Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is launching a series of insider interviews with key members of its team, where they discuss some of the line’s most loved onboard experiences, from bow-to-stern, to inspire guests missing their fix of cruising the high seas. The first onboard experience to be showcased in NCL’s insider series is Food and Beverage – perfect for Kiwi travellers who might consider themselves culinary connoisseurs!
Renowned for its mouth-watering variety of complementary and specialty dining concepts, offering guests freedom and flexibility with no set dining times or pre-assigned seating, guests sailing with NCL can choose to dress up and enjoy a beautiful four course meal, or keep it casual with a burger hot off the grill. With more than 40 restaurant and bar options available, guests will be spoilt for choice no matter which ship they choose.
Here’s a Q&A with Wesley Cort, Vice President Food and Beverage Operations at Norwegian Cruise Line, providing insights into his role as chief curator of NCL’s expansive Food and Beverage offering.
- How do you explain what you do to your friends?
I’m lucky enough to have made food and beverage my career, and I care deeply about the culinary experience our guests have on board our ships. As Vice President Food & Beverage Operations at Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) I work with a very diverse and extremely talented team. They bring their F&B experience from all over the world including China, Spain, France, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Colombia and the US.
I’m passionate about bringing world-class food from around the world on board our vessels so that our guests can have an experience to remember with every meal, with dining being such an important part of any great holiday.
- What unusual question does everyone ask you?
I’m often asked – “How do you create a menu that will resonate with thousands of people from all over the world?”
We closely follow food trends in the top restaurants from around the world to take inspiration for our menus and new dining outlets on board. We are also inspired by the destinations we sail to such as South America and Asia, ensuring a truly global offering in our food selection onboard. Our team of culinarians and restaurateurs are very knowledgeable and have diverse backgrounds and are well-trained in the culinary arts. We always start with our own research and life experiences, before collaborating with our market research team and finally testing in market to ensure we are providing creative and authentic menus.
- If you were an NCL guest, what would you eat and drink?
That’s a tough question! In general, I opt for the healthier choice, so I would select items from Ocean Blue such as the Hamachi Ceviche and the Roasted Tri-Colored Beets to start. This would be followed by the Hong Kong Style Snapper paired with a delicious bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from one of our great wine partners!
4. What’s your dream destination?
Always Italy, where some of my favorite food and beverage journeys have taken place. That’s why I was so excited when we announced the launch of Onda by Scarpetta. I loved the idea of bringing the Italian food I love onto an NCL ship in a bold and modern way. The Fritto Misto and Tagliatelle Bolognese we serve in Onda is as good as I have had anywhere in Italy!
- Why would you travel there by NCL?
Food is one of the elements travellers will remember vividly about a holiday, and one of the many reasons they choose to travel with NCL. We start with the excelling in the basics– fantastic, fresh ingredients, menus that are authentic as well as modern, and above all, having some of the best chefs onboard. What might be surprising to some is that we prepare nearly everything “from scratch”, meaning that all sauces, soups, breads and pastry items are made from the basic ingredients. All meats and seafood are freshly prepared onboard. How much fresher and authentic could it get?! I’m very proud of the passion our team brings to giving our guests a fantastic onboard dining experience.
- What’s new for Food and Beverage?
As a brand, we are known for breaking boundaries, and that extends to the food experience on board our vessels. We set the standard with freestyle dining, giving guests the freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they wish to dine – whether its dressing up for a three-course meal and a bottle of wine with friends, keeping it casual with a quick burger hot off the grill. This approach has allowed us to broaden the variety of outlets we have on board in a way that is still unrivalled in our industry. Currently, our F&B team is working tirelessly behind the scenes and I can guarantee that our culture of innovation and striving for excellence will shine through in the next chapter of sailing.
- What are you most looking forward to when sailing resumes?
I’m looking forward to getting back to what we excel at, bringing the freshest, most authentic and memorable cuisine to our guests, and to sharing some of the very creative things we have been working on during this pause of operation.
One day you could be watching a chef prepare authentic Japanese food in front of you at Teppanyaki, or be served Brazilian-style slow-roasted meats at the table at Moderno Churrascaria. We offer French cuisine at Le Bistro, an American-Style steakhouse at Cagney’s and a taste of the sea at Ocean Blue, to showcase just a few of the restaurants we have onboard. Norwegian Encore, which launched last year, provides guests with 20 dining venues!! This variety in the cuisine we offer really does draw foodies to cruise with us, which I think is very special.
To learn more about NCL’s on board Food and Beverage offering, you can see more here: https://www.ncl.com/au/en/why-cruise-norwegian/cruise-dining