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TravelCucina del Capitano: Carnival Cruise Line's Italian restaurant

Cucina del Capitano: Carnival Cruise Line’s Italian restaurant

Cucina del Capitano, Carnival Cruise Line’s Italian restaurant, is a cruiser favorite. It offers a delightful, cozy spot to gather over a delicious meal, and there’s something for just about everyone — from the biggest foodie to the pickiest eater — on the menu.

Here’s a guide to what you can expect when you dine there, including what’s on the menu, how much it’ll cost you and a list of ships where you can find this eatery.

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What is Cucina del Capitano on Carnival cruise ships?

Caprese salad from Cucina del Capitano on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Cucina del Capitano, which translates to “Captain’s Kitchen” in English, is the Italian restaurant found on nearly one-third of Carnival’s ships. It first rolled out on Carnival Magic in 2011, after the line decided to poll its Italian captains for their favorite recipes from home. From there, the Cucina del Capitano menu was born.

The restaurant offers delicious food options for cruisers who are hungry for traditional Italian dishes like pasta, chicken Parmesan and tiramisu that they can chase with a post-dinner limoncello.

Related: Carnival cruise food: The ultimate guide to restaurants and dining on board

While the decor and ambience can vary from vessel to vessel, the restaurants feel cozy, with family photos from the fleet’s captains on the wall. You’ll either be seated at a table with a red-and-white checkered tablecloth that makes you feel like you’re sitting down to a backyard cookout or in a cozy alcove that makes the experience feel more like you’ve stepped into an Italian family’s dining room for a big meal.

On most ships, the restaurant functions like a typical specialty restaurant. However, on Excel Class ships, the venue was designed as an overflow restaurant to take some of the pressure off of the main dining rooms during peak times. The restaurant is open to everyone, but only passengers with Your Time Dining — which allows cruisers to dine anytime they wish between 5 and 9 p.m. — can have dinner at Cucina del Capitano anytime during opening hours. Cruisers with set-seating dining are only allowed to eat there after 7:45 p.m.

Reservations are recommended.

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Cucina del Capitano menu

Meals at Cucina del Capitano are broken into four categories or courses: starters, soups and salads; mains and pastas; sides; and desserts. Captain-recommended favorites are noted on the menu.

You might choose to start with cured tuna, meatballs, deep-fried shrimp, minestrone soup or a caprese salad. For your main course, try linguine with clams, spaghetti carbonara, grilled fish, veal marsala, a pork chop or captain-favorite chicken Parmesan. You can also opt for steakhouse fare — including filet mignon, surf ‘n’ turf or a grilled lamb chop — for a $23 surcharge.

For your sides, pick from roasted broccoli and cauliflower, lentils, spinach or crispy potatoes.

If you still have room for dessert, options include an apple pastry, frozen lemon tarte, baba (Italian rum cake) or tiramisu, a captain favorite. You can also order specialty coffees and digestifs, including limoncello, amaretto, sambuca, grappa and more.

A selection of wine (red, white and rose) and beer costs extra unless you have a drink package that covers your beverage choice.

The children’s menu at Carnival Cruise Line’s Cucina del Capitano. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

A children’s menu is available for kids 11 and younger. Selections include spaghetti with meatballs, fish sticks, chicken fingers, and macaroni and cheese, with a choice of either cannoli or lemon sherbet for dessert.

Additionally, six of the 11 ships that have Cucina del Capitano feature a free Captain’s Pasta Bar option for lunch. The menu includes a choice of linguini, penne or farfalle, as well as sauces like tomato, Alfredo, white clam and meat sauce, as well as butter. Additional mix-ins include Italian sausage, chicken strips and a plethora of vegetables. Want something more hearty? You can also choose lasagna, and don’t forget to toss in a side of Caesar salad or bread.

Note: Menu examples were accurate at the time of publication, but they are subject to change without notice.

Cucina del Capitano prices

Spaghetti carbonara from Cucina del Capitano on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Pricing is a bit confusing, as it varies according to ship.

On the line’s newest Excel Class ships, Cucina del Capitano is free for all passengers during their first visit to the restaurant. Additional visits are $8 per person. The only exception is Carnival Jubilee; every visit is free during the ship’s inaugural season. After that, it will share the same pricing as Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras.

On the other eight ships that have the restaurant (see below), the cost is $24 per adult. Kids 11 and younger can dine for $11 from the children’s menu.

Selections from the menu’s steakhouse section will incur a fee of $23 per item. Alcohol costs extra unless you have a beverage package that covers it. An 18% gratuity will be added (except to free meals), and a $5 surcharge will apply for every main course after the first two per person.

The Captain’s Pasta Bar, which is offered for lunch only on select ships, is complimentary.

Which Carnival ships have Cucina del Capitano?

An apple pastry dessert from Cucina del Capitano on Carnival Jubilee. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Cucina del Capitano is available on the following Carnival ships:

  • Carnival Breeze
  • Carnival Celebration
  • Carnival Horizon
  • Carnival Jubilee
  • Carnival Magic
  • Carnival Panorama
  • Carnival Radiance
  • Carnival Sunrise
  • Carnival Sunshine
  • Carnival Vista
  • Mardi Gras

Of the 11 ships that have Cucina del Capitano, the following have the Captain’s Pasta Bar for lunch:

  • Carnival Breeze
  • Carnival Horizon
  • Carnival Magic
  • Carnival Panorama
  • Carnival Sunshine
  • Carnival Vista

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