A Food & Travel Blog

Dinner for 3,000 – Cruising with Royal Caribbean

19/01/2015 | By

Prepping for dinner on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas.

Prepping for dinner on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.

As I mentioned a while back, I recently had the wonderful experience of my first cruise, holidaying on Royal Caribbean‘s Rhapsody of the Seas with Choose Your Cruise. I was utterly gobsmacked with the amount of food that is produced daily on these big ships, so when I was given the opportunity to tour the galley you can bet I jumped at it.

Rhapsody of the Seas is no dinky boat. This ship was built in France, having her maiden voyage back in 1997 and, with an overall length of 279 metres, a width of 32.2 metres and a gross tonnage of 78,491 tons, this is one big, but very elegant, lady. Given that she is certified to carry a total of 3,200 people (passengers and crew) it’s obvious that there is going to be a very serious kitchen tucked away somewhere.

3,200 people? That's a lot of dishes to wash and dry.

3,200 people? That’s a lot of dishes to wash and dry.

A ship this large requires a massive crew – Rhapsody of the Seas has a crew of 806 people of more than 50 different nationalities. This cultural diversity also extends to the enormous galley which stretches over two levels. 

The patissierre & the bakery function 24 hours a day.

The patisserie & the bakery function 24 hours a day.

Commercial dough facilities ...

Commercial pastry equipment …

... take the grunt out of rolling dough for breads & pastries.

… take the grunt out of rolling dough for breads & pastries.

Each section has a designated space over the two levels, with it’s own dedicated brigade. The equipment required to churn out a constant supply of high quality food for this many people is pretty impressive. The massive soup pots have a capacity of 55 gallons each and their idea of a stab mixer takes kitchen gadgets to a whole new level.

Soup for a crowd.

Soup for a crowd.

Industrial sized kitchen gadgets.

Industrial sized kitchen gadgets.

If the size of the appliances doesn’t knock you out, then the quantities of food sure will. In one week the typical consumption of food aboard goes something like this –

2,173 lbs of steak
3,200 lbs of chicken
800 lbs of lobster
600lbs of salmon
11,000 lbs of vegetables
15,000 lbs of fresh fruit
9,000 fresh eggs (plus 3,800 lbs of liquid eggs)

Of course, that doesn’t take into account bread, cake, dairy, and the sugar required for their incredible amount of gorgeous desserts.

The longest pass I've ever seen!

The longest pass I’ve ever seen!

Despite all of this, there was no sense of agitation or flustered activity among the galley staff during my visit – even though they had lunch ready to go and were well into dinner prep. I’ll be keeping all of this in mind next time I’m getting my knickers into a twist over dinner for 10. A little perspective can be a great stabiliser, don’t you think?

While cruising on the Rhapsody of the Seas Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of Choose Your Cruise.




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  1. Hotly Spiced

    That sure is a lot of passengers. I’ve done two cruises and really loved the experience; mind you, we had calm seas and good weather every day of both cruises. Cruising is an awesome way to see the world and as a family, we’re really looking forward to booking another cruise xx

  2. celia

    I think this is truly fabulous! Kudos to them for managing to feed so many without any fuss! 🙂

  3. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Awesome. I just did a 2 week cruise, the galley tour was pretty cool, I find it so impressive they can pump out that amount of food in a relatively small space. Ha, and so true re getting flustered with dinner for 10 in comparison to what these folk are producing.
    Have a happy week ahead. Cheers, Anna

  4. irene zagar

    hi amanda
    friends have said many good things about this ship too. my only real cruise was on QM2 from NYC To Southampton and I can thoroughly recommend her if you get the chance. she is truly amazing in every way.

  5. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I’ve never craved a cruise; an unhealthy fear of sharks keeps me in the mountains (I mean how unhealthy can it be when one lives totally landlocked in the middle of the country?).

    But I love your visit. Heck, I just got to go behind the scenes at a local restaurant and was impressed. I can not begin to imagine what it takes to do what they do. But maybe I should reconsider…it’s seems to be way more about food than sharks. 🙂

  6. SeattleDee

    What a terrific look behind the scenes, though I still can’t imagine feeding that number of guests and crew! The most I’ve served onboard from my galley (M/V Rhapody) is 10!

  7. InTolerant Chef

    I simply love commercial catering with large quantities like this. I always found it more interesting than a la carte service and challenging in a totally different way. What a fun peek behind the scenes it must have been 🙂

  8. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I’ve only been on two cruises but the food was outstanding in every part of the ship. Practice and precision makes perfect.

  9. Helen | Grab Your Fork

    Agreed. Catering on a ship at sea with no chance of “ducking out to the shops” sounds like a logistical challenge of the greatest order. Was super impressed by our kitchen galley tour on our cruise – and impressed by the internal escalators leading from the kitchen to the dining room floor!

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