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Cruising with a food allergy or special diet

13 March 2014

Bowl of Nuts

Updated October 2017

Going on a cruise can be daunting for someone with a food allergy or special diet, so to try to put minds at ease, we have looked into how the most popular cruise lines cater for these guests.

P&O Cruises

Before you cruise – P&O Cruises require you to notify them of your food allergy.  You will need to contact your agent and inform them of your specific dietary requirements, so they can forward this information on to the ship.

Onboard – There will be a note about your food allergy in your booking, and the chef will be notified of this before you arrive. However, during your first meal onboard, it is advisable to inform your Head Waiter or the Maitre’d  of your specific restrictions.

Royal Caribbean

Before you cruise – You will need to call your agent before your cruise so they can update your personal information. Alternatively, you can send an email to with your name, booking number, ship name, and sail date along with your specific dietary requirements. If you require lactose-free/soy milk, ensure you let your agent know prior to sailing. Royal Caribbean request that you advise them of your special dietary requests at least 45 days prior to sailings in the US, 90 days in Europe, and 100 days for Asian/Australian itineraries.

Onboard – Royal Caribbean can cater for many food allergies, Gluten-free, kosher, low-fat, and low-sodium diets. Vegetarian meals are available in the main dining room as well as the other speciality restaurants, and guests do not need to request these meals.  The friendly dining staff and chefs will always be on hand and doing their best to cater for your needs.

Celebrity Cruises

Before you cruise – Celebrity Cruises ask that you make them aware of any food allergies before your cruise. You will need to email or call your agent in advance.

Onboard – Celebrity Cruises can cater for several special diets including Kosher, gluten free, and low calorie. Celebrity Cruises will automatically send a report to the ship of any special dietary requests prior to sailing date, however it is still advisable to remind your Head Waiter during your first meal.

Carnival Cruise Line

Before you cruise – Special dietary requests are handled onboard, so there is no need to inform them or your agent in advance.

Onboard – During your first meal in the main Dining Room make your allergies known to your Head Waiter. Special diets can be accommodated in the main dining room only.

Cunard Cruise Line

Before you cruise – Cunard require you to inform your agent of any special dietary requirements during the booking process.

Onboard – You will need to inform the staff at the Purser’s desk as soon as you board, as well as reminding your server during meal times.

Princess Cruises

Before your cruise – Princess require you to inform them of your food allergies no later than 35 days prior to departure, and for some destinations no later than 65 days prior to departure. This can be done in writing using the line’s Cruise Personaliser online.

Onboard – Confirm your request with the Maitre’d during your first night onboard.

Food is a significant part of cruising, and some of the most exquisite menus can be found at sea. It should be reassuring then, to see that this delicious food can still be enjoyed by those who may not feel they can.

After looking into all these cruise lines, it is clear to see that dining staff and chefs onboard cruise ships cater exceptionally well for all special dining requests. They do not let certain dietary requirements take anything away from their iconic culinary delights.

Our advice to anyone worried about going on a cruise because of their diet, would be to not let your allergy or needs put you off. You can rest assured that you will be able to take great pleasure in dining, just like all other guests. During your cruise you will be able to experience dishes and treats like nothing else you have ever tasted.

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