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In Focus: F&B@Sea

Princess President John Padgett and celebrity mixologist at F&B@Sea

L-R: Princess Cruises' president John Padgett, celebrity mixologist Rob Floyd and founder of Skrewball Whiskey/Pernod Ricard, Steve Yeng on April 10 at F&B@Sea
Princess Cruises President John Padgett and celebrity mixologist Rob Floyd came together to conclude the first day of F&B@Sea on Wednesday.

The ‘Princess Cruises brings you ... The Good Spirits at Sea Experience’ saw Floyd create beverages before a live audience at the venue’s main stage, pouring the unique concoctions for those attending.

The Good Spirits at Sea TV series sees Floyd explore various destinations to discover the secrets behind their cocktails before producing his own cocktails inspired by the various regions. The concept can be found on board multiple Princess Cruises vessels, including the line’s newest, Sun Princess


The immersive F&B@Sea, dedicated to the cruise food and beverage community, launched in 2023. This year it took place from April 10-11 at Miami’s Mana Wynwood Convention Center, held in tandem with Seatrade Cruise Global from April 8-11 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Next year’s F&B@Sea will run from April 9-10, concurrent with Seatrade Cruise Global 2025 from April 7-10. The venues for the two events are unchanged. 


At The Bistro, one of High West’s in-house mixologists showcased two cocktails. The founder of Skrewball Whiskey/Pernod Ricard, Steve Yeng, also hosted a demo at the The Bistro as he explained his journey to developing a best-selling peanut butter whiskey cocktail at his bar and restaurant. Happy hours and drinks receptions further enriched the programme. 


Seatrade Cruise News Deputy Editor Holly Payne, took to the main stage sponsored by Cafe Azul to deliver the keynote where she revealed key findings from Seatrade Cruise’s second Cruise F&B Trends Report. 

As the basis for the report, 74 participants – representing cruise lines, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers of food or beverage, or both – were surveyed on existing and predicted trends. With local culinary (31.51%,) authentic cultural food experiences (45.21%) and immersive dining (32.88%) scoring highly on trends predicted for 2024/25, she said the results pointed to an inclination towards more experiential dining, while for beverage, the results suggested passengers are becoming increasingly health conscious. Low to zero alcohol options, health supplement drinks and low to zero calorie beverages scored 46.58%, 39.73% and 30.14%, respectively, by survey participants when asked about future trends in the beverage industry. 

State of the Industry

Sponsored by Stoli Group USA, the ‘State of the Industry: Navigating the Cruise F&B Supply Chain’ followed, a panel consisting of Alia Abou-Assali, vp purchasing and logistics, The Apollo Group; Jason Gelineau (moderator,) director, JAG Hospitality; Richard Morse, senior VP F&B, Carnival Cruise Line; Paolo Raia, MD, MSC Procurement & Logistics; and James Wells, global chief supply chain officer, Royal Caribbean Group. They delved into the intricate world of cruise F&B supply chain dynamics looking at the challenges and triumphs of more sustainable F&B sourcing, the outlook for cruise F&B supply/demand in coming years and the evolving landscape of local procurement in global destinations.

Abou-Assali and Raia emphasised the importance of communication, with the latter describing partnership as ‘crucial.’ MSC recently invested heavily to develop central monitoring of its supply chain so it can identify the location of its food containers in real time. ‘In case of disruption, we are the first to intervene.’ 

The Apollo Group has a dashboard outlining its goals and the changes needed to achieve them, as it looks to be more sustainable, ‘Almost 80% of our forklifts and pallet jacks are electrical,’ said Abou-Assali, describing plans to add more equipment running on electricity.  

To avoid disruption in the supply chain 'comes down to better planning, better forecasting,' Wells said, '… so we have better information to work with our suppliers before we get to the disruption.’ He also said ‘the most sustainable supply chain is an efficient supply chain' and told suppliers, ‘We need you to educate us.’ 

Morse discussed occasions where producers favour supplying local restaurants rather than a single cruise ship, while acknowledging improvements in F&B since 2019. 

Abou-Assali said health-based menus will feature strongly in the future ‘so we have to be ready' and include ‘more sustainable products on board, in every area.’ 

TAGS: Event News
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The 2024 F&B Trends Report

We surveyed cruise lines, manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of food/beverage to find out where the sector is headed. Report Includes: Market predications for 2024/2025, food and drink trends, technology, training and more!

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