July 13, 2023
Lauren Platero

10 Ways to Become the Best Cruise Line for Food Service

Becoming the best cruise line for food service may seem like a daunting task. However, there are many ways to accomplish such a feat. Launching a high tech cruise ship can begin with innovative food service. There are also many ways to use restaurant technology to diversify the cruise ship food menu

In this blog, we’re going to go over ten foolproof ways to become the best cruise line for food service. Then, we’ll provide a brief overview of leading names in the industry that constantly get cruise ship food service right. 

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10 Ways to Become the Best Cruise Line for Food

Ready to establish your brand as the best cruise line for food and drinks? We think the following tips will help do the trick! See below:

1. Switch Up the Menu Each Day

Keep passengers interested in their dining experience by switching up the menus every day. Providing guests with the ultimate vacation means making the standard dining rooms feel like a new restaurant each day. Plus, it will prevent it from appearing mundane. 

Get creative with the menu changes. For instance, create a theme for each dinner. They can be based on ethnic food groups, popular culture, or even the cruise’s port stops. It’ll add an exciting element to everyone’s vacation and certainly be a conversation starter amongst past travelers. And you know what they say--there's nothing like word-of-mouth marketing.

2. Keep the Buffet Open 24/7

Accommodate passengers at all hours of the day with a 24/7 buffet. This is the ultimate service, as they won’t have to ever wait until the main dining room opens. Plus, they can do anything and everything around their busy schedule. 

Let’s say a passenger wants to use the ship’s fitness center at the wee hours of the morning. Or, perhaps a group misses dinner because they saw a show instead. With a buffet that never closes, no one will ever have to wait for their next meal. 

3. Offer In Room Dining 

If you’re operating a luxury ocean liner, why not offer one of the most luxurious amenities? In-room dining, or in-cabin dining, is identical to hotel room service. However, the best cruise line for food service will likely have more formal options. 

Sure, food and beverages can be brought to staterooms. However, passengers with a balcony or suite  can have a private dining experience. With proper linens, glassware, and decor, many rooms aboard can have the option of enjoying meals right in front of the sea.

4. Source Seasonal Ingredients 

Seasonal ingredients will be some of the best items you put into recipes. They’ll create the most delicious meals with optimal flavor profiles. Even the consistency and appearance of the dishes will be superior to those with generic ingredients. We'll discuss how to do this in the next section.

5. Only Use the Freshest Ingredients 

If you want to be the best cruise line for food service, you need to onboard restaurant inventory management software. This kind of solution will allow you to automate several processes pertaining to inventory control. This will let you stop overspending and wasting food. 

With a restaurant inventory app like BlueCart, you’ll never have to take inventory, conduct demand planning, or schedule the reorder point. Well, at least not manually! All of these processes can be on autopilot, making the lives of those in the kitchen so much easier.

6. Keep Up With Food Trends 

Trending recipes always catch the attention of worldly passengers. Whether it’s the plating design, use of ingredients, or the entire recipe, check out what food and drink trends are popular. You can even put your own twist on such trends, making them unique to the cruise line. This is a sure way to stand out as the best cruise line for food and beverages. 

7. Recruit the World’s Top Chefs 

The best cruise line for food service will need to hire the best types of chefs. From an executive chef to a pastry chef, and every relevant position in between, they’re necessary to serve the best dishes and drinks. 

Every luxury cruise line should recruit the greatest talent for each restaurant-related position. Some even onboard past Michelin Star chefs. So, the industry standard is pretty high.

8. Offer Specialty Restaurant Options

The main dining room and buffet on cruise ships definitely serve a wide variety of food and drinks. But, you can take it up a notch and include specialty restaurants. These are additional eateries on the ship that come with a price. 

Passengers can either buy packages for specialty restaurants ahead of time or reserve separate restaurant reservations through the cruise booking software. Just ensure that you clarify that they’re not part of the all-inclusive cruise price. If not, this can result in a poor customer experience.

9. Sell Various Drink Packages 

Beverage sales are a massive revenue source on cruise ships. Include a wide variety of packages so that the cruise line and passengers can make the most of each sailing. Begin by offering the least expensive package that includes all soft drinks. This is ideal for those under 21 or who don’t consume alcohol. 

Then, design the drink package that includes all the varying types of alcohol. Want to take it up a notch? Create a premium beverage package that includes premium liquor and beer brands. But regardless of the alcohol included, ensure that the packages include numerous popular cocktails and original cruise line classics. 

Oh, and did you know that alcohol has the highest markup of all the different types of inventory (see: how to calculate markup)? So, it’s no surprise that this is where cruise lines make the bulk of their money.

10. Cater to All the Dietary Restrictions

When people have strict dietary restrictions and preferences, a cruise might not seem like the most appealing vacation. After all, their access to food and drinks is somewhat limited in the grand scheme of things. So, take this as an opportunity to diversify your menus. 

Establish kitchens that are completely free of the top allergens, including tree nuts, peanuts, soy, eggs, and shellfish. It’s also ideal if the cruise line’s food can cater to those that are intolerant to dairy and gluten. 

Last but certainly not least, allow passengers to comfortably abide by their vegan or vegetarian lifestyles. Create dishes with alternatives to meat products and seafood dishes. From vegan drinks to plant-based milk, there are many options for cruelty-free beverages, too. 

Best Cruise Line for Food: 8 Unique Companies 

Numerous ocean liners serve excellent food and offer stellar customer service. In fact, such cruise lines are known for related amenities. If you want to establish your classes of ships as the best cruise line for food, take inspiration from the following companies:

  1. Royal Caribbean
  2. Celebrity Cruises
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line
  4. Princess Cruises 
  5. Viking Cruises 
  6. Carnival Cruise Line
  7. Holland America Cruises
  8. Norwegian Cruise Line 

All of these brands get food and service right, every single trip. From unique recipe creations to providing top-notch service, they do it all.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Cruise Line for Food

Now you should be able to stand out as the best cruise line for food service. However, there are additional concepts you should be familiar with. Read on to learn more about them!

Can You Order As Much Food As You Want On a Cruise?

Yes, you can order as much food as you want on a cruise, within reason of course. From the main dining area to room service, passengers have quite the variety, too.

What Is the Best Time to Eat On a Cruise Ship?

If there's one meal you want to base your schedule around, it's dinner. With this said, the best time to have dinner is anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. There are many cruise ship attractions that go on at night, like shows, deck parties, and live music. By dining on the earlier side, you won't risk missing out on all the extra fun. 

Is Royal Caribbean Considered a Luxury Cruise Line?

Yes, Royal Caribbean is a luxury cruise line. In fact, most travelers consider it to be the most luxurious cruise line of all time. From top of the line menus to one of a kind adventures, there’s truly nothing like it.

Can You Eat Unlimited Food On a Cruise?

Yes, you can eat unlimited food on a cruise. First, there is normally an all-you-can-eat buffet. Then, you have the main dining room which comes with the price of your cruise. And on some cruises, there are specialty restaurants that are upgraded. So, there’s really no such thing as going hungry on a cruise ship.

Can I Order Two Entrees On a Cruise?

If you’re referring to the main dining room, you can typically order as many entrees as you’d like. If this is not the case on your cruise ship, don’t forget about the all-you-can-eat buffet.

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Be the Next Best Cruise Line for Food Service

Becoming the best cruise line for food service requires a blend of creative and technical strategies. Once you acquire the knack for all the strategies previously mentioned, you’ll be on your way to success. Always remember that food and drinks are the highlight of most passenger’s vacations. So, always ensure yours meets their standards.