Let’s talk about cruise food! Let’s especially talk about eating gluten free on a cruise! We recently were on board the Norwegian Sun for a four-night cruise to the Bahamas, and I wanted to share with you the gluten free goodies that I ate!
Give the Cruise Line A Heads Up
A small caveat for this post — Norwegian Cruise Lines requires a 30-day notice for any dietary requirements. I completely forgot and did not give the recommended heads up, so this trip was me eating gluten free without anything special. Well, that was until we got to Los Lobos. But, more about that later. Keep this in mind when you are booking a cruise as you may have to give quite the notice in order for the cruise line to accommodate your dietary restrictions (not just gluten free).
If you want to see more information about eating gluten free on the cruise line you are about to sail on, check out the links below to their Special Requirements (usually listed under allergy or dietary needs):
- Holland America – https://book.hollandamerica.com/specialServices/login.action
- Royal Caribbean (45-day notice) – https://secure.royalcaribbean.com/allaboutcruising/guestSpecialNeeds.do
- Norwegian Cruise Lines (30-day notice) – https://www.ncl.com/about/accessible-cruising#dietary
- Carnival – https://www.carnival.com/about-carnival/special-needs/dietary-needs.aspx
- MSC Cruises – https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Assets/Special%20Needs%20Form%20Current.pdf
- Celebrity – https://www.celebritycruises.co.uk/getmedia/26973610-a644-4d89-bdd6-7fbe7b1b8e4f/special-dietary-needs-tcm27-80988.pdf
Main Dining Room
For the most part, the only entree marked gluten free on the menu in the main dining room was the rotisserie chicken and I didn’t really want to have that four days in a row. Some days appetizers were offered that were GF, but they were mostly seafood and that’s not my preference. I say all that to say that we didn’t eat in the MDR for this trip.
The buffet on the Norwegian Sun is (not surprisingly) one of the smallest buffet’s I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. That being said, they had very little gluten free options on the buffet. This meant that I spent most days eating burger patties, fries, salad, fresh fruit, sliced meats, and some vegetables. For the most part, the only GF dessert offered was ice cream. If you are on the Sun, just know that the only fries that are gluten free are the ones served at the outside buffet called “The Great Outdoors.” That is the only buffet area that has a dedicated fryer.
The Villas Buffet at Great Stirrup Cay
At Great Stirrup Cay, we rented an oceanview villa for the day. The villa guests have their own separate buffet area for lunch. Lunch was served from 11:30 am until 2 pm. It was very gluten-friendly with a good selection of fresh fruit and grilled meats.
The dessert area had rice pudding and chocolate pudding that were both gluten free and delicious!
Not necessarily gluten-free, but my husband and I have been doing keto at home for a while now. He stuck to keto while we were on the cruise, and he was also able to find a good selection of dishes at the GSC villa buffet.
Los Lobos Cantina
For my birthday dinner, we went to Los Lobos Cantina. The servers were amazing and very knowledgeable about gluten free. Our server was able to go through the menu and show me what I could and could not eat. He also showed me the things that could be made GF with a slight modification. For appetizers, we went with the Tableside Guacamole and the Queso Fundido. Both were excellent!
For my entree, I did the Enchiladas Verdes with chicken. The chicken enchilada I wanted had mole sauce on it (not GF), so the chef substituted the Verdes sauce instead which was GF. The sides were rice and beans.
Want to see a more in-depth discussion of my experience eating gluten free on the Norwegian Sun? Check out my video on my YouTube Channel linked below!
Which cruise lines do you think do dietary restrictions best? Is there one cruise you’ve been on that knocked it out of the park? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!