Updated: Carnival Cruise Lines testing new dining room experience

By Tom Stieghorst

Carnival Cruise Lines said it will test two new dining concepts on the Carnival Glory starting Dec. 8, in what could be a fleet-wide revamp of its main dining room.

The new dining products, called American Table and American Feast, were developed with input from Union Square Hospitality Group of New York.

American Table will be offered on "cruise casual" nights. It includes a new style of service, new menu and table decor, and is designed to evoke a modern restaurant experience with an emphasis on exceptional American cuisine, Carnival said.

There will be a cocktail menu, an entree with ties to the port being visited during the meal, a “from the grill” entrée and a special dessert menu.

On Carnival's more formal "cruise elegant" nights, it will offer American Feast, which has been designed to create the feel of an elegant, elaborate special occasion "celebrated by all guests in the restaurant with courses served table-side in elaborate style," Carnival said.

The pilot program will be extended to Carnival Liberty beginning in January, and Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration starting in February, with the intention to roll it out fleet-wide in the second half of 2014.

Union Square Hospitality Group is an outgrowth of Union Square Cafe, founded in 1985 by Danny Meyer, who is now CEO. In addition to the original restaurant, it now runs Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard and Shake Shake, as well as a catering and consulting practice.

Carnival senior vice president for operations Mark Tamis said Union Square's role was primarily one of inspiring the Carnival team to create the new concepts.

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