June 21, 2014 thru June 28, 2014
Traveling with Celiac disease can be a little overwhelming. I began this blog as a way to make it a little easier for people to understand how to best protect their health while traveling. We frequently travel on cruise ships. This is something we began doing long before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.
The cruise terminal is about 5 hours from my home, so we left the day before the cruise and we stopped in Port Saint Lucie, FL for the night. My husband and I sometimes struggle with how to make dining out safe for me. We argued a little about where to go to eat, and my concern about the restaurant not knowing about gluten. We ended up eating at Lonestar Steak House in Port Saint Lucie. They did a great job! They understood gluten and I had an enjoyable meal.
We began our cruise on the Caribbean Princess on the 21st of June. I am always a little nervous when we begin a trip. I personally have nightmares about accidentally eating something that has gluten in it. Trusting someone else to protect my health is very difficult for me. Once we got on the cruise ship we went and talked to the dining room head waiter. We discussed how they would handle my dietary requirements. It makes me feel more comfortable to know that the staff understands how important not eating gluten is. I also make sure that when we are making our cruise reservations I make a note about my dietary requirements, this makes it a little easier on the first day. The first day I tend to select items that are normally gluten free. I talk to the wait staff and make sure I am comfortable with how they are going to be handling my food. At dinner time we ate in the Palm Dining Room. I had roasted pork with vegetables. After dinner they presented me with the menu for the following evening. This seems to be standard practice with the cruise lines. I have to say, our head waiter may possibly be the most attentive head waiter we have ever had on a cruise! He gave me the menu for the following night and came back twice to talk to me about what my options were and also taking my order for the following night. I forgot my camera in our stateroom, otherwise there would be a picture of my meal!
June 22nd we were at Princess Cay. In my opinion, breakfast is one of the easiest meals to eat gluten free. We went up to the buffet for breakfast. Be sure to speak to a chef at the buffet. He advised me which items are gluten free naturally. It is important to be willing to advocate for yourself if you go to the buffet, as they may not understand that you can NOT have gluten. Many people are on a gluten free diet and are not celiac. This sometimes can create an impression that people asking about gluten free foods are not concerned about cross contamination. I had to ask them to prepare my food from food that has not been out for other guests and explained that I could not have anything with gluten due to health problems. That is the easiest way to make them understand. Breakfast was great and the staff handled everything perfectly.
We had booked a surf fishing excursion at Princess Cay. The excursion was only a few hours long and we went very early. I would definitely recommend this excursion! We had a lot of fun. Because the excursion was short, we did not have any concerns with how I was going to eat. I had not asked anyone about what food options would be available on Princess Cay so we just went back to the cruise ship for lunch. We went back to the buffet and again spoke to the chef who prepared my food separately from the food on the buffet line.
For Dinner we again went to the Palm Dining Room.
These are pictures of my food!
My husband had the regular Fettuccini Alfredo the day before and like it so I figured I would try it gluten free. I loved everything except the Fettuccini Alfredo. I would not recommend it. This was me making a selection that was not tasty. It was gluten free.
June 23rd was a day at sea. We had breakfast at the buffet which I handled the same. . . .ask to see the chef. We skipped lunch. There is way to much food on a cruise ship!
Let me say, this was an amazing dinner! Onion Soup, Beef Tenderloin, Pavlov! Perfect!
June 24th we arrived in St Thomas. What a beautiful island! We had booked a snorkeling excursion at Trunk Bay Beach St Johns. We both liked the excursion but I would recommend bringing some gluten free snacks on this excursion. It was about 4 and a half long and the food available was fried food. I always bring snacks so I had a Larabar! Upon returning to the ship we decided that we would try the grill or the pizza place to see what options were available. I watched the food preparation at the grill and did not see that there was a real option of eating there. I went over to the pizza place and discussed gluten free pizza with the person who was preparing the pizza. He was willing to talk to me and explain how they prevent cross contamination when they are preparing a gluten free pizza, so I decided to have them make me a Hawaiian pizza. He cleaned his work space, changed his gloves, he used what appeared to be parchment paper to provide an additional barrier. I was very happy with the care he took to prepare my pizza! We made it all the way to the plate and then his helper cut my gluten free pizza with the same pizza cutter that he was actively using to cut all the other pizza. This was my first time on this cruise that I was disappointed with the care to maintain my food being gluten free. I need to take the time to go talk to the person in charge of training so that this will not happen to others. I am very careful and watch to make sure my items stay gluten free. So if you want pizza, be sure to pay extra attention!
These are my dinner pictures! The eggplant was an appetizer, but I absolutely love eggplant so I ordered it as a main course. It was delicious!!! This was one of the most amazing meals!