A focus on cocktails is the latest F&B trend for cruise ships, hotels

Cruise ship companies and hotels are maintaining high standards in food and beverage services, both taking cues from restaurants and retailers and acting as trendsetters in the expansive world of F&B at the same time.

“F&B plays a crucial role onboard the Cunard fleet and we are constantly evolving and enhancing our guest experience to remain relevant and meet the needs of today’s luxury consumer,” says Jackie Chase, a public relations director for British-American cruise line Cunard, in an interview with SmartBrief. “We seek inspiration from across the luxury sector – from retailers, hoteliers, restaurants and entertainment venues.”

Last year, Cunard added a “Gin & Fizz” menu at the Midship’s Bar on both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. And two years ago, it worked with Jack Daniels and The Savoy to bring a 300-liter Jack Daniels barrel containing a cocktail dubbed the Age of Discovery aboard the Queen Mary 2 for a voyage of 40,000-plus nautical miles, through 27 countries. The cocktail is the ninth bottle in The Savoy Collection. The moves come at a time when the cocktail scene is booming and more bars, internationally, are specializing in mixology and focusing on cocktail offerings, Chase said.

“With more gin cocktails to select from, consumers are starting to find that gin is more approachable,” Chase said of the Gin & Fizz menu. “Now the onus is on making fascinating cocktails with unusual ingredients that play on this new generation of gin’s versatile and complex nature. The Cunard Gin & Fizz menu offers a world-wide selection of wines, prosecco, cava and Champagne alongside premium gin and spirits, all blended to create fresh and exciting cocktails to offer specialized gin-based cocktails and fizzy drinks.  There are over 13,500 combinations of gin and fizz drinks that can be made!”

Luxury hotels are seeing growing demand for in-room cocktail service, even as demand for traditional in-room meals wane, according to STR. The Pulitzer Amsterdam installed drink trolleys in guest rooms as part of its 2016 update. Gin, mixers, glasses and recipes are included, and in-room refrigerators contain Corenwijn jenever and beer, according to an article in Bloomberg.

Loews Hotels also rolled out a Bellhop Bar, which brings old-school cocktails to 19 properties until mid-January of next year. It's a modern version of a steamer trunk, with stylish bottles; guests will be able to enjoy prebatched cocktails and select wines.

“As we enter into the extended holiday season, we wanted to create a cocktail promotion that evokes a wistful affection for the past, helps guests toast the season of celebrations and is aligned with our brand food and beverage point of view at Loews,” said Mark Weiss, senior vice president of food and beverage for Loews Hotels and Co. in a USA Today article.

Cunard stays on top of F&B trends by continually seeking feedback guests on their dining experience and live testing onboard cruises.

“We’re planning years in advance so it’s important we’re not just designing for the here and now but we’re also thinking about emerging trends and how we can deliver upon them,” Chase said.

__________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for SmartBrief for the Travel Professional or Restaurant Smartbrief to get news like this in your inbox, or check out all of SmartBrief’s food and travel newsletters as we offer more than 30 newsletters covering the food and travel industries from restaurants, food retail and food manufacturing to business travel, the airline and hotel industries and gaming.