Carnival Cruise Line Now Charging Fee For Good Steak

There once was a time where the price of a ticket on a cruise ship included on-board food. Eventually, cruise operators began adding specialty restaurants, where passengers paid more for foods not on the menu in the main restaurant. And then in 2008 we brought you the story about Royal Caribbean charging passengers a $14.95 surcharge for an “organic” NY strip steak that may not have been organic after all. Now comes a report that Carnival Cruise Line thinks its best steak and lobster dishes merit an $18 fee.

According to CruiseCritic.com, Carnival has begun adding upcharges to certain menu items in the main dining rooms on three ships — Carnival Paradise, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Inspiration — that don’t currently house a separate for-fee steakhouse:

The four entrees include a nine-ounce filet mignon, an 18-ounce grilled prime rib chop, a broiled Maine lobster tail and a surf-and-turf combo (a half lobster tail and petite filet mignon).

“This is the first test in the main dining room that incorporates an additional charge,” explained a Carnival rep. “We initially tested steakhouse entrees on a few full-ship charters but needed more testing to fully evaluate it.”

Carnival tells Cruise Critic that the test will run approximately three months and that the company won’t speculate on longer-term plans. If the Royal Caribbean upcharge — still in place two years later — is any sort of barometer, you can probably expect these fees to stick around.

The big question is: Should cruise lines be charging extra for any menu items in the main dining room? Could this ultimately lead to most or all of the better menu items being elevated to for-fee status?

Is Carnival Cruise Line Charging for Steaks in the Main Dining Room? [CruiseCritic.com]