We all love vacations – it’s a break from your daily routine, a chance to spend time with friends and family, and in some cases, a chance to get some large-scale doses of Vitamin D. But, when you’re gluten free, you may have some concerns about where to go. Will you be able to eat at the resort you stay at? Should you go somewhere where you can prepare your own food? If the prospective travel destination does offer gluten free options, will they only consist of a salad bar? These are the things that run through a Celiac’s mind when planning their trip to paradise.
Since going gluten free, I have been on a few trips (Vegas, New Orleans), but I was able to choose restaurants to dine at, as they were not all-inclusive style vacations. So, when my family booked a 7-day Carnival Cruise vacation, the first thing my mom and I thought was, “What will we eat?” and, after this positive experience, I can now assure you, things are looking up for the gluten free world.
Before departing for vacation, we were told by our travel agent, as well as many gluten free blogs, that we would be able to request gluten free food for each meal. We learned that upon boarding the ship, we would need to meet with the maitre d’ to request gluten free dining options. From there, we assumed we would order each meal ahead of time, and would not go hungry.
So the day finally came – we arrived to Port of Baltimore, and were ready to board the Carnival Pride Fun Ship. Of course we had some gluten free snacks with us, as my family is always prepared. As I munched on my rice chips, I was excited and nervous for the next 7 days at sea.
After finding our way through the somewhat maze that a cruise ship can be, we arrived to the Normande Dining Room. There, we were introduced to the Restaurant Hostess, Crisell Cocchi. She was very sweet, and knew exactly how to accommodate us. We were told that each night at dinner, she would come to our table, give us the menu for the next day [including breakfast, lunch, and dinner], and we would order our meals. The dining room was able to make almost every entrée gluten free! Our nerves were instantly settled!
Next, we went to the Lido deck for the embarkation party! The Lido deck is the main deck of the ship – where all the action happens. During the “party”, there was live music, and buffets FILLED with food. This was the only time I was unable to eat the entire trip, since the dining room was not open for lunch on the first day. Luckily, I had a gluten free bar with me, and was able to eat that while the herds of people piled their plates at the buffet with every type of food under the sun.
After sailing away, we were able to go to our staterooms, unpack our luggage, and get situated for the week. The diningroom was open that night for the first dinner, but my family chose to go the David’s Steakhouse for dinner. The steakhouse was an additional $30 per person [whereas all other food on the ship is included with the initial cost]. All I can say [without going into my next post] is that the steakhouse was AMAZING. The quality of food and service we received for only an additional $30 was unbelievable.
My next post – Gluten Free on a Carnival Cruise: Dining at David’s Steakhouse – will explain the amazing accommodations, food, service, and overall experience a Celiac can have on a Carnival Cruise Ship at the steakhouse!