Carnival Spirit features Guy's Burger Joint.

Different people look at a burger in different ways. For some, it’s merely a matter of how much food you can fit between the two book-ending buns and little more than a vehicle for carrying and managing such items.

For others, putting together a burger is as much an art form as anything else. Not everything can fit on a burger; some ingredients just don’t go together and then there’s the matter of which sauces and condiments best bring out the right flavours to appease the tastebuds and deliver that rich and complete experience that a well made burger should. For these people, designing the right burger is very serious business.

One such person is Guy Fieri, the man behind the name that is Guy’s Burger Joint, a casual eatery which now appears on many Carnival Cruise Line ships across the fleet.

Guy Fieri is the man behind Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Spirit.
The one and only Guy Fieri presenting one of the burgers created for Carnival Cruise Line.

At first glance, Fieri as a person is not everybody’s cup of tea. He may appear to be a brash, loud and charismatic individual but for many, this in turn is also his appeal. Frequently seen in colourful shirts and sporting an equally bold and confident haircut as part of his personal style, Fieri exudes the California beach lifestyle in his public persona and has embraced the celebrity which has come from his 2006 win in the second season of American food-based reality show The Next Food Network Star, on the Food Network.

Fieri’s very masculine approach to cooking meat has resonated with the American audience and he is now considered one of the network’s foremost personalities, which has translated into three books, two about drive-in diners one might encounter on an American road trip and a somewhat more conventional cookbook about how to make Guy Fieri-style fare.

But whether you like him or not as a television personality, one fact difficult to argue is that the man can cook, and cook well. A manager or owner of several different restaurants across the United States, primarily in California, Fieri’s approach to burgers through Guy’s Burger Joint is not revolutionary but rather simplistic. But it is this straightforward approach that has led to his creations becoming a runaway smash hit with cruise travellers.

Guy’s Burger Joint can usually be found on one of the outer decks of your Carnival ship, often on the top deck by the main pool which is perfect as it makes it ideal to grab for lunch straight out of the pool while still in your swimmers. In Australia, it is currently available only on Carnival Spirit, but may come to Carnival Legend at some point down the track.

Despite being a branded outlet created in partnership between Fieri and Carnival, Guy’s burgers are included in your cruise fare, so you don’t need to pay any extra to enjoy one, served with hand-cut fries and dusted with what is called “Guy’s Signature Seasoning”.

Guy's Burger Joint features in Australia on Carnival Spirit.
The pool deck on Carnival Spirit, with Guy’s Burger Joint in the background.

Reflecting Guy’s upfront and simplistic approach to his burgers, cruise travellers have five options at their disposal, including:

  • Plain Jane – Your basic grilled beef on a roll, with or without cheese. Easy. This burger essentially forms the basis around which the other four are built.
  • Chilius Maximus – Plain Jane with a crispy “Rojo” onion ring, cheese and chilli sauce.
  • Straight Up – Plain Jane with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, topped with another Fieri signature “Donkey Sauce”, which is a mayonnaise-based sauce supplemented with roasted garlic, Worcestershire and mustard and is certainly flavourful.
  • Pig Patty – Same as the Straight Up burger with a patty made from bacon, not beef.
  • The Ringer – The Straight Up burger with a Rojo onion ring but instead of Donkey Sauce, comes with Guy’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar BBQ sauce.

It is a fast food outlet, so with all ingredients ready to go and being prepared fresh on a rapid basis, upon making your selection, your burger and fries is presented to you on a plate in mere seconds. In many cases, you could still be reading the menu when your burger arrives.

Once you have one of the above five bases, turn around and you’ll see in front of you a salad bar where you can customise your burger with any extra condiments and toppings to suit your individual taste. It is this bar which makes the Plain Jane burger very popular, as you start with the basic and can then visit the Salad Bar to pimp your creation how you like it.

Guy's burgers can be modified to suit your taste.
The toppings bar can be used from both sides and is found right behind the main service counter.

If a negative had to be found with Guy’s Burger Joint, it would be presentation of the burger, but this in turn comes back to Fieri’s unique approach to his creations. The ultra-casual nature of the burgers are such that some lettuce or sauce falling off the side isn’t a problem. After all, this is not fine dining. There are no knives and forks, no toothpick holding it all together. This is a grilled burger in its most primal form. Take it or leave it.

Again, burgers are approached in different ways by different people, but make sure you approach Guy’s Burger Joint with a hearty appetite. We found it so delicious that merely one or two bites in, we were mentally rearranging our lunch schedule for the forthcoming days to ensure more than one visit to Guy’s was feasible. One probably won’t be enough.

Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Spirit is a delicious and hearty meal.
Guy’s ‘Straight Up’ burger. Probably won’t win any presentation awards, but gets the job done in the taste department.