Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Out of Sydney

Ever been on a cruise? We hadn't until recently and were fortunate to experience a Pacific Island cruise on the Carnival Spirit out of Sydney.

What an experience it was.

We knew the food would be good based on earlier reports - but it still surprised us with the quality and variety as well as how they can personalise individual meals even though they have over 2,00 people on board!

After boarding and your bags getting delivered to your cabin you must go back up on deck to watch the sun set on Sydney as you leave the Harbour. The lights of Sydney look amazing as the ship slowly passes the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

It's stunning.

We've all seen movies with cruise ships that seem grander than a five star hotel.

We never expected it to be as spectacular as it was in reality. Everywhere we went on board kept surprising us.

The grandeur and attention to detail was amazing. The atrium was nearly 10 floors high. The woodwork everywhere was beautiful. You just walk around in awe.

We've previously shown some of the food available at Empire Restaurant. There are so many places to eat and drink on Carnival Spirit it seems you're going from food to drink to food etc etc all the time. It's everywhere. We visited Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ for lunch one day - even though we were still full from breakfast! It's up the top of the ship and serves some tasty slow cooked treats! We grabbed a selection on a few plates and put them in the middle of our nearby table to share. You can take as much as you want too!  

There are so many entertainment options on board you struggle with what to choose. Fortunately each evening they issue everyone with a brochure setting out what's on, and when, the next day. It's compulsory reading!

One thing you simply can't miss are the water slides. They have the biggest and fastest here in Green Thunder - a 10 metre vertical drop with top speeds of 65 kilometres an hour! It's a rush.

Let's get back to some food again though! In spite of the massive breakfasts, lunches and dinners we were dumbfounded to discover they even have high tea in the afternoon on several days during the cruise. Of course we had to try it!

It's a good selection of savoury and sweet goodies with tea or coffee - and the scones were delivered fresh from the oven and piping hot!

The thing you can't get used to on board are the views. It's postcard material every day from sunrise to sunset.


How great are these pods? There in the Serenity Retreat at the stern of the ship. Each holds two people so you can lie back in comfort, sip a cocktail, listen to live music and watch the sun set (or rise). It's a child free area as well!

Cruising is like travelling on a five star hotel. The food is everything they've told you and more. The entertainment is just as good too - Vegas style shows, a dedicated comedy club, live music in about eight or nine different places, a gym, games room, bars everywhere, a casino, shops, shops, shops....... it was a different world. It's easy to understand why some people cruise all year round - it would be a great life!

Special thanks to Carnival Cruise Line for providing so much for us! Thanks also to MGMedia for arranging everything so professionally.


Chefs Table
Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Out Of Sydney

The Carnival Spirit is a big ship with plenty of food options on board. It's amazing how personal and tailored they can make this considering they have around 2,000 passengers on board. But they do achieve this!

One of the more unique and exclusive choices is the Chef's Table which is limited to just 12 people. It's an experience that is certainly worth it if you get a chance.

Executive Chef Daniel Arulraj runs a big team on board the Carnival Spirit yet still manages to stay involved at a personal level as well. The Chef's Table is an evening of spectacular food and lovely wines in a private room with excellent service and even entertainment. It's also extremely informative as well.

The Chef's Table evening started by meeting in the lounge bar area where we were greeted with a glass of champagne - we were off to a good start already!

We were then taken to the kitchen where Daniel Arulraj meets you all and explains a bit about how the food side of the Carnival Spirit works.

It's a real eye opener as it's a huge operation.

Then, much to our delight, Daniel showed us how they make their delicious warm chocolate melting cake - and to top it off he even gave us the recipe! We're certainly going to give this a go at home.

While in the kitchen we also had canapes. We started with a lovely prime beef taco with avocado cream and tomato salsa.

Then it was some delicious duck pot stickers with a mushroom oyster glaze.

Finally we had my favourite canape - the crayfish and sundried tomato jam fritters. These were amazing!

We then left the kitchen and moved to a private room, with a beautifully decorated table. The first food to arrive after we were seated was a delicious brioche with a whole garlic clove baked into the top. Lovely.

This was closely followed by "Tomatoes Our Way" described as aerated tomato juice, cocoa butter coated and chardonnay poached. It was elegant and tasty.

The Southern Bluefin tuna banh mi was listed in our menu as lemon bread, sesame crisp, miso cream and avocado gel. It was so much more than this though - the textures were so delicate and it was the same with the flavours!

The next dish was spatchcock that was caramelised and came with butternut squash and sofrito. Again presentation was immaculate and the food impeccable.

The Barramundi was again a beautifully presented dish.

It was served with herb pesto, cured tomatoes, carrots, fava, mushroom earth and condensed beets.

The fish was lightly cooked retaining its moisture nicely and we just loved the condensed beets for both their appearance and taste.

Being a red meat eater at heart I absolutely loved the Wagyu.

It was a slow stewed short rib with potato pebbles, pumpkin fudge and tomato dust.

The meat was so soft and tender that it literally fell apart.

Again, as with every dish for the evening, presentation was excellent.

Our final course in this amazing degustation was of course dessert.

The chocolate 32C came with aerated pistachio and mango cake, marscapone cream and guava and caramel praline.

It was a sweet spectacular finale to a wonderful dinner.

During the meal we were fortunate to again hear briefly from Executive Chef Daniel Arulraj and to question him on his food philosophy and his signature dish - which turns out to be a duck creation that we were lucky enough to have specially prepared for us another evening to try! We were also entertained by the magician on the cruise - who was great. 

If you get a chance to sign up for the Chef's Table on the Carnival Spirit - do it! It's an absolute bargain and amazing from start to finish! 

We'll be posting more details of the food and facilities on the Carnival Spirit - which was really impressive. It was our first cruise and we're now eager to go again!

Sir and Mlady were guests on Carnival Spirit for the Chef's Table. Special thanks to Daniel Arulraj and to Carnival Cruise Line. Thanks also to MG Media Communications for arranging everything so professionally. 


Empire Restaurant
Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Out Of Sydney

If you like your food then don't rule out a cruise - especially if it's on the Carnival Spirit.

While the rumours of wall to wall food aren't completely wrong (there's food everywhere), it's the quality that is surprising - in a good way.

There are lots of people on board but the meals are actually personalised despite the numbers. There are so many options available at Empire Restaurant each night it's hard to know where to start. They have a menu that lasts the duration of the cruise with about half a dozen entrees and another half a dozen mains - but wait, there's more.

They also have another six choices each day as well for both entrees and mains. With a dozen of each every day it's food bliss!

Our starters very tasty. We had a prawn cocktail served with cocktail sauce. Surprisingly they also had escargots - burgundy snails in garlic butter with Chablis and Pernod and a toasted baguette - tres bien.

They also had panko crusted jumbo prawns served with zesty tomato sauce and homemade spicy chips. But you can get anything on the menu as an entree or a main course - just ask, they are so flexible here.

Main courses are just as varied. We had grilled salmon fillet served with steamed vegetables of the day - cooked as much or as little as you request; a delicious Guinness mince, mushroom and cheese pie made from minced chuck steak and white mushrooms braised in dark ale baked in a fluffy pie crust with aged cheddar cheese; pan-seared chicken schnitzel served with chips and tomato sauce and finally a lovely spice wrapped, grilled 220 grams rump steak from grain fed beef, three peppercorn sauce, sauteed green beans and potato mash.

And lets not forget desserts, where there are just as many options to salivate over.

One of our favourites, in fact one of the most popular among everyone on the ship, was the warm chocolate melting cake. This chocolate fondant was amazing with its soft crust hiding a pool of molten chocolate inside - and you can even ask for the level of cooking you prefer! It was so hard not to simply order this dessert each and every night.

The mango, raspberry and pineapple sorbets were colourful and a good dessert if you wanted to freshen your palate.

We all loved the vanilla creme brulee - a traditional brulee with a lovely toffee crust on top and a smooth custard underneath.

Empire Restaurant is the main restaurant of the many places to eat on Carnival Spirit. You can pretty much get any variation on the menu and often things not on the menu, just by asking.

The quality of the food and service is impressive - especially when you realise that they are feeding a few thousand people every night and are prepared to personalise each and every meal if needed.

We'll be posting a series of write-ups from our recent cruise on Carnival Spirit showing you what you can expect if you travel with them. It's not all food as well, even though there's plenty of it and it is impressive!