After my first Viking River cruise I wrote a post about how they handled allergies and specialized diets, now after my second river cruise it is time to update. Things have changed a lot in the last 5 years.

Previously, you had to explain your food preferences to your waiter at every meal. Now, people with specialized food needs are asked to speak to the maitre d’ on the first day. When we did we were each assigned a number and given a small laminated card with our number. We were problem children 3 and 4.

Every morning at breakfast the maitre d’ came to see us. She’d bring the day’s menus and we’d go over it to make a dining plan. Sometimes there were things already on the menu we could have or that could be modified. Other times they would need to make something specifically vegan or allergen-free.

Then at lunch and dinner we would put our cards on the table so the waiters knew just to go get the preordered meals for people 3 and 4. It worked really smoothly.

The food was much better than it was 5 years ago. On that river cruise I remember being hungry a lot. I packed all kinds of meal bars and snacks on this trip. I ended up not eating any of them.


Breakfast is a buffet in the main dining room. You can also get a smaller breakfast on the Aquavit Terrace but we’ve never tried that.

The buffet has typical American breakfast food including an omelet station and meats. For vegans there is a selection of fruit, cereals with some nondairy milk available, oatmeal that is cooked with water, baked beans, mushrooms, and at least one type of potato. There are also bagels on a table full of all types of breads and pastries.

Lunch and Dinner

There is a veggie burger that is on the permanent menu. It comes with sweet potato fries. So if you don’t like anything else on offer, you can always have that. There is also a Nicoise salad on that menu that can be modified to be vegan. I had both of those at lunch on different days and they were filling and good.

On other days my meals usually consisted of rice with vegetables and a sauce based on whatever the daily specials were. Sometimes the soups were made vegan. There aren’t a lot of beans or other high protein foods on the menu so if you are sensitive to that you may want to bring some to supplement. Usually I would see what vegetables were being prepared for other dishes and combine ingredients to make my meals. I was satisfied on this trip unlike on my last one.

Dessert usually was a fruit plate and a scoop of sorbet. Sometimes they would make a small square of vegan pastry for me but honestly, I liked the fruit and sorbet better.


They take the allergies very seriously. I felt pretty safe that they weren’t going to cross contaminate the food for the husband. The maitre d’ was fairly stressed about him. She asked on the first day how bad his allergies were. Once they established he was more on the “fall down and die” side of the spectrum than the tummy ache side she was on watch. She checked on him every time he left the dining room to make sure he was ok.

One dinner he was eyeing some potatoes that his neighbor had. She offered him some so he ate it. I admonished him. (Yes, he ended up in the ER after doing that one time so he should know better.) A few minutes later the maitre d’ came by to check on us. He pointed to the potatoes on someone else’s plate and asked, “Those didn’t have sesame in them, did they?”

She reflexively hauled off and slapped him on the arm. She yelled, “You put something in your mouth without clearing it with me!??!!” in a rising crescendo. I cracked up. I saw the moment when she realized that she should not have just hit a passenger but then decided that if she was going down for this it was worth it. She went to check, determined it was fine, and brought him a small bowl of them. After that he was properly afraid of her and ate nothing else unauthorized. He totally deserved a beating. She was great at keeping the meals for the whole boat organized as well as monitoring the problem children’s diets. We made sure that we tipped her extra at the end for the pain and suffering we put her through.

Based on our experience with this Danube cruise I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Viking cruises for people with allergies or vegan diets.