Our Cucina del Capitano Dining Experience #CruisingCarnival #CarnivalMagic

Our Cucina del Capitano Dining Experience

Our final night of our cruise we enjoyed dinner with our entire family at Cucina del Capitano. Cucina is one of two specialty restaurants aboard the Carnival Magic. There is a required fee for guests to dine at the restaurant, however, it’s lower that Prime Steakhouse. I loved the atmosphere at Cucina, it seemed very family friendly. At least I felt more comfortable with taking the kids there for dinner as opposed to the steak house which I felt was perfect for adults.

Disclosure: My family and I were provided complimentary dining at Cucina del Capitano during our cruise on the Carnival Magic. Any opinions expressed are my own.

About Cucina del Capitano

Say arrivederci to ordinary and ciao to an exciting dining experience at the restaurant that pays homage to our unique heritage. Italian-American dishes inspired by the recipes from our Italian captains’ and officers’ childhoods are served up family-style in a comfy, eclectic environment decorated like an Italian country home. Vintage images of our captains and ships adorn the walls, and there’s even a Captain’s table where you just might see the man himself dine.

The kids had been looking forward to visiting the restaurant because they’d only dined at the Lido Marketplace, Southern Lights Dining Room, and that morning we went to the Cat in the Hat Breakfast. We opted for a 7 PM dining time so we could jet back to our dining room and say goodbye to our servers over the last week. They seated us in a booth and gave the kids really cool play kits instead of crayons to pass the time before the food arrived.

There are separate menus for kids and adults, both short so you are not overwhelmed with choices. I loved not having too many options in regards to picking our meal for the night. We had a very friendly server who made sure to ask if we wanted the kid’s meals to arrive with our appetizers. She answered all our questions and made sure our special requests got fulfilled.

Shortly after placing our order, our server returned with the Bread Service. I loved the toasty bread that was crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. The spread on the center piece of bread was salty with a hint of citrus. While waiting for our food some of the servers performed live in the middle of the restaurant singing Italian songs. It added more authenticity to our dining experience.

Appetizers and Kids Meals

Il Capitano’s Signature Arancini Fried Risotto Balls, Piled High with Baby Arugula and Shaved Parmesan Cheese, Served over Tomato Sauce
Il Capitano’s Signature Arancini Fried Risotto Balls, Piled High with Baby Arugula and Shaved Parmesan Cheese, Served over Tomato Sauce

My husband opted for the Il Capitano’s Signature Arancini. It was delicious. My husband cleaned his plate, even sopping up all the sauce on the plate.

Calamari Fritti Crispy Calamari Rings, Topped with Cured Tomatoes, Charred Lime and Sea Salt, Served with Marinara Sauce
Calamari Fritti Crispy Calamari Rings, Topped with Cured Tomatoes, Charred Lime and Sea Salt, Served with Marinara Sauce

I ordered the Calamari Fritti, I saw an order when we were walking into Cucina, and it looked delicious. I ended up eating the whole place. It was cooked to perfection. Not greasy at all. The batter was light and wasn’t over done on the calamari.

Cucina Kids Chicken Fingers and Fries

All my sons had Chicken Fingers for dinner that night. It was hard to tear them away from their game but they enjoyed the fries and chicken fingers.

Cucina Mac and Cheese

My daughter ordered the Mac and Cheese and a side of grilled shrimp to go along with her mac and cheese. She loves seafood and was very happy they were able to add the shrimp to the side of her meal. She ate all the shrimp but couldn’t eat all the mac and cheese on her own. It was a very big portion.

Dinner is Served for Mommy & Daddy

Gamberetti Alla Pizzaiola (Grilled Shrimp) Grilled Shrimp with Stewed Mushrooms and Peppers. Served over the Captain’s Tomato Sauce, topped with Garlic Foam, Charred Lemon and Parsley


I went with a light option for dinner. I choose the Gamberetti Alla Pizzaiola with Broccoli with Peperonata as my side dish. It was really good.

Salmone Alla Griglia Hand-Trimmed Grilled Salmon Fillet Served with Roasted Potatoes, Endive, Charred Tomato and Lemon

My husband when with the  Salmone Alla Griglia and a side of Rosemary Potatoes. I didn’t get a photo of the potatoes since the kids were getting anxious and they were ready to go.

We had a great experience overall. The food was good and the atmosphere was laid back and fun. If you’re sailing aboard the Carnival Magic you can book reservations for Cucina del Capitano online once you have booked your cruise or onboard the ship by calling 1179 from your stateroom. Cucina costs $15 per adult and $5 per child, charged to your folio account. Cucina is located on the 11th deck of the Carnival Magic in the rear of the ship atop the Lido Marketplace.

Free Printable Checklist for Special Needs Families Planning a Cruise

Free Printable Checklist for Special Needs Families Planning a Cruise

My family and I are heading on our first cruise in a few months. We’re so excited about the ship that the kids haven’t stopped talking about it for months. I’m both excited and nervous because as a special needs family we have a few extra steps. Any prolonged trip or even the short ones require some extra planning on our end. With JB being Non-Verbal Autistic nothing is just as easy as picking up and going.

Our first family trip to Hersheypark was a bust. JB had a very difficult time dealing with the crowds of people and he didn’t like any of the rides. We winged it and I have to say it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. On our second trip we prepared and adapted to make sure he would enjoy himself. If he’s happy the rest of us are usually golden. Making sure his needs are met are a top priority for me, especially with something like a cruise.

This past summer we attend a media event aboard a Carnival ship in our home town. It was the perfect chance for us to get a sense of how JB would react to being on the ship. He was very nervous about boarding the huge ship. It scared him a bit. He was also very impatient about waiting to board the ship. When we were dining he didn’t understand why some people had their food and he didn’t have his yet. All things we stored in our memory bank to help us better prepare for our upcoming cruise.

Tips & Suggestions for Special Needs Families

I know not all special needs family is made the same. We are all different with our own unique set of challenges. I created the free printable as a way to help families like mines plan for a cruise and cut down on stress while planning. There’s no way you can completely prepare for everything but I hope my checklist keep you on track of some of the basics. Here’s a few tips and suggestions to help along with the checklist.

  1. If your child has a special diet please check your cruise line’s policy on dietary needs. While they may offer some options as far as gluten-free or sugar-free options, they may not have more complex offerings. Contact the customer service department prior to sailing to address any special dietary needs in case you need to shop for your own snacks for onboard the ship.
  2. If you’re flying try to book and travel the day before your cruise. This gives your child the opportunity to destress between events. Flying can be very stressful for special needs families, so getting to spend the night in a hotel the day before heading to port will shorten your travel day. You can also look into this option for when you return from your cruise as well.
  3. I can’t stress this enough but if your child requires special medical equipment please make sure you pack it with you. Inform the airline and cruise ship of any special medical equipment. I would recommend using a back up just in case anything happens while you’re traveling.
  4. Pack all your required medication in your carry on bag or a special back pack for your child. Once you’re on board the ship it could be hours before you see your luggage. Keep all your required medications on you ensures you’re covered at all times. I also recommend packing a change of clothes as well in your carry on bag for the ship.
  5. Have a practice dry run at the airport if possible. Our local airport participates in the Wings for Autism program and hold special trail runs for families with children on the spectrum to help them through the process of going through security and boarding the plane.

These are just a few of the tips to help families like mines when traveling or planning a cruise.  Check out my detailed checklist if you’re planning a cruise or any long travel trips in the future.

Are you a special needs mom/dad and have tips you use for traveling with kids? Share them in the comments below.