Diary of a Celiac

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gluten Free on the Norwegian Dawn

WOW!  That about sums it up!  I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Norwegian Dawn.  I generally have to educate people about the seriousness of gluten in my food.  Not this time!  It was amazing!
The first night usually is the most difficult since you would not have had the opportunity to pre-order your dinner.

The first night we dined at Teppanyaki, the Japanese Hibachi Restaurant.  I was concerned about this restaurant because the food is prepared on the grill in front of you and everyone's food is prepared at the same time.  As soon as we boarded the room we went to Teppanyaki and advised them of my being gluten free.  I placed my order for dinner at that time.    We had made our reservations at this restaurant for 5:30 so that the grill would be clean and less chances of there being any cross contamination.  The chef came out and confirmed my selection and explained how he would prefer my food first to eliminate any cross contamination.  I did not have to tell him!  It was wonderful!  Twirling knives, food tossed in the air . . . great show, great food and no gluten!  I would liked to have had was some coconut aminos' or gluten free soy sauce, but it was tasty and safe.  I am not sure how they would avoid possibility of cross contamination after the first meal preparation.  If you decide to dine at Teppanyaki I would recommend dining at 5:30.  After dinner we went to Cagney's to pre-order my dinner for the following night.

The second night we dined at Cagney's, this is NCL's steakhouse.  Consider yourself warned. . . . do not eat lunch!  The portions are extremely large!  When I arrived I provided the head waiter with my cabin # and advised him that I had pre-ordered my dinner.  He came back a few minutes later and confirmed what I had ordered and that my meal was gluten free.  The food again was amazing and gluten free!  Just remember after dinner to go to the restaurant that you will be eating at the following day to order you meals ahead.

The third night we dined at Bamboo which is Pan Asian Cuisine.   When my husband was making our dinner reservations I told him that I did not want to eat at Bamboo.  I had serious reservations about anything being gluten free.  Asian food tends to be limited when you are gluten free, at least locally where I live.  I had gone to Bamboo after dinner at Cagney's and had pre-ordered and was surprised at the meals they stated they could prepare for me.  So with obvious skepticism I went to dinner.  Again the head waiter took my cabin # and came back and confirmed the meal I had chosen and that it was gluten free.  This is the one restaurant that I expressed concerns to the waiter.  My food arrived as did the concern that I was going to be sick later or the food was going to be bland.  Well, neither of those happened!  The food was amazing!  We were going to have to go back there on another night!  It had been a very very long time that I had dined out on Asian Cuisine that the food was delicious!  I highly recommend Bamboo if you are gluten free and miss Chinese food!

The fourth night we dined at La Cucina which is Italian.  Again I had pre-ordered my meal the night before and my waiter had confirmed my selection.  The options are a little more limited at this restaurant.  They have gluten free pasta and they do a great job preparing it.  Many restaurants where I live overcook it and it is all mushy.  The pasta at La Cucina was done perfectly.    When you initially are seated at La Cucina they will bring over a basket of bread and some dipping sauces.  Be sure to ask from gluten free bread and an extra plate of dipping sauces.  The waiter thought it odd that I wanted my own dipping sauces so I explained cross contamination to him.  I tend to take the opportunities to educate other people about the importance of not having any gluten if you have Celiac disease.  I had spaghetti and meatballs and it was very good.  My husband loves Chicken Parmigiana and I do not make it at home so this was a great opportunity for him to have a meal that he loves!  I should have asked if they could make Chicken Parmigiana gluten free but did not think of it.  Maybe the next cruise . . . . .

We dined every night at the specialty restaurants, this is a package that we purchased when we made our reservations.  It was $119 per person for the entire week.  We were able to pick the restaurants ahead of time and have private dining the entire week.  I feel the wait staff is better than at main dining.  We had no waits to be seated and the food the entire week was very good!

The other thing we did that made our trip more enjoyable was to stay in a suite.  We were in cabin # 12510.  When you stay in a suite (not a mini suite) you have Concierge and Butler service.  Our Butler (Jennifer Calixto) was advised that I was gluten free and each night we had gluten free snacks, chocolate or canapes brought to our room!  She did an amazing job, we hope to have her as our Butler the next time we sail on the Dawn!  But the biggest benefit is that you can dine at Cagney's for Breakfast and Lunch.  This made being gluten free so much easier!  I had the same wait staff each morning which made it much easier.  Again, be sure to pre-order all your meals the day before.

I hope this review helps you in your decision about sailing on the Norwegian Dawn!  Feel free to ask question and I will do my best to assist!