The 9th annual Bacardi Cruise Competition qualifying round completed March 31 with entries received from bartenders and mixologists from 14 cruise lines and ferry companies.

This year’s theme “The Inspired Cocktail” certainly inspired the largest number of cocktail recipes received in the history of the event.   

The competition is the cruise industry’s largest and most challenging programs to feature the skills and creativity of onboard bartenders.

Judges from Bacardi met on April 4th to review the initial entries and to decide on the shortlist of the top 5 cruiseline and ferry companies.  Going through to the quarter finals, these five companies are: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line and Tallink & Silja Line.

Each company now has the task of choosing its own shortlist of top 5 bartenders who have entered the competition and whose cocktail recipes, are deemed strong enough to take them all the way to the finals in Miami, September 4/5.

The 25 semi-finalists will be narrowed down to 5 finalists at the end of May once their submissions have been put to the test for authenticity, creativity, taste and appearance by a team of judges from Bacardi’s Global Brand Ambassadors and Bacardi Global Travel Retail.  A 6th finalist contender will be chosen from the shortlist of 25 by the readers of Cruise Critic, the leading consumer website for cruise lovers.  The semi-finalists will inject extra excitement through a ‘live from the bar’ element whereby they will engage their bar customers to not only enjoy the inspired cocktails but also vote online for their favorite.

Zachary Sulkes, Regional Manager, Bacardi Travel Retail Americas comments on the caliber of entries in 2014: “We are overwhelmed at the quality of creative cocktail recipes submitted to the qualifying round of the 9th Bacardi Cruise Competition in 2014.  Entrants were tasked with creating a signature cocktail utilizing the Bacardi family of brands to epitomize how travel has inspired them in their craft with “The Inspired Cocktail”.

“Each year, the competition goes from strength to strength in setting the bar ever higher in the quest to uncover and recognize the most professional and creative bartender in the global cruise industry.  This is in part driven by Bacardi’s passion to develop standards of excellence and to recognize the skills and craftsmanship in this exciting sector, but it’s also an absolute tribute to the bartenders themselves who continue to amaze us with their dedication and professionalism.  We are so looking forward to the finals in September.”

In the past 2 years the competition has been won by Adri Ford, bartender with Carnival Cruise Lines.