At Nick and Nora’s Supper Club, plate presentations are intricate and beautiful, from appetizer to entree to dessert.
From casino to spa, Carnival strives to keep adults busy, too
By Jerry Limone
Besides providing a vacation ser- vice for parents, Carnival’s kids’ programs boost onboard revenue. With the children under Carnival’s upervision, parents have more
time to spend money on the ship. And on
an eight-day cruise with four days at sea,
there’s a lot of time for the spa, the casino,
shopping and drinks on the pool deck.
Here’s a review of three adult activities
during a Carnival Miracle cruise that departed New York in June:
• Nick and Nora’s Supper Club: During
the cruise, I chatted with several passengers about Carnival’s alternative restaurant.
They asked me if dinner at the Supper Club
was worth the charge of $30 per person.
If your desire is a restaurant that’s quieter
and more romantic than the bustling main
dining room, then the Supper Club delivers.
The restaurant is located on the sun deck, so
if your reservation time coincides with the
sunset, you won’t be disappointed.
Service in the main dining room is impeccable, but the Supper Club wait staff
is even more attentive. Also, there is more
culinary artistry at the Supper Club. Plate
presentations are intricate and beautiful,
from appetizer to entree to dessert.
How about the food? The Supper Club,
which specializes in steaks and chops,
cooks a mean New York strip. But steaks
and chops served in the main dining room
are just as good. The portions are bigger at
the Supper Club, but that’s a weak value
proposition on a cruise ship, where there’s
food everywhere you turn.
dealers’ tips when they win a pot.
From Carnival’s perspective, it doesn’t
have to pay a dealer. For that reason, I was
disappointed that the rake was so high. For
every $10 in the pot, the casino kept $1,
with a maximum rake of $7. The maximum
was reached quite often. In comparison, casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City typically
cap the rake at $4 or $5, and that’s for games
that use a human dealer.
Unfortunately, that’s the type of anti-player mathematics one typically finds in
any cruise ship casino, not just on Carnival.
The payouts for video poker also are well
below Vegas and Atlantic City standards.
Nick and Nora’s Supper Club is quieter and more romantic
than the Carnival Miracle’s main dining room.
• Spa Carnival: It’s not unusual to encounter the hard sell on a cruise ship. For
example, aggressive sales tactics are used in
the photography areas and outside the spa.
In our case, that hard sell continued even
during the treatment. My wife, Christa, received a pedicure and a massage at the spa
and was perturbed that the spa attendant
relentlessly pushed products.
• Mr. Lucky’s Casino: As an avid poker
player, I was pleased to see an automated
poker table on the Carnival Miracle.
When there’s no dealer, the game moves
along a lot faster, enabling you to see a lot
more hands. That’s good for the player and
Carnival, which stands to make a lot more
money in rake (the percentage that the casino takes from every pot) with the game
moving so quickly. Plus, players save on
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