Cruising with Food Allergies on Carnival


When we found out Carnival was sending us on a cruise this summer, I was off to do more research. Last year, as silly as it sounds, I didn’t ask how they handled cruising with food allergies. Even though, I’m a firm believer in always asking, I didn’t think I would hear a “we handle food allergies all of the time,” which is what they actually said. So, this time, I was fully prepared to make my requests.

Cruising with Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

This time, though, I did my research (starting on the Carnival page) and discovered that they could more than accommodate me and my dietary restrictions while on a cruise ship!

Special Food Allergies or Dietary Restrictions:

We were able to meet and chat with one of the Head Chefs on board the Carnival Magic. He explained how they treated food allergies and dietary restrictions. I asked how they might handle more complicated issues and he said they can handle anything, but if there is something specific, to get in touch with the cruise line using that page above.

I had a specific question about PKU needs. These children can have very little protein. The Chef said they would be happy to accommodate and since it was something that wasn’t so common, they would always want to discuss via email beforehand. They have had families bring all of their food on board, certain meals on board and certain things to be prepared (for example, somebody asked about using a very specific pancake mix, which they would accommodate).

Basically, they will take care of you and make you feel like this is how they cook everyday…because they do!

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

Kids with Food Allergies:

Kids are given the same treatment as below when it comes to food allergies. When you register them for Camp Ocean, they also ask about food allergies and make sure to check each day which meals and foods your children can eat.

On the Lido Deck:

Upon arriving on the ship, our first meal was lunch on the Lido deck. If you need accommodations, you can let them know and they will prepare a meal for you with your needs. I decided to do salads for lunch so I didn’t end up asking for any dietary accommodations. You can do the same for breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck, too.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

Now, for dinner, we ate at the main dining room for all meals (except the Prime Steakhouse one night). It’s actually easier for the servers to accommodate there.

When you can pick anything from the menu and they will make it work with your allergies, there is a whole new world opened for you! Most restaurants we frequent won’t even attempt it.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

For the first dinner:

For our first dinner on the ship, I alerted our server, Edgardo and his team of my dietary needs and they made sure to communicate with the chef. The head chef actually came out to the table to check everything (I actually asked to double check that the mashed potatoes didn’t have dairy in them because I didn’t believe it!).

They even had gluten free bread for me at the table when everybody else had an assortment of rolls.

Subsequent Dinners:

After our first dinner, our server brought out the menu for the following evening and asked me to make my selections for dinner. It was kind of fun to have a sneak peek at the next evening’s menu and also be a little surprised the next day by my selections if I didn’t remember all of them. After all, I was able to pick an appetizer, an entree and sides.

My favorite appetizer was the stuffed mushrooms…it’s hard to get anything “stuffed” without gluten or dairy, but they made it happen and they were delicious.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

Dinner was seared salmon with vegetables and a rice cake. I’m still dreaming about this!

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

For dessert, they always surprised me. Here’s a few of the desserts I had, but most of them were so good that I dove in and forgot to take pictures, but the sorbet and macaroons take the cake.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival


We dined both at the Lido Deck buffet and in Southern Lights. If you plan on dining in Southern Lights, it’s best to place your order the night before so the kitchen is prepared for you. I forgot and they made it work for me and didn’t act like it was a problem at all.

Specialty Meals:

We dined at Prime Steakhouse and when we made reservations, I told them of my food allergies/ dietary restrictions. They confirmed them with me when we arrived and offered the full menu for me to make my meal selections. My Tuna Poke was absolutely amazing and the Chef once again came to check on everything. It was of course, delicious.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

Attending the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (worth the $5 per person splurge, check out these other cruise splurges!), since we had made a reservation, they already had my needs down and had prepared pancakes for me. It was nice and a treat to eat foods that I haven’t eaten in quite a while.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

The Kitchen and Staff:

We were treated to a behind the scenes tour and it was so nice to see so many smiling faces happy to be preparing our meals, and my special meals, too. They really made me feel like my food was easy to prepare and no more trouble than any of the other thousands of meals they would be preparing.

Cruising with Allergies on Carnival

If you are worried about cruising with food allergies. Don’t be. You will be in good hands and they will take amazing care of you. You will likely eat like you haven’t eaten in a long time…and those 5 pounds will totally be worth it!

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  1. Mmmmmm 5 pounds. I can already taste the cruise. And WOW to those macarons and the sorbet; I want that plate, too.

  2. This is really good to know because I would like to take a cruise next year with my mother and we both have food allergies.

    1. I hope it eases your mind that you can cruise and have a great time!

  3. Pat Chance says:

    This is great information for food allergy people and they were nice about it.

  4. That is super helpful and it looks like all your meals were really tasty too! Now I want some macaroons!

    1. Gosh were they tasty! And some of them surprisingly rich, too!

  5. This is great information, thanks for sharing it. We’ll be cruising in a few months and I’m really looking forward to all the delicious food.

  6. Thank you for this reassuring post! My son has a dairy allergy and it sure is difficult going out to eat. We typically just bring our own food. I didn’t even consider cruising due to the food but will add it to our list of options for next summer!

    1. Hi Ashley

      Glad you found it helpful!

      Yes, they are so accommodating. I feel like they were way more so than most restaurants here. It definitely helps take that one thing off the list of concerns when traveling.

  7. Jennifer M says:

    I’ve been on 3-4 Carnival Cruises and though I don’t have allergies, per se, I can’t eat certain seeds or nuts in my food due to my intestinal disease. They were nothing but accommodating and so kind. (And yes, those 5…maybe more, pounds are always worth it!)

    1. My mother in law has (I’m thinking) the exact same issue. So glad they were accommodating for you, too. I know for her, it’s resulted in a visit to the ER, so it’s super important not to have them in the diet!

  8. In the pictures, are these the full meals? They look very small, and if that is the whole meal, I would be afraid that I would end up being very hungry. The tuna looked to be only one or two bites.

    1. No not al of these are full meals. The tuna was an appetizer. Never was there a meal when we were hungry after. The usually have an app, full meal and dessert.

      I doubt you will be hungry!

  9. Carnival cruise was absolutely awesome with my children’s food allergies. We were shocked. They went above and beyond. Our kids ate so much they had never been able to freely eat in a restaurant before. My family was really nervous before we went. We emailed them so that they could prepare ingredients. I was amazed. They even baked them personal bread for meals. Amazing!!

    1. It’s it great how accommodating they are? I mentioned liking macarons, so one meal they brought me a plate full of them!

      I’ll have to remember the personal bread!

  10. It sounds like your allergies are gluten and dairy. Any others? I just booked a cruise for my son and I’s birthdays for March 2022 and he is allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts, shrimp and apricots (that last one is a weird one lol). We’ll be traveling on Carnival and I do think I recall them having salads available, which my son loves, I would just need to make sure they don’t cross contaminate with cheese or nuts or sunflower seeds (that one is mine, they make me itchy just from touching). I think there was fresh melon and strawberries and the like as well, which my healthy eating little weirdo loves too.
    What was in the sorbet, just fruit? He’d LOVE that.

    1. Hi Heather-

      Yes, gluten and dairy are my allergies…but I also exclude onions and garlic.

      For your complex allergies, I’d recommend calling/emailing Carnival directly. They will get the info over to the chef for your specific cruise. Then you can again tell your server and the chef at the buffets (if they keep buffets).

      Fresh fruit is pretty easy to find on board.

      As far as sorbet, it’s typically fruit, water and sugar…I even buy it at home at the grocery store…check the ingredients. So, I’d assume it’s the same on ships, too!

      Good luck and happy cruising. And happy birthday to you and your son!

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