Carnival Cruise Lines Testing Fee for Steak

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If you want a big fat juicy steak on a Carnival cruise you're going to have to pay for it.

The Big Kahuna of cruise lines is experimenting with charging $18 for what it calls "steakhouse entrees" in its main dining rooms on three ships, the Carnival Paradise, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Inspiration.

The fee applies to four added menu items: An 18-ounce grilled prime chop rib, a nine-ounce filet mignon, broiled Maine lobster tail and surf and turf (with lobster and a petit filet mignon), the line says on its blog.

The testing period for the fee-based specialty menu items is about three months.

"After that, we will evaluate it from there," Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen tells AOL Travel News.

Other items in the dining rooms are still free -- including an always available flat-iron steak, the line says.

In doing its test, Carnival matches competitor Royal Caribbean, which started offering extra-charge items in its dining rooms two years ago – drawing strong criticism at the time from cruise fans on websites including CruiseCritic.com.

Carnival already has classic steakhouses on many of its ships, fancy alternative dining venues for a fee of $30 per person.

On the blog, Carnival says the steakhouses have proven "hugely popular" with guests and that the fee-based test is an effort to bring the experience to those cruising on ships that do not have the steakhouse offering.

"The beef is USDA prime, dry aged, the same beef that is served in Carnival's steakhouses," the line says.

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