The Rising Tide bar aboard the Oasis of the SeasElevator bars, ice bars, martini bars, wine machines, onboard breweries, master mixologists, and more, the cruise industry beverage scene continues to be as innovative as ever.

The Oasis of the Seas and soon to-be-launched sister-ship, Allure, feature the Rising Tide Bar. A full bar that doubles as an elevator, the space moves between the Royal Promenade and Central Park, underlining the possibilities of a 225,000-ton ship.

“It’s a very popular venue and it stays busy all day long,” said Bob Midyette, director of fleet beverage operations at Royal Caribbean International.

“We’ve seen a change in what people spend their money on. In 2009 it was more value conscious, but there has been a significant bounce back in 2010, and we’re pleased with that. We’ve focused very hard to make all our offerings very high-quality,” continued Midyette, pointing out, for example, that pina colada mixes are 100 percent natural.

“The guests seem to appreciate paying for a quality product; quality never goes out of style.”

 Norwegian Cruise Line promises to have one of 14 “true” ice bars in the world when the Norwegian Epic officially launches in July. According to the line, the bar will never get warmer than 17 degrees Fahrenheit. A $20 cover charge per person includes two signature cocktails and 45 minutes in the bar. Gloves, faux fur coats and hats will be provided to guests.

The Ice Bar accommodates 24 people and will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly.

While Norwegian is tight-lipped regarding the bar’s technology, sources familiar with the situation simply describe it as “a big freezer”.

As part of the Signature of Excellence upgrade program, Holland America Line has installed Mix on the Veendam, Ryndam, Statendam and Rotterdam. The Maasdam is scheduled to receive the three-in-one bar during drydocking in April 2011. The space is located in the center of the ship and blends together three theme bars: Martinis, Champagne, and Spirits & Ales.

Celebrity’s Solstice-class vessels feature Enomatic wine machines in the Cellarmasters wine bar, allowing guests to try samples of specific wines without having to purchase the entire bottle.

Crystal Cruises’ biggest change has been with its cocktail preparation.

“We recently revamped our entire menu with Master Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, and now only include fresh fruit juices and purees, in addition to top level spirits,” commented Toni Neumeister, vice president of food and beverage at Crystal.

AIDAblu launched this past February with a full brewery onboard, using sea water in the beer making process, according to Michael Rohr, vice president of guest services.

“Three kinds of beer are brewed: ‘Hövel's Original’ after a recipe of the traditional brewery located in Dortmund. The brewery has its own AIDA beer, which is called ‘AIDA Zwickel.’ It’s an unfiltered beer with a taste of caramel and the typical flowery taste of hop. The different kinds of beer are complemented by seasonal qualities like ‘Maibock’ or action beers like the ‘Oktoberfestbier’ or Irish Stout,” continued Rohr.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Summer 2010