Carnival Victory
Avg. Customer Review (2.7 Palms):
True 1 4.5 3.0 Palms
Number of Reviews: 3

Review Type: Cruise Ship
Dedicated GF: No


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Cruising gluten free on Royal Caribbean,
September 21, 2016

3.5 Palms
3.5 Palms
This was my third cruise in 10 years and it was a lot of fun. I faxed my medical form 3 times to Royal Caribbean stating that I have a gluten allergy and I also spoke to someone from the allergy department. I followed the protocol for boarding the ship and meeting with the manager of the dining room. I also made sure I had the same waiter every day. So overall, it was a good experience and I did not get sick. However, the waiters do not know all of the options available for gluten free - only what was on the menu. It turns out there were many gluten free food options that I was completely unaware of until the last few days of the cruise. There needs to be improvement on the communication with waiters and kitchen staff. The food was good but not great due to the a lack of options that the cruise line did not utilize.

I also enjoyed the day spa. Unfortunately, none of the skin care specialists knew if their products were gluten free.

I am a holistic nutritionist and have a good understanding of food allergies, so thankfully I enjoyed the cruise and did not get sick. I'm not sure if the average gluten free newbie would have the same success though. The cruise line should have more gluten free options and clearly define what is and is not gluten free.

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Carnival Victory
Gluten free on a Royal Caribbean cruise,
March 31, 2016
Reviewer: from South Riding, VA

4.5 Palms
4.5 Palms
Our family booked a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean, based in large part on the positive reviews for Royal Caribbean that have come in to this website. Granted, not all reviews have been glowing, but they have been more positive for Royal Caribbean than other lines (and by and large, most cruise lines do a pretty darn good job, from what we've heard, on making safe gluten free meals available for their GF cruisers these days).

We chose Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's largest ship (and the largest in the world, as of right now) because there were all sorts of fun diversions for the kids (and us): mini golf, simulated surfing, a teen center, a zip line, a rock wall, tons of different bars and lounges, and many different specialty restaurants.

Turns out, we only ate in a couple of the specialty restaurants during the week. We mostly stuck to the Main Dining Room where we opted for the Early Dinner Seating. This way, we would have the same team of servers each night, so they would get to know our son's gluten free needs and taste preferences. The Main Dining room makes it easy to dine gluten free, because all gluten free items are noted on their dinner menu. There are a good number of choices each night (some standard each night, like steak, salmon, well as at least 2-3 entree specials that are gluten free). Everything we ordered was quite good!

The gluten free meals are also prepared in a separate area of the kitchen when you eat in the Main Dining Room. Plus, your servers will show you the following night's menu so you can make your choices, as well as any special requests, in advance. The chef is always happy to try and make something gluten-free, even if it's not noted on the menu. For example, we found out that because they stock gluten free breadcrumbs, they can make a gluten free version of their crab cakes and a gluten free version of eggplant parmesan. But you have to speak up and ask.

There aren't a huge range of gluten free dessert choices, but there are some. They also have 2-3 types of gluten free bread in the Main Dining Room each evening. Again, ask for the "bread of the day." They make a different specialty GF bread each night, in addition to white and whole grain. Gluten free pizza is available all day and evening in Sorrento's, along the main promenade. This is one of the specialty restaurants that does NOT cost extra.

On the other hand, there are many specialty restaurants that do charge a surcharge for dining there (as opposed to the Main Dining Room, which does not involve an extra charge, unless you opt for something like Filet Mignon or Lobster Tail). My husband and I dined in 150 Central Park (along the Central Park open area of the ship) one night and had one of the best meals we've ever had. Almost everything on the menu was gluten free, and the couple things that weren't could be substituted.

Breakfast wasn't quite as impressive as dinner, with only a limited number of items noted on the breakfast menu in the main dining room. It's best to stick with eggs or omelets and breakfast meats (and things like yogurt, fruit, and gluten free oatmeal). The gluten free pancakes and muffins weren't very good. They use a mix that doesn't contain any potential allergens, so what is left is pretty tasteless (and a bad texture). The French toast was good, however. I seem to recall that they also stock Chex cereals, but we never requested those. You can also eat in the Main Dining Room for lunch. We only did that one day (the other days we were on excursions or our son opted for the GF pizza). Our son requested gluten free chicken tenders (an off-menu item). They were delicious. Again, don't be shy about asking for what you want. They can probably make you just about anything within reason, especially if you give them a bit of advance notice.

Gluten free cupcakes are available for a few dollars each in Cups and Scoops shop along the Boardwalk area. The Windjammer Cafe has some items on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets marked as gluten free, but it's sporadic, and the chance of cross contamination is always there. If dining here, it's best to ask a manager or chef to walk you through the buffet, check to see which items are GF, and even prepare something fresh in the kitchen for you (to reduce the chance of cross contamination).

When we were on board, they had Barilla gluten free pasta and also had gluten free buns for burgers (both homemade and pre-packaged ones from Udi's). They also have pre-packaged Udi's bagels and cookies but don't seem to list or mention them anywhere. These are good to request for the next day if you plan to go on an excursion, otherwise you may be starving!

All in all, we really liked our experience on the ship. The food we had in the main dining room was varied and quite good. The entertainment each evening was great -- a range of all different types of things from acrobatic shows to diving shows to broadway shows to ice skating shows. The bars/lounges were fun, and the excursions we did in port were also great (zip lining on RC's private beach in Haiti, climbing the Dunns River Falls in Jamaica, and visiting the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico). I would recommend considering a Royal Caribbean cruise if you're gluten-free. Just be sure to have the cruise note your GF request on the reservation, if possible, and confirm things with the maitre'd after you board. If you're not happy with something, speak up. They really do try to please!

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Carnival Victory
Gluten Free Review of Cruise on Carnival Victory,
July 22, 2012
Reviewer: from Middleboro, MA

0.0 Palms
0.0 Palms
We recently went on the Carnival Victory. I suffer from Celiac Disease. Carnival has on their website that they accommodate gluten-free diets. I did my research, as best you can, and saw 3 travelers’ blogs that said they had bread, pancakes, and french toast. I also read on the blogs to make sure you alert them before you get on the ship. I called three times only to be told "that there was no need to let you know to just alert them when I got on the ship." I did tell them that I wanted it noted in my record and thank goodness I did that because the first question I received, after making my first complaint, was “did you tell us that you had to eat Gluten Free before you came on the ship." After traveling all day and having to be careful of what I eat, I looked forward to getting on the ship and having a late lunch. I went to the Main Dining Room only to be greeted by the really nasty waiter, when asking for a Gluten Free Menu, that they didn't have one. He said I could have fruit and that the Maitre De would be coming to take my meal request for the "NEXT Day" after the meal was done. I was then told that I could can have fish and steamed vegetables. He brought me out a fruit dish to start, fish and steamed vegetables. When I asked what I could have for dessert, I was told fruit. This fruit is not even fresh fruit it is out of a can. I went to the front desk and told them my dilemma. They sent me back to talk to Maitre De. She told me to come the next day for breakfast and asked what I would like. She said they had Gluten Free pancakes and I said I would have these. I got the same nasty waiter and he was very upset that I was sitting at his table. He brought me out the pancakes, long after everyone else had started eating, which were nothing more than tortillas. I could not eat them. They were luke warm and absolutely gross! I went to lunch that day on Lido. Asked what I could have that didn't have soy sauce on it. I was told everything has soy sauce. I then had to ask for the Assistant Maitre De and she told me that I could have soy sauce and that she asked the chief and he said I could have soy sauce. After a lengthy discussion on what I could not have, she told me she would go in the back and get me something to eat. She brought me out more steamed fish and vegetables. At this point, I was really sick of looking at the same steamed fish and vegetables. I went to dinner that night and I had told the Maitre De the night before that I do not like Gluten Free macaroni. I sat down and was brought out a huge dish of macaroni with a piece of dried up pork on it. I looked at it and said I don’t want this. I have requested no macaroni. They came back and said they thought I might like it. When you tell someone ahead of time no macaroni how does “we thought you might like it” come into any equation? I went to Lido Deck one morning, after talking to the Maitre De, and said I would like an omelet. I asked the chef to please start with fresh eggs and clean ladle(contamination). He did not want to do this and was very upset when I said that the Maitre De had told me to tell him to. He went in back, brought out 4 eggs. Broke the eggs and separated the yolk from the egg white and threw each yolk in the pan. I told him I could have the egg whites and he said "NO." He asked what else I wanted and then proceeded to throw whole pieces of bacon and cheese on top. It was the most disgusting omelet I have ever had. He then made my husband have the same thing because he was with me and I kept telling him that he didn’t have to have that and the cook would not listen to me. I was told by a waiter that it was a lot of work for everyone to accommodate me and that the staff really didn’t like it. I asked what they had to do that was so different and was told “they had to go back in a separate line to get my food”. That’s it! I’m sorry, this doesn’t seem like a hardship to ask anyone to do. The chefs would not put any spices on my food but one night I said that I wanted something that had a little taste. They brought me out a chicken stew that looked delicious and when I ate it it was loaded with salt. I know this sounds like I'm a very picky eater, but let me tell you that I'm not. I just expect, like everyone else, that when I go on a cruise ship that I am going to be fed really well. There are some fast food restaurants that cook better than this ship. I called and tired to make a complaint to the people on the phone lines. I got absolutely no where and told them that they do not know how to take care of Gluten Free passengers. I asked to be elevated to a supervisor . One called me back and told me that they can take care of people who eat Kosher, Indian and Gluten free foods. I tried to explain that Kosher and Indian are a “Choice” Celiac is “Not”. I asked what Carnival was going to do for us and I was told “Nothing”. I paid for a concierge suite. I was not fed properly the whole week I was on that ship. I have been traveling with Carnival for a long time. I have never made any complaint about the food and have always enjoyed my trips. I did not enjoy this trip, due to the food. Be very careful if you eat Gluten Free and are contemplating going on this ship.

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