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In Focus: F&B

Seatrade Cruise Global to expand F&B@Sea in 2024

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Scenes from the inaugural F&B@Sea
Following the inaugural F&B@Sea's success, Seatrade Cruise Global plans to expand the event in 2024.

F&B@Sea brought together cruise line executives, suppliers and vendors to meet, learn, discuss challenges and opportunities, and expand horizons.

Throughout the March 28-29 event, leaders from Virgin Voyages, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and other brands took to the stage to address food and beverage trends including supply chains, delivering unique passenger experiences and the growing demand for sustainable dining.

Top trends

Top trends identified to heavily influence shipboard dining in 2023/2024 include local gastronomy offerings that reflect cruise itineraries, sustainable seafood sourcing options, consumer demand for low to no-alcohol beverages, and interest in craft-spirit infusions and health supplement drinks. Technology is also predicted to play a major role with continued focus on convenience provided by ordering/menu apps, and AI for predictive ordering and waste management.

'For us, it’s really about changing people’s perception of what food and beverage at sea is really about,' said Cornelius Gallagher Jr., VP food & beverage operations, Celebrity Cruises. 'There is a preconceived notion that the cruise industry and the food onboard is all about volume' so a big effort is trying to change that perception and educate people about the reality of dining at sea.

Vendors and sponsors

A highly curated lineup of vendors and sponsors including Heineken, Campari Group, Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Rémy Cointreau joined the F&B@Sea marketplace alongside live cooking and cocktail demonstrations. Special features and attendee favorites included the Bacardi Speakeasy, Stella’s chalice engraving station and the Sundown Soirée networking reception.

'[F&B@Sea] was a good opportunity to meet a lot of suppliers and potential partners,' said Paolo Raia, managing director of procurement and logistics, MSC Cruises. He added the event is something that can grow in the coming years and is 'full of opportunities.'

Attendees included cruise line and food and beverage decision-makers such as purchasing and sourcing managers, supply chain directors and managers, restaurant managers and food and beverage sales executives.

Sign up for first to know about F&B@Sea 2024

Seatrade Cruise Global said F&B@Sea will return bigger and better. A signup to be the first to know about F&B@Sea 2024 is here.

F&B@Sea was developed in close consultation with cruise lines, food and beverage stakeholders and culinary leaders with support from Cruise Lines International Association, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and industry consulting leader MarkeTeam.