Cater­ing for a sail­ing ves­sel means al­ways be­ing self re­liant

Onboard Hospitality - - In Conversation With... -

Steven Adam­son, ho­tel man­ager on the SPV Star Clip­per, gives Jo Austin the low down on feed­ing 170 de­mand­ing ship pas­sen­gers

Star Clip­pers op­er­ates a fleet of tall ships, sail­ing year-round in the Mediter­ranean, Caribbean, Cuban and Asian wa­ters. As our ves­sels are al­ways on the move we have to be to­tally self re­liant.

When things are go­ing smoothly our sup­plies, pre-or­dered three weeks in ad­vance, are flown in from Genoa each week and then loaded in Venice where ev­ery­thing is X-rayed to meet cus­toms re­quire­ments. We can buy milk, cheese and but­ter lo­cally if sup­pli­ers com­ply with WHO reg­u­la­tions. When cruis­ing in Asia sup­plies are flown into Sin­ga­pore or Pe­nang and es­corted to the ves­sel, where we re­ceive a code to check or break the bar­code for ter­ror­ism pre­ven­tion. Food safety is para­mount at all times.

Load­ing lo­gis­tics

Un­like large cruise ves­sels, we are a ship with no doors. I'm told it would spoil the look but it makes load­ing seven tonnes of pro­vi­sions with­out get­ting in the way a chal­lenge! We have a se­cret chute in the mid­dle of the Trop­i­cal Bar through which we can lower ev­ery­thing through five decks us­ing the ship's winch. At the bot­tom it is all hands on deck to un­pack.

We're not al­lowed to take on any flow­ers or plants as part of our pest con­trol and do not al­low card­board boxes be­low to avoid con­tam­i­na­tion. All our pro­vi­sions are la­belled by day so we can store them in our walk-in fridge and freezer in date or­der to match menus which are care­fully planned three weeks in ad­vance.

We pro­duce our own wa­ter for cook­ing, show­ers, toi­lets and ice and do all laun­dry on­board. We even keep our sewage in the form of de­hy­drated pel­lets un­til it can be dis­posed of safely in port. All our rub­bish is trans­ferred to a barge once a week and gets dis­posed of as ‘in­ter­na­tional rub­bish'.

Cater­ing tricks

Our six multi-na­tional chefs and six wait­ers man­age the en­tire cater­ing op­er­a­tion, with food go­ing up in one lift and dirt­ies com­ing down in the other. We do not cater for halal or kosher but our bak­ery does pro­duce gluten-free bread ev­ery day.

The crew works on a duty cy­cle with six to 10 months on­board and two months off. Life be­low deck is al­ways en­ter­tain­ing with many na­tion­al­i­ties and plenty of talent - and it al­ways seems to be some­body's birth­day. They all sup­port Crys­tal Palace, which might just be down to my in­flu­ence! star­clip­pers.com

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