Traveling with food allergies is HARD! We usually pick a destination we are 100% sure of like Disney World. Sometimes we pick someplace like the beach where we can rent a house / condo with a kitchen to prepare our own meals. Taking a cruise and leaving the US was one of those things we thought about doing. However, the logistics of being on a ship in the middle of the ocean with two kids and myself with food allergies seem daunting. We did it and here’s what I learned cruising Carnival with food allergies.
Travel was compensated by Carnival Cruise Lines, all opinions are 100% our own.
Before Our Cruise
First thing I did was inform Carnival about our allergies. I may have contacted them more than once about this, so sorry because I was a nervous momma. I also searched Cruise Critic and the Carnival Fun Boards for every post in the last five years that had to do with food allergies. At three o’clock in the morning those posts where what calmed this nervous momma down.
The week before our trip I emailed the special diet people at Carnival to be reassured that they could handle our multiple allergies. As we packed to leave I packed 6 Auvi-Q auto injectors and tons of Benadryl. I also had a carry on full of snacks for the kids just in case! I was as prepared as we were going to get.
After Boarding Our Ship
Once we boarded and unloaded out carry on bags in our room, we headed to the Lido Deck for lunch. I stopped one of the assistant Maitre Ds who found the chef who helped us figure out what was and wasn’t safe for us to eat. The hot dogs, ice cream and pizza were safe, so we were able to eat lunch happily. Just FYI, on the Lido Deck of the Carnival Dream and some of the other ships, the pizzeria will make gluten-free pizza when asked and the Deli has gluten-free bread. We were so busy exploring that we missed the time to meet with the Maitre D about dinner so we waited until that night when we went into the dining room.
Dinner On Night One
We were on your time dining, however with the allergies,I felt it was probably better to get in early to get a chance to speak to a hostess and our waiter. When we got to our table, we told our waiter about our allergies and he got a hostess. She came right over and went over what we could and couldn’t have on the menu the first night. She took our order and delivered the food to our table. When dessert came around she brought over the next day’s menus for breakfast and dinner. We look through them and placed our order for the next day, she did this every night.
By the way on the Dream, the Main Dining Room is open for brunch on sea days and breakfast on port days and the debarkation day. Also the last day at sea was the Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (so worth the $5 a person). We ate breakfast daily in the dining room and it was wonderful and relaxing!
Our Dining Hostess
From this point on, every time we went to the dinning room, at the hostess stand was a print out of our special order. If Erzerbet wasn’t around, another hostess took care of our food. If she was around she would personally handle everything, ensuring the meal was perfectly safe for both kids. It was great having her be attentive to our meals all week, we got to know her and by the middle of the week, she knew exactly what the kids wanted for breakfast and dessert. She was absolutely amazing and we couldn’t have made the week without her help!
Eating In Port
Now we didn’t eat in port because of the language barrier.
In Roatan, we stayed at Mahogany Bay, we ate breakfast before leaving the ship, then ate lunch on the ship around 11am and then ate dinner at our normal time.
In Belize we only went to port for an hour at most so again breakfast, lunch and dinner were on the ship.
In Cozumel, we ate a big breakfast on the ship. At our excursion, we ate chips we were familiar with and water to snack on. As soon as we returned to the ship, we ate dinner.
Camp Carnival and Circle C
The kids also enjoyed time on their own at Camp Carnival and Circle C. During registration, I filled out a food chart of allowable foods for the staff.
There was only one time, I wasn’t comfortable leaving Chase at Circle C, due to there being cookies with M&M like candies on them. I’m sure he would have been fine. However, it was safer to go swimming and hang out with me watching movies on the Lido Deck. Every other time, things went great.
Camp Carnival was wonderful. On the back of Caitlyn’s name tag it listed her allergies. I also noticed that her name tag was one of the few written in red, the rest were in black. I can only assume that was due to her allergies, I forgot to ask. When they played a game with balloons, they called our cabin to inform us of the game due to her possible allergy to latex. When there was a movie night, they fed her chips instead of popcorn. They didn’t give her any food that wasn’t listed on her food chart as allowable.
They both loved their individual camps and it made me relax knowing they were in good hands.
Everyone had a great time. Carnival ranks up there with Disney when it comes to dealing with food allergies. Not only did the staff of the Carnival Dream make sure we were well fed, I had an easy time ordering and eating on the Carnival Sunshine. We are so thankful no one had a reaction or got sick! It was a great week and one of the main reasons we will sail Carnival again in the future! Thank you Carnival for giving us a way to travel the world safely!
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