Explorer of the Seas: Food Allergy Review

Cruising is so much fun! Nate and I recently set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas! Nate and I have been on 4 cruises together (3 of the 4 cruises I have traveled with my food restrictions and were on Royal Caribbean). Each one has blown the last one out of the water with the exceptional customer service and amazing gluten, dairy and soydessert free dishes! Explorer of the Seas went above and beyond to make me comfortable and happy. I was able to enjoy some dishes that I have not had in years, such as crab cakes; it’s really hard to find gluten, dairy and soy free crab cakes. Thankfully Royal Caribbean made them and other dishes special for me! 

If you travel with food allergies and restrictions, you know how stressful it can be preparing for a vacation. Researching restaurants ahead of time for visiting a place that may or may not understand your needs. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of planning out each day of your trip to ensure you will be close to a place that’s allergy friendly.

Having food allergies and restrictions, I always get a little nervous about the food when going on a new cruise ship. This is silly because every cruise I have sailed on since I’ve gone gluten, dairy and soy free has been so accommodating and outstanding. That fear quickly faded away once I entered the first dining facility on board. 

sushiIf you have never been on a cruise before, let me give you a little background on the food situation. There are some dining options that offer complimentary food such as the buffet and the formal dining room (Nate and I’s personal favorite place to eat). Obviously if you eat at the buffet you can eat as little or as much as you want. In the main dining room you get seated at a table with a formal place setting, you get waited on and you can order as many things off the menu that you want. You want three appetizers? No problem. You want four desserts? Go for it! There are also speciality restaurants that are an up charge, though each ship is a little different in what speciality restaurants that are offered. Similar to the main dining room you can order as much as you want, but unlike the main dining room you pay for this meal. 

We had informed the cruise line ahead of time of my food restrictions so it was already noted; however, I wanted to ensure the cruise had it in the system, so we stopped by the main dining hall to see if my food allergies were noted, which they were! Afterwards we breakfaststopped at the Windjammer Marketplace (Royal Caribbean’s fleet wide buffet) for lunch. If you have food allergies you know how scary a buffet can be due to cross contamination. There are signs posted all over the buffet that if you have food allergies to speak to someone and they will help you navigate the buffet. As I have done in the past I notified someone about having food restrictions and they brought out a chef who then walked around the entire buffet with me helping me find food that was gluten, dairy and soy free. Explorer of the Seas also had a designated area of just gluten free items. The chef not only pointed out safe options for me, but he also made me a few special things not in the buffet so I could have a safe and enjoyable meal.

Later on that evening when it came time for dinner, we showed up to the Sapphire dining room where we were introduced to our wait staff that will be serving Nate and I for the duration of the cruise. The staff was happy to help me navigate the menu and even brought out gluten free bread for me to enjoy before my dinner. When I was handed the menu and the head waiter came to place my order, I asked for, “Whatever is easiest.” The head waiter stopped me and said “Everything is easy. What do you want to eat?” I was quickly reminded that I will not go hungry on a Royal Caribbean ship! 

After the conclusion of my meal the wait staff would hand me the next night’s menu and I would pick what I wanted for the next day. If I wanted three appetizers, two entrees and a dessert, no problem! Every night I would place my dessert order I would tell them “chef’s choice”. Each night I got a special dessert, made just for me that no one else got to enjoy. Royal Caribbean knows how to make a cruise special. 

Now we ate a lot of meals, so much so it would be overwhelming to list what I ate at each meal, so I will share some of my favorites from this cruise! All these items were gluten, dairy, and soy free!

  • Appetizers
    • Calamari 
    • Crab Cakes 
    • Coconut Shrimp
  • Entrees 
    • Salmon Omelet 
    • Cinnamon Raisin French Toast 
    • Pancakes  
    • Sushi at Izumi’s 
  • Desserts 
    • I told the head waiter that I love chocolate so I got a good variety of chocolate desserts throughout the cruise. 
      • Chocolate Tahini with Caramelized Bananas 
      • Espresso Frosting with Flourless Chocolate Cake 
      • Chocolate Truffles
    • Pineapple Upside Down Cake  
    • Lemon Tart in a Cinnamon Cookie 

If you are interested in cruising and have food allergies I highly recommend Royal Caribbean! They continue to roll out the red carpet for me and ensure that I eat things that are safe for me (and that I won’t go hungry). Once you book your cruise, be sure to email the cruise line regarding your food allergies and restrictions! You can use my email template from my blog post, Cruising with Food Allergies

Nate and I have two more cruises scheduled this year! My stomach and I cannot wait to see what other amazing dishes are in store for me on my next trips at sea. 

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