Advice

How to Keep Kosher on a Cruise

how to keep kosher cruise jewish
Look for Jewish classics on Kosher menus, including matzoh ball soup (shown), kugel, and brisket. - Photo by Tetra Images / Thinkstock

Keeping kosher on land isn’t easy, and it certainly doesn’t get any easier on a cruise. While companies like Kosherica charter the ships of mainstream lines and turn them into kosher-friendly paradises, cruisers who wish to keep kosher aren’t necessarily limited to those special sailings.

On regular sailings, you won’t find freshly prepared meals from a dedicated kosher kitchen like you would on a Passover cruise, as many lines have prepackaged kosher meals delivered to the ships by various suppliers; no line offers 100-percent kosher facilities. Still, some, like Crystal Cruises in particular, have excellent programs that give passengers more options and flexibility in how, when, and where they can order their meals.

Here is our list of how the mainstream lines accommodate kosher passengers: 

 

Azamara Club Cruises:

Overview: Kosher items, like the options on this menu, can be ordered in any restaurant during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How to Notify: Send an email with your dietary requests to Azamara Access Department 40 days in advance of U.S. sailings and 80 days in advance of all other sailings.

Carnival Cruise Line:

Supplier: Sterling Kosher

Overview: Pre-packaged kosher meals can be ordered in the main dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How to Notify: Requests for kosher meals are accepted up to two weeks before the sail date.

Celebrity Cruises:

Supplier: Sterling Kosher

Overview: Kosher meals — such as challah French toast, eggplant parmesan with kasha and vegetables, short ribs with burgundy sauce, and chicken marsala with rice pilaf — can be served in the main dining rooms (with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition) at any time.

How to Notify: Let Celebrity know 45 days in advance for US-based sailings and 80 days in advance for all other sailings by contacting its Special Needs Department.

Costa Cruises:

Overview: Kosher meals are not provided. Guests can bring their own frozen prepackaged dinners, which servers will heat up in the main dining areas.

Crystal Cruises:

Overview: Crystal has an extensive Kosher-style cuisine at sea program. The line does not have a separate kosher kitchen, but it does have kosher methods of preparation, including kosher pots, pans, and utensils that are washed separately. The kitchen staff has also been trained in kosher food preparation. They also offer pre-packaged kosher meals.

How to Notify: Inform Crystal 90 days prior to sailing by contacting Onboard Guest Services.

Cunard:

Supplier: Hermolis & Co.

Overview: Menus for pre-packaged meals are supplied in advance, and your choices will be passed along to the supplier. Meals can then be served at any time in all restaurants onboard. The line also offers an extensive vegetarian and fish menu. Cunard does not have a kosher kitchen and therefore in order to authenticate their kosher meals, they will be presented with the double wrappings and kosher seals. There is also kosher breakfast cereal and wine.

How to Notify: Let Cunard or your travel agent know you would like to keep kosher no later than 6 weeks before sail date.

Disney Cruise Line:

Overview: Pre-packaged kosher meals are served in all full-service dining locations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How to Notify: Notify Disney’s Special Services Department when you book. 

Holland America Line:

Overview: Kosher meals are pre-packaged and chosen in advance of the cruise and are served in the main dining room for dinner. For lunch and breakfast there are various breads, fresh fruit, boxed cereals, and more that guests may choose from to keep their kosher diet.

How to Notify: Send an email to the Ship Services Department or call 90 days before sailing.

MSC Cruises:

Overview: Pre-packaged kosher meals, like the options on this menu, are ordered in advance and can be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the main dining room.

How to Notify: Contact MSC at least two months in advance.

Norwegian Cruise Line:

Supplier: Sterling Kosher

Overview: All restaurants offer kosher pre-packaged meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How to Notify: Kosher meal requests must be made at the time of booking or no later than 30 days in advance by letting your travel agent or Norwegian reservations agent know.

Oceania Cruises:

Supplier: Webermans Traditional Foods

Overview: Guests are given menus with an extensive selection prior to the voyage, including breakfast offerings — cheese blintzes, omelets, hash browns, and pancakes — and dinner entrees like filet of salmon and honey glazed chicken. If you place your request at least 90 days in advance, the line also offers appetizers, soups, and desserts. The choices are served in the main dining areas at all times. The kitchen is not kosher, but the cruise line does have kosher frozen meat that is butchered in a sanitized area. There is also kosher wine available.

How to Notify: Let Oceania or your travel agent know about your desire to keep kosher during the booking process at least 90 days in advance, as additional options are available.

Princess Cruises:

Overview: Kosher meals are available for lunch and dinner in the main dining areas and alternative restaurants, and boxed cereals are available for breakfast. Selections are chosen the night before with the maître d’.

How to Notify: Kosher meals are available upon written request in the Cruise Personalizer.  No later than 35 days prior for US-based cruises, and 65 days prior for all other voyages.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises:

Supplier: Webermans Traditional Foods

Overview: Guests are given menus with an extensive selection prior to the voyage, including breakfast offerings — cheese blintzes, omelets, hash browns, and pancakes — and dinner entrees like filet of salmon and honey glazed chicken. If you place your request at least 90 days in advance, the line also offers appetizers, soups, and desserts. The choices are served in the main dining areas at all times. The kitchen is not kosher, but the cruise line does have kosher frozen meat that is butchered in a sanitized area. There is also kosher wine available.

How to Notify: Let Oceania or your travel agent know about your desire to keep kosher during the booking process at least 90 days in advance, as additional options are available.

Royal Caribbean International:

Overview: Pre-packaged kosher items can be ordered in any restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How to Notify: Kosher meal requests must be received 45 days in advance — 90 days for South American and European itineraries — to be accommodated, and should be sent to the Special Needs Department - or contact your travel agent.

Seabourn:

Overview: Meals are pre-packaged; there is no dedicated kitchen or galley workspace onboard to accommodate kosher food or preparation.  You may choose the supplier you would like your meals to come from.

How to Notify: Let the cruise line know at the time of booking. To indicate which brand of kosher meals you would prefer, email guestservices@seabourn.com.

Silversea Cruises:

Overview: Pre-packaged kosher meals are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in all restaurants.

How to Notify: Inform Silversea or your travel agent of your desire to keep kosher at least 75 days before you sail.

Windstar:

Overview: Kosher meals are not available. Guests can bring their own prepackaged meals and have them heated up in the main dining area.

 

Updated on April 24, 2017.


Join the discussion

Which lines have you kept kosher on?

Posted by Shlomo

That takes care of the food issues, I guess. What about sailing on Shabbat (I think if the boat doesn't dock it's OK, but a non-kosher cruise can change the plan based on conditions)? What about lighting Shabbat candles (it's prohibited for safety reasons)? Also, most ship toilets flush with an electric mechanism, so you can't flush on Shabbat, which is very unsanitary!



I cannot imagine taking a non-kosher cruise as a Torah Observant Jew; I would just not fit in! Also, there are countless issues of halachah. Imagine a non-Jew asking you to hand him a cheeseburger and I have to tell him I'm not allowed to touch it (ironically, you can hand him bacon or ham as long as you don't eat it).


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