Offerings aboard the MSC Cruises fleet are built on a platform of Mediterranean lifestyle.

“We present the flavors and traditions of the region to our multicultural guests, all in respect of a healthy diet,” said Monica Panero, product and project director at MSC Italcatering, in an interview with Cruise Industry News.

She said the trends aboard were about rich flavors and scents, the concept of health, vitality, and a lifestyle that celebrates friends and family around the table.

“This Mediterranean ‘art of eating’ is at the heart of the MSC Cruises’ food and beverage experience, and will never go out of fashion,” Panero added.

“We recently completely restyled the buffet area across the entire fleet with the help of famous Italian food designer Paolo Barichella from food and lifestyle designers Enocultura. As the most-visited dining area onboard, particularly during breakfast and lunch, the buffet can be seen as the heart of the entire food and beverage product, and continually enhancing this area is therefore a priority,” she continued.

Panero said the new MSC Preziosa was the strongest in terms of the company’s food and beverage program, pointing immediately to the Eataly partnership, which includes two restaurants in the super stylish Ristorante Italia and minimalist Eataly Restaurant.

 “The 115-seat Eataly Restaurant mirrors Eataly’s original concept of a minimalist space where people can eat, buy and learn about the best Italian food in a relaxed, uncluttered and fun atmosphere,” Panero said.

With passengers from literally all over the world, MSC sells its food and beverage program as Mediterranean, but does make adjustments.

 “Our aim in terms of food and beverage is to customize the product to the demographics of the travelers onboard a particular ship during a particular itinerary and season, while still conveying MSC’s distinct Mediterranean style and introducing them to our way of life,” Panero explained.

“Taking the MSC Magnifica’s northern European itineraries as an example, where the majority of our travelers are German, the Mediterranean is still at the heart of the food and beverage experience,” Panero added.  “But the product has been specially tailored for the majority of German guests with a wine list that includes German wines, a beer festival, a Frühschoppen event, and a selection of German dishes in the restaurant.”

Expected to carry a record number of passengers in 2013, Panero said an IT system was key in keeping costs under control by keeping track of meal counts and more.

 “The volumes we reach allow us to apply the concept of economies of scale, and to offer our guests top-quality products at a controlled price,” she said.

>> Also in this section: in-depth updates on cruise lines and their F&B programs.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Summer 2013