Call it a buffet if you like, but the Lido Restaurant on Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend isn’t made up of one long line shuffling along an endless line of food picking and choosing what they like. Sure, they do pick and choose from what they like, but the Lido Restaurant is in fact a network of individual stations all serving a variety of hot and cold favourites, domestic and international selections, comfort food and sides which will have you moving around the room keen to try everything at different points of your cruise.
Located on Deck Nine on Carnival Spirit, the Lido Restaurant is often packed with people at breakfast and lunch as the venue is a great way to expedite your service and have you into your schedule of fun activities either on the ship or on land with little delay. Despite the potential for heavy crowds, the service is quick and the food is hot (or cold if it meant to be) and the only real challenge is finding a table without walking laps of the ship.
Come for a tour of the venue and have a look at the wide variety of options served up at the Lido Restaurant each day.
Omelettes Your Way
Always boasting a long, but efficiently moving line each morning, guests are served quickly and direct an omelette chef with details on what they would like in their filling. Options include capsicum, onion, mushroom, fresh tomato and ham, which the chef mixes together into a shallow pan with freshly prepared egg mix. A late optional addition of cheese can be thrown in at the end before the finished product is flipped, folded and loaded onto your plate.
A separate buffet with pre-prepared sides for your omelette including baked beans and hash browns features in the same station, along with a number of four-slice toasters with bread.
All the classic hangover cures are at this station, with freshly grilled bacon, scrambled, poached and boiled eggs, hash browns and mushrooms, along with toasters with bread where you can build your own pile of food on which to start your day. This station is in the corner of the main room, however there is more than one so check both for the shortest line.
Never featuring a shortage of bowls, this basic self-service station is located near the Breakfast Grill and is frequently topped up with new stock and offers all the favourite Aussie cereals including Rice Bubbles, Coco Pops, Sultana Bran, Special K, Corn Flakes, Nutri-Grain, All Bran and more.
The station has everything you need, with milk varieties and spoons all there in the one place. The only problem – the bowls aren’t deep enough for hungry cereal lovers, but that’s ok – just go back for another helping if you wish.
All the cold items you might like are at this station, generally found in the middle of the room on the other side of the atrium and near the Coffee Bar. This section features a variety of muffins, pastries, danishes, croissants and warm milk.
The above photo happened to be taken during a brief lull in service as the line was almost never at least five people deep. A trained and experienced barista is on hand to whip up what you need first thing in the morning, from lattes, chai and everything in between, including soft drinks, sports drinks and bottled water. There is another Coffee Bar outlet on Deck Two at the Fountain Cafe, and like this one, items carry a small surcharge.
Open 24/7, this particular outlet is not a buffet per se but sees your choice of a number of pizza varieties prepared from fresh dough right in front of your eyes, rolled in flour and turned into a traditional thin pizza base. The chef then takes your base into the kitchen to apply sauce and the associated toppings, which then appears freshly cooked and sliced between five and ten minutes later, depending on the backlog.
During peak meal times, there will be multiple chefs on hand turning over bases very quickly, so there is never much of a wait. Plus, the finished product is worth it.
Snags & Pies
A classic example of how Carnival Spirit has been ‘Aussified’ to suit the local market. They know Aussies love a good pie or sausage roll with sauce, so these & other savoury varieties can be easily grabbed for a quick lunch if that’s what you feel like.
A big step up from traditional buffet style fare, the options at this station include quick and easy meals such as pasta varieties including bolognaise, lasagne, gnocchi, sausages, roasted vegetables and even the occasional stir fry or curry. Unlike many stations, this one is open for dinner if you don’t feel like dressing up for the main dining room or one of the specialty restaurants elsewhere on the ship.
The station serving classic sandwiches, bread rolls or wraps made in front of your eyes and just to your specifications. Both hot and cold options are available but are just simple in their nature – nothing too elaborate – just a delicious sandwich if that’s what you seek.
Options include Roast Turkey on a Country Roll, Pastrami or Corned Beef on Rye, a Grilled Hawaiian Sandwich or even an All Beef Hotdog served with Chilli, Cameralised Onions or Sauerkraut. Picked vegetables can also be served with your sandwich.
Generally an accessories bar but offering plenty of options for a full meal if you’re set on a more healthy alternative. This station is kept well stocked with fresh garden, Greek, Caesar and pasta salads, as well as all the ingredients if you wish to build your own.
The Sweet Spot
Once you’re past the main meal and wish to move on to dessert, there is a multitude of sweet treats available to have a sneaky sugary post-meal snack. This station can be found in the centre of the room and offers individual desserts for one person as well as slices of chocolate or sponge cake, mousses and chocolate muffins which go well with ice-cream.
You’ll find this one outside next door to Guy’s Burgers Joint, and another one on the other side of the pool next to the BlueIguana Mexican Cantina. They’re both off to the side of their respective venues and are always well stocked with either small bowls or cones which you can fill with your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice-cream, or frozen yoghurt.
Our tip is to let the ice-cream melt just a little bit before you start, as we found ourselves with a temporarily debilitating case of brain freeze at the end of the very first spoonful.