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Special Diets Are a Cinch Aboard Maine’s Windjammers

Paleo? Gluten Free? Allergic to Peppers? No Problem!

Midcoast, Maine— For anyone living with dietary constraints, the prospect of travel can be daunting. A traveler’s level of enjoyment depends largely on the people preparing the meals: Will the cooks even know what restrictions are? Will they take care in food preparation and do their best not to contaminate one dish with another? Will they be kind and understanding about the challenges involved with dietary restrictions? For guests traveling aboard the nine vessels in the Maine Windjammer Association, the answers to all these questions are a resounding ‘yes!’

The Maine Windjammer Association has a long and well-deserved reputation for serving up the most scrumptious food for everyone, including those with special dietary needs. Says chef Carla Martinez aboard the Lewis R. French, “Those with allergies sometimes start out a little nervous. They don’t like to be singled out. But by the end, they see that we’ve accommodated them seamlessly and they can relax and enjoy their meals along with everyone else.”

From the first phone call or email inquiry – hopefully when guests alert captains of any dietary needs – the chefs of the Maine Windjammer Association are pleased to assure everyone and anyone that they have years of experience cooking for people with allergies, sensitivities and restrictions and have a knack for preparing delicious meals carefully and with ingredients that everyone can enjoy.

The key is advanced notice: “We can accommodate almost any diet, given advanced notice,” says Captain Dennis of the Angelique. Early warning enables these professional chefs to prepare and make even the most restricted diets seem abundant. Gluten free-vegan cakes, dairy-free cheesecakes, vegetarian stews, all these are easily accomplished by the talented and experienced men and women who have dedicated their lives to bringing fresh, healthy, nutritious food to their guests plates – with Maine’s spectacular coast as the backdrop.

With the increasing awareness of food allergies, special requests are a common occurrence. Says Captain Kip of the Victory Chimes, “We get special food requests all the time. Gluten Free and Vegetarian are the most frequent.”

Captain John of the American Eagle notes that no one ever goes hungry saying, “There is always plenty of fresh fruit and local vegetables. Guests are very appreciative that we can meet and exceed their dietary expectations.”

Captain Brenda of the Isaac H. Evans notes, “We are very experienced and local stores have had to keep up with the growing list of special dietary needs so we are able to get the supplies we need to accommodate everyone.”

Aboard the Lewis R. French, chef Carla actually studied plant-based diets and a variety of lifestyles including gluten free. She says, “Any restriction in ingredients forces my brain to be more creative.” She has plenty of experienced looking for hidden ingredients on the label and even has an app to make sure that she’s not unwittingly serving the wrong foodstuff. “We had a passenger last year with a histamine allergy. I had never encountered that before. But by the end of the trip, we fed him so well that he hadn’t touched the snacks he brought aboard. He was delighted with what we provided.”

For more information about the scrumptious healthy, mostly local menus aboard the historic vessels belonging to the Maine Windjammer Association, visit

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