Carnival Corporation: Circular Gardening and Dining Experience in Alaska

Carnival Corporation: Circular Gardening and Dining Experience in Alaska (Image at - November 2023)If the sun never sets in the summer, do gardens grow fuller, healthier plants? If you’re in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun, absolutely.

At the beginning of the 2022 and 2023 summer travel season, Danielle Hayes, the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge general manager, developed an approach and system of managing and growing their vegetables, herbs and flowers – all for use right at their lodge. During their stays at the 328-room property along the Chena River, guests consume home-grown elements in their meals and drinks, knowing they came from just several feet away. Two employees there serve as gardeners and are at the start of the garden-to-table chain.

It’s all part of Carnival Corporation’s Holland America and Princess’ “SAY: Sustain Alaska & the Yukon” initiative, created in 2019 to preserve and protect the environment and the communities where the cruise line and tour company operate.

“Without the incredible communities and scenic spaces we operate in, our mission of inspiring unforgettable happiness for our guests would be impossible. For all of us at Carnival Corporation, we are committed to being good corporate citizens and stewards of the environment, and this gardening program is proof positive of that commitment,” says Bonnie Westlund, director of sustainability and community relations in Alaska for Carnival Corporation, whose land-based operations complement the at-sea experience for Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.

Tangible benefits for the lodge and guest experience include:

> Four hundred sixty pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes were harvested on site and donated to Fairbanks Distilling Company to make their 68 Below Alaskan potato vodka, served in some of the lodge restaurant’s craft cocktails.
> Restaurant coffee grounds—rich in nutrients—were returned to the Earth and used in the lodge’s gardens for fertilizer.
> Bundles of radishes, green onions, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflowers, zucchini, mint and basil were grown and used for the lodge’s menu offerings.
> Fresh flowers were grown, cut, arranged and displayed throughout the public spaces.

And about that midnight sun: It helped produce a giant-sized, multi-inch, 15-pound kohlrabi, a cabbage-like vegetable that typically grows just two or three inches in width.

(Carnival Corporation: Circular Gardening and Dining Experience in Alaska – Carnival Corporation)