I tried Guy Fieri's barbecue on a cruise in the middle of the ocean, and even as a non-meat eater, it lived up to the hype

·4 min read
The author on the Carnival Vista, Guy Fieri on the Carnival Horizon cruise ship, and a labeled plate of the author's food.
The author on the Carnival Vista (left). Guy Fieri on the Carnival Horizon cruise ship in 2018 (right). A labeled plate of the author's food (middle). Monica Humphries/Insider/Monica Humphries/Insider/Gary Miller/Getty Images

I spent a week aboard the Carnival Vista, which was Carnival Cruise Line's first ship to leave the US since 2020.

The Carnival Vista docked in Cozumel, Mexico.
The Carnival Vista docked in Cozumel, Mexico. Monica Humphries/Insider

The vaccinated cruisers I spoke with were excited to be back in the open ocean - and so was I.

A selfie of the author onboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship.
A selfie of the author on the Carnival Vista. Monica Humphries/Insider

And most of us were thrilled about the food. The Carnival Vista has more than a dozen places to eat - including not one, but two buffets created by celebrity chef and Food Network legend Guy Fieri. Both of Fieri's eateries were included in the cost of the cruise.

The two buffets created by Guy Fieri on the Carnival Vista.
The two buffets that were created by Guy Fieri on the Carnival Vista. Monica Humphries/Insider

So on the third day of my trip, I navigated to deck five and hopped in line at Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, which, hence the name, is the chef's barbecue-themed eatery.

A passenger studies the menu before stepping into Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que's buffet line.
A passenger studies the menu before stepping into Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse's buffet line. Monica Humphries/Insider

From pork butt and smoked andouille sausage to comfort foods like mac and cheese, the buffet seemed to have all the traditional fixings of a typical barbecue restaurant.

The menu to Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que.
The menu to Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. Monica Humphries/Insider

I'm a pescetarian, so I planned to skip the red meat. Luckily, I think the sides are always the best part of a meal, and I planned to try them all.

A passenger looks at her options at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
A passenger eyes the barbecue food. Monica Humphries/Insider

Crew members dished out hefty portions of the mac and cheese, coleslaw, and potato salad onto my metal plate.

My plate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
My plate of sides, which included coleslaw, mac and cheese, and potato salad. Monica Humphries/Insider

I also tried the three barbecue sauces available at the time: bourbon brown sugar, spicy Sriracha, and a Kansas City smokey and sweet sauce.

Each bbq sauce labeled
The three different barbecue sauces I tried. Monica Humphries/Insider

First up was the mac and cheese. This was the only place on the ship where I found this dish, so I was happy to indulge in the comfort food. The noodles were cooked just right, and the cheese sauce was delicious.

My plate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
A close-up image of the mac and cheese. Monica Humphries/Insider

However, the potato salad was unmemorable. I thought the potatoes were undercooked and the dressing was flavorless.

My plate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
The potato salad was my least favorite side. Monica Humphries/Insider

The buffet's coleslaw stood out the most. It had a nice crunch and just the right amount of creaminess.

My plate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
Coleslaw was my favorite side. Monica Humphries/Insider

Meanwhile, the barbecue sauces were the biggest disappointment. I thought the three flavors tasted nearly identical to one another.

The four hot sauces at Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que.
The four hot sauces at Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. Monica Humphries/Insider

After I finished my plate, I searched for passengers who tried the meat at the Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. But Fieri had some tough competition, because many of the passengers I spoke to were from Texas and took their barbecue seriously.

Crew members load meat onto a plate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
Crew members load meat onto a plate at Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. Monica Humphries/Insider

Some passengers mentioned enjoying the buffet, while others told me that they planned to wait until they got back home before indulging in barbecue again.

A passenger looks at her options at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
A passenger looks at her options at Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. Monica Humphries/Insider

Unfortunately, the nearby Guy's Burger Joint lacked veggie burgers, so I stayed clear of that buffet. But from the looks of the long line, it seemed worth the wait.

The front of Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Vista.
The front of Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Vista. Monica Humphries/Insider

There, crew members cooked burgers on a flat-top stove, served up fries, and a topping bar awaited passengers with every addition imaginable.

A passenger grabs his burger from Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Vista.
A passenger grabs his burger from Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Vista. Monica Humphries/Insider

Overall, Guy's barbecue added much-needed variety from the daily buffet and dining room. And as Insider previously reported, cruise superfans agree that it's always a good idea to explore all the dining options a cruise has to offer.

My empty plate at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse.
I enjoyed the food overlooking the expansive sea. Monica Humphries/Insider

Read more tips from cruise superfans who spoke with Insider aboard the Carnival Vista, who shared the 10 common mistakes they see passengers make.

Read the original article on Insider

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