From delicious Maine Lobster to poached eggs on toast – everything you could ever dream of tasting is available, and that includes special options for those with dietary requirements.
If there is one thing that goes hand in hand with cruising it is food.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, then you need not worry about your choice of dishes, the main restaurants will always offer a vegetarian option and these meals can be slightly adapted to suit. You often find on many of the themed buffet evenings that there is always a vegetarian option – even on the seafood night! The beauty with cruising is that nothing is too much trouble. Should you come across a menu that doesn’t quite fit your needs, then you can always speak to the Restaurant Manager and get it resolved. From my experience, if they have it in the galley, they will make it for you!
The same applies to those with dietary requirements for medical reasons, such as coeliac and diabetes. Before you travel, simply make the cruise line aware of what you may need and what you have to avoid and they will do the rest for you. The Restaurant Manager will probably arrange a short meeting with you once you board, so that he/she can ensure they have all the correct information and can plan your menu exactly as you need it.
During my time on-board, I only have soya milk on my breakfast cereal – dairy and I don’t always get along very well – and I have never encountered a problem getting said soya milk. I simply mention it on my booking and that’s it. I did have the Restaurant Manager approach me one evening to warn me about dairy that was in the dish that I had ordered. I explained that it was fine, my issue was usually milk and runny eggs, and he left me to it – he did offer me the adapted menu for those with dairy allergies, but I politely declined. I know what I can and can’t have, and that is the beauty of a cruise. You wouldn’t get that kind of service at some land based hotels, but on-board a ship it is the norm.
One thing I do think some of the cruise lines need to work on is dietary requirements for those with religious beliefs. One of my good friends who I travel with a lot is Muslim and I always state this on the booking form, and the fact that obviously she can’t eat pork, but this never seems to be acknowledged as well as other dietary requirements. We decided to try the buffet one evening on-board and out of approx. 10 dishes only about 3 of them were pork free! This has actually happened quite a few times. The main restaurant is OK, even if a dish contained pork it can be changed, but the buffet is the buffet, there’s not a lot that can be done about the dishes there.
I remember being on one cruise and the buffet theme was seafood. One guy I had met during my time on-board was a strict vegetarian, but he browsed in the hope of finding something that he could eat. He walked round and round until eventually asking one of the waiters if there was anything that was vegetarian. The waiter replied “no, Sir”. To which the guy said “but you have chicken over there, who’s that for?” and the waiter replied, “that’s for people that don’t like seafood, Sir”. I couldn’t stop laughing. If you had seen the look on his face, he was devastated and puzzled, but in a funny way. Don’t worry, he did eat! They didn’t make him starve!
In the grand scheme of things, cruising with food intolerances or strict dietary requirements is not a problem for any cruise line – they can all accommodate everyone. Just be sure to make it clear at the time of booking and if you are unsure of anything speak to your travel agent and then the Restaurant Manager once on-board.
All images credited to Royal Caribbean International.