When we found out Carnival was sending us on a cruise this summer, I was off to do more research. Last year, as silly as it sounds, I didn’t ask how they handled cruising with food allergies. Even though, I’m a firm believer in always asking, I didn’t think I would hear a “we handle food allergies all of the time,” which is what they actually said. So, this time, I was fully prepared to make my requests.
This time, though, I did my research (starting on the Carnival page) and discovered that they could more than accommodate me and my dietary restrictions while on a cruise ship!
Special Food Allergies or Dietary Restrictions:
We were able to meet and chat with one of the Head Chefs on board the Carnival Magic. He explained how they treated food allergies and dietary restrictions. I asked how they might handle more complicated issues and he said they can handle anything, but if there is something specific, to get in touch with the cruise line using that page above.
I had a specific question about PKU needs. These children can have very little protein. The Chef said they would be happy to accommodate and since it was something that wasn’t so common, they would always want to discuss via email beforehand. They have had families bring all of their food on board, certain meals on board and certain things to be prepared (for example, somebody asked about using a very specific pancake mix, which they would accommodate).
Basically, they will take care of you and make you feel like this is how they cook everyday…because they do!
Kids with Food Allergies:
Kids are given the same treatment as below when it comes to food allergies. When you register them for Camp Ocean, they also ask about food allergies and make sure to check each day which meals and foods your children can eat.
On the Lido Deck:
Upon arriving on the ship, our first meal was lunch on the Lido deck. If you need accommodations, you can let them know and they will prepare a meal for you with your needs. I decided to do salads for lunch so I didn’t end up asking for any dietary accommodations. You can do the same for breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck, too.
Now, for dinner, we ate at the main dining room for all meals (except the Prime Steakhouse one night). It’s actually easier for the servers to accommodate there.
When you can pick anything from the menu and they will make it work with your allergies, there is a whole new world opened for you! Most restaurants we frequent won’t even attempt it.
For the first dinner:
For our first dinner on the ship, I alerted our server, Edgardo and his team of my dietary needs and they made sure to communicate with the chef. The head chef actually came out to the table to check everything (I actually asked to double check that the mashed potatoes didn’t have dairy in them because I didn’t believe it!).
They even had gluten free bread for me at the table when everybody else had an assortment of rolls.
After our first dinner, our server brought out the menu for the following evening and asked me to make my selections for dinner. It was kind of fun to have a sneak peek at the next evening’s menu and also be a little surprised the next day by my selections if I didn’t remember all of them. After all, I was able to pick an appetizer, an entree and sides.
My favorite appetizer was the stuffed mushrooms…it’s hard to get anything “stuffed” without gluten or dairy, but they made it happen and they were delicious.
Dinner was seared salmon with vegetables and a rice cake. I’m still dreaming about this!
For dessert, they always surprised me. Here’s a few of the desserts I had, but most of them were so good that I dove in and forgot to take pictures, but the sorbet and macaroons take the cake.
We dined both at the Lido Deck buffet and in Southern Lights. If you plan on dining in Southern Lights, it’s best to place your order the night before so the kitchen is prepared for you. I forgot and they made it work for me and didn’t act like it was a problem at all.
We dined at Prime Steakhouse and when we made reservations, I told them of my food allergies/ dietary restrictions. They confirmed them with me when we arrived and offered the full menu for me to make my meal selections. My Tuna Poke was absolutely amazing and the Chef once again came to check on everything. It was of course, delicious.
Attending the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (worth the $5 per person splurge, check out these other cruise splurges!), since we had made a reservation, they already had my needs down and had prepared pancakes for me. It was nice and a treat to eat foods that I haven’t eaten in quite a while.
The Kitchen and Staff:
We were treated to a behind the scenes tour and it was so nice to see so many smiling faces happy to be preparing our meals, and my special meals, too. They really made me feel like my food was easy to prepare and no more trouble than any of the other thousands of meals they would be preparing.
If you are worried about cruising with food allergies. Don’t be. You will be in good hands and they will take amazing care of you. You will likely eat like you haven’t eaten in a long time…and those 5 pounds will totally be worth it!