Have you ever put much thought into what all goes in to feeding everyone on a cruise ship for a week?  These ships are essentially floating cities and are responsible for feeding several thousand people multiple meals per day, for days on end.  As you can imagine, this is no easy feat.  Food must be purchased, stored, prepared, and served under stringent guidelines in minimal space.  We have always been curious and impressed about this aspect of cruising and were lucky enough to get a behind the scenes look at a cruise ship galley!

We toured the main dining room galley of the Celebrity Solstice.  While every cruise line and ship size is different, the premise is still the same.  On the Solstice, it takes 160 cooks, 250 chefs and cleaners, 3 executive sous-chefs, 4 sous-chefs, and 1 executive chef working around the clock to prepare and serve up to 16,000 meals per day!  Can you imagine a work load like this?!

This employee’s job is to carve the intricate designs in the melons for display


Curious about how much food this all equates to?  Here are just some shocking numbers of consumption based on the average 7 day cruise:

  • Pounds of fresh fruit: 32,652
  • Pounds of fresh vegetables: 48,659
  • Litres of milk: 76,540
  • Litres of beer: 35,000
  • Pounds of beef: 14,542

These are some  pretty shocking numbers!  And believe me, there are dozens of other food types that could be added to this list.  Cruises do a lot of forecasting work to determine the most accurate amount of food needed to minimize the amount of food waste.  However, numbers like these reaffirm that it is best not to be wasteful with food choices.  Anything that is left over at the end of each meal service is turned into liquefied waste and put out to sea.

Prep work for dessert

The galley itself was spotless… everything was cleaned and polished to a high mirror shine.  Although space is limited because it is a ship after all, everyone had their proper work area.

It is essential that everything is perfectly planned, prepped, and prepared to the exact specifications so that every single dish comes out of the galley exactly the same.  There can be zero variance in the presentation.

The wall of recipes and presentation guidelines

In addition to the main dining room, most ships have multiple other service areas like the buffet, room service and snack shops, plus all of the bars!  It is truly impressive that they are able to keep up with this fast-paced, high demand work load in such a high quality fashion.

Does anything about this behind=the-scenes look at a cruise ship galley surprise you?  If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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  1. Wow what great access Jenn! I have been up close to cruise ships when they have been in port, but never sailed on one yet. I’ve always been amazed by the size of these ships they really are floating cities! Incredible insight and fascinating facts! never thought about the food waste, love the wall of recipes! did you get steal any ideas!? thanks for sharing!

  2. How fun! What a cool experience to have seen the inner-workings of dinner. Such lovely set up and plating. Shocking to see the number total of food.

  3. Wow those are some staggering numbers. Really surprising how clean it is. How did you arrange this behind the scenes look?

  4. Wow, amazing at the amount of food and prep work that goes in to feeding all the travelers. Exciting you were granted access to behind the scenes and shared with us the hard work the galley staff put in and how our dishes come out of the kitchen to perfection. Great photos! Never been on a Celebrity Cruise but after seeing this will have to add to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This was interesting to me since we’re going on our first cruise in February. I was wondering how ships are able to prepare and serve so many people in such a small space.

  6. It is amazing how the ships pull it all together for dining options. Cool that you got to go behind the scenes. Most of the cruise lines have great dining experiences now.

  7. I have been on a cruise so I found this post fascinating! I love the angle you have taken and the information you found out, I also admire your dedication as I’m sure you would have done all of this on your recent cruise when you had plenty of other things going on as well! So, instead of having a bit of R&R, you were gathering all of this amazing information to share and I thank you for that! The thought had crossed my mind when I was on the cruise; about how much food etc they would have to take to keep everyone happy and I did think about the wastage! I had plenty of other thoughts as well re: sustainable travel, ecotourism etc but we can save that for another conversation lol. Thank you again for answering the questions I didn’t actually ask when I was on a cruise 🙂

    1. Believe it or not, this was actually on our cruise we did in May! So, I had plenty of R&R on last week’s cruise!! I will do a post on cruises and their sustainability at some point… very interesting stuff!!!

  8. Really interesting behind-the-scenes look! Love that you had that opportunity. Amazing just how much work goes on to feed the entire ship! Until I read your caption, I was thinking that dessert was looking a bit minimalist 😉

  9. Oh my gosh. Absolutely incredible. Mr. Nerd and I were just talking about this over the weekend, wondering what they do with all the wine bottles on a cruise ship after people are done drinking them. It’s incredibly interesting to learn about how they do food, too! I can’t believe how spotless it is in the kitchen! And how many people help to make all the meals. 😮 We’ve never been on a cruise ship, but it’s information like this that’ll make us more conscientious and understanding if we ever do take a cruise vacation.

  10. I’ve been on many ships but never on a cruise ship. Have seen a couple of documentaries before and its fascinating to see how much effort goes into operating them for just own week. The numbers of food and drink is just mind blowing.

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