Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dining aboard the Carnival Triumph.

My husband and I took a cruise with our friends aboard the Carnival Triumph this January. It was my first cruise. Considering what I do for a living, I was interested in the food offered -- but all I could find were a few small lists containing some of the menu items. For your convenience, I've assembled this listing of items we tried on the ship.

The photo above is of the Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail, which as far as we could tell is offered at every dinner in the formal dining room. It's four shrimp served with cocktail sauce.

Cured Salmon and Candied Tomatoes
With dill cream, stewed apples and grapes in lemon dressing
Very tasty. There are also cheese "crackers" in the construction of the appetizer.

Heart of Iceberg Lettuce
Choice of Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, Ranch, Balsamic Vinaigrette or French Dressing
It was... lettuce with a few bits of this and that. My husband actually got the better deal with a traditional Caesar salad.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak from American Choice Beef
Three peppercorn sauce, macaroni and cheese and Vichy carrots

Indian Vegetarian Dinner
Cottage Cheese and Peas, Roasted Vegetable Mash with Indian Spices, Slow Cooked Chick Peas with Indian Bread Stuffed with Red
This confused me. I mean, were they really going to serve cottage cheese? I was happily surprised when I got my dish and discovered it was Matter Paneer, Navratten Korma and Dahl Makhani with Naan. Why not call it this? And all were good -- but the naan, which was okay but not naan, rather a strange flat onion yeast bread. Odd… but I liked it.

Vanilla Crème Brule
Baked vanilla cream garnished with assorted berries

Black Forest Gateau
Chocolate cake filled with Bing cherries, heavy cream and Kirschwasser

Croissant at breakfast. There are a lot of beverages available at breakfast -- pineapple, apple, tomato, grapefruit, prune and orange juice, coffee and milk. You can also get plain, strawberry or peach yogurt; cream of wheat or grits; omelets with ham and/or cheese; eggs boiled, poached, fried or scrambled; waffles or pancakes; French toast with cinnamon sugar; corned beef hash, ham, bacon, hash browns, pork sausage links, chicken sausage links, turkey bacon.

Oatmeal is served with brown sugar and raisins. I asked for nuts and was told they didn't have any -- but nuts are available on the Lido deck.

The chicken sausages are nicely turned and tasty.

Lunch in the Paris Dining Room. This bread is a soft French roll. It was served at just about every meal.

California Rolls
This was odd sushi -- the orange bits are candied ginger. The rolls were filled with real crab leg meat, avocado and cream cheese, served with the traditional pickled ginger and wasabi paste. The sushi here was far superior to the sushi served at the on-board sushi bar. My recommendation on that -- don't bother. Sushi was also served one night on the Lido Deck at the South Beach Club Buffet.

Create Your Own Burger
Freshly Grilled Lean Beef Burger on Toasted Sesame Seed Bun with Crisp Shoestring Potatoes, American Cheddar Cheese, Sauteed Onions, Bacon, Guacamole, Sauted Mushrooms, Chili con Carne, Pick Your Choice Of Topping
The cheeseburger aboard ship was one of my major disappointments. Patties are already thoroughly cooked and they weren't spiced at all. For someone who travels a lot of places to review burgers, this one just failed.

Oven Baguette with Shrimp and Crabmeat
Lettuce, Sliced Tomato, Cucumber
The closest thing I could relate to this creation is the Subway Seafood and Crab sandwich. I don't even know if those are made any more.

Chocolate Gateau
I have to hand it to the kitchen crew here -- this is one mighty pretty piece of cake. It was all right as far as cake goes -- not fantastic but certainly cakey.

Black Forest Glace
A small scoop of chocolate ice cream with black cherries in their own sauce.

West Indian Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Blended with chicken broth and a touch of cream
Get this. It's yummy. There's a nice little heat to the concoction that I rather enjoyed.

Baked Stuffed White Mushrooms
Spinach, Romano cheese and fine herbs
They were good, I will give you that. They were served with a sliver of phyllo dough that fell apart when you bit into it.

Supreme of Hudson Valley Duck
Roasted Broccoli Florets, Yukon Gold Potato Mash
Fabulous. The duck was perfect, a nice red-meat sort of duck with a lot of flavor, hints of orange and such in there. The cheese cracker in the potatoes was also awesome.

Duet of Broiled Maine Lobster Tail and Grilled Jumbo Black Tiger Shrimp
Yukon Gold Potato Hash, Broccoli Florets
It's lobster tail. You can order two of these if you want, and they'll bring you two identical plates. A gentleman a table over ordered four -- two at a time. No eyebrows were raised.

Tender Roasted Prime Rib of American Beef Au Jus
Cooked to perfection, Baked Potato with traditional toppings
It was served in a bit of gravy with potatoes and onion rings and a single strip of tomato as garnish. And it was quickly gone. Very good.

Dinners are completed with a dessert menu and a choice of beverage -- cappucino, espresso, hot chocolate or coffee. The cappucinos were my beverage of choice after the first night -- when I went for a single shot of espresso. Very uniform.

This is the cheese plate -- offered along with desserts at each dinner. It's Port Salut, Brie, Gouda, Imported Swiss and Danish Blue served with a few pieces of fruit and nutty bread.

Cherries Jubilee
Almost identical to the Black Forest Glace except vanilla ice cream was used. Still yummy.

Apple Tart
I didn't try this -- one of my table mates did. Pretty but a little impractical to eat.

This is the famed Chocolate Melting Cake. You can find the recipe here. It's offered for dessert at every meal, along with a selection of ice creams and sherbets and a tropical fruit plate.

A Study in Sushi
Seared Ahi Tuna, Norwegian Salmon Tartar in Spicy Lemon Sauce, Maine Mussel With Marinated Seafood
This was a tasty little treat... the seared Ahi Tuna was definitely the star, perfectly cooked and topped with a little pickled seaweed. One of my favorites.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Dill
The waiter would come out with any cold soup like this with a bowl that contained only the garnish, then bring a small pitcher of soup to go in the bowl.

Grilled Filet of Norwegian Fjord Salmon
Served with Mushrooms and Wild Rice
Tasty little cheesy wild rice dish on the side of this one.

Broiled Filet of Mahi Mahi
Served with Vegetable of the Day
This was a rather good piece of fish. It's a Carnival Classic and it's offered several different nights on the cruise. The accompaniment was a creamed cheesy potato dish and green beans with a glassy savory noodle.

Braised Style Short Ribs with Aged Premium American Beef
Roasted Eggplant and Wild Rice
These short ribs were fork tender and tasty. The eggplant was breaded but also very good. The green beans were a surprise. The rice? The rice was just weird... fried Asian-style rice.

Warm Fig Date and Cinnamon Cake
Served with Rum Raisin Ice Cream
One of my favorite desserts, though I didn't expect that when I ordered it. It's a very warm and soft spice cake and it goes perfectly with the ice cream.

This is the hot chocolate. It's very creamy and comes with a cappucino style froth.

While I took most of my meals in the formal dining rooms, I did venture up to the Lido Deck. This is a shot of the relishes at the NY Deli.

And here are a couple of the NY Deli guys. Though I didn't photograph it, I did have a Reuben here. Nicely done, though I prefer a higher meat-to-slaw ratio.

There's a 24 hour pizzaria on-board. I did try a piece of the goat cheese pizza, it was pretty good. Friday morning of the cruise, though, there wasn't a soul to be found in there around 4:45am. Then again...

On Tuesday night of the cruise the Lido Deck served up a selection of finger foods -- including the mentioned sushi and these -- Mozzarella fingers served up with an orangish marinara.

Smoked Duck and Caramelized Onions
When I first tried the duck it tasted just like ham. It panicked me just a little bit! But very, very good.

Another shot of the smoked duck.

Sliced Beef Tenderloin with Noodle Salad
Marinated with Peanut Dressing

Beef Stroganoff
Beef Tenderloin Tips in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Garnished with Pickles, Beets and Sour Cream, Served with Homemade Spaetzle
It was all right. The cheesy spaetzle with it was great.

Assorted Seafood Newberg Style
Black Tiger Prawns and Ocean Scallops, Tossed with a Creamy Lobster Sauce, Served with Saffron Pilaf Rice
My husband really liked this.

Rack of New Zealand Spring Lamb Dijionnaise
Marinated with Garlic and Fresh Herbs, Baked with Dijon Mustard Crust, Spiced Carrot and Turnip Mash, Boulangere Potatoes
Fan-freakin'-tastic. Five bones of nicely turned roasted lamb. Better than lamb I've had in some high-class restaurants.

Grilled Marinated Center Cut Pork Chop
Grilled Zucchini and Boulangere Potatoes

Bitter and Blanc
Warm Dark and White Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
-- a white and dark chocolate bread pudding. It's pretty righteous.

The wait staff tends to dance. You will get used to this.

Tuesday night I came back to our room and discovered this plate of chocolate covered strawberries. They were nicely refreshing.

Wild Mushroom Cream Soup
Enhanced with Fresh Herbs
You want to get this.

You can order more than one of any item at dinner. My husband tended to order at least one of the Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktails at most meals.

Chicken Tenders Marinated in Thai Spices
Boston Lettuce, Carrots and Sweet Chili Sauce

Vine Ripe Beefsteak Tomatoes with Buffalo Mozzarella
Marinated with Basil Vinegar and Virgin Olive Oil

Pan Fried Fillet of Red Snapper
Black Olives, Panko Crusted Green Beans
This was quite excellent -- a perfectly cooked piece of red snapper topped with a tangy yellow sauce and tomato bits. The green beans were interesting and tasty.

Duet of Petit Filet Mignon with Short Rib Confit
Oven Roasted Potatoes, Red Burgundy Wine Sauce
This was a fall-apart hunk of roasted beef with lots of red wine sauce. Lots. It was served with a hunk of potato and a ramekin of broccoli and carrots, which were widely ignored by the crowd.

Chocolate Raspberry and Vanilla Cream Cake
With Almond Sponge, Raspberry Couli and Raspberry Sorbet
A nice blend of flavors.

Diet Pumpkin Pie
Light in calories but not in flavor with all the Authentic Spices, Dessert is Prepared with a Sugar Substitute
... actually rather tasty.

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
Served with Vanilla Ice Cream
... this time I tried it. It's a lava cake and it's generally good -- the ice cream is essential.

Fried Calamari Rings
Tomato Sauce
These were nice and light and not all that rubbery like calamari tends to get. The orange sauce was plain, but the calamari was good.

Nicoise Salad
Hearts of Romaine Lettuce, Tuna Chunks, Potato Slices, Green Beans, Tomato Wedges and Anchovy, Served with Traditional Vinaigrette Dressing
We got into an argument with the wait staff over this. It was served up with yellow mustard as the dressing. Yellow mustard.

Chicken Parmigiana
Pan-fried Supreme of Chicken, Baked with Mozzarella Cheese, Served Over Trennette Neapolitan

Philly Steak Sandwich
Hoagie with Shredded Beef, Onion and Cheese
Pass on this.

Salmon Paillard
Grilled Fillet of Pacific Salmon on Lemon Dill Sabayon, Steamed Vegetable Julienne, Nature Potato
A Spa Carnival selection, I was quite pleased with this.

Grand Marnier Cheesecake
Essentially Mandarin Orange creamcake. Tasty but not as represented on the menu.

Delice of the Ocean
Black Tiger Shrimp, Ahi Tartare and Hickory Smoked Pacific Salmon served with Watercress and American Cocktail Sauce
Another winner with me -- smoked salmon, tuna tartar and shrimp with sauces.

So pretty I had to shoot it twice.

Cinnamon Pumpkin, Squash, Yam and Cheddar Pie
Vegetarian Entree
I have to hand it to Carnival -- they've really gone out of their way to make sure there's a tasty vegetarian option at every meal. I liked this a lot, especially the polenta cakes.

Escargot Bourguignonne
Burgundy Snails in Garlic Butter with an infusion of Chablis and Pernod
The little snails were just swimming in butter. They were like little cholesterol bombs of joy topped with cheese and served with a phyllo dough breadstick.

Grilled Jumbo Tiger Shrimps
Served with Our Special Marinara Sauce, Mustard Potatoes
Larger shrimp, perfectly cooked and served up with debris-like cauliflower, peas and as much greenery garnish as the dish could handle.

Chateaubriand with Sauce Bearnaise
Sliced Grilled Beef Shoulder Tender
The Chateaubriand was very, very rare. We'd asked for medium rare to rare, considering other meats we'd ordered on the boat had been cooked a bit too done for our likes. This was downright bloody, but it was also rather tender and tasty. Served up with potatoes and peas.

Amaretto Cake
Almond Flavored Chocolate Cake
Pretty and apparently delicious.

Baked Alaska
Vanilla Sponge with Assorted Ice Cream and Baked with Meringue
The Baked Alaska? Well, it was all right.

We came back to our room Thursday night to find this unusual plate of... well, I still haven't figured out what it all was. Chocolate covered dates and some weird other stuff.

Here's what the Paris Dining Room looks like. Both of the dining rooms are two story affairs.

Overnight, there's always peanut butter and jelly, though I couldn't find the bread.

This is the average room service tray for breakfast. Each item comes separately -- so if you order salmon and a bagel they'll be on different plates. You should tip a couple of bucks -- a dollar a person -- for items through room service.

Room service breakfast melon plate.

Room service breakfast salmon plate.

I asked for Eggs Benedict without ham, and eventually got one.

Here's what Eggs Benedict looks like with the ham. There's also a serving of corned beef hash and pork sausage. Melon just comes with it, apparently. If you eat corned beef hash, ask for a double order.

The butter aboard ship is salty. My companions really liked it.

This is a single serving of waffles, which came with butter and blueberry preserves.

Neptune's Chef Salad
Hearts of Iceberg Lettuce, Greenland Baby Shrimps, Poached Ocean Scallops, Alaskan Snow Crab Meat and Fresh Pacific Salmon, Garnished with Tomato Wedges and Watercress, Served with Your Choice of Dressing
We argued over this a bit with the wait staff, which insisted there was already a dressing on the salad. We gave in on it, only to hear the same conversation happen at the table next to us. That table was also directed to head to the Lido Deck if they wanted a burger because it was close to the end of lunch.

Pan Fried Filet of Idaho Rainbow Trout
Golden Butter and Toasted Almond Slivers
This was a disappointment. The skin side of the fish was breaded and the fish itself was way overcooked. That, and when did panko start standing in for almonds?

Chocolate Sundae
Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Cream and Toasted AlmondsThis was pretty good for what it was.

There was a chocolate buffet on Friday on the Lido Deck. It turned out to be stuff you could have the staff dip in chocolate.

Lobster Bisque
Hearty Lobster Soup with Cream and Oak Wood Aged Brandy
were told was lobster bisque. It was not a bisque. It was foul. We sent it back. Everyone at our table did.

New England Crab Cake
Served with Apple Relish, Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary Remoulade
I liked it -- but I didn't use much of the remoulade.

Norwegian Salmon with Dill Mousseline
Creamed Garlic, Spinach, Gratin Potatoes
Another decent salmon dish, this time with firm baked salmon. The spinach was a little weird, but the gratin potatoes were awesome.

Tender Prime Rib of American Beef with Au Jus
Baked Potato with Traditional Toppings
We asked for it medium rare and got it rare. The meat was fine but it needed salt.

Grand Marnier Souffle
served with Orange Vanilla Sauce
It was wonderful.


  1. Kat, Thanks so much for this I'll have my wife check it out in the am. We leave for the Triumph on 2/12/11. AL

  2. What a complete photo documentation of your fare about the ship. Very impressive! Did you enjoy the cruise? I've never been on one, but the 24-hour peanut butter and jelly might have sold me. Thanks!

  3. I got your first post about this (since I subscribe via email) that said reviews would follow. I went to go to it to tell you how delicious the food looked and how much I loved the composition of the chocolate cake with the two even "stripes" of frosting/ganache on the plate. But the post was gone. I guess you took it down when you made this one with each review. I miss that post though. There was just something about the way you arranged the pictures in that one that made the food look so undeniable and irresistible. It is nice to see the reviews.

  4. Thanks, Victoria... I rearranged everything to post in the order I encountered the dishes during the trip, sort of a chronology of what we tried.

    Brockman, I found I rather enjoyed it. I was skeptical -- I tend to roam free when I do vacation and the idea of not being able to just pick up and go somewhere bothered me before we left. But considering we were traveling at a good clip and I didn't have to worry about driving -- I was good with that.

  5. "Tender Prime Rib of American Beef with Au Jus"

    As a "food writer" you do realize au means "with", right? So you are saying with with jus. It should say "Au Jus". This is a fairly common error I know.

  6. Again.

    Melt-in-your-mouth medallions of duck breast in a blueberry-citrus au jus paired with a spinach-and-herb stuffed duck leg atop cranberry wild rice, sweet red cabbage and citrus segments.

  7. In this listing, I used the descriptions of each dish provided by Carnival on their menus, including weird punctuation, spelling errors and grammatical errors such as the one you pointed out. I attribute this to the international crew.

  8. Again.

    Menu listing for the dish (which is in The Grand Taverne post, not the cruise posting):

    Classic Preparation of Half Duckling (Blueberry citrus jus, dried cranberry wild rice, $28)

    I presented the name of the dish as was posted on the menu.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! Being a foodie, I often search for menu's and food photos before I decide which ship I want to try next (I know, that probably shouldn't be the deciding factor, but it is lol!) Your photo's have officially excited me! What was your favorite dish overall?


Be kind.