For Peter Hofler, corporate executive chef at CMI Leisure, culinary and food and beverage operations span a wide range of clients, according to the 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
On one hand is the Semester at Sea, and on the other, a brand new 160-guest expedition ship that debuts later this year for Aurora Expeditions. In between are two small Victory Cruise Line ships adventuring in the Great Lakes, as well as five other expedition vessels, all from different clients targeting different demographics.
“We tailor the food program completely to the client,” said Hofler.
“For us the locations (of the ships) are sometimes very crucial because the logistics and purchasing can be a challenge,” he said.
“On an expedition ship, customers want to stay green now. No one wants plastic straws and the food product has to be sustainable. Everyone wants to know where it came from and the name of the farm,” Hofler continued.
Expedition passengers also trend older, and diets are getting more complicated. CMI’s clients want to cater to those needs, providing options for gluten free and lactose intolerant passengers, for example.
“And if you go to Iceland, everyone wants Nordic cuisine,” Hofler noted.
“We try to work together with fishermen to get fresh fish. Our chefs and hotel directors have fished off (and caught cod) the ship in Greenland … guests around it, see it and love it, and of course, for dinner, this is the fish.”
But the number one challenge in the expedition world in terms of procurement is logistics.
“The resupply is the biggest problem. We send containers, and now we are finding vendors in the places the ships are. There may or may not be cost savings. If you go from South America to Scandinavia, the prices are triple.
“Supply chain will always be a challenge with where we go, but if you have good communications, good leadership and work as a team, you can always find a solution.”
About the Expedition Market Report:
The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.