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Best Cruise Lines for Food Allergies and Special Diets

13 March 2014

Updated: May 2024

Going anywhere out to eat as someone with a special dietary requirement or a food allergy can be daunting and, at times, frustrating – and, you might just feel the same way when it comes to taking advantage of the latest cruise deals and heading off on an exciting cruise getaway.

However, you'll be pleased to know that cruise lines – whether you're sailing on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world or enjoying one of the smaller luxury cruises available – cater to guests with special dietary requirements and food allergies with the same upstanding service they do everyone else. And, some of the best cruise lines for food allergies and those with special dietary requirements even go as far as to specially cater to guests who require things like low-sodium and kosher diets. You're not always going to find that at a nice restaurant in town!

If you want to know more about the best cruise lines to sail with when you have a food allergy or special dietary requirement, and the steps they take – alongside what you need to do in order to make sure your unique dietary requirements and allergies are taken care of – keep reading.

We have looked into how some of the world's most popular cruise lines cater to you and highlighted all the important information you need to know about before booking your next holiday – be that to one of the top underrated cruise destinations, somewhere in the Caribbean, or anywhere else in the world.

Contents:

  1. P&O Cruises Food Allergy & Dietary Policies
  2. Royal Caribbean Food Allergy & Dietary Policies
  3. Celebrity Cruises Food Allergy & Dietary Policies
  4. Carnival Cruise Line Food Allergy & Dietary Policies
  5. Cunard Food Allergy & Dietary Policies
  6. Princess Cruises Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

P&O Cruises Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

P&O Cruises wants to make sure everyone – whether they have a food allergy, a special dietary requirement, or otherwise – can enjoy all the excellent onboard cuisine and have an enjoyable holiday experience. So, they take special care ensuring that the kitchens onboard can cater to a wide range of dietary requirements.

While you might find yourself with some limitations when it comes to the buffet options available, as the dishes here are not prepared for a specific guest, there are some steps you can take – and steps P&O Cruises takes – to make sure you're still getting the premium experience you paid for. And, of course, that you have a truly wonderful getaway full of fantastic food.

Dining with P&O Cruises

Before you cruise, P&O Cruises ask that you notify them of your food allergies or special dietary requirements – including anyone else in your booking party. You can do this by contacting your cruise consultant ahead of your departure date, be that someone at P&O Cruises or someone at a travel agency like Iglu Cruise. They should then be able to forward this information to the ship itself and ensure that staff onboard are aware of your special dietary requirements and food allergies.

If you booked any flights separately, you will need to contact your airline know of any dietary requirements or food allergies separately. You'll also be able to note this through P&O Cruises' Shine website, though letting your cruise consultant know is definitely still a good idea.

When onboard, there will be a note regarding your food allergies and special dietary requirements in your booking and the chef will be notified of this prior to your arrival. However, when it comes to your first meal, we recommend informing your Head Waiter or Maitre'd of your specific requirements – just to make sure everyone is aware.

Royal Caribbean Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

Royal Caribbean makes every effort to accommodate to everyone onboard and a variety of special dietary requirements and food allergies, whenever possible. With a range of vegetarian dishes available at the main dining venues and vegan menu items available at select restaurants, you won't need to make any advanced special requests for these meals – and, you may find you're able to swap certain ingredients out of select dishes on the fly while ordering onboard. For everything else, though, there are some steps you need to take to make sure everyone is aware of your food allergies and special dietary requirements.

Dining with Royal Caribbean

Before you cruise, you will need to contact your cruise consultant and inform them of any special dietary requirements or food allergies you – or anyone in your booking party – might have. Then, they can make a note of this and forward the information to your ship ahead of your cruise.

With things like lactose-free and kosher meals all available at no additional cost, all Royal Caribbean asks is that you inform them at least 45 days prior to your sailing – and at least 90 days in advance for European and South American itineraries. Kosher meals, specifically, must be requested 90 days prior to your sailing, regardless of the itinerary.

You can also send an email with your name, booking number, ship name, and sail date to special_needs@rccl.com and notify Royal Caribbean of your special dietary requirements and food allergies this way. Royal Caribbean will try and accommodate any requests made less than 45 days (or 90 days where relevant) to your sail date, but this is dependent on the ship's product availability and not guaranteed.

When onboard, Royal Caribbean will make every effort to cater to your special dietary requirements and food allergies. Staff should be aware of your specific situation, with information available on your booking, but we recommend letting your waiter know when you dine on the first day and – where possible – any dedicated attendant you might have. They will be able to notify the chef and make sure you can enjoy all the delicious food available without any worry.

Celebrity Cruises Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

Celebrity Cruises endeavour to accommodate most dietary requirements and food allergies in the main dining venues onboard, with a selection of vegetarian and vegan menu items available in select restaurants and the option to ask the chef to omit certain items from dishes – for example, a pasta dish without cheese for someone who is lactose intolerant. However, it's important to keep in mind that any kosher meals will be pre-packaged frozen prepared dishes, if you're someone who will require kosher food during your cruise holiday.

Dining with Celebrity Cruises

Before your cruise, Celebrity Cruises asks that you inform your cruise consultant of any dietary requirements or food allergies you might have at least 45 days before your sailing if you're sailing from North America – or at least 90 days in advance if you're sailing from South America, Europe, Australia, or Asia.

You can also email Celebrity Cruises directly and inform them, which we recommend doing alongside contacting your cruise consultant. All you need to do is send your name, booking information, and dietary requirements to special_needs@celebrity.com or call the Access Team on 1-866-7225 to get in contact.

When onboard, Celebrity Cruises will make every effort to cater to a variety of special dietary requirements and food allergies. The cruise line will automatically send the ship a report of anyone onboard with a dietary requirement ahead of sailing, with this information attached to your booking. However, we still recommend letting your Head Waiter know during your first mealtime – just to make sure everyone is aware of this detail.

Carnival Cruise Line Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

Carnival Cruise Line chefs are specially trained to cater to guests with a variety of special dietary requirements and food allergies, including low-sugar and gluten-free diets. The cruise line will take every effort to prepare freshly-made options that meet your unique requirements while onboard, asking that you inform them in advance. With Menu Mate available on touch-screen tablets at food venues, you should have no trouble finding out more about the ingredients and allergens in all the delicious dishes available onboard.

A chef preparing dessert with Carnival Cruise Line

Before you cruise, it may be worth mentioning your special dietary requirements and food allergies to your cruise consultant. However, special dietary requests are handled largely onboard, so there's actually no need to do this if you don't want to.

However, if you require kosher meals, you should contact Carnival Cruise Line ahead of time at 1-800-CARNIVAL or make this information known to your cruise consultant, who can then pass it along to Carnival Cruise Line and the cruise ship. If you're sailing from North America, this needs to be done at least three weeks in advance. If sailing from Europe and Australia, this will need to be done 8 weeks in advance.

When onboard, you will need to speak to your Head Waiter in the main dining room ahead of your first meal and discuss your special dietary requirements and food allergies with them. Unfortunately, this does mean that only the main dining room can fully accommodate dietary requirements and you may not be able to eat at the specialty restaurants onboard.

Cunard Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

Cunard cruises can cater to a variety of special dietary requirements and food allergies, with a range of specially prepared dishes available onboard Cunard cruise ships to ensure that everyone can enjoy the exceptional cuisine available in the main dining venues. Vegetarian and vegan guests are catered to as standard with Cunard, so it could be considered one of the best cruise lines for vegans, and you will find that everything from milk and eggs to molluscs and mustard is considered when catering to guests with food allergies.

Afternoon Tea with Cunard

Before you cruise, Cunard requires that you inform your cruise consultant of any special dietary requirements and food allergies during the booking process. If you have booked a flight independently from your cruise holiday, you will need to inform the airline of this separately. If you're unsure, you can also contact the Customer Contact Centre to confirm whether Cunard can accommodate your dietary requirements – which will then be confirmed either on the phone or by email after.

If you require kosher meals, Cunard requires you to inform them – either directly or through your cruise consultant – no later than 10 weeks before your sailing. And, if baby food is required, this will need to be done no later than 8 weeks before – otherwise, Cunard won't be able to accommodate this.

When onboard, you will need to inform the staff at the Purser's Desk as soon as you board, and it's recommended that you remind your serving staff during your meal times.

Princess Cruises Food Allergy & Dietary Policies

In an effort to ensure that you can enjoy all the excellent food available on a Princess Cruises voyage – whether you have a special dietary requirement that needs catering to, a food allergy, or otherwise – you will find that a variety of dietary requirements are considered by the chefs and wait staff onboard. However, this is something you should discuss with your cruise consultant during the booking process – just so you can make sure Princess can cater to you specifically.

A vegan option from Princess Cruises

Before your cruise, Princess Cruises requires you to inform them of your special dietary requirements and food allergies no later than 35 days prior to your departure in some locations and no later than 65 days prior to your departure in others. So, it's best to do this as soon as possible – and to highlight this during the booking process, so your cruise consultant can forward the information and attach it to your booking details.

You will also be able to notify Princess Cruises of your specific dietary requirements and food allergies via the Princess Cruises app – where you can manage your booking information, highlight any special occasions, and more.

When onboard, you will need to confirm your request with the Maitre'd during your first night on your Princess Cruises ship – and, we recommend highlighting this with your Head Waiter when discussing dining options for the duration of your cruise getaway. It's best not to rely on the labels in the main buffet dining venue, either, and speak to a Head Waiter or chef. These may be accurate, but there may be some cross-contamination or the label itself may not have been updated.

Dining on MSC Preziosa

Food is a really important part of cruising and some of the most exquisite menus available can be found at sea. So, you're going to want to make sure you're able to enjoy it all before you embark on your next adventure. Chefs and wait staff on cruise ships always aim to cater to any specific dietary requirements and food allergies as best they can, all you need to do is make sure everyone is aware of the requests you have with enough time to ensure they're catered for.

Book Your Next Cruise Getaway with Iglu Cruise

Sound good? Well, why not check out the latest cruise deals and book yourself on that dream cruise holiday you've been thinking about? With so many excellent itineraries available, you'll have no trouble finding a cruise to suit your needs, tastes, and budget. Just don't let your food allergies or special dietary requirements put you off; you'll be able to enjoy some exceptional food too.

If you want to learn a little more about cruising and cruise ships while you're looking, you can find some of the latest blog posts from Iglu Cruise down below:

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