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Kosher food on a cruise

sanekosher Jan 21, 2008 10:44 AM

I may be joining family on a Princess Cruise Lines cruise (Crown Princess ship) or a Costa cruise (Costa Fortuna)...but will need kosher food. (I've never done cruising but I understand most cruise lines are very accomodating.) Does anyone have experience with getting kosher food on cruises in general or w/these lines specifically? Is it airline food usual or something comparable to what you're paying for? If the "kosher" food turns out to be vile, are the cruise lines usually accomodating to double wrap fish?

  1. m
    MartyB Jan 21, 2008 11:20 AM

    I have never been on a cruise, but I assume it is like an airline, in that you will have to take whatever they have contracted with to accommodate their kosher clients.

    There are kosher cruises available; maybe you could recommend one to your family. Check out http://www.kosherica.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: MartyB
      cherylp3 Jan 21, 2008 05:28 PM

      I've done Kosher on Disney and its basically airline food.

    2. Joe Berger Jan 21, 2008 11:42 AM

      a cruise can be a waste of money if you can't eat any catered food. cruises are like eating and drinking orgies all day and night, so if you can't partake of it accept with plastic wrapped food in microwave ovens, you are really going to feel cheated during the entire trip. you may be better off just flying and meeting them at the final vacation destination.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Joe Berger
        DeisCane Jan 21, 2008 11:45 AM

        Gotta agree with Joe here. The real draw of most cruises is indeed the food.

        1. re: Joe Berger
          cheeseguysgirl Mar 25, 2008 03:59 PM

          My husband and I went on a Celebrity Cruise in January, and there was an entire subcruise operating under the title "Suite Life." They had kosher buffets, ate in subsections of the dining room, etc. Seemed much better than the pre-packaged option that otherwise would have to have been taken. There were places to daven, and we even had a Shabbos elevator that stopped on every floor. I spoke with lots of the women, and they raved about the quality of the food. I know they do both Celebrity and Crystal, they may do others as well.

          Their website is www.slkosher.com.

        2. j
          jlq3d3 Jan 21, 2008 12:44 PM

          I've heard of Princess being accommodating with kosher food and double wrapped fish. Ask around and ask them.

          1. j
            jlq3d3 Jan 21, 2008 12:45 PM


            Go to the Princess site and search "kosher", and they say they can accommodate.

            1. s
              sharonlebewohl Jan 21, 2008 06:59 PM

              I've bee on a lot of cruises, and Kashrut has never been an issue. The staff always seems very anxious to please me, although i make arrangements before hand. I ususally wait until I can get a great deal on a cruise, and then I purchase my own packaged food. Everyone always goes out of their way to please me. I bring my own wine, and I'm usually very happy. I usually don't have an issue with breakfast since I love fresh fruits and dairy, and I need to remind myself that I'm on the cruise for much more than the food. I am leaving on a Holland American cruise next week, and they all ready know me. They go out of their way to make me happy. I'll letr you know how it goes, but I have no doubt that it will be perfect.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sharonlebewohl
                farfelino Jul 7, 2010 08:26 AM

                I am most interested in your comment about your own packaged food. Do you bring it on board yourself have it sent to the ship directly? Is it prepackaged in individual servings or complete meals? Is it all frrozen? Please provide more details. I am contemplating a first-time cruise and it will be several weeks long. What happens to the food on Shabbat? Thanks!

              2. k
                kiddush hopper Jan 22, 2008 08:45 PM

                2 couples that my wife and i are friendly with just went on a cruise. i dont have any of the info but they said that the amount of food was ridiculous. apparently the caterer besides giving enormous amounts of food for the meals, also gives food for room service, that the kitchen keeps stored, if they decide they want it. my friends ordered pizza bagels at 2:00am one night, and hamburgers another night. everything came wrapped and was delicious. all i know is that it is a caterer in miami that does the food

                1 Reply
                1. re: kiddush hopper
                  isberk Mar 23, 2008 10:55 AM

                  hi.do u know what cruise line caterer in miami

                2. r
                  RichardGee Feb 6, 2009 01:32 AM

                  Having just returned Sunday from a 10 day cruise on Royal Caribbean, Ill give some pointers.
                  You dont have a say in the brand name supplying the food, we had Webberman from Florida - they're the best. When selecting your meals from the (somewhat available) list, you may want to order two meals for dinner as one meals sometimes fills only one cavity - or you may want to order some steamed vegtables (which they wrap in foil) or a baked potato as a supplement - or all of these. Fish is available dialy, also foil wrapped. Also, I dont know where you're holding - fresh (cut) fruit, salad bar, nothing to exotic. On a previous cruise we had waffles, they made them fresh, the mix carried a reliable hashgacha as did the non stick spray. We also had a glass of wine each nite -after buying a bottle on board(Baron Herzog @$42,) and they held it and served it nightly. We checked the ice cream, a big ou on the container (hense the 3 lbs I gained). We did have a problem as we couldnt find a paper bowl on board so the boxed cheerios had to be eaten dry, my wife ate oatmel (Quaker) (maybe that wasn't such a good idea) in a paper plate. The biggest problem you're going to have is the automatic door locks on Shabbos, and you'll just have to be creative. And if you're very machmer, you may have a problem with the urinals in the public mens rooms. Hope this helps you and everyone else. Bon Voyage !

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: RichardGee
                    sloanesq Jun 23, 2009 01:29 PM

                    I'll be going on a 4-day RCL cruise from Miami to the Bahamas in about 2 months. I've already had the Weberman's food on NCL and found it to be tolerable. (I particularly enjoyed the soup in plastic bags - made me feel like an astronaut) It would be nice to supplement the Weberman's though with fresh cooked fish. However, isn't that a problem of bishul akum? Or am I missing something? Also, anyone have any idea what the halachic issues surrounding sushi (kosher fish, obviously) might be?

                    1. re: sloanesq
                      queenscook Jun 23, 2009 03:19 PM

                      Certainly the rice, cooked in non-kosher pots, is a problem. Maybe the vinegar. I'm fairly sure most Orthodox poskim hold the seaweed needs to have a hechsher. Since you don't see the fish with the fins and scales still on it, that's probably also an issue. Well, basically everything, if you keep strictly kosher, it seems to me.

                      1. re: queenscook
                        sloanesq Jun 24, 2009 09:39 AM

                        Thanks for your reply. I believe the rice is made in special rice cookers that are used exclusively for that purpose. So that shouldn't be a problem. I can always ask to check the vinegar to see if it has a hashgacha. Not worried about the seaweed - the only question re: seaweed is whether it was checked for bugs. I can do that myself, visually. I'm also not worried about the sushi chef substituting crab or some other unkosher fish for salmon or tuna - that would be heresy of the highest order to any sushi chef - simply unheard of. The wasabi and ginger may not be edible w/o a hashgacha but I can pass on those. The only problem I can't see a way around is the bishul akum issue with regard to the rice. That is the same problem I have vis a vis eating double-wrapped fish. Does anyone have a solution?

                        1. re: sloanesq
                          larry321 Jun 26, 2009 01:18 PM

                          Interesting article which addresses the Kashrus issues of "non-kosher" sushi. As you surmised, the only issue is bishul akum.


                          1. re: larry321
                            zsero Jun 26, 2009 03:09 PM

                            Please do read the article. You will find that there are many other issues besides bishul akum.

                            1. re: larry321
                              queenscook Jun 27, 2009 08:49 PM

                              I don't think we read the same article; the one I read at
                              finds issues with almost every aspect of sushi: the wasabi, the soy sauce, the ginger, the nori, the rice, and the fish. It most definitely DOES NOT say that the only problem is bishul akum.

                            2. re: sloanesq
                              zsero Jun 26, 2009 03:02 PM

                              For fish, you can solve the bishul akum problem by asking to put it in the oven yourself. The rice is a tougher problem, because the bishul akum has made the cooker not kosher; merely putting the rice into the cooker for your meal won't solve that.

                      2. r
                        rebeccaLunch Jun 24, 2009 07:36 AM

                        I cruised on Holland America to Alaska and they were really accomodating. The food was definitely a step up from airline food. They also gave us fresh fruit and veges and were willing to double wrap and cook potatos and fish for us. Just call and ask but most cruiselines are really good about Kosher food.

                        1. j
                          jaq121897 Jun 24, 2009 12:42 PM

                          I cruised on Princess in Alaska last summer. We are not strictly kosher and will eat fish, pasta and veggies without any special wrapping. My hubby requested Kosher meals as he 'needs' his meat. He ate the kosher brisket on the second night, they needed 24 hours notice to defrost the kosher meal. Hubby ate the brisket but did not order another kosher meal the entire week. To me, the meal looked exteremely unappetizing, I would not dare taste it. Keep in mind that if you request the kosher meals while making your reservation, you are not obliged to eat them once on the ship.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jaq121897
                            meateater Jun 26, 2009 12:04 PM

                            I did the same on a Princess cruise. agree with everyone above and RichardGee especially. you don't have to have have the kosher airline food just because you ordered it in advance. and if you want, you can usually have more than one as they seem to stock plenty. also, the staff was willing to tear off the triple layer of foil so I wouldn't get gravy/sauce stains wrestling with the packaging nor be embarassed when everyone else got served. and on Princess every meal has a vegetarian option and fish option too. not to mention the 24 hour buffet of fresh fruits and salads.

                          2. s
                            Southern Belle Jun 24, 2009 05:11 PM

                            My friends took their own skillet to be used for omelettes in the mornings, and just selected the veggies that they felt they could eat -- ie, tomatoes yes, onions no. They also went on a cruise that required them to bring their own prepackaged meals onboard, and their luggage was delayed, so don't do that. If you have to bring your own, have it shipped ups instead!

                            1. k
                              Kohser Eater Apr 22, 2010 01:33 PM

                              We are an ultra orthodox Jewish couple that eats strictly kosher food and went on a cruise with Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas, I must stay it was a great experience, they where accommodating our kosher needs in every possible way.

                              At first they do offer pre packaged kosher food prepared by "Webermans Traditional Food of North Miami", we expected bad pre packed kosher food as given on most airlines, but where pleasantly surprised of the great tasting food and menu variety (they even had soups) supplementary we brought along our own frozen pre packed foods which you can get in allot of kosher delis these days, that pack them double wrapped especially for travelers, overall we where well fed by all meals.

                              Just a few tips, first thing as we got on board the cruise ship, I looked for our tables head waiter in the dining room and explained to him the situation, he was EXTREMELY helpful and very respectful to our needs, it seemed like he served plenty kosher cruisers like us before and was well aware of all the restrictions and so forth, btw his name was “Nunu” on the Majesty of the Sea By Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (send him our best regards).

                              He advised us of calling in room service to store our food, and then he even offered us a separate private table in the dining room since we wanted our privacy with the kosher food, At every lunch and dinner he came by with full menu from webermans to ask us, what we would like at our next meal and he warmed up that particular meal and meal time, he even offered us double and triple portions just to make sure we get fed, supplementary he got our own frozen pre packed food from room service and warmed it up for us.

                              As for breakfast, we are simply not breakfast eaters, so our own pasties and bottles of milk that we stored with room service did the job just fine,whenever we asked for the milk, it was in our stateroom or even in the café within minutes.

                              Overall it was a great experience, Thanks to the Royal Caribbean Staff and our head waiter “Nunu” that understood our needs and where ready to help in every way, kudos to Webermans for providing delicious pre-pared kosher food, we never felt hungry on our entire cruise, we will go again and encourage other Jewish couples that eat strictly kosher food to do the same.

                              1. k
                                kfmom Mar 4, 2013 01:37 PM

                                I am planning on going on an MSC Fantasia cruise in Venice Italy this summer...I know cruise lines like ROyal Caribbean will give you 2 or even 3 kosher meals at each meal...has anyone gotten the kosher meals on MSC? The meals aren't always enough for my husband and my kids.

                                1. k
                                  kfmom Mar 4, 2013 05:01 PM

                                  does anyone know if MSC Fanstasia out if Venice Italy allows you to have more than one portion of the kosher meals on the cruise like Royal Carribean does?

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