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Anyone Sail Carnival Recently?
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This will be my first trip gluten free. I've read great things about Carnival's ability to handle gluten free meals. I have already contacted them and have it noted in my reservation and plan to talk to the dining room staff on the 1st day. Anyone with recent experience? What was good, bad? Did you eat at the buffet at all and if so what did you feel was safe? When I contacted Carnival they let me know that gluten free could only be accomodated in the dining room so I'll probably stick with salads/fruits, whole eggs, bacon, etc. at the buffet.

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Hello Christine0125, I have not traveled with Carnival, so I'll be interested to know your experience upon your return. Since being diagnosed last year I have been on two cruises (Princes and Royal Caribbean lines). Both were similar in that you you notify them of your dietary needs prior to the cruise and on the first day (maitre d' upon boarding and again with the headwaiter on the first nights seating). I always avoided the buffets because of potential cross-contamination issues. Royal Caribbean actual listed the gluten free options (but do note that folks use tongs from other dishes that contain gluten). So get there first or ask them to get you some from the kitchen or skip it and eat your own food. For dinners you will preview the next days menu and select what you would like to eat (the will prepare it to your dietary needs). I still do not understand why they don't do that for all meals, as it seems to be the safest way to prepare food(I hear that Norwegian might do lunch too). The cruise lines and staff in general are really accommodating, I'm still getting over my upbringing in Minnesota where you do not ask people to go out of their way for you (I know...I'm my own best advocate...still working on it). I'm still healing and am risk adverse when it comes to food, so I happen to travel with a lot of safe food. Have fun and enjoy the cruise!!! Feel free to ask as many questions as you like and I look forward to hearing about your Carnival cruise.

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When are you traveling. I'm planning a Sep cruise on Carnival. I have never taken a cruise before.

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6/24 sailing. I will report back on my gluten free findings. I am sitting in the phoenix airport with a delay and its very lacking in gluten-free fare. Ended up with sunflower seeds for dinner. :(

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Funny you should ask..I am on the 7/9 Carnival sailing. I emailed dining but todate have not response. It will be interesting what you find out. I am going with high hopes. I know Disney does gluten free right, i am thinking that Carnival will too.

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I sailed on Carnival Destiny in April!!! Best vacation EVER!!! And dare to say the best vacation for someone on a gluten free diet. Had a great time, staff were attentive and if you have a gluten free diet - you become VERY SPECIAL!!! I did eat at the buffet and just watched what I ate. Each area has different foods and plenty of each. I had no issues at all.

The dining room dining - was excellent!! There is no way to describe how they cater to you. You eat in the same dining hall (the one assigned to you) each night and I even reqeusted the same waiter (Daniel from El Salvador - we loved loved loved him). I was also assigned a lady to deal with my menu. After the first night I would plan my meals for the next day. You can eat all three meals in the dining hall!!! The 2nd night I ordered a meal and then a backup meal just to make sure the chef could prepare that meal gluten free. When the waiter brought me my food they brought both meals!!! Gives you an idea of why I can 10 pounds on the cruise!!!

The last day on the ship they set a man (eating alone) at our table what was also celiac. Gave me a chance to chat with him which was really nice.

I hope you enjoy your trip.

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Back from our cruise and overall I give Carnival high marks for accomodating gluten free. The first night the waiter told me the couple options they could make gluten free - I stuck with steak, baked potato and steamed veggies. After that the hostess came each evening to the table and took my order for the following night and I could order just about anything on the menu - she would point out the ones that could not be made gluten free. After the 2nd night of icky desserts I asked and they got better... one night I got a gluten-free chocolate melting cake and another night baked alaska (delish). I found when I didn't request dessert I'd get something really obscure - an apple baked in heavy syrup (yuck), some kind of weird pinapple thing. I found the gluten free bread pretty bad (gritty weird texture) which was disappointing. I could have ordered gluten free pancakes and french toast but after tasting the bread I didn't bother and stuck with omelets and fruit. One thing I noted was that the timing was sometimes off where they would have to wait longer for my food to be prepared (felt bad for the waiters) and one evening I got my appetizer and main course together. No biggie for me!

The buffet was hard to navigate when the dining room was not open but the salad bar was large with lots of options plus a lot of fruit. I risked it at the Indian buffet because salads were just not quite enough for me. I'd ask the chef which contained flour and they were pleasant and knowlegeable. As far as I know I didn't have any ill effects... but I'm new to gluten-free and not sure I recognize reactions vs. just normal ups and downs related to healing.

Good news.... I certainly didn't go hungry!

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I responded under a different post regarding gluten free on Carnival - we had a terrible experience - my daughter with celiac disease was served gluten food on a few occasions.....

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    • Here's another thing.  Feeling deprived?  Order two of the same item.  I was hungry by the time dinner arrived! 
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    • Well, I have never cruised on Carnival, but I am sure they can accommodate you.  I assume that you have already alerted them that you require gluten free meals.  If not, please contact Carnival immediately. Here are my own tips.  Some folks eat off the buffet line, but not me or hubby except for coffee/drinks and baked potatoes (jacketed) and fruit that we wash in the restroom (people touch everything!)  Okay, I am OCD, but my last glutening which occurred the previous summer made me sick for three months (GI tested my antibodies to prove it).   When we board, I go to the buffet restaurant ASAP and ask to speak to the Head Waiter (they are usually there greeting customers and often trying to up sell to specialty restaurants.   Let them know you have celiac disease and must be gluten free.  They may try to tell you that each dish is clearly marked gluten free, but really?  Who's to say that some other passenger is not going to switch spoons (or I have seen passengers wandering around with serving spoons...I kid you not!  The staff usually will  go downstairs and fetch a gluten free meal for me from the main dining room's kitchen as there is usually a dedicated area for allergies.  We have to wait up to 20 minutes or so but it is worth it.  Starving?  Get a baked potato wrapped in foil until your gluten-free meal arrives.  Now, do not do this every single time.  Those folks have to go down several levels to fetch food and you don't want to be a pain.  But if the main dining area is closed, they need to make an effort to keep you safe.  On our last cruise, we were advised not to eat anywhere but the main dining room and that included room service (they are not trained to handled allergies).  My headwaiters have sent goodies (prepackaged gluten free rolls and cookies for us to keep in our room.  We can always grab whole fruit (I wash it first) to snack on.  I bring gluten-free non-perishable items with me to eat while at port in case we can't find anything (which can be often).  Again, when we get back to our ship, we contact our headwaiter and he/she can prepare some snacks until we have dinner.   Be grateful and not picky.   We eat all meals in the dining room (or at least as much as possible).  Our headwaiter had a few other celiacs on our cruise this summer, so they prepared some gluten-free waffles, etc. for our breakfast!  What a treat!  At breakfast, we'd have different waiters, so our headwaiter would always instruct our waiters each and every time!  They even let me tour the kitchen and showed me the allergy section.   The only time I did not feel safe was at the buffet.  We once ordered gluten-free pizza and I realized (I watched) that that restaurant didn't really have the gluten-free thing down), do I called him on it.  Got the manager etc.  So, be careful.  Other cruises made us frozen Udi"s which was just fine with us.  They covered it up in foil so that we would not get any cross contamination from their pizza oven. So, have fun!   Tipping?  We prepaid our gratuities, but we gave our headwaiter an extra $200.00 for his time.  For us, it was well worth the service and safety of our food.  It does not hurt to slip some of the tip ahead of time (like after your first meal!)   Oh, I checked your ship.  You must eat in the diningroom if you have special dietary needs.
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