Can I Make Specific Meal Requests Onboard a Cruise Ship? What About Food Allergies?

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a plate of food on a white surface

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a bowl of soup with a fork and knife

Gluten-free, Lactose Intolerant, Low Sodium, Shellfish allergy – Let’s face it, these days there are all kinds of dietary restrictions that really need to be accommodated in order to prevent a possible medical emergency! Beyond that, we all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to different types of food. How far will the chefs go to accommodate your needs and or preferences?

a plate of food with sauce and a bag of sauce

On NCL there is a staff member specifically assigned to manage the meals for guests with specific dietary restrictions like some of those mentioned above. You will find that prior to taking your order you will be asked if you have any food allergies. This becomes important when, for example, you are sitting at dinner at Teppanyaki, NCL’s Hibachi style Japanese specialty restaurant, and one of the guests at the table has a shellfish allergy. The chef must know this and then prepare all of the proteins for that guest before preparing any shellfish options for the other guests in order to avoid cross contamination.

a plate of food with a small bowl of sauce

So they can accommodate gluten free diets, sugar free diets, lactose intolerance, etc. as long as you have informed them ahead of time. But let’s say you go to dinner and the entrée option you want comes with sides you don’t want. While it can sometimes be a little tricky to clearly communicate your preferences to the crew member taking your order, it can be done to order the steak entrée with the chicken entrée’s side dishes, for example because maybe the steak that night is paired with roasted cauliflower and you’d rather have the fingerling potatoes that come with the chicken. You might end up with both cauliflower and potatoes, but you can just eat what you like and leave the rest!

a plate of food with a basket of sauces and a fork

On a recent cruise one of the lunch options was a chicken Milanese that came with an arugula salad. It was good, but sort of needed a little something more. Another option on the menu was a sesame encrusted mahi sandwich that also came with an arugula salad but also a wasabi mayo and pickled slaw and French fries. We regularly ordered the chicken and added the wasabi mayo and pickled slaw and fries and we even had some of the crew agreeing it was a much better dish than the original!

a dessert on a plate

So there you are, hopefully now you can enjoy just what you want on your plate! Happy swapping! – René

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. There are lots of reasons why I love cruising, but as someone who’s Celiac, having a “GF Genie” is probably the top reason. I can’t speak to all cruise lines, but on Oceania, my TA sends in my dietary restriction ahead of the cruise, I get a visit from someone in the restaurant department, and then magically I get a menu every day for my dinner the next day where I can pick what I want ahead of time and they’ll make it all GF for me. This takes a huge amount of stress out of travel, knowing that at least my breakfast and dinner every day will be GF. On excursions I have to exercise caution, but only worrying about one meal a day makes a cruise vacation that much more relaxing.

    Trying out Celebrity in the Galapagos this year and NCL in Alaska next so I’ll have more data points in the future.

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