Dietary Restrictions on Vacation.

Since returning from our New Years vacation, pretty much everyone that I’ve spoken with has specifically asked about dietary restrictions on the cruise.

Willingness to accommodate my diet ranked high on my list of considerations when it came to selecting an all-inclusive vacation, and I’m confident we made the right choice with Holland America.

Before embarking on the cruise I had the opportunity to indicate food-related allergies. Though I’m not actually allergic, I specified a gluten-free, dairy-free diet at this time. Now if you’ve spent any time reading this little blog you know that my diet is much more restrictive than simply gluten- and dairy-free, but these are the easiest to accommodate.

As a result, I relaxed a few of my regular restrictions while on the cruise. I ate the meat and fish provided and assume it was all conventional, I ate my fair share of starchy vegetables, I didn’t question cooking oils or sugars in sauces and dressings, and I ate all the pineapple/cantaloupe/honeydew I wanted.

My breakfast and lunch stayed pretty consistent throughout the week:

Breakfast – Full buffet; usually eggs, smoked salmon, and occasionally a gluten-free bagel because when else am I actually going to eat a gluten-free bagel. Plus all the fruit.

Lunch – Full buffet; usually a bowl from the Asian section. My goodness the Asian food was sooooo good! I’m sure the soy sauce had wheat in it, and I’m certain the sauces had sugar added, but it truly was unavoidable regardless.

I also ate at least one giant salad per day, usually with balsamic dressing and a million toppings.

Then there was dinner. Here is where the customer service was actually outstanding. We ate dinner in the formal dining room each night. I was given the opportunity to review the menu for the next day at each meal and pre-order my appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert. After I made my selection, the meals were made gluten- and dairy-free in a special kitchen! I did try to select meals that could easily be made without gluten and dairy (no need to order lasagna), but they really tried to recreate anything I ordered to meet my needs. They even made me an elaborate spring roll as well as a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake one night for dessert! Amazing.

My only regret is not taking more photos of all the special order food. Here’s the special order spring roll – I may or may not have ordered the exact same thing the very next day. So good.

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And one measly photo of an appetizer:

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The moral of the story? I would HIGHLY recommend Holland America for anyone with a dietary restriction interested in cruising!

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