The cruise favourite that might disappear post pandemic

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

If you’ve been on a cruise you’ll completely know the feeling of virtually ‘rolling off’ the deck once you return home thanks to a cruising favourite - the onboard buffet.

But as cruise lines look to a post-pandemic future, it looks like that favourite might be disappearing for good.

Royal Caribbean International is looking into doing away with the traditional buffet service when sailings finally resume.

Gone may be the days of a cruise ship buffet. Photo: Getty

Cruise line president and CEO Michael Bayley said the self-serve dining system will likely change, at least for a little while, Cruise Critic reports.

“I think in the beginning, there will not be a buffet … that’s how I see it,” he said.

“We will use the space, we will use the Windjammer [buffet area], but in all probability, it won’t be a classical buffet. It will be something more akin to a restaurant.”

Cruising may look very different in the future. Photo: Getty

A Carnival Australia spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle the “post buffet world concept” might well be a model for the future as cruising prepares for a post-pandemic world.

“P&O Cruises Australia phased out self-service buffets on its fleet years ago and replaced them with the Pantry concept with a wide variety of foods and cuisines on offer from a series of outlets,” the spokesperson said.

Carnival Australia accounts for seven distinctive cruise lines, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises World Cruising.

“All are no doubt working on the approach each will take to respond to the new environment when cruising can resume,” they continued.

“But we are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. The priority at the moment is to complete refunds to guests affected by cruises cancelled during the operational pause and to working with authorities to get crew home from ships now out of service.”

Cruising might look a little different in the future. Photo: Getty

The company is confident people are keen to get back on the seas.

“When cruising resumes it will be the vast reservoir of past passengers who will form the nucleus of people returning to cruising,” the rep said. “We know from sentiments that many have expressed that they are just as keen to get back to cruising as we are once it is safe to do so and people again feel comfortable to gather.”

A recent survey by host agency Your Travel & Cruise confirmed as much, finding most Australians are definitely ready to travel, including going on a cruise.

The survey of 1600 Australians, all clients of Your Travel & Cruise home-based travel agents, revealed that nine out of ten Australians (91%) would consider a cruise in the future on the provision that there will be stricter health and hygiene measures in place.

“The cruise industry has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus, with many questioning how it will bounce back,” Managing Director Les Farrar said.

“These results show that most Australians aren’t giving up on cruising and have faith that cruise lines will make the necessary changes to ensure they can once again enjoy a holiday at sea.”

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