Contributor, Tore Berger

Contributor, Tore Berger

I am often asked about what goes into the menu choices for a cruise, and what are some of the factors for a ship (or company) in deciding the ship’s menus. The answer is of course divided, but here are some experiences from a hospitality management side:

  • Season on the sites
  • Season of year
  • Logistical challenges on the sites
  • Storage challenges on board
  • Prices
  • And of course the most important factor, Guests’ demands and requests, based on historical data.

While these are some of the factors, the companies (cruise lines) also have their own reasons and systems on the menu making.

Food cost on a cruise ship is essential for the business itself. Big buffets, for instance, may very well support the fine dining (or Gourmet) when it comes to cost. Then these can upgrade their menus, use more expensive basics, and take a cover charge (like the specialty restaurants on ships) for balancing it all.

A la carte, where you choose from a set menu, is always the tricky one. Concept, seasons, prices of season, and guest segment is then the set factor. The buffet can have everything, and it will often use all the kitchen and store room “left-overs.”  The buffets will often vary from day to day.

The menu in the a la carte is essential. Having something for everybody is impossible! And, having something for most of us is difficult, so the menu must be taken seriously. Some of the cruise companies today make new menus everyday. That gives a surprise factor, it reaches more guests, and it is something the guests talk about. Most cruise companies also have a season-based menu, to be changed four times a year, and with ingredients to mirror the season itself. Meat lovers, fish eaters, chicken fans, religions, allergies, vegetarians, vegans, children, nation segments… all of these and more are to be considered. Then it’s the job of the Chef, the suppliers, the restaurant manager, and the logistic manager on board to set it.

Going on a cruise? Not happy with the menu on Your last cruise? Special needs? Special demands? Contact Your cruise company. Also remember to fill in Your wishes and menu tips on Your final evaluation cards on Your next cruise. It is the guests who are the strongest and best consultant!

“A good waiter can save a bad meal, but a good meal can’t save a bad waiter…”

Ship greetings from: Tore Berger. Maitre`d.

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More important today than ever (thanks iPhone, iPad, smart phone and camera) is having enough electrical outlets in your stateroom (or hotel).  There are a few items out there like the one pictured (this one from 360electrical), and it is something that we don’t so much forget to bring, but many do not think of owning a travel-sized version in the first place.

You’re onboard with your iPad, iPod (or phone), digital camera, and whatever else that requires charging.  This little beauty allows you to plug in two of the items via USB.  Be sure to check specifications for charging time when you use any in-wall USB charging device, as they do vary.

Remembering an item such as this can only enhance your Cruise Experience.

Hi.  I’m Jeffrey Solomon, and I am a geek.

Welcome to the first installment of Cruise Ship Tech, a feature that will appear regularly on this blog, highlighting technologies on ships that help enhance your Cruise Experience.  In this edition, it’s HUGE TABLETS ON WALLS…IN A SHIP!  This is how I envision heaven…computers and cruise ships!

rcclwayfinderRCCI’s Wayfinders are interactive signage device systems that have won multiple awards for technology excellence.  Passengers, at the touch of their fingertips, can be routed to onboard activities (in real time), are given customized ship directions and can even see which restaurants are open and serving!  Gone are the days of remembering that darn, little, foldable ship’s map.  I’m still trying to close one from four years ago!

Wayfinders are strategically located near main entryways and elevator bays.  Fear not, the ships still contain the dissection maps  we’ve all grown to know and love.  But, once you’ve experienced the Wayfinders system, you’ll wonder why every ship on every line doesn’t rush to install something similar.  I want one in the house, so I’ll know when dinner is ready, where the dogs are hiding in the backyard and when the mail is in the box.

Check out which ships in the RCCI fleet have gone through their revitalizations, which include the digital signage system. CLICK HERE!

Grid-It XL for your suitcase.

Grid-It XL for your suitcase.

I go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas almost every year, and I almost always leave with something…or at least with the information for the intent (since you typically can’t buy products on the trade show floor).

This time around, it was the Grid-It, by Cocoon; I love it.  It’s been around, but it didn’t grab my attention until I walked by their booth.  And, there might have been a rep (or model), almost as beautiful as my wife (but not quite), holding one as I walked by!

This thing is great.  It’ll hold and organize your pocket camera, phone/iPod/mp3 player, a small portable speaker (like the Jambox), drugs, toothpaste and more.  I got the three pack, and the one that holds an iPad!  These items help take the stress out of packing, and further enhances your cruising experience.

COCOON