Traditionally, any journey by water transport was previously a risky undertaking. The low survivability of ships and a limited storage resource left their imprints on the organization of meals on the ship. The priority has always been the food for the team, and the passengers were fed on a leftover basis. In unfavorable conditions, food quickly deteriorated, poisoning was not uncommon, and passengers' food was their personal concern. In the Middle Ages and up to the middle of the 19th century, food for both the crew and passengers consisted of corned beef, rye crackers, biscuits made from rye and wheat flour, sea fish, which occasionally could be caught during river and sea travels. The diet was very scanty, most of the sailors of sea-going ships suffered from scurvy from lack of vitamins.
River tourism in Russia began its development in the middle of the 19th century, as soon as the economic effect of river transport on steamships made it possible to reduce transport costs. The first steamers were single-deck and did not provide food for passengers. Later, the division of cabins into classes appeared. For passengers of the 1st and 2nd classes, in addition to comfortable accommodation in the cabins, there were libraries, music salons, high-quality restaurant food. Passengers took two-way tickets (for example, from Nizhny Novgorod to Astrakhan) and enjoyed the Volga nature for two weeks. Passengers of the 3rd and 4th classes did not receive meals on the ship. They could be placed simply on the deck, along with the luggage. During navigation, the marinas were equipped with food stalls, where low-class passengers could, at will, purchase any food, from berries and milk to fried meat.
According to the official data of the Ministry of Railways of Tsarist Russia and the Russian Register of 1915, there were 877 passenger ships in the fleet. The scale of passenger traffic can be judged by the technical characteristics of the steamers. So, for example, the steamer "Alexander Nevsky" could carry about 400 people in the third class, 63 people in the second class, and 34 people in the first class.
After the 1917 revolution, the shipping companies were nationalized. The class of transportation has decreased, the occupancy rate has increased. To a large extent, this was done to reduce unproductively used areas (for example, the conversion of the first class into canteens). At the same time, the overcoming of class inequality also affected the organization of food. Advertisements were everywhere for the provision of cheap set meals on river voyages. A variety of fish dishes were popular. So, for example, the buffet of the Vyatka Directorate of the Volga Shipping Company in 1925 provided 17 fish dishes (hot, cold, roast), mainly from sturgeon. We practiced cooking dishes from the customer's raw materials and selling boiling water.
After World War II, the tourist flow decreased significantly, and the next rise in the industry came in the early 70s of the last century, when numerous high-capacity passenger ships were built at shipyards in Eastern Europe, which are still used on river ways of Russia. The offer of river cruises for foreigners was widely developed. New standards were approved for the nutrition of the crew and passengers (valid to this day). Separate groups of citizens went not only on river trips, but also on sea cruises (remember the movie "The Diamond Arm").
The supply was carried out using the URS (Workers Supply Office) system of various regional shipping companies.
Typically, the URS consisted of warehouses, supply vehicles, shops, canteens at ports, stalls, onshore restaurants (on landing stages), snack bars, floats (later - buffets) on ships, restaurants on ships, canteens for personnel port and sailors.
In the cities of the Union significance, the URS were very large and within them there were URS (management of ship restaurants), to which all catering establishments belonging to URS were subordinate (kitchen factories, catering enterprises at river and sea terminals and on ships of various types). Subsequently, many URSs were privatized and transformed into joint stock companies of various types or budgetary institutions.
Currently, most of the river transport is served by the forces of catering companies, often formed on the site of the former factories-procurement or finishing enterprises on the territory of the ports. This is due to the fact that even a private person can own a vessel of rather large tonnage.
Classification of sea and river cruises and travel
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