Food Trends Go to Sea
It's 10 a.m.
Do you know what your event's attendees are eating?
Meeting planners know that healthy food options keep attendees alert, energized, and engaged.
Brain-numbing, sugary snacks are disappearing from break tables, while nutritious, brain-boosting items like fresh fruit and whole grain goodies are taking their place.
We're becoming more food savvy, thanks in part to the proliferation of TV cooking shows and popular cookbooks which encourage us to make the switch to healthier food choices.
Today's meeting and conference attendees demand fresher and more unusual "culinary experiences."
Connections are made, relationships are strengthened, and memories are created over shared meals during events.
Diners are seeking out more than just nourishment from their food - they want a sense of community and memorable experiences rather than just another meal.
There are few places where this change in F&B culture is clearer than on cruise ships.
As cruise lines keep up with food trends, they've added more global culinary options, world-class restaurants, interactive dining experiences, and menus to accommodate every dietary need.
Here are a few of the latest developments at sea.
More Choices and Outdoor Dining
Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, the NYC-based Norwegian Breakaway, raised the bar on culinary choices.
There are 26 different dining venues (11 are complimentary) to please every palate, from Italian and French to Asian and Brazilian.
More than a dozen venues, including Iron Chef star Geoffrey Zakarian's seafood restaurant, open out to a lively boardwalk area called The Waterfront.
Celebrity Cruises introduced the first DIY grilling experience at sea with The Lawn Club Grill on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection.
This open-air dining venue on the top-deck Lawn Club boasts a cosmopolitan, country club ambience, a freshly manicured lawn, and gorgeous sea views.
But the highlight is the opportunity for your guests to select and grill their own meats side-by-side with Celebrity Cruises' expert chefs.
Hands-On Culinary Adventures
During an event at sea, your group can embark on memorable culinary adventures - both onboard and ashore - that celebrate the exciting destinations they are visiting. -
Select Silversea voyages feature the only at-sea Relais & Châteaux L'École des Chefs cooking school at sea.
The program (offered free of charge) includes workshops, cooking demonstrations, and hands-on instruction.
The "Market to Plate" experience includes an escorted tour of a local market followed by a cooking class.
Oceania Cruises' Bon Appétit Culinary Centre also offers hands-on instruction for your budding chefs aboard Marina or Riviera, with 24 impressively equipped cooking stations from which to work.
Crystal Cruises offers unique and intimate F&B experiences during Mediterranean voyages on their luxury ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.
Shore excursions include classic Italian cooking lessons with Michelin-starred chefs in Sorrento, dinner and a concert at a Sicilian castle in Taormina, or a tasting tour of local bakeries in Mykonos, Greece.
New Epicurean Offerings
Oceania Cruises' acclaimed culinary team recently rolled out a new fleet-wide menu that features 85 epicurean dishes.
Foodies will appreciate that new menu items feature such high-end ingredients as Castilla-La Mancha saffron and Lessatini olive oil from Nice, France.
The impressive menus are found in the elegant Grand Dining Room, where gracious, tuxedo-clad waiters serve your guests course after course from a menu that changes daily.
There is never an additional fee to dine in the Grand Dining Room or in any Oceania specialty restaurant.
Guests on Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ships can take a journey into fantasy or magic while they dine.
On Norwegian Breakaway, the jungle is brought to life "under the Big Top" by an international cast of soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, and magnificent acrobats, jugglers, and musicians.
The Illusionarium on Norwegian Getaway promises to envelop your guests in the fascinating world of magic as they experience the astonishing illusions of world-class magicians and surreal special effects.
Meeting planners can buy out either dining and entertainment venue for a spectacular private group event.
The expanded, multi-functional Conference Centre on Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Reflection can also serve as a ballroom, giving meeting planners more options for hosting and entertaining groups at sea.
In addition to the ship's extensive menu, Celebrity's culinary team has created a wide range of traditional catering options, offering everything from buffets to sit-down dining with wine pairings, with a full array of special dietary selections.
Customised ice and vegetable sculptures, interactive cooking demonstrations, and tastings hosted by Celebrity Cruises' executive chefs can also be arranged for groups, depending on the event's demands.
Chef's Table Experience
Several cruise lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International, now offer small groups an intimate "Chef's Table" experience that includes a galley tour, reception with the Chef, and multi-course dinner.
The "Chef's Table Lumiere" on the new Royal Princess also includes a unique sensory experience.
As soon as guests are seated at the custom-made glass table, a curtain made of thousands of fiber-optic light strands descends from the ceiling.
This creates a soft, glowing wall, giving the VIP group privacy in the middle of the main dining room.
Don't miss the boat!
Now that you have an idea of all the unique and delicious cruise ship dining options, isn't it time to consider taking your group to sea?
Planners who are worried about their meeting budget can also remember that meals are always complimentary in the ship's main dining rooms, buffet-style cafes, and even in some of the specialty restaurants.
Source : Maureen McKeon : http://www.successfulmeetings.com