Cruise holidays are booming in popularity, with the number of luxury liners on offer growing every year. With this opulent offering comes amenities to match. Not only are many ships now offering several restaurants as part of their inclusive package, some even welcome onboard celebrity chefs to whip up the delicious dining experience for guests. However, it’s a different story for crew on board, who select from a very different type of menu.
Most cruise ships have two or three tiers of staff ranks, depending on the size of the ship and the variety of positions onboard.
“Crew have their mess, and officers have their own mess which gets them guest recipes. They can dine in guest areas and eat guest food directly if they want. I enjoyed these privileges as an art auctioneer.
“Some ships have a middle tier for staff, as well. That food offers a few things to order sometimes, like simple eggs or chicken breasts, but often just means a slighter wider variety of buffet-style options. “You’ll get some teriyaki recipes or something, instead of plain meat. “That’s not the norm, though, as it just adds more work for the chefs and takes up more deck space for separate rooms, staff, etc.”
Usually where the crew member can eat, and what is on offer to them, is based on department-specific rules. These vary depending on the cruise operator.”
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“Chefs and room stewards and able seamen and waiters and bartenders: for them, the crew mess only,” adds Brian.
The limited variety of food on offer to staff means they often have to get creative, combining different foods together to try and excite their palette.
It also means many homesick cruise workers, who Travel from all around the globe to work as part of the ship’s staffing fleet, aren’t able to get a much-longed-for taste of home comfort.
“Access to ‘food from home’ at sea varies dramatically because ‘home’ varies dramatically,” Brian writes in his book.
“Some cruise lines have more Indian dishes, or eastern European, or Caribbean, depending on the make-up of the crew. Happily, cruise lines take food for the crew very seriously. It’s the real deal—unlike, say, the food court at ye olde shopping mall.
“Prior to international corporations, I doubt native Mexicans, Italians, or Chinese would have even recognized such foods as being ‘theirs’—especially after eating it.”
Though Brian does point out that some liners are better than others when it comes to foodservice.
“Different cruise lines have very different crew food, but it’s always a buffet. Carnival, for example, had the best I encountered, which to my surprise included strip steaks. Mostly they offered copious amounts of rice for the Asian crew.”
Luckily, passengers do not have to be concerned about limp lettuce or a ranking system.
In fact, recently P&O Cruises announced a collaboration with Michelin-star chef Marco Pierre-White onboard their 2020 Food Heroes Experiences.
Guests will be welcomed aboard to dine on some of the finest eats from Marco Pierre White, master pâtissier Eric Lanlard and award-winning wine expert Olly Smith.These star-studded food offerings are available on selected 2020 sailings including P&O Cruises Iona, launching May 2020.
Guests will be able to tuck into Marco’s Gala menus in any of Iona’s four main restaurants.They can also sample Eric’s hand-crafted pastries in Vistas Café Bar and take part in Olly’s food and drink experiences including unique shore excursions.Meanwhile, the Britannia liner will offer an exclusive opportunity for Travels to attend Marco’s hosted masterclasses in the Cookery Club, teaching them the secrets behind some of his most loved dishes.