How a Cruise Ship Feeds 4,000



              â€¢ 230,000 bottles of wine, plus 1.5 million other drinks
              â€¢ 55,000 pounds of coffee
              â€¢ 7,000 boxes of strawberries (and I don't mean pints)
              â€¢ 38,000 pounds of smoked salmon
              â€¢ 198,000 pounds of pineapples
              â€¢ Enough beef to supply the city of Southampton (UK) for one year

And did you know that during a 2005 transatlantic crossing, the Queen Mary 2 carried in a locked steamer trunk the first U.S. copy of J.K. Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince , autographed by the author? Or that by custom every shipyard employed a dwarf because in photos the smaller the man the larger the engine looked? Or that the most dangerous voyage of any ship is from land to sea?

Stefan says it would be boring to go back to working at a land-based hotel after his experience on the Queen Mary. Everyday brings a new challenge and requires you to be proactive and resourceful. For example: A few years ago departure was delayed by five hours because the truck transporting the beef and lobster tails to the ship was in an accident. The passengers were very understanding. Three weeks ago, two hours before sailing the ship had no milk, due to an ordering error. Stefan organized an emergency last-minute delivery of 1,200 gallons.

Even though the ship is very large and the passengers number over 2,700, the waitstaff, maitre d's, and wine stewards seem to recognize everyone and recall preferences and prior conversations. They are eager to please without being in the least obsequious. Quite the opposite of Bemelmans' Mespoulets, one of my favorite fictional characters from one of my favorite (Belgo-Austrian) writers.

I have resolved to find a copy of Hotel Splendide to send to Karl and Stefan, both Austrians who have spent time in the kitchen of grand hotels. [Curator's note: Hotel Splendide is required reading for anyone interested in food and restaurants and general Mitteleuropa naughtiness, and a complete must for a summer porch or hammock.] Traveling in the company of such kind, attentive people makes you want to sail more often.

PAGES :

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Health

Just In