Carnival Cruise Line has added a tool for crew members and guests alike to track potential allergens in its menus, making it easier and safer for guests with food allergies and restrictions to find delicious dining options onboard.
The new Menu Mate program is now being introduced on all Carnival cruise ships, and is available at all dining venues for fast and easy use.
New Way to Track Potential Allergens
The Menu Mate program, powered by CertiStar software, is the first of its kind to be used on major cruise lines. The program allows either guests or crew members to enter food allergies and sensitivities into a touch screen tablet, and then displays what menu options are compatible with those dietary needs.
“Making sure everyone is included in the fun and has the best experience possible is extremely important to us,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
“We are always looking for new ways to help our crew enhance our guests’ experiences, and that’s exactly what this new program is doing on our ships for those with food allergies.”
The program will show guests a variety of options, including which menu items are prepared without any of the selected ingredients, dishes that can be specially prepared to exclude those ingredients, and which menu items should be avoided.
Carnival culinary staff diligently studied recipes across the fleet and worked to note any potential allergen conflicts by inputting accurate ingredient information into the CertiStar software.
This will take the guesswork out of choosing a safe and diet-friendly menu, permitting guests more options to confidently try a variety of different foods and delicious dishes during their cruise vacation.
Safer and More Efficient Menu Ordering
Menu Mate will not only permit guests to make safer food selections to accommodate their allergies and other dietary needs, but it will also speed up the dining process for smoother, more efficient service.
Previously, guests with severe food allergies would need to contact Carnival Cruise Line prior to sailing so their dietary needs could be safely accommodated. Onboard, guests would need to alert the dining staff to their needs, and servers would then confer with chefs to ensure safe menu choices or ingredient substitutions.
Dining room wait staff might even be reassigned as they are familiar with special dietary needs, which could disrupt the flow of meal service and how an individual dining team might work together.
“As someone with food allergies, I don’t want to waste time deliberating over what I can eat, so I’m especially excited to help share this effort with my fellow cruise lovers,” said Shandee Chernow, CEO and founder of CertiStar.
“Everyone deserves to eat great food, but everyone also deserves to be confident in their food safety, including those suffering from food allergies.”
Chernow is herself a frequent cruiser who first set sail with Carnival as a teenager.
While guests should still remain cautious about what they choose to eat, it is no longer necessary to inform the cruise line of food sensitivities before sailing.
“It was really nice and a timesaver because typically the waiter would bring me all of the menus and I would go through and he’d have to stand and wait and take all my orders. Now he just gave me this iPad,” said Katie, a frequent cruiser and recent guest aboard Carnival Sunrise. “It was just a game-changer.”
Menu Mate touch screen kiosks and tablets are available at all dining venues, including the popular Lido deck buffet restaurants. Guests can work with the dining staff to input their restrictions, or can use the tablets or kiosks themselves to better curate what they choose to eat.
Guest reactions have already been overwhelmingly positive for this new tool, both for personal use as well as for helping family members – such as children with severe food allergies – be better able to choose safe and delicious foods and to enjoy a wider variety of menu options.
Not only is Menu Mate a valuable resource for travelers with significant food allergies or dietary sensitivities, but it can also be used for guests to choose healthier options such as selecting no-sugar foods or finding choices that suit vegetarian, vegan, or other dietary preferences.