Cruising and Food Can Be a Challenge

The first four-letter word that comes with going on a cruise is food. There is always so much of it, day and night, that the suspicion is everybody who goes on a cruise comes back a different size, and the tailoring of clothes requires extra material.

There is another side to the story of food and cruising.

In this era, more and more people have discovered problems with certain foods. Allergies. Intestinal issues. We have a granddaughter who has celiac disease, so eating anything with wheat in it is an enormous problem. Our daughter was vegetarian for a number of years. All of these "issues" make it more challenging in the kitchen for cruise lines…and they can make cruising an unpleasant experience for the customers.

We have friends with dietary issues — serious ones — going on a Norwegian cruise in September. On their behalf, we made a few inquiries and discovered that Norwegian tries to be proactive. There's an email address where passengers can make their dietary preferences (aka, concerns) known in advance: accessdesk@ncl.com. Our friends promise to take notes and report back.

Norwegian, like all cruise lines, encourages passengers to request specific items from waiters in restaurants. There are no guarantees, of course, but our experience has been that most waiters will do everything in their power to accommodate you. If they don't, it's usually because they can't.

One of our best "waiter experiences" was on the Norwegian Sun. His name was Dollarege Soares, he was from Mumbai and by the end of the cruise we'd become such good friends that when we had the camera out on our last night, he gathered us all together for what he called "family picture." That had nothing to do with food, of course, but it had everything to do with customer service.

And that usually means that four-letter word.


Norwegian Epic
7 nights
September 23, 2012
Barcelona (return): Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Marseille
Inside: $629
Cost per day: $89
www.ncl.com

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