December 7, 2022
Lauren Platero

Cruise Ship Food Service: Everything You Need to Know About

Cruise ship food service is some of the most favorable dining experiences within the hospitality industry. From upscale restaurants to casual dining options, there are countless ways to offer great food and customer service.

One of the most significant features of cruise ship food service is the constant flow of revenue. Plus, there are few restaurant expenses since processes on ships are so standardized. In the age of innovation, cruise ships are partnering with hospitality software companies to use restaurant tech solutions for better experiences.

Cruise ship food service is quite different from regular food delivery or brick and mortar restaurants. So without further ado, let’s learn everything you need to know.

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Tips for Serving Cruise Ship Food

Depending on what type of cruise ship food you’re going to serve, there are numerous tips to be aware of. Some of the best pieces of advice that’ll keep a high tech cruise ship inclusive and appealing to guests include:

  • Offering a variety. Since the cruise ship food is the only food available, you want to provide passengers with various options. For instance, change up the main course options at the buffet and main dining room daily.
  • Catering to dietary preferences. In this day and age, there are many dietary preferences to cater to. Ensure that the ship’s kitchens can accommodate gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, vegetarian, and low-sugar options. To make it simpler for your kitchen staff on each cruise, send out a mandatory survey to all of your guests upon booking their cruise. This way, the staff will know well in advance if there is a niche market or any food trends to accommodate.
  • Staying mindful of allergies. When people are on a cruise ship, it’s no surprise that they feel a bit of fear regarding their food allergies. Make it a priority to serve food options that are free from the top allergens. It’d also reassure passengers if you kept a designated kitchen area to prepare all of these meals. It would allow the chefs to avoid cross-contamination, and the passengers can relax while dining.
  • Displaying QR codes around the ship for various menu types. Upselling and cross selling should be a top priority for any business model. An effective way to achieve this on cruise ships is to influence passengers to upgrade their vacation.

Features of Cruise Ship Food Tech to Utilize

So you’ve decided on the various types of cruise ship food service you’d like to offer. But what about innovative features and app integrations? Here are some of the best features to consider for your cruise ship.

  • In Room Dining: When you really think about it, cruise ships can offer all of the same features as a hotel. With this said, offer room service to all of your guests. It’ll be a favorable feature for those who don’t want to travel down several decks, and it will take the convenience level up a notch.
  • 24 7 Food Delivery: Similar to in-room dining, offer cruise ship food service around the clock. By calling a concierge number or using online ordering apps, passengers should be able to order food at any time of day.
  • ADA Compliance Standards: One of the best parts about using innovative restaurant technology is that it can offer visual and audio features. By making your cruise ship ADA-compliant, you can feel confident that all of your passengers will be comfortable.
  • Contactless Payments: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer data reports show that more people prefer contactless payments than ever before. Since many people view cruise ships as massive capsules (despite the size and open air on decks), contactless payment processing options are very attractive. Plus, PCI standards will ensure the safety of both parties–even in international waters. On cruise ships, these payment methods can be via smartphones. Or, the merchant can charge the purchases to the passenger’s room as they would in a hotel.
  • Restaurant Reservations: If passengers opt for meals at on-ship restaurants rather than the main dining room, allow them to book reservations. It would be best if guests were required to do so before the ship sets sail. This will help the staff prepare restaurant inventory management needs in advance.
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Examples of Cruise Ship Food Options

One of the best parts about cruise ship food service is that passengers have several varieties. Some of the most frequented dining options on a cruise ship include:

  • Self Ordering Kiosks: Many cruise ship food services allow passengers to order food on their own. Kiosks are becoming increasingly popular on ships, as they save both parties time.
  • Buffets: Every cruise ship offers an all-you-can-eat buffet. In fact, they’re probably one of the most popular features amongst all cruise liners. They serve various cruise ship food options and typically have extended hours.
  • Main Dining Room: On every cruise ship, passengers will get to dine in the main dining room each day. These meals are included in the cruise ship fare, so there shouldn’t be any additional expenses. The cruise ship food menu changes on a daily basis, too. So even if that’s the only dinner spot for a passenger, they’ll always have a variety of options.
  • Restaurants: Even though cruise ships have a main dining room, they also consist of other restaurants. These options can allow passengers to have the most upscale dining experience.
  • Room Service: Cruise ships are big, and not everyone may want to leave their stateroom. Utilize in-room tablets to maximize sales and enhance customer service.  
  • Concierge: If passengers want the ultimate experience, they can upgrade to receive the concierge service. In many cases, the concierge is included while staying in one of the ship’s deluxe suites. It typically includes far more than just pre-dinner horderves. Guests can also receive premium seating at the pools and theaters, as well as a 24/7 customer service hotline.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cruise Ship Food

Food is one of the most appealing aspects of a cruise ship. The variety and accessibility enhance the luxurious experience. Read on to learn more about serving food on a ship.

What Type of Food Is Served On a Cruise Ship?

One of the best parts about cruise ships is that they offer quite the variety of food. On a cruise ship, passengers can find the following types of food:

Is All the Food Free On a Cruise?

The cruise ship fare will always include the main dining room and the all-you-can-eat buffet. These dining options are inclusive to all passengers. However, there are some options where you’d have to pay extra.

Most, if not all cruise ships have restaurants. Passengers can book reservations for these eateries long before they set sail. At the end of the meal, they can either pay for it upfront or have it charged to their room. It’s important to note that these options make payment processing super simple.

Is Food On a Cruise Ship Good?

Yes, very much so! Cruise liners hire various types of chefs from across the globe. They are true experts in their craft and can serve a range of delicacies. Many kitchen staff on cruise ships also have a talent for showcasing food. Expect intricate displays and decorative presentations.

Can You Take Food On a Cruise Ship?

Though you don’t have a reason to bring food onto a cruise ship, there are no restrictions that would stop you from doing so. Cruise ship food is fantastic and is one of the primary reasons consumers love to travel this way. Just make sure that you don’t bring any perishables, as the refrigerator space in each cabin is limited.

Can You Eat Anytime On a Cruise?

Absolutely! Every major cruise ship will have at least one eatery open around the clock. In some cases, it’s the main buffet, while in other ships, it’s a sit-down restaurant. It’s one of the best perks of cruises and is certainly a feature that makes them unique from other vacations.

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All Aboard!

Cruise ship food service is a major component of any cruise line. However, the tools, integrations, and features you install can make a huge difference. Offering the right cruise ship food service can create a competitive advantage, enhance your reputation, and provide guests with the best experience possible.