its problems but crispy US-style bacon is the gold standard, and I’ll die on that hill.

Lunch: Carnival Deli

I had my Sea Day Brunch on the early side of the day, and by mid-afternoon I was ravenous. The buffet and MDR were closed, but I knew I couldn’t wait until 7:45 PM to eat something.

So, I headed to the Carnival Deli (aka “The Deli”) on Deck 9 to check out their sandwich offerings.

A Falafel Wrap sounded like it would hit the spot, and I watched as the crew member heated up my wheat wrap and loaded it up with falafel and veggies. Then she cut it down the center and handed me half.

The Falafel Wrap from the Carnival Deli

Did I mention I was ravenous? Yes, I should have just asked for both halves, but she’d moved on to the next customer. If you’re hungry and you order a wrap, make sure to specify that you want the whole thing!

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

For my first MDR formal night dinner, my new friend Lisa had previously let us know that she had other plans for the evening, so it was just Erica and me at the giant table.

Related: What to Wear on Formal Night on a Cruise

We’re both foodies, and Carnival’s elegant evening menu doesn’t include filet mignon or lobster tails on cruises from Australia without an additional charge. But we were happy to see that Ribeye steaks were on the menu for the evening. With our main courses decided, we pondered over the choice of starter.

The Duck Pot Sticker intrigued both of us, but with Carnival’s tiny appetizer sizes, we wondered if the pot sticker was just a single dumpling. Our waiter clarified that it was two per plate, which was the perfect size.

Pan-fried Duck Pot Stickers with hoisin sauce and green onions

Our Ribeyes arrived, and we were both very confused. “This looks like prime rib,” I said, and Erica agreed. I like prime rib, and it was delicious, but it wasn’t what either of us expected.

The Ribeye Roast with double-cooked potatoes, vegetable medley, and au jus was what I would call Prime Rib

I assumed that it was just another example of a food name that’s different between Australian and US English, but then I double-checked the menu. It said Ribeye Roast. Not Ribeye steak.

According to the My Chicago Steak website, “to be considered a ribeye, the steak must be cut before the roast is cooked. The cuts are then sold as ribeye steaks.”

Aussie readers: what do you call the beef pictured above? Let me know in the comments!

New York Cheesecake with strawberry sauce

Moving on to dessert, I chose the New York Cheesecake with strawberry sauce. Carnival’s cheesecake in the MDR is always OK—not fantastic—but it’s fairly consistent and makes a nice sweet ending to a meal.

Day 4 – Nouméa, New Caledonia Wednesday 2/1


For my first port day in Nouméa, New Caledonia, I had booked an early shore excursion to visit Amedée Island. In the past, I often used one of Carnival’s breakfast room service hangtags to save time on shore excursion days.

The hangtags were one of my favorite cruising perks—you would choose your breakfast (they had both free and paid options) and put the tag on your door the night before with your desired time selected. Sadly, Carnival stopped offering this service in late 2022.

You can still order room service from your stateroom phone, but I was worried that it might take too long to arrive.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Room Service on Carnival Cruise Line With Menus

Instead, I tried my other breakfast-in-a-hurry option: grabbing a banana or an apple from the buffet and eating it on the way to the meeting place (obviously throwing away the peel or core before disembarking). I was shocked to see zero portable fruit options available, just cut melon! Of course, I could have grabbed a pastry, but I’m just not a breakfast pastry person.

Lunch: Buffet at Amedée Island

On the boat to Amedée Island, the crew gave us a rundown of the itinerary for the day. This hungry person was happy to see that lunch would be served promptly at noon!

If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know that I’m not usually a fan of included lunches on shore excursions. I’d much rather have an hour’s free time to choose my own restaurant—even excursions that promise a “fine dining” lunch rarely deliver the quality I’d expect for the price.

But when visiting tiny Amedée Island, the only lunch option is the included buffet. I didn’t have high hopes, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the buffet offered a huge range of high-quality and fresh food. Plus, each selection was offered as individual servings in waxed-paper containers. No need to dig into a hot tray with a shared utensil!

My yummy selection from the lunch buffet at my shore excursion to Amedée Island near Nouméa, New Caledonia

I balanced a wide selection of food on my plate before heading to the shaded picnic tables to dig in—BBQ pulled pork that reminded me of the delicious Kalua pig I’d enjoyed in Hawaii the month before, grilled fish, plump mussels (two per shell!), tuna salad, super-ripe tomatoes and feta, green peas and beans, and paella with whole prawns.

It was all fresh and delicious, with just two exceptions (and this is based on my personal preference). The vegetables were seasoned with lots of cilantro (coriander for you Aussies). I’m sadly the recipient of the terrible “cilantro gene” that makes everything taste like soap.

The paella wasn’t a good representation of the Spanish classic. Lacking the crunchy rice bits and variety of seafood in a true paella, it was still flavorful. If they just labeled it “prawns, chicken, and seasoned rice” I’d have zero complaints.

The buffet also included unlimited alcohol (though only during lunch time). I tried a tasty rum punch during my meal and then snagged a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy during the post-lunch dance show.

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

Dinner on our first port day was themed as Mexican Fiesta Night, a classic menu on Carnival cruises. Coming from the US, I’m lucky to enjoy fantastic Mexican food at home.

I don’t usually order Mexican food outside of the US or Mexico, but I’ve heard that (if you can find it) it’s often terrible. So I decided to order an exclusively Mexican menu at Mexican Night on my Australia cruise, just to see the difference.

The Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad included heart of romaine, bell peppers, red onion, charred corn, queso fresco, and avocado-lime dressing

I started with the Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad. The small starter was tasty, with a few pepper slices, scallions, and shredded cheese added to the grilled chicken and lettuce—but nothing to write home about.

Ceviche with marinated seafood, lime juice, onion, and cilantro

Next I opted for the Ceviche with marinated seafood, lime juice, onion, and cilantro. Picking around the dreaded cilantro, I found the seafood (it seemed to be a mix of fish, shrimp, and scallops) to be fresh and delicious.

My Carne Asada Ranchera main course featured marinated grilled steak, Mexican rice, salsa, and refried beans. I’ve never had carne asada where the meat isn’t pre-sliced, and the tough cut (I’m guessing it was skirt steak) could have done with some more time marinating.

Carne Asada Ranchera with marinated grilled steak, Mexican rice, salsa, and refried beans

The Mexican rice just seemed to be regular white rice mixed with tomato sauce, without any other discernable flavor or seasonings. The refried beans came with just the tiniest sprinkling of cheese (I think it was actually Parmesan—not especially Mexican).

But the shining star of the meal was the Salted Caramel Tres Leches Cake: Mexican sponge cake, three milk (usually evaporated, condensed, and whole milk or cream), and flavored whipped cream with a caramel drizzle.

Salted Caramel Tres Leches Cake: Mexican sponge cake, three milk, and whipped cream

If you like the flavor of dulce de leche or leche quemada, you’ll love this cake!

Day 5 – Lifou Isle, New Caledonia Thursday 2/2

Breakfast: Lido Buffet

On my second port day, we stopped at Lifou Isle in New Caledonia, and I didn’t have a shore excursion booked. I decided it would be a good day to head to the buffet when most people would be heading ashore.

I wanted to fuel myself for a day of snorkeling, but not fill up too much before hitting the water.

Eggs Benedict, grilled tomato, and breakfast potatoes from the Lido Buffet

I chose an Eggs Benedict, a grilled tomato, and a serving of breakfast potatoes. I’ve found that Carnival’s buffet eggs Benedict is usually pretty good, and this was no exception.

My grilled tomato was cooked perfectly, and the breakfast potatoes were hot, cooked through, and perfectly seasoned.

Lunch: Pizzeria del Capitano

Arriving back on board after snorkeling for hours in the hot sun, I was starving and ready for lunch. But, being in that in-between afternoon time between lunch and dinner, neither the MDR nor the Lido Buffet was open.

So I headed to Pizzeria del Capitano for a few slices. Thankfully my fave Funghi pizza was already freshly-baked and waiting for me.

Two slices of Funghi (mushroom) pizza from Pizzeria del Capitano hit the spot

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

The main dining room had a Chinese New Year-themed dinner on that night. There were lots of other options available, but I decided to try the themed dishes.

I started with the Jasmine Tea Egg and Chicken Salad with black vinegar dressing. Eating hard-boiled eggs infused with tea wasn’t my favorite flavor, but the cold chicken and greens in dressing were pretty tasty.

Jasmine Tea Egg and Chicken Salad with black vinegar dressing

For my main course, I picked Hei Jiao Niu Liu, which was wok-fried black pepper beef, chap chye (braised vegetable stew), and steamed rice. I often order the beef and broccoli at my local Chinese restaurant, and this was somewhat similar, with the addition of some extra veggies.

Hei Jiao Niu Liu: wok-fried black pepper beef, chap chye (braised vegetable stew), and steamed rice

For my dessert, I chose the Sago Mango, not really knowing what it would be based off the menu description. The coconut pudding with tapioca pearls and chunks of mango was lovely, and I made a mental note to order it again if I ever see it on a menu.

Sago Mango (coconut tapioca pudding with mango)

Day 6 – Mystery Island, Vanuatu Friday 2/3

Breakfast: Lido Buffet

On our port day at Mystery Island in Vanuatu, I was planning to explore the tiny island and find a good snorkeling spot, so I wasn’t in any hurry.

I headed to the Lido Buffet to find a few things I hadn’t tried yet for breakfast. However, the buffet on Carnival Splendor is fairly small, and there wasn’t much I hadn’t tried. I put some breakfast potatoes and a sausage on my plate, and then I spotted something interesting.

It was marked as muesli, but with fresh fruit chunks, some prunes, and muesli steeped in milk until soggy—kind of like overnight oats-style. Not the way I usually see muesli, but it tasted pretty good.

Muesli, breakfast potatoes, sausage, and buttered toast with Vegemite at the Lido Buffet

Then I remembered a conversation I’d had with a couple of new Aussie friends I’d just made. They wanted me to try Vegemite on toast. I’d tried the very similar Marmite in the UK, but I remembered not enjoying its strong flavor.

They told me to slather the toast with butter and then add just the thinnest swipe of Vegemite on top. So I did, and it was really good! The salty, savory spread added just the right extra taste to my toast.

Lunch: Mystery Grill & BBQ

Once I was on the island and had snorkeled for a while, I went in search of something to eat for lunch. The island doesn’t have any dine-in restaurants, and most of the food I saw was packaged snacks like chips and candy.

But then I smelled fish cooking and headed toward the aroma. Mystery Grill & BBQ, a tiny open-air eatery with picnic table seating was grilling up fresh yellowtail tuna.

Grilled yellowtail, plantain chips, mixed peppers, and a banana section at Mystery Grill & BBQ on Mystery Island, Vanuatu

For $20 AUD I got a serving of freshly-grilled fish, a side dish of mixed peppers and banana, and a pile of plantain fries. Delicious!

Dinner: Lido Buffet

We all wanted to watch the Dive-In Movie that evening (Carnival’s movie-under-the-stars concept on the Lido deck), but it was playing during our late-seating dinner time.

So I did dinner at the buffet, choosing a rather random assortment of items including an Indian fish curry, white bean salad, and mixed steamed veggies.

It wasn’t the most exciting of dinners, but it was fairly balanced and left me room for popcorn at the movie!

Indian fish curry, white bean salad, and steamed mixed vegetables at the Lido Buffet

Snack: Dive-In Movies

After dinner I headed to the Lido deck to snag a seat, but first I stopped to get my fuzzy blanket at the towel stand and my popcorn at the BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Carnival does charge for the popcorn (it was $4 AUD), but I actually prefer this over other cruise lines that give it to you for free—but just a teeny-tiny bag.

Popcorn on the Lido Deck at Carnival’s Dive-In Movie

Although I noticed a vat of butter flavoring by the popcorn machine, my snack was salty but not buttered. I’d recently read that it’s only us Americans who like butter on our popcorn! So if you’re cruising in Australia, be sure to ask for your popcorn buttered if you prefer it that way.

Day 7 – Vila, Vanuatu Saturday 2/4


I love Carnival’s omelet station in the Lido buffet, and I realized that I hadn’t yet enjoyed one a full week into my cruise. It takes a little more time to wait for your omelet to be cooked to order, but it’s always worth the wait.

My cooked-to-order ham, cheese, and mushroom omelet at the Lido Buffet

I usually ask for ham, spinach, and cheddar, but I was surprised to see no spinach and only one (unlabeled) white shredded cheese among the options. I picked ham, mushrooms, and the cheese for my omelet, and it was delicious as usual.

Cocktail time: Hideaway Island

Erica and I bumped into each other downtown at Port Vila, Vanuatu, and decided to try to find Hideaway Island, a tiny private island resort just off the coast that offers day passes.

We had quite an adventure trying to get there (I’ll do a full write up of our day soon), and by the time we arrived we both looked at each other and said, “It’s definitely time for a cocktail.”

I ordered a piña colada for $13 AUD, which arrived garnished with fresh pineapple and a hibiscus flower. If you like your drinks strong, I wouldn’t suggest spending the money here. But it was refreshing and relaxing to enjoy such a pretty drink in the shade on the beach.

My piña colada at Hideaway Island was garnished with fresh pineapple and a hibiscus flower

The resort also offered a full lunch menu, but I wanted to maximize my island time and grab lunch back on board the ship.

Lunch: Guy’s Burger Joint

Returning back to the ship again too late for lunch but too early for dinner, I headed back to Guy’s Burgers. I usually only have one per cruise, and always the Pig Patty, but I decided I needed to try The Ringer, which is similar—it just omits the bacon and adds a breaded onion ring.

I think the worker misunderstood me, and I ended up with just their Straight Up Burger. I didn’t want raw onions, but he also omitted the onion ring. I’ll have to be sure to clarify next time!

The Straight Up Burger (hold the raw onions) with fries at Guy’s Burger Joint

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

The MDR menu again had a fantastic selection of starters, and there were two I especially wanted to try. Lamb Kofta (Lebanese meatballs) is a dish I make fairly often at home, and I wanted to sample Carnival’s take on them.

Sadly, the meat was dry and lacking the onions, herbs, and spices that I adore in this dish. The couscous tabbouleh salad was also fairly flavorless.

Lamb Kofta with spicy tomato sauce and couscous tabbouleh salad

On the other hand, my second starter, the Tuna Carpaccio with orange, capers, and citrus dressing was fantastic, with thinly-sliced raw tuna and an explosion of fresh citrus flavors.

Tuna Carpaccio with orange, capers, and citrus dressing

Next my main course arrived: Turkey Roast with yams, roasted Brussels sprouts, gravy, and pecans. The turkey was fairly moist, but it was covered in white gravy—a bit strange to my American palate. The roasted Brussels sprouts had definitely been boiled or steamed before roasting, but they weren’t too bad.

Turkey Roast with yams, roasted Brussels sprouts, gravy, and pecans

For dessert I’d chosen the Strawberry and Apple Crumble with crème Anglaise which was just about perfect—not too sweet, with a pot of custard sauce to pour on top.

Strawberry and Apple Crumble with crème Anglaise

Day 8 – Sea Day Sunday 2/5

I decided that I’d sleep in on our first sea day after four back-to-back ports, so I skipped breakfast.

Lunch: Mongolian Wok

I headed to Mongolian Wok, Carnival Splendor‘s cooked-to-order stir fry option as soon as they opened for lunch. I chose noodles, onions, carrots, green beans, zucchini, beef, and bean sauce from the selection of fresh ingredients, and watched as the chef stir-fried them in front of me.

For my made-to-order stir fry at Mongolian Wok, I chose noodles, onions, carrots, green beans, zucchini, beef, and bean sauce

This was one of my favorite lunches of the cruise! I loved choosing all my own ingredients and portion size, and the black bean sauce was the perfect savory accompaniment to the meat, veggies, and noodles.

Afternoon Snack: Carnival Deli

Having skipped breakfast, I was fairly hungry by mid-afternoon and needed something to take the edge off before my 7:45 dinner time. Perusing the menu for the Carnival Deli on the Hub app, I thought a steak and cheese sounded good.

But the menu listed the ingredients as roast pork, ham, gherkin, yellow mustard, and Swiss cheese. That sounded interesting, but not like any steak and cheese I’d ever tried!

It must have been an error on the app version of the menu, because the menu board at the deli specified sliced steak, grilled onions, and cheese on sourdough.

The Steak & Cheese at Carnival Deli featured sliced steak, grilled onions, and lots of gooey cheese

It was different from Carnival’s steak and cheese on other ships (it usually comes on a hoagie or sub roll), but it still tasted good.

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

I chose a fairly boring dinner selection on the eighth day, since I wasn’t feeling too hungry. I ordered another Caesar salad as a starter and a fruit plate for dessert—I’ve already shared pics of those.

For my main course I decided to try the Braised Swai (Asian catfish) with spicy tomato fennel sauce, parsley potatoes, and peas. I’d never tried swai before, and it was a mild white fish that took on the flavor of the delicious sauce.

Braised Swai (Asian catfish) with spicy tomato fennel sauce, parsley potatoes, and peas

My side dishes weren’t too exciting, consisting of potatoes that tasted like the canned new potatoes my mom used to serve when I was a kid (if you’ve ever had those you know what I mean) and mealy peas. Not the greatest.

Day 9 – Sea Day Monday 2/6

Lunch: Ol’ Fashioned BBQ

Having skipped breakfast again, I was looking forward to trying Carnival Splendor‘s Ol’ Fashioned BBQ buffet concept located near the main Lido buffet. I sampled the Macaroni and Cheese, Granny’s Veggies, Blue Ribbon Chicken (dry-rubbed and grilled), and a slice of what looked like pork—it wasn’t listed on the menu.

The Granny’s Veggies were advertised as pumpkin, onion, squash, kumara (sweet potatoes), broccoli, and spring onion. However, all they had was grilled zucchini and onions, which were fine with me.

The macaroni and cheese was undercooked and gloppy, but the Blue Ribbon Chicken was wonderful and gets a big thumbs-up from me.

At the Ol’ Fashioned BBQ I chose macaroni and cheese, Blue Ribbon Chicken, Granny’s Veggies, and a slice of mystery meat

I tried a bite from the slab of what I thought was pork, but it was so overwhelmingly salty that I couldn’t eat more. Now I’m wondering if it was actually corned beef. I’d advise staying away from this mystery meat unless you just adore salt.

Dinner: Pizzeria del Capitano

It was our second formal night for dinner in the MDR, but I didn’t feel like dressing up. Instead, Lisa and I headed to Pizzeria del Capitano to get a few slices.

I’m usually a big fan of Carnival’s pizza joint, but the pizza maker looked overwhelmed (he was there by himself) and the pizzas were coming out either over- or undercooked.

The Quatro Formaggi (four cheese) pizza at Pizzeria del Capitano

But I was hungry, so I decided to take the next pizza that came out of the oven—as long as it was either Quatro Formaggi (four cheese) or Funghi (mushroom). It was definitely undercooked, but I do like their cheese blend and the not-too-sweet sauce.

You may also like: 33 Fun Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

Day 10 – Sea Day Tuesday 2/7

Lunch: Masala Tiger

I had thought Masala Tiger served the same menu each day, but wandering around the ship days after my first Indian lunch there I noticed several different options. So on day ten I decided to dine there again and try some of the new selections.

For my second lunch at Masala Tiger I chose Kandhari Murgh Kabab, Kashmiri Pulao, Narangi Fish Tikka, Dal Fry, Paneer Pakora, and garlic naan.

This time I opted for Kandhari Murgh Kabab (chicken with garlic, chili, and beetroot molasses), Kashmiri Pulao (basmati rice, nuts, dried fruit, and saffron), Narangi Fish Tikka (fish cubes marinated in orange and yogurt), Dal Fry (lentils with garlic, chili, and curry leaf), Paneer Pakora (batter-coated cheese stuffed with mint chutney), and of course some garlic naan.

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

The dinner menu in the main dining room this evening was full of so many starters I wanted to try! I started with the Smoked Salmon Mille Feuille with cream cheese, pickled eschalot (similar to shallots), and dill.

This appetizer was so delicious I could have had two, but I had to leave room for what was to come.

Smoked Salmon Mille Feuille with cream cheese, pickled eschalot (similar to shallots), and dill

Next, I thoroughly disgusted my tablemates by ordering Seared Blood Sausages. OK, I’ll admit they looked kind of gross, but with green apple and leek flavors incorporated into the sausages, they tasted pretty good.

Seared Blood Sausage with green apple and leek from Carnival’s “Rare Finds” selection

Then I tried some of Lisa’s Blackened Pork Tart. The three cute tartlets were bursting with tender pork and caramelized pineapple, topped with citrus cream. I would have ordered these myself if I’d known how delicious they’d be!

The Blackened Pork Tart was actually three tartlets with pork tenderloin, caramelized pineapple, and citrus cream

For my main course I ordered the Chinese Broccoli and Crispy Pork, which came with jasmine rice, yellow bean sauce, and fresh chillies. The pork wasn’t very crispy and there wasn’t much broccoli—strange for a dish that mentioned the vegetable first!

The Chinese Broccoli and Crispy Pork with jasmine rice, yellow bean sauce, and fresh chillies didn’t include much broccoli

For dessert, I ordered the Blueberry Tart with sweet pastry and crème fraîche. The tart tasted like blueberries, but oddly didn’t include any whole fruit. Instead, the blueberries seemed to have been puréed and combined with something jiggly, like gelatin or pectin.

The Blueberry Tart with sweet pastry and crème fraîche was sadly lacking whole blueberries

Day 11 – Sea Day Wednesday 2/8

Sea Day Brunch: Gold Pearl Dining Room

For my last Sea Day Brunch, I wanted to try the Veggie Burger, featuring a patty made from grains, lentils, pumpkin, and beets, with lettuce, tomato, kumara (sweet potato) chips, and white cheddar cheese.

I had heard that putting beets on burgers was a thing in Australia, but the beets were either incorporated into the patty or left out altogether, as I couldn’t taste them.

I did spot some raw onion (not listed on the menu) hiding in the toppings, which I promptly removed.

The burger was moist and flavorful—I’d give it an 8 out of 10 on the veggie burger yumminess scale!

The Brunch Veggie Burger at the Sea Day Brunch includes a patty made from grains, lentils, pumpkin, and beets, with lettuce, tomato, kumara (sweet potato) chips, and white cheddar cheese

The Kumara Chips were just sweet potato fries. I had been expecting something a bit more exotic from the name, but they were fairly standard fries.

Snack: Alchemy Bar

It was my last full day on the cruise, and I realized I hadn’t yet visited the Alchemy Bar for a cocktail! Late in the afternoon I decided to order a Purple Sunset featuring Bacardi Superior Rum, lavender syrup, sparkling wine, and a sprig of fresh rosemary—delicious!

I was surprised when the mixologist also handed me a dish of complimentary bar snacks with my drink, including mixed nuts, cubes of cheese, and black olives. On other Carnival ships, I’ve visited the Alchemy Bar a few times for an after-dinner drink and never been offered a snack. Maybe it depends on the time of day?

The Purple Sunset cocktail at the Alchemy Bar
Complimentary snacks with a drink order at the Alchemy Bar

Dinner: Gold Pearl Main Dining Room

Peeking at the menu before my last MDR dinner on the cruise, I was looking forward to trying something completely new to me: Crocodile Beignets!

One of Carnival’s Rare Finds menu items, the fritters were served with a side of roasted garlic and coriander (cilantro) aioli for dipping.

I’d describe the taste of the crocodile meat as 75% like chicken and 25% like white fish, and very tender. I definitely recommend trying it if you see it on a Carnival menu!

Crocodile Beignets with roasted garlic and coriander (cilantro) aioli

Next I chose the Greek Spinach Pie (aka spanakopita) with chickpeas and potato stew. The flaky phyllo triangles were filled with spinach and feta, and were wonderful. The potato stew was a letdown—it was so overwhelmingly lemony that each bite tasted like I was eating cooked lemon rinds.

Greek Spinach Pie (spanakopita) with flaky phyllo pastry, chickpeas, and potato stew

My dessert choice was the Baked Alaska, which the dining room staff brought out aflame—a flamboyant touch that hearkened back to the classic days of cruise travel.

Baked Alaska: Ice cream cake topped with flambéed meringue

The Baked Alaska featured chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream with a thin pastry crust and a nicely-toasted meringue topping.

Day 12 – Disembarkation Day: Sydney, Australia Thursday 2/9

Breakfast: Lido Buffet

For my disembarkation breakfast, I almost always take advantage of the Main Dining room’s offerings. As long as you’re up in time to finish your breakfast by about 8:30 AM, Carnival has a sit-down disembarkation breakfast that you can enjoy.

Although I had put my large suitcase outside of my door the night before, I wasn’t enough of an early bird that day to take advantage of the early disembarkation breakfast.

My disembarkation day breakfast from the Lido Buffet: blueberry yogurt, scrambled eggs, a chicken sausage, hash brown, and chunks of watermelon

But I had time for a quick meal from the buffet! My disembarkation day breakfast from the Lido Buffet included blueberry yogurt, scrambled eggs, a chicken sausage, hash brown, and chunks of watermelon.

The yogurt was Greek-style with fresh blueberries, so not overly sweet. The melon tasted fresh, and the chicken sausage was yummy. The hash brown was very dry and bland, and the scrambled eggs were awful.

Pre-made scrambled eggs on cruise ships are almost always terrible, but I wanted to give them a try just to report my findings!

If you like your eggs scrambled, avoid those in the chafing dishes and either have them made to order at the omelet station or in the main dining room.

Related: 7 Reasons Why Sydney Australia Is One of the Best Cruise Ports in the World

More resources for your Carnival cruise

I hope you enjoyed seeing my Carnival Splendor food photos! Do you have a cruise from Australia planned on the Splendor? What are you most looking forward to eating? Let me know in the comments below!

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Carrie Ann Karstunen