While standing in the check-out line the other day calculating the dollar damage, Lorraine started to wonder how much it costs a cruise ship to feed the thousands of passengers and crew members onboard.
Turns out from research that cruise lines, just like the rest of us, operate on a food budget, and most recent estimates indicate that budget to be between twenty-five and thirty dollars per person per day.
Using Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas as an example, Associated Press reports that to feed some 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members for seven days, the ship will head out loaded with over 5,000 lobster tails, 20,000 ice cream cones, 9,000 pounds of tomatoes, 9,000 pounds of lettuce, almost 15,000 pounds of potatoes, 2,600 pounds of apples, and over 5,000 pounds of bananas. Add to that some 47,000 eggs, over 2,600 gallons of milk. 20,000 pounds of chicken, more than 18,000 pounds of beef, 7,000 pounds of fish, and nearly 11,000 hot dogs. And to wash it all down – 32,000 bottles, and 900 cans of beer and 17,000 cans of soda! Wow – that’s some grocery list – LOL!
Using even the lower budget estimate of twenty-five dollars per person per day, that’s a tidy sum of nearly a million-and-a-half dollars! And – keep in mind that these are not your local supermarket dollars – but instead, negotiated wholesale bulk purchasing bucks!
All things considered, cruise lines do a pretty good job of providing meals to the masses. Sure, some lines may do better - some not so better, but it all depends on the line, the ship, and often, the day! If you happen to be a “frequent floater” you can reminisce about when every meal was a “feast” – but things change - the economy changes....and due to recent Center for Disease Control regulations, some items have either been discontinued or adjusted to comply with their new storage/refrigeration guidelines.
There are a lot of direct costs involved in a sailing – some are estimated to run as high as 72% of total ship expenses. Of that, almost 10% is directly related to food costs, with the rest going to fuel, labor, etc. To keep fares still within reach of the cruising public and operate at a profit, the lines must stay within budget!
And in this day and age, don’t we all?