‘Local and fresh are key ingredients of cruising’s success’

‘Local and fresh are key ingredients of cruising’s success’

Janet Parton, director of sales at Cosmos and Avalon Waterways, shares her thoughts on the cruise industry. This month: the value of local ingredients. 

There’s no doubt that culinary tourism is well and truly an important factor when it comes to holidaymakers deciding on their next getaway. For many, enjoying high-end cuisine, regional wines and local delicacies forms a huge part of the consideration process.

Cruise lines are pioneers when it comes to showcasing a destination’s culinary offering through dedicated food and wine shore excursions and ‘eat like a local’ experiences such as our own Avalon Waterways’ wine
and culinary sailings that visit vineyards, orchards, dairies and famous cellars, as well as including live cooking demonstrations and expert-hosted dinners.

For me though, it’s equally important to shout about the ways in which the cruise sector has listened and responded to broader culinary trends, ensuring that the onboard gastronomic experience meets and surpasses the expectations of everyone of our guests.

As well as amazing partnerships with celebrity chefs to create incredible onboard restaurants and bespoke menus, cruise lines are working with local producers and suppliers to ensure that regional ingredients are incorporated into the daily onboard offering. Whether that’s delicious red wine from vineyards just a stone’s throw from the Rhône, local cheeses from the banks of the Rhine or even escargot to surpass Paris’ top Michelin-starred restaurants when sailing on the
River Seine.

Likewise, with health and wellness becoming increasingly important to all of us, our dedicated Avalon Fresh programme enables our guests to choose from a wide range of healthy and vegetarian options at every meal that focus on using locally-sourced ingredients. And finally, long gone are the days of formal sit-down dinners. The cruise sector is doing a great job of responding to this trend with flexible dining times, more menu options and a greater choice of restaurants and dining experiences to suit all preferences.

It’s important that as an industry, we continue to attract ‘new to cruise’ holidaymakers and also showcase our pioneering innovation to existing customers. Tapping into key trends is a great way for agents to do this, so be sure to keep your finger on the pulse. With the upcoming CLIA #ChooseCruise campaign taking place throughout September and October, there will be plenty of exciting and inspirational sector updates for agents to harness when talking directly to their customers. Watch this space!

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