Cucina del Capitano: Italian Dining at Sea

by Carrie McLaren with 1 comment

One of the highlights on our last Carnival cruise was having dinner together as a family at Cucina del Capitano. Known as a specialty dining experience, this family-style restaurant celebrates the diversity of Italy’s culinary regions. Here’s a look at our dinner and things to know for dining at Cucina del Capitano on your next cruise.

Cucina del Capitano - Menu

We broke from our typical tradition of visiting the main dining room for dinner on the first night and made reservations for Cucina del Capitano as soon as we got on the ship (aka Embarkation day) for dinner later that night. It ended up being the perfect decision with us.

While most everyone on the ship was settling into their cruise routine, we sat down for dinner at 6 p.m. at Cucina del Capitano and enjoyed a quiet, leisurely dinner – with only a few other tables occupied in the restaurant. The perfect way to start our trip!

So, let’s take a look at what’s for dinner –

What’s on the Menu? 

At Cucina del Capitano, you’ll find a bit of everything, all with an Italian flare. For appetizers – choose from calamari to housemade burrata, to a fantastic meatball from grandma’s recipe – of course, and Minestrone too. You’ll find Caesar salad and a filling antipasti dish on the menu and you must try the Arancini – authentic rice balls filled with ricotta salada and served with marinara sauce. They are my favorite!

Cucina del Capitano Collage

For entrees – there are more tough decisions when choosing a meal, there are a lot of choices and great dishes. On the menu, you’ll find favorites like chicken parmesan (always a win!), linguini where you can choose your type of sauce – clam, alfredo, carbonora, etc. and even Branzino, an almond crusted bass filet.

For our dinner, I went with the Porcini rubbed beef short rib – big portion sized and filled with flavor. My husband went more traditional with the Pappardelle with grilled shrimp, pancetta and a pomodorini sauce. He didn’t even save me a sample, but I was quick enough to snap a picture before he dug in!

Cucina del Capitano Entrees Collage

For side dishes, you’ll find fingerling potatoes, broccoli, a side portion of spaghetti (!!!!) and even eggplant parmesan. For dessert, I highly recommend the stewed apples dessert. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter (and after all that food, I don’t blame you!) there’s also sorbet and biscottis too.

Ready to see what else is for dinner? Check out the Cucina del Capitano page and click on ‘Dinner Menu’. (For the kids menu – keep reading!)

Pro Tip: Cucina del Capitano has a fantastic pasta bar during lunch hours – and it is complimentary. Choose your favorite pasta, sauces and select a protein to make your perfect lunch. They’ll create it fresh for you.

Cucina del Capitano - Antipasta

Is Cucina del Capitano on every Carnival ship?

No! You’ll only find Cucina del Capitano on the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic, Carnival Sunshine and the Carnival Vista. The upcoming Carnival Sunrise and the Carnival Panorama (debuting in 2019).

So, if you have plans to sail on one of this ships (and you should!), don’t miss a night of great eats at Cucina del Capitano.

Cucina del Capitano - Meatball

Is there an additional cost? 

Yes, adults are $15 and children are $5. With that said, don’t be discouraged because the fantastic service and large food portions make this a bargain when it comes to dining at sea.

You’ll choose from an appetizer, entrée, side dishes (if you need more than one – go for it!) and a dessert during your meal — that adds up to a ton of food for $15. Plus, each time we’ve dined there – we’ve also received a smaller appetizer, courtesy of the chef. You won’t go hungry – I promise!

Cucina del Capitano - Table

Is Cucina del Capitano kid-friendly?

Yes! My girls had a great time dining with us at Cucina del Capitano. I had told them that it was ‘an adults restaurant’ so they were excited to get dressed up and act little ladies. And because this is a specialty dining experience, kids can eat for $5.

The Cucina del Capitano kids’ menu features spaghetti and meatballs, chicken tenders with French fries, fish sticks with French fries and an entrée portion of macaroni and cheese. For dessert, kids can choose from lemon sherbet or cannolis.

Cucina del Capitano Kids Menu

My Maggie was disappointed that pizza wasn’t an option, but when I reminded her you could get pizza for free 24/7 on the Lido deck, she agreed that this menu was a hit.

She ended up having her next favorite – chicken and French fries and Molly ate her weight in spaghetti. Definitely a big hit with both girls.

What I especially loved about having dinner with my kids here is that they were so open to sampling items that we ordered from the adults menu. Molly loved the calamari and Maggie helped herself to some of our side dishes and enjoyed the antipasti appetizer too.

Cucina del Capitano - Kid Friendly


How to book a reservation at Cucina del Capitano

There are two ways to book a reservation at Cucina del Capitano. In order to get your preferred day and time for dinner, I’d highly suggest making a reservation in advance via the Carnival website. Once you book your sailing, you can access the reservations page and submit your dining time request. They’ll respond to you via e-mail confirming your reservation or offering available times.

If you’re already onboard, you can call the restaurant right from your stateroom cabin to make a reservation. On embarkation day, there is usually someone in the common areas of the ship available to show you the menu and take reservations too.

Cucina del Capitano - Molly and Mom

Ready to book your next Carnival cruise?

If you’re planning on sailing with a ship that has Cucina del Capitano – don’t miss out on a great night of fantastic food! You’ll make great memories and enjoy a special night at sea too.

Before or after dinner, take some time to admire the pictures on the walls in the restaurant. You’ll see Carnival captains with the families and see some of Carnival’s past ships too. It is a lovely tribute to both family and cruising — the perfect match for a memorable dinner.

For the latest Carnival news, be sure to follow along on the Carnival Cruise Line Facebook page and on Twitter at @CarnivalCruise and on the Carnival Cruise Line Instagram page.


** Carnival Cruise Line hosted my family and I on our recent sailing. They also treated us to dinner at Cucina del Capitano, however thoughts and opinions are my own. ** 


  • Hailey

    Thanks for posting, have a trip coming up and this is the best review I have read so far involving the kid’s experience. Thanks!

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