The Baked Alaska parade is back on Carnival cruise ships. The old-school tradition of uniformed servers parading the flaming dessert while diners twirl their napkins has returned to the line's repertoire.
"It was a tradition for many years, and then we discontinued it for awhile, and then we brought it back after feedback from our guests," Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said in an email Monday.
And it's been a hit with passengers.
Carnival also is revamping menus for on-board steakhouses, family-style Italian restaurants, delis and dining room breakfasts.
But back to the Baked Alaska. The cake, ice cream and merengue dessert is being revived on all 25 ships in Carnival's fleet. Over the years, many cruise lines have celebrated this tradition.
A story posted on Frommer's website says author John Maxtone-Graham wrote it was first served aboard a 1905 cruise on the Amerika: "[T]he lights were dimmed and from the kitchen came squads of waiters bearing overhead a sizzling combination of fire and ice."
The dessert didn't catch on as a cruise ship staple until the late 1950s or early 1960s, the story says, "when basic, un-evolved versions of the Baked Alaska Parade began appearing on ships."
London's Daily Mirror calls it one of the "most embarrassing cruise traditions we secretly love."
Carnival's other culinary upgrades include appetizers such as iced and smoked fresh oysters, tuna tartare and risotto with crab; and entrees such as Wagyu steak and pan-seared Dover sole being served at its steakhouses. The new menu is available on three ships and set to be rolled out to four more.
The line's new Cucina del Capitano menus feature entrees such as Grande Braciola Di Maiale, "a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage." Custom-made burrata (mozzarella and cream) and chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari are offered on Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze — and soon on Carnival Sunshine.
Breakfast and deli options have been revised too, some featuring healthier options. The line's 24-hour pizzerias, now called Pizzeria del Capitano, serve up five types of thin-crust pies.
Info: Carnival, (800) 764-7419 or contact a travel agent