cruise ship, cruise industry, culinary tourism, cultural tourism, cultural encounters, COVID-19


Culturally themed dining is a popular offering on mass-market cruises operating in the US- Caribbean market, with companies often marketing these experiences as opportunities for immersion in societies perceived as foreign. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of cruise ship dining. As an intimate activity that brings people together through the sharing of food and culinary memories, dining on cruise ships as it was pre-pandemic is no longer feasible during a global event that asks people to stay apart. Cruise lines and authorities responsible for regulating the industry have implemented important safety measures to protect passengers and crew onboard, as well as locals at destination cruise ports. This article argues that these same safety considerations obscure advertised representations of cultural authenticity in spaces of dining, reducing the possibility that guests will view cruise dining as opportunities for culinary tourism – as immersion in the societies represented. In considering how COVID-19 restrictions and mandates have unintendedly impacted the production of culinary tourism on cruise ships and at ports of call, this work seeks to pave the way for future research on the pandemic’s implications for cultural tourism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.