It’s no secret that space on board a yacht is tight. If you don’t want to spend a cruise looking for ingredients and going back and forth from a supermarket to the port, then you need to plan ahead.
When planning meals for a week-long cruise, first consider the following:
- the number of guests you’ll be cooking for,
- any dietary restrictions,
- the number of meals and snacks needed while cruising,
- an estimate of the number of meals you and your guests will enjoy on land,
- the weather conditions and temperature,
- appliances and cooking utensils available on board,
- and the availability of food items and well-stocked grocery stores at your destination.
Then, create menus that share versatile ingredients like spices and vegetables so that you can cut down on the number of items that must be purchased and stocked. This also helps to manage portion sizes as you go. For example, a side dish ingredient can be used the next day if plans change.
Meals should not require a long time to cook and should be practical for onboard dining. Avoid recipes that call for ingredients that are particularly delicate, space-consuming or which go bad quickly.
The last step in meal planning is to calculate the amount of each ingredient needed for the various recipes. This calculation will be based on the total number of portions you plan to prepare for each meal.
First, a yacht pantry should always have some shelf stable food items in boxes or cans. These can be stored in cabinets, rather than taking up precious space in the refrigerator, and are great backup options. Plus, if you don’t use them, they won’t go bad and might come in handy on the next cruise. Things like beans, rice, pasta, tomato paste, packaged crackers and canned fish are good go-to foods.
Next, divide your meal plan into ingredients and combine the quantities of overlapping items. Then, organize the ingredients into categories – meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, etc. This will make shopping for the massive amount of provisions easier and cut down on the time needed at the supermarket. If you plan on buying a lot of meat, you might consider ordering it from a butcher or supermarket which will vacuum package it and flash freeze it as requested.
Once the shopping is done, remove as much packaging as possible. Any extra boxes and plastic cartons will just produce more trash that needs to be disposed of on the boat. Large, reusable storage containers can help save space and decrease the amount of waste produced onboard the yacht.
Finally, when you get the provisions to the marina, stow items intelligently. In the freezer, fridge and dry lockers, pack away the items that will be used later in the week first. Then, work forward, putting away the food that will be used sooner last.
Fresh, healthy foods are often more appetizing when you’re cruising in hot weather, like the Caribbean. Plus, you want guests to be comfortable and feel good while vacationing. To achieve this, aim for one or two vegetable dishes with each lunch or dinner. And always offer fruit as a refreshing option for breakfast or in lieu of dessert.
You should wait to purchase all of the fresh fruits, vegetables and bread items until the last day before the cruise. Plan on using up fresh produce in the first few days as it will be the first to go bad, especially in the heat. Also, don’t forget to store extra containers of fresh drinking water.