Rockies Train

Have you ever wondered just how many “groceries” it takes to restock and support a large cruise ship during a seven-night voyage? Keep in mind that some of the largest cruise ships hold around 6,200 guests, plus approximately 2,000 crew members. Ready for the answer? These ships need enough supplies to fill a small grocery store—weekly! Read on for approximates.

While it’s true that many cruise lines have contracts with various ports of call to provide some fresh fruits and vegetables during their short time in port, most (if not all) of what is necessary for the voyage is loaded onto the ship during the approximately ten- to twelve-hour turnaround at the port of embarkation (i.e., Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Seattle, Vancouver—anywhere the voyage begins). And, while it’s one thing to load all the food items, drinks and supplies, it’s yet another to get everything put away. When you read the list, just the refrigeration space required to store perishable items is mind-boggling.

Here are some of the items on an average weekly list … (special, themed voyages might have more or less of certain items, depending on the demographics of the passengers):

Chicken – 20,000 pounds

Beef – 18,500 pounds

Fish – 14,000 pounds

Other seafood – 3,000 pounds

Other meat – 15,000 pounds

Hot dogs – 10,800

Potatoes – 15,000 pounds

Eggs – 47,000

Fresh fruit – 21,000 pounds

Fresh vegetables – 26,000 pounds

Milk, cream and ice cream – 6,000 gallons

Sugar – 5,800 pounds

Cheese – 7,400 pounds

Coffee – 2,500 pounds, plus 2,500 tea bags

Bottles of beer – 32,000, plus 1,000 cans

Soda – 17,000 cans

And, more than 6,000 bottles of red and white wine, plus over 2,000 bottles of spirits (vodka, whiskey, scotch and rum)

While that’s a lot, it isn’t even close to being everything that needs to be restocked each week. In addition to food and drink, approximately 11,000 rolls of toilet paper are loaded, along with cases of Kleenex, bar soap and laundry soap, plus 1,100 lightbulbs, 25 gallons of hand sanitizer and even 30-40 replacement TVs in case some fail during the voyage. It happens … things break while at sea, and Wal-Mart isn’t just around the corner if something is needed. In addition, reams and reams of paper are also necessary to print menus and daily programs, along with toner, ink and other related printing supplies. “Mental-image” your way through what you use during a normal day and what an office uses during a normal day; that, plus more, is what a cruise ship needs to have on board—multiplied by all those people! 

When you combine that with the unloading of suitcases, trash and recycling from the just-concluded cruise, plus the total cleaning of all cabins and the reloading of new passengers’ luggage, you realize it is a well-orchestrated process, to say the least! How the cruise lines pull this off, week after week, usually flawlessly, gives us reason to applaud their well-oiled and finely-tuned operation. Next time you’re sailing the high seas, enjoying the beautiful oceans and balmy breezes, you’ll remember and marvel at the infrastructure that goes into creating this wonderful vacation!

Ready to book a cruise? Call or email Travel Leaders/Goli’s Avenues of Travel at (608) 784-9820 or to get started.

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