Carnival brings the fun with its beverage options across its fleet

All cruises are different and that extends to the food and drinks packages that are available onboard. Carnival Cruise Line invites its guests to “Choose Fun.” That is its tagline and the fun is designed to run through everything that happens onboard. Zachary Sulkes, AVP, Beverage Operations, Carnival Cruise Line tells TMI that Carnival tries to infuse fun in everything it does from a beverage perspective.

“The drinks, the staff, the menus: it is all fun. This leads to huge volume. Our guests order lots of drinks including cocktails, beers, waters, wines, etc.,” says Sulkes.

The drinks packages offered on Carnival are unique to the cruise line.

“We handle drink packages much differently and do not rely on inclusion of beverage packages to sell our cruises. There are no free packages per se (unless you are high level casino player). So, therefore, the amount of guests that have packages is quite low in comparison to all other cruise lines. And, we only have 2 packages. One that is only for sodas and juices (Bottomless Bubbles) and the other that is all drinks $20 and under (but limited to 15 alcoholic drinks in a 24 hour period),” says Sulkes.

Carnival offers a diversity of offers for its drink menus across its ships.

“The XL class of ships have over 20 different beverage menus for guests to choose from depending on the location on the ship,” says Sulkes.

Sampling some beer brewed onboard at Carnival Vista’s Red Frog Pub & Brewery

Brewing onboard

Carnival Cruise Line is serving up a number of its own private-label beers crafted by its in-house brewery team.

Carnival was the first cruise line to can and keg its own private label beers crafted in-house in 2019, after introducing the onboard brewery concept on Carnival Vista in the Red Frog Pub & Brewery in 2016.

Carnival Cruise Line now features onboard breweries on six ships, says Sulkes.

“We have a new beer brewed onboard that is the Heroes American Pale Ale. The hops are picked by a veterans group and then we donate $1 from the sale of every beer to Operation Homefront. We are now selling Heroes pint glasses on all ships fleetwide regardless if they have a Heroes bar onboard with $1 from every glass sold going to Operation Homefront.

There are also Carnival-exclusive beers available in cans on every ship. While ParchedPig West Coast IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat and ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale are also available as portable pints.

Carnival has partnered with Lakeland, Fla.-based Brew Hub to produce the beers.

Carnival has partnered with Bacardi and ecoSPIRITS to reduce single glass use at sea.

Close Loop Packaging to reduce single- use glass at sea

Carnival introduced a new pilot program that is introducing closed-loop packaging to the cruise industry aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships in an attempt to reduce single-use glass.

Through a collaboration with Bacardi and innovative circular economy technology company ecoSPIRITS, the pilot will determine if re-usable containers developed by ecoSPIRITS can be used to serve Bacardi rum on Carnival ships, in turn reducing single-use packaging by 95 percent. The concept is being tested for three months on three ships operating from Miami: Carnival Celebration, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Sunrise.

“As we continue to work towards our sustainability goals, the collaborative work of our beverage team, ecoSPIRITS and Bacardi is a great example of thinking in ways that are truly out-of-the-box, or in this case – out-of-the-bottle, to develop new partnerships and practices that further our ongoing efforts,” says Sulkes.

Bacardi was selected for the pilot because it is among the most-ordered spirits across the fleet and a staple of some of the craft cocktails most popular with Carnival guests. The rum will be transferred from ecoTOTE to serving format using ecoSPIRITS’ SmartPourTM technology. New silver and red Bacardi- branded SmartPours will be placed in select bars on the three ships for beverage team members to serve cocktails featuring Bacardi Superior rum.

Carnival is constantly updating the beverage options available on its ships to stay relevant with its guests.

“We have increased our bourbon and whisky selection over the past few years and guests are very pleased with the offer. We tried non-alcohol options at Alchemy Bar over the past year and it really didn’t go well. It was not bad, but there were just not enough sales to justify the extra inventories. We are looking at some lo- alcohol options to see if the response is better,” says Sulkes.

“Our guests still like fun, sweet drinks and we stick to that.”

Sulkes says the menu will definitely evolve over the coming years.

“Stay tuned. As we don’t have another new build ship coming for three years, we have time to review, refresh, and renew our offer to stay current with the guests and to meet their expectations of FUN.”