Cruise Ship Contract Suppliers

How does the process of supplying and managing provisions on cruise ships differ from that on cargo ships? Do they have contract suppliers for their provisions, and if so is there an overlap between the suppliers?

The main difference would be the amount and frequency of provisions procurement depending on the size of the vessel. But more importantly, the cruise ships typically operate on pre-determined schedules that they plan out on annual basis and publish their itineraries well in advance. So, I believer they work with several catering companies on contract-basis that operate at ports along their routes. I can’t imagine them taking the risk of working with random new companies at each destination or working with a single contractor.

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I agree with @aydin-mammadov’s points. Another key difference between provisioning for cruise ships and cargo ships is the variety of items required. Cruise ships need a wide range of food and beverages to cater to the diverse preferences of their passengers, along with other amenities like toiletries and cleaning supplies. On the other hand, cargo ships primarily focus on provisions for their crew, which tend to be more basic in comparison.

As for the contract suppliers, it’s true that cruise ships usually have agreements with multiple catering companies and suppliers at various ports to ensure a reliable and timely supply of provisions. Cargo ships, on the other hand, might work with fewer suppliers or have more flexibility in choosing suppliers, as their needs are not as complex or customer-focused.

There may be some overlap between suppliers for both types of ships, particularly when it comes to basic provisions. However, cruise ship suppliers often specialize in providing higher quality and more diverse products that cater to the specific needs of the passengers on board.

Most ship managers try to keep provision expenditure on crew to minimum acceptable level, whereas on cruise ship one can imagine on all sorts of supplies and services based on the demand of leisure segment. Also ona typical cargo ship there are 20 people where a cruise ship can carry 1000+ people. I think there must be big difference in terms of food supplies.
In terms of technical supplies and maintenance - I think similarity here is bigger - but cruise ships travel around fixed itineraries which can enable fixed contracts - whereas ships in trump trade can go any port based on demand. So, I expect big differences here as well in terms of how they find / deliver technical supplies and services.

Replenishment frequency: Cruise ships often have a higher frequency of port calls, which allows for regular replenishment of provisions. Cargo ships, on the other hand, may have longer stretches between port calls, which requires them to be more self-sufficient and plan their provisions accordingly.