March 24, 2017
The second full day of our Panama Canal Cruise was the first of two “sea days.” Generally more activities than usual are planned for these days when all the passengers are on board. Today they offered a galley tour. In groups of 20, we were ushered through the kitchen and food preparation areas of the Veendam, which otherwise we never get to see. Hidden from the view of passengers, the galley is where a lot of work goes on, since on a cruise ship, food is available somewhere almost all the time! I think almost everyone who went on the tour came away with an added respect and appreciation for our dining room stewards and the chefs we never see.
The tour was really short – we just walked through and a steward told us which areas we were passing through. We also got a map and information about the personnel that work in food service.
99 people are on the dining room staff, mostly restaurant stewards or servers. In the kitchen, glasses are washed in a separate area from the plates, bowls and silverware. 80 people work in the kitchen. All of the staff works long hours.
There are posters on the wall showing every dish they serve and how it should look on the plate. One small poster informs servers to center the food in the middle of the plate. There’s even a tool for this!
When the orders are ready, stewards carry them upstairs on large trays by way of an escalator.
On the flier that was handed out, there is a list of how much is consumed weekly. For instance, the average number of eggs used in one week is 13,500! 5,500 lbs. of meat, 2,000 lbs. of poultry, and 2,700 lbs. of fish and seafood are consumed weekly on average.
After exiting the galley via the escalator, we were also taken through The Pinnacle Grill, one of the premium restaurants on board the ship.