Is The Seafood on Carnival Cruises Worth It? A Dive into the Seafood Shack

If you were considering hopping aboard a Carnival cruise, odds are you had your sights set on indulging in some seafood. As a newly re-born seafood enthusiast, I recently had the opportunity to dive into a variety of seafood dishes on the Carnival Dream.

I was lucky enough to try a diverse range of dishes and I wanted to share my perspective so that the future cruisers will be able to set their expectations accordingly.

The Seafood Shack

If you’re craving a seafood feast, the go-to spot is the Seafood Shack.

It’s a restaurant where you’ll need to shell out some extra bucks, but the menu boasts a variety of seafood delights. From fried shrimp and lobster rolls to clams and oysters, they’ve got a well-rounded lineup. I had the chance to dive into some of these offerings, and here’s the lowdown on how it went.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise

Starting off my culinary adventure at the Seafood Shack — “a New-England-style seaside spot” — a couple of things really stood out for me.

The buffalo shrimp ($6) was a real winner – super fresh, tasty, and just the right amount of breading. The cocktail sauce was a perfect complement, creating a delightful combination.

I also tried the fried clam strips ($5) alongside the shrimp. While they didn’t grab my attention as much, they were still good, and I have no complaints.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise shrimp bucket

Venturing into the realm of market-priced delights, I delved into the snow crab at the Seafood Shack (market orice which was $34/lb). The crab meat, a delectable treat, exuded deliciousness, especially when paired with a side of rich butter that hit all the right notes.

However, my enthusiasm encountered a slight hiccup. The absence of tools to aid in extracting the crab meat posed a challenge. Despite requests for assistance, the follow-through was regrettably lacking end we had to resort to scraping crab meat out with its own claws, barbarian style.

The cruise experience on Carnival seemed to have its share of hit-and-miss moments, with service inconsistencies prevailing throughout.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise crab

Embarking on the exploration of the Seafood Shack’s offerings, my gastronomic journey led me to the much-anticipated lobster roll.

As an aspiring connoisseur of this beloved dish – a sentiment amplified by a recent seven-week sojourn through New England – my palate had been treated to an array of lobster rolls from some of the finest establishments in Maine and Massachusetts.

With a discerning taste cultivated through these experiences, the Seafood Shack’s rendition of the lobster roll faced a formidable benchmark.

Anticipating that the cruise might not quite reach the culinary zenith set by my previous lobster roll encounters in New England, I entered with measured expectations. Yet, reality fell far short of even my modest projections.

I suspected this would be the case when I asked if the lobster rolls were Connecticut or Maine style and the puzzled worker looked at me and replied, “they come on a hotdog bun.”

Still, I was holding out hope.

The lobster rolls aboard the ship, provided in a pair per order, left much to be desired.

Regrettably, the scant amount of lobster nestled within the rolls failed to meet the visual or gustatory appeal expected. The disproportionate ratio of bread to lobster detracted from the overall experience, marking these as among the least satisfying lobster rolls in my culinary repertoire.

As someone who cherishes lobster rolls, I would strongly advise giving these a pass if ever contemplating your dining choices on the cruise.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise lobster roll

Beyond the gastronomic haven of the Seafood Shack, our evenings were enriched with some seafood experiences during dinner. You can pay out of pocket for meals like surf and turn for an added $23 at the standard dinner but you can also pay to eat at the premium steakhouse which we did.

A standout moment unfolded at the Dream’s steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, where I indulged in the exquisite pairing of tuna tartare and a fillet adorned with a succulent lobster tail.

The tuna tartare, a symphony of bursting flavors with a subtle kick, left an indelible impression. Probably the most enjoyable dish I had on the cruise to be honest.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise tuna tartare

The accompanying lobster tail, fresh and well prepared, lived up to expectations, delivering a gratifying seafood feast. However, I will say I noticed that in the elevators, the picture of the surf and turf dinner used for the steakhouse advertisement used a much bigger steak. So set your expectations accordingly.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise surf and turf

This seafood saga continued on a different evening in the main restaurant, where the allure of the lobster tail beckoned once more. This time, it was on the menu so no extra charge was needed.

True to form, the experience was devoid of any complaints, solidifying the cruise’s capacity to deliver satisfying seafood encounters beyond the dedicated seafood venue.

Seafood on Carnival Cruise lobster tail

I had chances to try seafood like fish and chips and ceviche. Overall, they were decent, but nothing particularly stood out.

So what to make of this?

For those anticipating a seafood soiree on a Carnival cruise, rest assured that the culinary voyage offers a mostly satisfying array of options.

The lobster tails, fried shrimp, and crab meat, accompanied by delectable side dishes like the tuna tartare, showcase a level of quality akin to that of a respectable seafood restaurant.

However, a notable exception arises in the form of the lobster rolls — they need some attention and revamping.

Priced at a modest $12, my candid recommendation would be either a comprehensive overhaul to meet discerning expectations or a reconsideration of their place on the menu.

I understand they are only $12 but in my opinion I would just remove them from the menu or double the price so that they can deliver something worth devouring.