When we go on holiday, we want to relax and just get away from daily life. However, for some of us daily life also involves looking after ourselves continuously, being careful and on the lookout all the time.
I am referring to (food) allergies, lifestyle choices such as veganism and sometimes even life-threatening scenarios that include illnesses. Okay, this sounds very scary and extreme, but many people have to be prepared when going to a restaurant for instance in relation to food allergies, going away for a weekend break not forgetting their medication and the list goes on.
Going on a cruise is no different. In fact, it can sometimes be a little bit easier as cruise lines can prepare in advance and make the necessary arrangements to make your life and your time on board as enjoyable, relaxing and memorable as possible.
Therefore, always tell the cruise line in advance before your trip if they need to adapt to your situation or prepare the food or your cabin in a certain way.
Most important, check with them in advance if they can accommodate your needs and requirements at all if they are very specific and if the trip can only take place if these requirements and needs are met.
Read on to find out which requirements you should tell the cruise line before your trip.
1. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Nowadays, people have all sorts of dietary requirements. They are vegan, lactose intolerant, kosher and the list goes on. Back in the days it was a real nightmare for people with certain dietary requirements to find decent food or even food they could eat in general on board.
This has changed as most cruise lines have realised the need to adapt and cater to those people’s needs. Still, you cannot expect to get as much food options if you have dietary requirements as guests who can eat everything or you might be slightly limited when it comes to choice.
Therefore, inform the cruise line in advance of what it is you need so they can cater to your needs. For instance, if you are lactose intolerant they will make sure that you get for example almond milk for breakfast.
You can ask for a meeting with the Maitre D’ on board (the kitchen manager) to discuss any concerns you have or to even prepare a menu for your duration of your cruise to make sure you also can enjoy tasty food while being on holiday.
If your requirement is a bit more complex though such as only eating kosher food, I would check with the cruise line before making a booking as not all of them can accommodate a request like this.
This point is similar to my first point. You always need to inform the cruise line about any allergy and especially the once that can cause series harm. These can be food allergies, allergies that include animals such as being allergic to duck feathers in the pillows etc.
When you go to the restaurant to order food, I would always remind the staff again of your allergy. On the big cruise ships staff can cater to more than 5,000 guests. It would be great if they can remember every guests allergy and dietary requirement, but they are just humans as well and although the information will be stored somewhere, I would not 100% rely on them remembering everything. Especially if it can be a life threatening allergy that you have. On that note, always have your antidote with you and to hand just in case.
3. SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Many people celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoon and so on on board. If you inform the cruise line in advance they will most of the times arrange a little something for you.
This can vary from a card or a cake to a bottle of wine. It depends entirely on the cruise line. Still, why not take advantage of this little gesture?
It is even more of a surprise if your other half does not know that you informed the cruise line of your special occasion and get surprised.
4. MEDICAL AND HEALTH
Cruises are a comfortable way to get from A to B and they are hassle free. No wonder so many of us go on a cruise year after year. Although the age demographics of cruising is shifting and more and more younger people take a cruise, the majority of cruisers is still roughly 50+ years old. We live longer, but we also have more health problems. These can be small and big of course, but they can impact on our holiday experience.
If you have a medical condition that can affect your health from one day to another, always check with your doctor before booking a cruise if you are fit to travel. If you are not, remember your health is more important than a holiday.
If you still decide to travel you will get yourself, other passengers and the crew into trouble if there is an emergency on board. Also, your travel insurance will not cover any incurring costs if you travel against better advise.
If you are fit to travel, but have a certain medical condition for instance diabetes and you need to get regular insulin injections, check beforehand if the doctor on board can help with the injections if you do not carry them out yourself.
Perhaps you have walking difficulties and need some help to get on and off the ship in ports. In this case you can ask for embarkation and disembarkation assistance. Or on board you can ask for a cabin, which is located closer to the lifts so you do not have to walk too far and long.
Remember that the medical staff on board have basic training and can help with cases such as sea sickness, flu, sprained ankle. Small issues that a normal GP could handle. It is not their job to be able to operate on people. In a real emergency the medical staff on board will do their best to stabilise a patient while the ship is heading as quickly as possible to the next port where there is a hospital in order for the patient to be treated properly.
5. ANYTHING YOU CAN THINK OFF TO MAKE YOUR STAY MORE ENJOYABLE
Depending on the cruise line you can sometimes ask for extra items or set ups in your cabin that will make your stay that little bit extra better and more comfortable.
If you are booked on an all-inclusive cruise, you could ask for your minibar to be stocked with your favorite drinks for example.
Or perhaps you are used to sleeping on a hard mattress, but the mattress is too soft for your liking. Ask for a mattress topper to solve this problem.
I have seen people asking for a stateroom upgrade one day before the cruise for a bargain price. If the ship is half empty this can sometimes be negotiated as the ship will of course not be filled from one night to the next.
FINAL THOUGHTS …
The main point is, do not be shy to ask for things if you believe they can enhance your experience and that can be accommodated within the means of the cruise line. When it comes to dietary requirements, allergies and health always make sure to inform the cruise line before your cruise or check with them if you are unsure before you make a booking to avoid disappointment and problems once on board.