At one of the most important cruise industry events—Seatrade Cruise Global, executives from cruise lines small and large discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Some of the topics that stood out in prevalence included sustainability, diversity and of course the cruise buffet. While the latter might seem light in comparison, it’s one that impacts the everyday workings onboard, for both crew and passengers. After all, it’s projected that cruises will hit a record of 30 million passengers this year.
Sustainability & Diversity
As an industry comprised of the largest sea vessels that transport hundreds of thousands of passengers each day, there is a responsibility to enact smart environmental practices. Some CEOs shared what their lines are doing to lessen their environmental impact, including eliminating plastic, halting the use of heavy fuel oil and building more efficient ships, in some cases launching hybrid electric-powered vessels. One executive warned that if swift action is not taken, cruise lines could be hit with government taxes that would inevitably be passed down to the passenger.
In recent years there has been a push across the industry to ensure gender diversity at all levels. One way the industry is addressing this is by creating more opportunities on deck, as well as the technical and engineering areas. In fact, Princess Cruise line has a second officer who first came on board as a spa therapist but later decided she would rather pilot the ship. The industry is pushing for more diversity.
Cruise chefs also participated in discussions around cuisine. Many feel the food offerings on ships needs elevating. One idea brought forth was to reduce the number of choices and focus on increasing the quality and perfecting fewer dishes. This can alter the typical perception of cruise buffets being about quantity versus quality. Some lines have experimented with special food venues onboard. One specific cruise line had success in this area by catering to foodies through setting up “small restaurants” with tasty options one would find at food trucks or street stands.
For cruise chefs, the goal is to change travelers’ perceptions and expectations around cruise cuisine. To achieve this, an inventory and procurement solution can be the perfect ingredient to optimize food operations. Not only does it help limit food waste, but it also ensures menu items are readily available when needed. The ideal technology can improve menu planning and execution, and increase passenger satisfaction.