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Featured Review

June / July 2009

Two Gluten Free Travelers Give Carnival Cruise Lines
High Marks For Surpassing Their Expectations


5.0 Palms

Carnival Liberty and Carnival Valor ships

Review Type: Cruise Ship
Location: Both ships reviewed had a Western Caribbean itinerary
Phone: (888) CARNIVAL
Website: http://www.carnival.com
Vacation Type: Family vacation
Date Visited: February 2009 (Liberty) and March 2009 (Valor)
Review Posted: February 23, 2009 and March 17, 2009

Leave Your Worries At Home...Carnival Liberty Shines with Gluten-Free Dining

Magic Carnival Cruise Lines Gluten Free Trip

Great experience!

We had spoken with Carnival cruise line ahead of time to make them aware of my 11-year-old daughter’s dietary needs before we boarded.  The first night on board I spoke with the Maitre D at our restaurant (there were two on the ship) and made him aware, even though it was already on our reservation. This also alerted Ramona, the hostess in the Carnival Liberty Golden Dining Room, who made a point of coming to our table each night to see what my daughter needed and what else she could help with.  She showed us the next day's menu each night and had my daughter pick what she wanted to eat. If there was nothing on the menu that really appealed to her, Ramona had the chef make her whatever she wanted.

Carnival Cruise Lines Gluten Free Travel

She had steak, roast chicken, prime rib, scallops and GF pasta with broccoli and chicken, just to name a few meals.  Her favorite was the mozzarella sticks appetizer that they offered mid-week.  She liked them so much that Ramona put in a standing order and she got them every night. They made her a Caesar salad almost every night with her dinner.  They had gluten-free pasta and bread (although the bread was not very good) and each night the chef made her a special gluten-free dessert. The breakfast buffet was easy for her to eat at as they had fresh egg omelets, hash browns, bacon, sausage, and fruit. They even made her French toast with the gluten-free bread.  At lunch, Ramona helped us find gluten-free options on the buffet such as made-to-order stir fry (with rice noodles), French fries, salad, chicken, hot dogs etc. We did eat some breakfasts and lunches in the restaurants instead of at the buffet, but they didn’t have as many options.

She ate well the entire week and did not get sick at all. I felt that everyone on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship took good care of her. I do wish that they had been able to provide her with gluten free pizza and some type of dessert other than mousse, crustless cheesecake or creme brulee, but they assured me that they are working on expanding their gluten free options.  

Wonderful Gluten Free Cruise – Carnival Valor Helps Gluten-Free Diners Feel Special With Personal Service and Wide Range of Gluten-Free Menu Choices

Carnival Cruise Lines Gluten Free Travel

I was very nervous to plan my first gluten free vacation, and I read about how accommodating Carnival was. I called them and made sure they knew I was coming on board the Carnival Valor. They worked with me very closely on my food for the week. (Also talk to the hostess once on board.)

Every night at dinner they would come to me with the menu for each meal the next day, and I could pick anything I wanted and it would be adjusted to my needs! They would walk through the buffet line with me and show me what was safe if the meal was not sit-down. They brought gluten-free bread to every meal for me and had gluten-free pancakes and pasta available on request.

Carnival Cruise Lines Gluten Free Travel

For breakfast, I would have the chefs at the omelet bar clean off the pans and have a cheese and egg omelet made for me right there in front of me. For lunch, one of my favorite meals was a steak salad with oriental dressing. One night for dinner I had gluten-free pasta made into their version of pasta carbonara.  It was very good especially because I am not used to being able to eat pasta at a restaurant.  I ordered one of the soups every night and they were always delicious, especially the ones with corn or potato, and the fruit "soups" as an appetizer. I was very big on the ice cream and yogurt machines that were available all day and night…putting it in a bowl instead of a cone made it a perfect snack.  I would grab a hot dog or hamburger without a bun for a late night snack. (Be careful of the nachos a lot of the times because they were sometimes pita chips and not always gluten free!)

I felt very safe eating everything that was prepared for me and I did not feel like I was missing out at all compared to what my friends were eating all week. I did not get sick once either. The entire dining staff on my Carnival cruise made it so easy and comfortable for me to eat that being gluten-free was not a worry and I got to enjoy my vacation. Awesome service! Amazing cruise and destinations as well!


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Karen Broussard is the Founder and President of GlutenFreeTravelSite. Karen launched GlutenFreeTravelSite in 2008 after her son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at a very young age. She and her family found that dining out and traveling could be a real challenge for people following gluten free diets, and she wanted to provide a place where the gluten free community could go to share their experiences first-hand with others.

In addition to heading up GlutenFreeTravelSite, the DINE GLUTEN FREE Mobile App, and the Gluten Free Travel Blog Karen is an Associate Editor of Simply Gluten Free Magazine and volunteers each summer at Camp Celiac in Rhode Island. A graduate of Georgetown University with a degree and career in Marketing, Karen resides with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC area.

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