Nice barbie and no tipping: cruise ship gets 'Aussified'

Carnival Spirit will be 'Aussified' before beginning its first Australian season.
Carnival Spirit will be 'Aussified' before beginning its first Australian season. 

Australian cruisers don't like tipping, love good coffee and dislike American bacon, according to the world's largest cruise company, Carnival Cruise Lines.

These are just some of the "discoveries" Carnival has made during their investigation into how Australians like to cruise.

The US-based company will "Aussify" one of its 24 ships - Carnival Spirit - ahead of its cruises departing from Sydney next October.

The six-week "Aussification" process will involve stripping away the American essence of the ship and making it more Australian.

"We're going to install a Hills hoist and make a truly Australian back yard on the deck," Spirit cruise director, Stu Dunn, joked at a Carnival Cruise Lines event in Sydney.

But while Dunn was joking about the iconic Australian clothesline, he's serious about the vessel's need for a barbecue.

"We will be installing a barbecue. We have to have a barbecue to cook some snags," he said.

Spirit's "soft" changes will include banning tipping, improving the quality of coffee, changing the menus to include more lamb, fresh fruit, vegetables and "Aussie" bacon instead of American bacon and altering the names of activities - "ping pong will become table tennis," Carnival director Jennifer Vandekreeke said in Sydney.

The number one complaint Carnival gets from Australians travelling on their vessels concerns compulsory tipping, Vandekreeke said.

"Tipping is not part of the culture for Australians and we respect that, so on Spirit there will be no tipping on board," she said.

Australians also demand quality coffee, Vandekreeke said.

"American coffee is awful - the second most complaints we get from Australians are about the coffee."

Spirit's coffee machines will be replaced ahead of its Australian cruises and staff will be trained by an Australian barista.

"The search is currently on to find Australia's best barista," she said.

"We will be serving flat whites just the way the Aussies like them."

Other changes to food and beverage include the way beer is served.

"Americans like to drink beer out of bottles, while Australians enjoy tap beer, so new draft beer taps will also be fitted."

"Hard" changes involve installing Australian poker machines and ATMs, adapting the laundry machines to take Australian coins and increasing the number of interconnecting rooms.

"Australians have larger families than Americans," Vandekreeke said.

"We will be cutting doors into rooms and increasing the number of interconnecting rooms - there will be 86 interconnecting cabins families with up to four children so they can stay close without compromising on space."

Australians also like to exercise more than Americans, she said, so the gym will be expanded.

The "vibe and atmosphere" will also be "Aussified".

Sydney resident Dunn, who has been a cruise director with Carnival for over eight years, will be on the Spirit to ensure that Australians have a tailor-made entertainment program.

"When I heard we would be bringing Spirit to Sydney it was the happiest day of my life," Dunn said.

"We'll make sure we have white bread for the barbecue and plenty of tomato sauce," he joked.

Carnival Spirit's first Australian season will start in October 2012, with eight 12-day cruises to New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Zealand. www.carnival.com.au; Ph 13 31 94.

AAP

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