Deluxe cruise line Oceania has a well-deserved reputation for high-quality dining, branding itself “the finest cuisine at sea.” Last year, they also made a big deal about their new vegan menus and took that opportunity to remind people of their gluten-free and other options. So does reality match the hype?

Not exactly. My wife and I were unfortunately disappointed during a recent 14-day northern Europe cruise on Marina. We both have multiple dietary restrictions, which is one reason we frequently cruise. While some things went surprisingly well, overall we found the culinary experience more limiting and frustrating than on mainstream or premium lines. Worse, this trip had at least one epic failure that we’ve never experienced on any of the dozen or so cruises we’ve been on.

In this in-depth post, I’ll introduce Oceania and its approach to special diets and then share our experiences onboard our cruise. Both point to staffing problems (which happen everywhere) but also system-level issues that reveal deeper problems and misconceptions. While every ship, voyage, and passenger experience is different, and may well be flawless, many of these concerns are more than one-offs. Oceania needs to seriously step it up to even match industry norms in this area, let alone exceed them. I’ll provide some recommendations to suggest how that could happen.


Ocean cruise lines are roughly classified into four categories: mainstream, premium, deluxe and luxury. There are various differences as you move up the categories, not the least of which is price. Oceania fits in the niche ‘deluxe’ category. It offers smaller ships, more inclusions and fewer cheesy upsells (photos, art, etc.) than mainstream or premium lines. Passengers are somewhat older, wealthier and more travelled. Still, it’s not the more intimate yet exquisite experience of the luxury lines (or so I’ve heard) that have a price tag to match.

And then there’s the dining experience, which Oceania prides itself on, and is used as a key differentiator in their positioning. French celebrity chef Jaques Pepin, their ‘executive culinary director,’ has a prominent place in their marketing and product offerings. Daily menus at their ‘Grand’ main dining room feature fois gras, caviar, truffles, and choice meats, with the same dishes available in their buffet. Multiple specialty restaurants (Italian, Asian, French, etc.) offer uniform gourmet menus at no extra charge.

Like other cruise lines, Oceania has had to deal with the increasing need for special diets, for medical or other reasons. It’s assumed that vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, diabetic, kosher, nut-free and other diets can be accommodated. To their credit, in 2017 Oceania made a big deal of launching new vegan menus as well as providing new options like a vegan juice and smoothie bar. This effort was recognized by PETA and received broad coverage in the industry.

My wife and I cruise because we find it easier to deal with our special diets that way than finding suitable restaurants at each new locale. We mostly travel on the premium lines (e.g. Celebrity), and have gone once each on Oceania and competitor Azamara previously. I’m mostly vegan (though will do seafood once in a while) and get very sick from dairy or wheat. My wife gets severe migraines from gluten, dairy, soy and nuts, though she does eat seafood, meat, poultry, etc.

So can a cruise line rooted in traditional French cheese, butter and meat really drink the vegan Kool-Aid? And how well does a line with a decided older demographic deal with allergies and diets more common in younger people?

Specialty Diet Process on Oceania

Oceania’s approach to specialty diets is similar to that used by other cruise lines but also differs in important ways. To simplify, we’ll focus mostly on what you’d expect from dinners in the main (‘Grand’) dining room.

Advance notice. As with other lines, passengers should notify the cruise line of any special dietary needs well in advance (90 days). It’s always a good idea, even if your restrictions are fairly routine, e.g. ovo-lacto vegetarian. The theory is the ship will be notified and all your needs automatically are taken care of. Not really of course.

This trip on Oceania handled this part incredibly well in two ways. First, the information I emailed on both our specialty diets actually made it correctly to the ship. That may be a first for us. Usually, it’s either not passed on to the ship, it’s incomplete, or it’s partially or entirely incorrect. I’m still bewildered why this is normally a problem in this day and age. So kudos to Oceania on that front.

Second, we’re used to getting on board and on our own accord finding the Maître d’ to inform them of our needs (or correct their file) and discuss their procedures. Instead, we arrived at our stateroom to find letters confirming our specialty diets and outlining procedures. It also identified a particular head waiter who served as point person for special diets onboard. He called not long afterwards to confirm arrangements and address any questions. Again, not rocket science, but Oceania taking this initiative is not something we’d ever experienced before.

Menus. Vegetarian items (ovo-lacto) are noted on the regular dining room menu, and I am pretty sure there was at least one vegetarian entree every night. There is also a separate vegan menu available for the asking, also changing daily. More on that later.

Meal selection. All cruise lines we’ve been on use some variation of pre-ordering the day before. That way, something can be sorted out and ingredients available when you actually arrive for your meal. On other lines, the head waiter or Maître d’ drops by at the end of dinner to provide the next day’s menu, and then returns a few minutes later to take the order.

Oceania does it a bit differently. Menus are sent to your stateroom two nights before. You write on them which dishes you want, and drop them off at the dining reservations desk (or a waiter) the next morning. On Marina at least, the person staffing the dining reservation desk entered them into the computer (presumably to advise the kitchen in advance). The dining room host gets a copy of the information in the computer (including all dietary requirements) along with the menu you scribbled your request on. These are both passed along to wait staff when you arrive.

This method has its pluses and minuses. One plus is that if you’re booked into a specialty restaurant, that’s the menu sent to your stateroom. Very seamless. On the negative side, there’s no real interaction with the staff about the menu items or opportunities to ask questions. You lose the expertise of the head waiters who know the menus and can proactively offer choices to meet your needs and preferences. Without that interaction, your meal will still be adjusted to fit your dietary needs. However, that may not always result in an appealing meal (as you’ll see).

Responsibility. My ‘Cruising with Special Diets’ guide discusses at length who is responsible for ensuring the meal placed in front of you meets your dietary needs. Ships without the option of fixed seating (including Oceania) start at a disadvantage because you’re at a different table every day, mostly with different waiters. You’re effectively starting from scratch daily.

In contrast, fixed seating means after a few days that you can stop explaining your diet, and certain things start happening without prompting (e.g. no butter, gluten-free bread). Wait staff, who are more than busy enough already, don’t need to deal with a new set of sometimes confusing special diets each day.

With flexible dining, your waiter that day, the head waiter for that section, etc. (plus the kitchen staff) are responsible for ensuring the right food appears. Tomorrow, it’s a different set of people. In these bustling and complex circumstances, is anyone really responsible? (Hint: no.)

The Vegan Experience

Before turning to some issues we had with our special diets, I want to make a few comments on the vegan options available.

First, let me repeat that I’m glad to see vegan items consistently available, a dedicated vegan menu changing daily, and I applaud new initiatives like the raw vegan smoothie bar. Oceania deserves credit for making these available.

Choice. However, while there are hundreds of new vegan menu items, what’s available that day includes only a small handful of items. The vegan dinner menu had three or four starters (some combination of soups, salads, or other appetizers), one entree, and a dessert.

So yes, Oceania may have the largest number of vegan options at sea, but it’s not like you’ve got much of a choice at any one meal. Hope you like what’s on offer. I’m sure it’s not intended, but it comes off a bit like “there’s a vegan option, what more do you want?” (Yes, you could ask for something off-menu, but it’s a bit harder to do when you’re writing in your order vs. discussing it with someone who knows the menus).

Style. The items on the vegan menu were almost always adaptations of items on that day’s regular menu. A salad with cheese on the regular menu would be offered on the vegan menu without cheese. The vegan entrée might substitute a vegan protein for the fish, chicken or meat in a regular menu’s entree. One night, the main menu’s ‘coq au vin’ was paralleled by ‘soy au vin’ (seriously). Dedicated vegan-first items (rather than derivatives) were unfortunately rare.

While some vegans do eat like this, relying on vegan meat substitutes, etc., it’s not common and certainly not haute cuisine. Vegan dishes, often rooted in traditional diets of many cultures, can be vivid, exciting, and truly grand. They’re not afraid of vegetables, grains, and legumes to be more than accents, sides, and accompaniments. They don’t look like a meat-free compromise. Too many of Oceania’s vegan entrées looked more like what your meat-potatoes-veg grandmother thinks would be a “proper meal.” If I were to think of innovative, delightful, five-star vegan meals, these dishes wouldn’t cut it. Sorry Oceania.

Allergies and Other Needs

We ran into a number of issues related to our dietary needs (gluten-free and dairy-free for both of us, and my wife also nut-free and soy-free).

Oops. A few times the wrong item showed up. Either a different item entirely or a “regular” version of an item, not one adjusted for our diets. Sometimes a waiter picks up the wrong plate in the kitchen for example. Mistakes like this happen, and you need to be vigilant. It’s hardly an Oceania thing. Having one waiter consistently taking care of you decreases the odds of it happening, but can’t eliminate it.

Remove but not replace. We also both had multiple meals that did fit our dietary requirements, but were, shall we say, sparse. You can often deal with many special diets by omitting ingredients from a dish. Ideally, you then consider if a replacement would enhance the dish, e.g. a different sauce, vegetables cooked a different way, etc. Receiving a plate with only a piece of (very plain) chicken or fish and nothing else may meet dietary requirements, but is hardly a memorable meal. Is that a plate a chef would be proud to see en route from their kitchen?

Sometimes it’s surprising what gets omitted. My wife’s order of ‘steak frites’ came out of the kitchen as just steak, because the frites were apparently pre-packaged (the horror!) and contained gluten. I’m sure you can easily imagine ways these could have been replaced. (We often ran into this pattern on our previous Oceania cruise as well.)

This may sound like whining (i.e. we should be glad we can get anything at all). But if Oceania takes pride in handling special diets and its overall culinary chops, this is one area to step it up.

Multiple restrictions. As I mentioned, both my wife and I have more than one dietary restriction. This is not uncommon these days. Oceania’s approach seemed to assume that people were vegan or gluten-free or lactose-free, etc. They had options ready to go if you fit one of those boxes, but things went downhill quickly if you had more than one dietary constraint.

As an example, one night early on my wife was given an entree that had been changed from the one on the menu so that it was gluten-free. Unfortunately, the sauce had some nuts in it. She didn’t notice until after she took a couple of bites, and was feeling quite ill through the next day, which certainly impacted our plans. My guess? They were so focused on making sure it was gluten-free that they lost track of the other issues. These are the kinds of mistakes that shouldn’t be happening.

Do you know what’s in your food? A more concerning thing happened to me, coincidentally at the same meal. I’d ordered a dish from the vegan menu that included a vegan protein I wasn’t familiar with. I assumed if it wasn’t compatible with my diet it’d be replaced by something else, e.g. tofu. When I received it, I noticed the texture was similar to several vegan ‘wheat meat’ products. I checked with the wait staff if it was okay to eat (i.e. it was gluten-free) which they assured me it was. I asked them to please check with the chef who also confirmed it was okay.

I was sick afterwards and was pretty sure why. I looked up the company that made the protein online and found most of its products were wheat-based. I contacted the head waiter in charge of allergies and asked him to find out exactly which product was in the dish I was served. He assured me again that it was totally fine. The head chef was also brought into this. I asked them to humour me and check the ingredients, and we’d meet up later. Needless to say, they had very sheepish looks on their faces (it was a wheat-based product).

Here’s my big concern. This was a product that had been used extensively throughout Oceania’s vegan menus for probably a year. Yet, the onboard culinary staff was unaware it contained one of the most common allergens. (The company that makes these vegan products, Eco-Cuisine, does not claim its products are gluten-free, and includes appropriate allergen labelling on its products. I would recommend them if your diet allows).


The next couple of days were pretty rough. I’m glad it wasn’t right before a port we were really looking forward to.

After the incident, I explained my main concern was understanding how this could have happened. And of course, I wanted to ensure it didn’t happen again. The head waiter in charge of allergies (who’d been the one assuring me everything was fine) didn’t know what to say about the whole episode. When I explained that I’d written a book on cruising with allergies, was very aware of Oceania’s marketing around vegan and other diets, etc., he became very quiet and then disappeared. He avoided us almost entirely for the rest of the cruise. Clearly, this is not demonstrating the leadership and responsibility that position demands. Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

The head chef onboard handled this in an extremely professional manner. He fully appreciated the seriousness and implications of this situation. I greatly appreciate his candour and willingness to discuss with me aspects of their procedures, information flow, product availability, etc., and also the various tradeoffs and difficulties. For example, many of the vegan, gluten-free or other special menu items rely on pre-made items or mixes. Fewer steps in preparation make compliance with those diets easier. Yet, if two or more dietary issues must be addressed concurrently, in some cases it leaves few options available.

There was no obvious explanation as to how it was missed that the vegan product was not suitable for gluten-free diets. I’d asked that the head chef ensure his staff, head office, and sister ships were aware of this, though have not to date received confirmation this was done.

This certainly created a mini-crisis at the time. The next day, all the culinary staff paid special attention to us. I was somewhat surprised when a few days before the end of the cruise, I received a pasta dish that had gluten-free pasta, but also a (wheat-based) Eco-Cuisine product in it. Needless to say, I was not too impressed.


We really want to like Oceania, but the consistently poor handling of serious dietary issues is a real deal-breaker. Based on their marketing and some of the positive changes they’ve implemented, I’ll optimistically assume they want to do the right thing, and deliver a superior culinary experience for all passengers. With that in mind, I offer the following recommendations.

Recognize that the current situation is not working. There seems to be a tendency to minimize the severity or frequency of issues, thinking it’s an exception or one-off. Don’t. We saw mistakes made repeatedly. There are some serious policy, procedure and training issues here that need to be addressed. As well, don’t believe your own hype and become complacent, or think that you’re offering the ‘finest cuisine at sea’ for people with special diets as well. You’re not. Your offerings in this regard are significantly poorer than down-market alternatives. Finally, if chefs aren’t aware of common allergens in the products they’re using, that’s a big problem.

Get real. More and more people have multiple dietary restrictions. Assuming people are all just vegan or just gluten-free doesn’t cut it. Current procedures aren’t able to handle this acceptably. Culinary staff need access to more products, resources and training to not only manage multiple restrictions but adapt recipes and do more from scratch. Pre-packaged products or mixes can only take you so far. More expertise and creativity is needed to deliver not only compliant but delicious offerings.

Expand vegan offerings. Did you actually consult with many vegan chefs around your menus? Real vegans expect better than pared down, veganized knock-offs of regular meat-potato-veg dishes. Don’t be afraid to feature dishes that put vegetables, legumes and other ingredients in more leading roles. Embrace more ethnic diversity. You’re not going to offend grandma. Offer more choices if the one daily entree doesn’t appeal, even if it’s a few ‘always available’ vegan entrées.

Fix the system issues If you’re doing things differently than every other cruise line, ask yourself if that’s a good idea. Checking off items on a menu delivered to your stateroom is far inferior to pre-ordering with a senior waiter familiar with you and the menu items (which are then entered into a computer by someone who doesn’t know you at all). Centralize responsibility in a few more senior people. Ensure they understand and appreciate that errors can cause serious illness and impact expensive holidays. Ensure they don’t think that “sorry” (or disappearing) is the only answer when there is a problem. This approach delivers better results than piling more decision making tasks on overworked lower-level staff. Let people with multiple dietary needs deal with the same staff more consistently. Yes, Oceania is offering a different product, with different ship sizes and other constraints, but it’s not that unique.

Get some help. Swallow your culinary pride, and recognize that when it comes to special diets, you’re going to have to play catch up. Seek advice from more chefs and dieticians who cater to these needs. Don’t assume you know what people want, go and find out. Other lines that cater to a younger demographic have more experience with complex diets. Take advantage of your new corporate overlords and extended family tree. NCL was one of the early pioneers in dealing with special diets, and that’s expertise you desperately need.

I’d welcome any comments or other feedback.

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If you’ve read the full online guide, you already know that the first dinner tends to not go as smoothly as the remainder of the nights do, and that all the information you carefully told the cruise line long before you boarded somehow went missing or was garbled beyond belief. Thus, a bit of patience is required.

But now I really have to ask myself, why does it need to be this way?

This happened to us yet again on our current Alaska, and this time I’m going to name names. Yes, Holland America Zuiderdam, I’m talking to you.

On the first day, we get onboard fairly early, around 1:00pm, and immediately go see someone in the dining room to confirm our dietary requirements. Yes, everything was entered into our reservation profile, and yes, half of it was wrong. We correct that, making sure what was entered into the computer is precise and accurate. Took a bit of communicating (“allergic to dairy” vs. “lactose intolerant”) but ok. Politely listen to familiar advice about how meals will be handled in main dining room.

Go up to our assigned table in the dining room for dinner at 7:45pm (more than a few hours later). Waiter knows we have allergies (a good sign). Informs us that given this was the first night and they didn’t of course have time to prepare, the chef has decided we will be having plain chicken.

Three obvious things wrong with this are (1) this wasn’t presented as “given your allergies, the chef has suggested that the chicken would work well for you…”, (2) none of the information we long ago provided or that we had updated earlier that day had been communicated, and (3) I don’t eat meat or poultry.

It took us about five minutes before we finally saw someone a little higher up wander past and we snagged him to help us since then…

Honestly, must it be this much of a challenge every time people with special diets get on a cruise ship?

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When this site first launched, it was to promote my low cost e-book ‘Cruising with Special Diets’.

No more. I’m now giving away all of what was in the e-book for free. You can now read it online at this web site, for no charge.

Why the change? It was because I got very frustrated, knowing that the book could help a lot of people, people who were already reaching out for help. People who I know wouldn’t blink twice at spending five bucks to get the comprehensive information they desperately needed to enjoy their multi-thousand dollar holiday, practically handed to them on a silver platter. But I couldn’t tell them about the book.

The reason is that nowadays, people look for information online, and when it comes to travel information, it’s sites like the immensely popular Cruise Critic. But very understandably, given the huge number of people offering travel-related products and services for sale, they are very strict about anything that comes close to advertising on their discussion forums. Pointing to my e-book, whether I did it or someone else did, would certainly qualify.

My own decision to lock up that content was making it more difficult to help people deal with the frustration of traveling with special diets. Not exactly the reason I put together the e-book in the first place.

So now the entire contents of the e-book has been posted as a free online guide, the new centrepiece of the web site. I think this easily makes it the best “one stop” source of information for cruising with special diets, without the idealistic and ultimately self-defeating spin you’ll find on the cruise line sites. And now it’s a source of information that both myself and others will feel free to tell people about!

But I am going to ask for your help.

Please let people who have special diets know about the free online guide. Post a note on your blog, or tweet about it. Follow @cruisediet on Twitter.

When people are asking questions about cruising with special diets, whether on sites like Cruise Critic or elsewhere, please point them to, so they can get a better understanding of what’s involved in the whole process.

I first wrote the book to share what I’d learned with people who generally have a difficult and frustrating time traveling, to turn them on to something they may not have considered before, and to help them have the best holiday they could. I hope the changes I’ve made today will help achieve that goal.

(edited July 2018… removed previous info on for-fee ebook, no longer available)

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For people who are on a gluten free diet and are considering a cruise, this is the question to ask.

And it has been asked, many, many times. The funny thing is, if you read the answers, they are all over the map. Pretty much every cruise line has been nominated as the best for gluten free. This is not helpful!

Let’s say that you’ve done a search for ‘best gluten free cruise line’, picked a post and decided that their choice (let’s call it Awesome Cruise Line) is the right one. You then second guess yourself, and do a quick confirmation by searching ‘Awesome Cruise Line gluten free’. What comes up but a list of food horror stories that people have had who tried to cruise on Awesome gluten free.


Never fear, I am now going to provide the definitive answer to that question. Ready? Here it is.

All of them. None of them.

You’re welcome.

I suppose if I’m criticizing other people for being unhelpful, I probably need to provide a bit of an explanation for that answer.

A Typical Claim

Let’s start by looking at a standard attempt to answer the ‘which is best?’ question, this one sent to me by email (line names changed of course):

I for example have tried many  – I think CruiseWoo is AMAZING with allergies (staff advised they get 3 months of training) whereas every other cruise line has been a serious challenge for me from CruiseFun to CruiseWhee to CruiseYay to CruiseYippee.

And the response I sent back:

Interestingly, by far our worst experience was on a CruiseWoo cruise. We had several times where the staff didn’t have a clue about the whole preordering thing in general, we had one day where literally three meals had to be sent back because they had wheat products in them, I had one guy trying to convince me that couscous was gluten free, and the head chef for the MDR eventually had to reassign one of the chefs who was working in the allergy prep area because they made so many mistakes. Our ‘goto’ Maitre d’, in a rare moment of candour, let us know how frustrated he was being on that ship, because despite how many times they train or talk to the staff, many of them just don’t give a shit.

We’ve had mostly good on CruiseFun, but still enough bad to be on our toes, though they tend to be the line we use the most. We haven’t done the super high end ones, but even on the somewhat higher end ones it’s been a mixed bag. Our one CruisePomp trip was mostly okay safety-wise but very boring (i.e. just removed offending ingredients), and one trip on CruiseFancy had overall good food, the most awesome Maitre d’ who totally went above and beyond for us, and a few great waiters, but also a few who were complete idiots.

When I was researching the book, I spent a lot of time searching through Cruise Critic forums and found a similar pattern, where you’d get both lots of very good and very bad experiences on pretty much every single line. That included most of the luxury lines too (e.g. CruiseStuffy, CruiseRigid).

A Quick Review

First, a brief reminder how pretty much all cruise lines deal with gluten free or other special diets.

You see on their website that the line handles gluten free diets. When you book, you or your travel agent lets them know about your diet, well ahead of time. When you first get onboard, you go find the Maitre d’ or restaurant manager, confirm your dietary needs with them (if they were even passed on to the ship at all), and find out about the onboard procedures and options available.

For your dinners, you’re given the menu for the next night at the end of the previous dinner. You then preorder your meal, which gives the galley staff time to prepare a suitable variation that deals with your particular special need.  If you use the buffet, you ask lots of questions and be very careful about cross-contamination.

Why the Cop-out?

I think ‘which cruise line is best?’ is the wrong question. If you think about it, you’re asking which organization has the best policies and procedures. And face it, on that front, most of them are more-or-less the same. You might quibble a bit about which one has the best fleet-wide recipes or sources your favourite brand of gluten free products, but that is all a bit subjective.

The reality is, it’s the staff onboard that you’ll encounter that make the real difference. Your particular waiter for example. They can be extremely knowledgable about gluten free dining, they can be extremely careful, accommodating, have a sixth sense about when mistakes were made, and unobtrusively predict your every need ahead of time. Or… well, the opposite of all those things.

The thing is, every line has both great and not-so-great staff. And even with extensive training, the not-so-great ones aren’t going to become great.

Most importantly, the differences in staff have a far greater impact than the differences in policies and procedures across different cruise lines. The best staff member on the cruise line with the worst procedures is going to provide you with a much better gluten free dining experience than the worst staff member on the ‘best’ line.

The real problem is, you can control what cruise line you can pick, but you can’t control the individual staff members you encounter. That’s why there’s so much emphasis on asking which cruise line is the best.

Now What?

You’re probably thinking I’m trying to win some kind of award for the most unhelpful post ever. Fear not. Here’s what I think you should do.

Pick the cruise that is the best fit for your schedule, desired itinerary, demographic and budget. Verify that the policy is that they can handle gluten free, and comply with any requests they make about letting them know in advance and when onboard. When onboard, know and follow their policies and procedures.

Practice defensive eating. Always be on the lookout for mistakes. Learn about the common types of mistakes that are made, and why they are made. Learn how to identify the staff members who really know what they’re doing. Learn the best techniques to resolve problems with staff when they do occur. Learn how best to communicate.

Raise mistakes and difficulties you encounter with supervisors, positively and constructively. Most will assume everything is fine until they’re told otherwise, and most people don’t bring problems to their attention. Give them the information they need to provide extra training or redistribute staff the best that they can.

The biggest section of my book, by far, is about working with staff, and that’s because that is the thing you can do well that makes the biggest difference. The reality is you have to see yourself as a partner to the staff in making sure you have a cruise full of successful gluten free dining experiences.

The idealistic corporate ‘just let us know in advance and everything will be taken care of’ just doesn’t fit with reality. It’s also about the worst thing they can say, because it raises your expectations to an unrealistic level.

I know that’s not as neat and tidy (or short) an answer as ‘CruiseSuperAwesome’. And it’s true, if I just told you one line, you might luck out and have a perfect experience. But you also might not. I’d much rather you went in with realistic expectations, prepared, and ready to put in a small amount of effort, and that way you’ll have a great chance of having a great experience.

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Someone asked recently why I wrote “Cruising with Special Diets”. It really came down to having what I think is an interesting story to tell, that could potentially benefit a lot of people.

My wife and I are both a nightmare when it comes to food… I was vegetarian for years and then about 10 years ago developed very bad gluten and dairy intolerances (and so reluctantly added some seafood). She gets bad migraines from wheat, dairy, soy and nuts. Travel was needless to say a royal pain.

We never thought of doing a cruise but a few years ago there was a course she wanted to do on a ship (she’s a doctor). Turned out way better than we thought food-wise, and now pretty much all our larger holidays are cruises.

Talking to many people over the last few years we found out that we really lucked out — most people don’t know that cruise lines can deal with food allergies etc. at all (including tons of people we met on cruises who had relatives with food allergies!).

Many others who tried a cruise ended up having horrible experiences. The info the cruise lines provide (especially “just let us know in advance and it’ll all be taken care of”) isn’t nearly enough to make things work, unless you really luck out with all the staff onboard. We regularly have food problems onboard, but now know exactly how to deal with them.

Given how hard it is for people to travel with special diets, that cruises can actually handle it, and that the info to do it safely is almost impossible to find, bringing it all together in one place just seemed like the right thing to do.

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