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Eph60

Does the crew eat the same food as the passengers?

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Does the crew eat the same food as the passengers? You may have asked this yourself or heard it asked. It is asked of crew members every cruise. The response you get is kind of a stuttering yes. The truth is the majority of the crew does not eat what the passengers eat. Some of the officers get to eat in passenger dining rooms but mostly the buffet. The truth is there is a mess hall for the general crew and a mess hall for the officers. The general crew eats cafeteria style and the officers get to order from a very limited menu or cafeteria style if they prefer.

The chefs and the cooks for the crew are the least experienced of the chefs and cooks. They are working their way up to work in the passenger kitchens. This makes the food very inconsistant.

There is a good variety of food for the crew and like the passenger menu it will be the same week after week with an occasional change for holidays. There will be choices for all nationalities of crew members with the largest number of choices being for the majority nationality onboard the ship.

The dining rooms for the crew will be open 4 times a day so that they can also cover the night shifts. It is an all you can eat deal so the crew does not go hungry.

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Another great topic – and I’ve got more questions!

Even though the new chefs are working their way up to cooking for guests, they don’t practice by making the same dishes they will one day prepare for guests?

I know the officers of the bridge crew are normally all of the same nationality. Does this skew the menu towards Greek or Italian or Norwegian depending on the senior officers?

Personally we find international dishes very appealing (traditional American food tends to be fairly bland). So if the majority of the crew is Indonesian or Pilipino or Croatian, most of the dishes in the crew mess will reflect that even if the chefs are from India or Italy or Jamaica? It sounds like cooking on a cruise ship prepares you to work anywhere in the world!

Thanks again for all your insight!

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I agree. Great stuff here. My wife is Indian and we always get Indian food on board so is it correct that those chefs who cook for passengers are from India? Thanks!

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I guess budding chefs need to get their experience somewhere! :tongue: Thanks for another view from the crew quarters, Eph!

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To answer the question about the officers on the bridge skewing the meals towards their nationality, no most the officers on the bridge are the highest ranking officers. Some will have meals brought to them or they will eat in passengers dining rooms so that they are seen and can do a little PR for the cruise line.

Yes the crew does get a lot of choices that are Philipino or Indian. There will be a lot of several nationalities cooking onboard a ship including for the crew.

No the cooks and chefs cooking for the crew are not working on learning passenger menu's. What they are learning is the proper procedures expected by the main chefs. When and if they get promoted to the passenger dining rooms they will start at the bottom there and have to work their way through the system.

They truly do have some fine chefs onboard the ships, but they do have a few that will not ever make it to the passenger dining rooms.

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They truly do have some fine chefs onboard the ships

We couldn’t agree more! We’ve had many, many wonderful meals while cruising!

And now I’m hungry just thinking about it…

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we always get Indian food on board

Many of the most delicious dishes we’ve had on cruises are Indian food! We’re not vegetarians, but we’ll order the Indian vegetarian entrée more than once while we’re sailing aboard Celebrity in a couple of weeks! Can’t wait!

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Great post, Eph. Very interesting topic. We love the fact that there are so many foods from different places, the food that we just don't eat at home. Eph, you are a wealth of great info and it's greatly appreciated. I will be looking for all your topics. I had no idea that there were different chefs for the crew. I thought the chefs did the cooking and that certain quantities of it were sent to the crew cafeteria . Now I know, so thanks.

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The dining arrangements for crew differ from cruise line to cruise line.

Some of the larger lines have three options. 1) Officers Mess. This is for striped officers and equivalent ('un striped' crew such as shop manager, spa manager, cruise director and assistant etc). This is a more formal affair where patrons must be in the appropriate uniform. The menu is generally the same as the guest although there is normally a hot and cold buffet for those that would like. Wine is generally available depending on the line. There is an Officer Steward that will take care of orders. The people using this option usually have guest deck privileges, thus meaning they can use the guest outlets too.

2) Petty Officers Mess. This is generally for all those in guest facing roles. Shops, spa, casino, entertainment and some of the lower ranks in the deck and engine departments. A buffet is offered hot and cold normally the same as that offered in the OM.

3) The Crew Mess. For all other crew on board. Food is served buffet style. You can guarantee there will be boiled white rice at every offering. Self service all the way, although there are mess crew that make sure the area is kept clean, it is promoted that crew take pride in this area themselves.

In all three mess areas the food is varied and good. Generally a difference in all three rooms. Where possible the crew cooks try and cater to everyone's needs (we had a fellow Brit on one ship as crew cook, a shock to the system for him!), most of the time the food is fresh, sometimes you may see items on the buffet that were on the guest menu the meal before, eg. roast beef in the dinner buffet if it was on guest lunch.

A real treat is when the Asian crew host a night for all the crew. A wide range of dishes from all over the continent. Brilliant food.

On Medium sized ships, similar to that above but without the Petty officer mess.

On much smaller ships where space does not provide for separate galley areas for the crew; meals are taken before guest dining times, except breakfast which is a cold buffet (generally). This is more river vessels though.

As the menus are on a weekly/bi weekly rotation don't be surprised that as you are walking around your ports of calls if you see restaurants with large groups of young people..... Look closely and I am sure you will see some familiar faces (normally tried and tested restaurants too!)

Happy Sailing! x

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