On the Menu
Why you shouldn’t let a dietary restriction prevent you from cruising.
By Sharon Kenny
Whether you’re gluten-free or lactose intolerant, diabetic or have an allergy to peanuts, keep a kosher diet or are strictly vegetarian, one of the benefits of cruise lines improving their food service offerings has been the ability to better accommodate those with dietary restrictions.
Cruise lines’ focus on food, with more specialty restaurants and sophisticated dining options, has resulted in better knowledge and further abilities to customize in the galley. As the all-in-one cruise buffet fades into a distant memory, personalizing your cruise experience — including what you like to eat — is now the goal.
The Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, estimates that the number of cruisers worldwide has increased from 16 million to more than 24 million in the past 10 years. And as more people cruise, increasing numbers of people with food restrictions are cruising as well.
“I don’t want to have to stay home just because of my diabetes,” says Philippa Copleston, a London resident and frequent traveler. “Cruising appeals to me because I know I can get safe, healthy food at regular meal times, plus the availability of food if required to manage my blood sugar effectively.”
While some dietary restrictions are medically based, others can be more lifestyle-based or optional, but the cruise lines try to be helpful either way.
“One of the interesting trends in society in general is the growing percentage of people with special dietary requirements,” explains Josh Leibowitz, Chief Strategy Officer for Carnival Corporation and SVP of Cunard North America. “Our crew has become used to guests with a variety of dietary restrictions. Our ships are designed to meet the majority of people, but we definitely have an increased awareness and so we work toward accommodating specific needs as much as possible.”
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Photo: MSC Cruises