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Carnival Vista: Cucina del Capitano
Saturday, March 3, 2018  
We walked by Cucina del Capitano at least a dozen times on our 2014 Carnival Breeze cruise and never ventured up the stairs to try it out. We were not going to repeat that mistake on this cruise. We made our reservations online a few weeks before the cruise through Carnival's 'My Cruise Manager' website. The restaurant is typically fully-booked, so advance reservations are highly recommended. We arrived at 6:30pm and were instantly greeted by the restaurant manager who showed us to our table for two.

The decor is decidedly Italian with red and white checkered tablecloths. Each table is set with a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. As soon as we are seated, our waitress greets us and delivers a plank of crusty bruschetta with roasted garlic, tomatoes and mascarpone cheese.

The menu is divided in half with the left side offering appetizers, soups and salads. The right side highlights pasta dishes and entrees. The idea is for each guest to order an item from the left side plus an item from the right side.


Our waitress never suggested that more than one item from the appetizer list could be ordered. I have a feeling if you wanted a third to share, they would accommodate. I ordered Nonna's Meatballs and Rickee ordered the Il Capitano's Signature Arancini.

Nonna's Meatballs

My meatballs arrived piping hot in a rich, flavorful tomato sauce with melted mozzarella and crispy basil leaves. The meatballs were delicious and I found myself sopping up the remainder of the sauce with a leftover chunk of bruschetta.

Il Capitano's Signature Arancini

Rickee's arancini consisted of four deep-fried risotto balls mixed with cheese and served in a tomato sauce. They were good, but we both agreed that, between the two, the meatballs were the better choice.

For an entree, Rickee ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara and I ordered the Bistecca Alla Griglia. When our main courses arrived, Rickee was surprised because she thought she had ordered Spaghetti Bolognese (which is not even on the menu). The Carbonara is served in a cheese sauce like an Alfredo, with pancetta. Rickee thought she was getting a tomato sauce (she should have read the menu!). The waitress did not hesitate to offer to bring her spaghetti with tomato sauce and even left the Carbonara for us to share in the meantime. My Bistecca (a New York Strip) was cooked perfectly and was delicious.

Bistecca Alla Griglia

The real star of the evening was the Spaghetti Carbonara. The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente and the sauce was delicious. Even Rickee loved it once she tasted it. The portions of spaghetti were huge, easily enough for two people to share. The Spaghetti with Captain's Tomato Sauce was also very good, but the Carbonara is the best on the menu, in our opinion.

We also ordered a bottle of Lambrusco Riuinite (a sweet, slightly carbonated red wine) for $26 (plus gratuity). Our waitress provided excellent service and was very pleasant without being overly-attentive. At one point, two of the staff serenaded the guests with an Italian song.

The cost to dine at Cucina del Capitano is $15/pp (plus 15% gratuity) at the time of this review (July 2017). In our opinion, the meal was well worth the price for the quality of food, the service, and the intimate atmosphere. If you are booked on a Carnival cruise that offers Cucina del Capitano, you should plan at least one dinner there.

Note: On Carnival Vista, Cucina del Capitano also serves a "create-your-own" pasta lunch each day (no additional charge).
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