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Special Dietary Needs? It’s Easy to Cruise with Holland America Line

No matter where you go on a cruise, food is an important part of the onboard experience, and it’s also a gateway to the cultures we visit. Today, more people are traveling with dietary restrictions, and we don’t want that to deter anyone from enjoying their vacation! Onboard all of our ships, we have plenty of options to make sure our guests with special dietary needs have an equally delicious experience as those without.

For guests who avoid meat and dairy, we have plenty of vegan choices in our restaurants. The main Dining Room offers an exclusive vegan and vegetarian menu with an extensive list of items to choose from. Guests can enjoy everything from vegetable spring rolls and grilled tostadas to vegetable jambalaya and tempeh kebobs! No matter what your taste, you’ll be sure to find something delightful. Just be sure to ask for the menu early in the cruise. Tamarind, our award-winning Pan-Asian alternative dining restaurant, gives guests many vegetarian dishes, as does the casual Lido Market. Many dishes in our other venues can be altered and made with substitutions to make them vegan friendly.

Veggies chopping

For guests who are vegetarian, we have even more options at your disposal. In the Dining Room, the main menu offers a variety of vegetarian selections spanning each course, and guests also can request the exclusive vegetarian and vegan menu. In addition to a number of choices in the Lido Market, alternative restaurants Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, Rudi’s Sel de Mer, Dive-In and New York Pizza all have vegetarian choices. Each of these restaurants also features a leaf icon on the dishes that highlight the vegetarian-friendly food, making it quick and easy to scan for appropriate items. Our In- Room Service offers the same feature as well. Finding vegetable-based alternatives is easy task onboard.

Beyond meat and dairy restrictions, we understand that there are many guests who have food allergies that make it hard to travel and dine without extensive planning. Our travelers with Celiac’s disease or gluten sensitivities will find items made without gluten are marked with the symbol of wheat next to their descriptions. Our Dive-In burgers also can be made with gluten-free buns. While our main ingredients are listed with each menu item, you may not know if a meal contains trace amounts other common allergens such as nuts, milk or butter. If you are excited about a menu item, but not sure if it is gluten free or contains another allergen, speak to your server and our culinary team to be sure that each meal is safe and healthy for you to enjoy.

Chef greeting guests

The Main Dining Room has plenty of special options.

We do our best to keep our guests with dietary needs in mind when planning our menus. Traveling should be an enjoyable way to experience the world, and we encourage our guests to feel empowered to have a carefree vacation with Holland America Line! If you have special dietary needs that require assistance, please contact Ship Services at least three weeks prior to your departure: 1–800–541–1576.

  • Jan Hamilton

    We cruised on ms Westerdam December 2017 and had a wonderful cruise through Pana Canal to Ft Lauderdale and stayed on board for the Christmas cruise.
    I am a dietetic and also have an allergy to seafood including any dish made from a seafood base. The culinary team were fantastic. Every night at dinner I was presented with a copy of next day’s menu. If I had any question about an item the chef was consulted and I felt assured about whatever I ordered. In at least one instance, they assigned my meal to a special chef so my choice could be prepared in such a way I could feel assured of no trace of seafood and/or prepared in a safe zone with no chance of cross contamination. This is one happy cruiser????????????

  • Jim Schwar

    This is a very interesting article. My wife and I will be cruising on the Zuiderdam next month for 11 days. This will be our sixth Holland America cruise but the first since I had to be so concerned about my diet. For over a year, I have been on a dairy-free diet. If I consume anything with dairy, I will likely pay the price. I have to admit a certain amount of apprehension going on this cruise. On previous cruises, the culinary aspects have been wonderful. This time, I just want to make sure that I avoid any dietary missteps. Dairy hides everywhere, and I definitely do not want to get sick while on a cruise.

    I notified my travel agent of my dietary restrictions, and I am led to believe that the ship dietician will be tracking me down when we embark on the Zuiderdam. I hope this is true, as any guidance will be very much appreciated.

  • Julie

    Hi Jim, you’ll be able to dine on delicious food, and we’re happy to help. As a precaution, I would call ship services yourself just to be sure. While I’m sure your travel agent is doing a great job, it’s a simple call to ensure your dietary needs are met onboard. 1–800–541–1576

  • Julie

    We’re delighted we could meet your dietary needs!

  • Liz Poole

    I am looking forward to my first ever cruise (to Alaska) this summer. I have been a vegetarian all my adult life. Subsequent to booking the cruise I have learnt from my GP that I need to follow a gluten free diet too – otherwise I may experience digestive problems. Can you reassure me that I will be able to eat gluten-free Veggie, /vegan food on board. Many thanks!

  • Julie

    Liz, you will have plenty of delicious options. However, please call ship services several weeks before your cruise to chat about your needs so the ship can be prepared! 1–800–541–1576

  • Tanya Peters

    We are looking to book an Easter Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam, but I have many food restrictions. I’m gluten free plus have extreme allergies to onions, garlic, red and green peppers. The onions can not be in or near my food. Also no marinated food and very limited seasoning.

  • Liz Poole

    Thank you Julie. I feel reassured. I’ll make a note in my diary to give them a call

  • Julie

    Please contact Ship Services and they can work with you on your dietary needs. 1–800–541–1576

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