Recently, my husband and I took a Carnival Cruise Line without the kids (thanks, grandma & grandpa, for watching our little ones!). I think we crammed a year’s worth of dates in just 5 days aboard the Carnival Inspiration. We went to shows, and karaoke listened to live bands, danced, relaxed, explored new ports, and ate. Wow, did we eat. Today I’m sharing Carnival Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secret, which has become one of my favorite food memories!

Carnival's Best Kept Secret

Favorite food memories are often as much about how we are introduced to new foods as they are about the new tastes. Whether it’s being taught how to mix soy sauce and wasabi the first time you try sushi, fumbling your way to chopstick mastery, or learning to dive into an Indian or Ethiopian dish with your hands, an experienced food guide helps shape the memories and habits that last a lifetime. The Chef’s Table experience aboard Carnival Cruise ships combines amazing food with the perfect food guide, the Chef himself! Chef Russel Pereira explained each item of a 4-appetizer, 7-course dining experience. Tips on cooking, special ingredients, mixing textures, and more.

The Chef's Table - Carnival Cruise Line'sCarnival Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secret – The Chef’s Table

Carnival Cruise Lines has rolled out an exclusive dining experience called The Chef’s Table. It’s unlike any dining experience I have ever had, and limited to no more than 12 people per service.

Let me break it down for you:

  • A tour of the cruise ship’s galley.
  • A cooking demonstration of Carnival Cruise Line’s famous Chocolate Melting Cake.
  • 4 starters and 7 perfectly orchestrated courses.
  • The chef de cuisine and his hand-picked staff artfully prepared and presented all meals.
  • Champagne, Wine, and unlimited juice refills. Note: although I don’t drink (#ImAMormon) I still thought this dinner was so worth the price.
  • $75 per person for one of the most amazing dining experiences of your life!

A table setting on a cruise ship

The Experience

We started in the kitchen, where we got a private “behind the scenes” look at the cruise ship’s galley. We were served 4 delectable starters that set the stage for the rest of the dining experience. Chef Russell’s passion for cooking quickly showed through as he delighted in our reactions to the first appetizer, Mango Sphere on a Rosemary Biscuit. He instructed us to pop the entire thing into our mouths. The moment we did, the mango sphere burst and our taste buds we flooded. It was a beautiful thing, and I may have even teared up a little.

A collage of chef\'s preparing food on a Carnival cruise

  1. Mango Sphere on a Rosemary Biscuit
  2. Salmon Tartar Cornets in a Sesame Seed Cone
  3. Beef Carpaccio on Air Pillow with Chocolate Bacon and Apple Ribbon
  4. Double Cooked Lamb with Tapioca

Cooking Demonstration

Hands-on Cooking Demonstration

After the starters, the cooking demonstration began. The pastry chef showed us how he took 5 simple ingredients and made Carnival Cruise Line’s world-famous Chocolate Melting Cake. When they asked if anyone wanted to help, I jumped at the opportunity. As a bonus, the chef gave us our very own copy of the recipe to take home with us! To me, that was worth the $75 price tag in itself.

The Bread Course

Bread with butter on a wooden serving tray

Blue Cheese Brioche with homemade crackers, whipped butter, and charred tomatoes & garlic.

The 1st Course

A collage of Beet Blanket & Spiced Grape Herbal Tea: asparagus, cauliflower, honey carrot tian, mache, and lemon streusel. Beet Blanket & Spiced Grape Herbal Tea: asparagus, cauliflower, honey carrot tian, mache, and lemon streusel.

The 2nd & 3rd Courses

A collage of the 2nd and 3rd-course meals on a Carnival cruise

Crab Stack: corn custard, polenta cracker, tangerine, passion caviar

Duck Textures: creamy quinoa, Parmesan churros, olive oil snow, port wine jus

The 4th & 5th Courses

A collage of Bisque our Way and Sea Bass

Bisque our Way: two tomatoes, three types of basil, crisped brioche, garlic chips

Sea Bass: chorizo crust, fried popcorn pudding, a lemon macaroon, lobster foam

Each dish’s presentation was incredible, the Bisque our Way especially. Check out the video I shot of the presentation.

The 6th & 7th Courses

A collage of Wagyu and Pastry Chef, the 6th and 7th courses during dinner on a Carnival Cruise

Wagyu (basically one of the most expensive cuts of beef in the world): bone marrow souffle, scallion & garlic panisse, gremolata crisp

Pastry Chef: sea salt praline chocolate, raspberry mojito, key lime cake, apricot vanilla gel, white chocolate macaroon, and citrus cream

Can you see now why I’m calling this Carnival Cruise Line’s best-kept secret? Every Carnival ship hosts The Chef’s Table. I suggest you book the dinner as soon as you get on the ship because spots fill quickly!

Carnival Cruise Line's Best Kept Secret

Disclosure: This post for Carnival Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secret is not sponsored; I received no compensation for writing it. I wrote about the experience because it was simply incredible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I LOVE the Chef’s Table and do it every cruise. So far, we’ve had 3 different menus except for the appetizers. 1) To the guys that were a gay couple, Don’t worry about it. The food is the star of this dinner and no one really notices much else. 2) I just learned on my last cruise that if you have food allergies, eat a specific diet, Vegetarian, Vegan, or just don’t like something, they WANT you to tell them this. I don’t eat lamb and my daughter does not like fish. We were fussed at by the Chef and something else was prepared for us rather quickly. However, the woman next to me did not eat tomatoes and most of her dishes were either different or changed a bit. She had told them once boarded. 3) Tipping – 20% is added to your final bill. Tipping extra is up to you. We did because of the extra effort they went to for us. 4) They serve a 4 oun e serving of Wagyu steak. That alone just about covers the $75 price for the dinner. It is the BEST thing I do for myself and my group every single cruise.

    1. Kiri, isn’t the Chef’s Table the best?! This is such great info. Thanks for posting and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Clara F Bulens says:

    We will be sailing on the Carnival Magic cruise line in Dec. We have been accepted to be at the Chef’s Table. What is the dress code for this event?

    1. I would say business casual would be a safe bet.

  3. do you know if they cater to dietary restrictions?

    1. They do! Just make sure you give them at least 24 hours in advance (at least that was the timeframe they needed when I dined with them).