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As my husband and I ate breakfast I noticed one of the food service officers standing nearby. I introduced myself as a blogger on a nutritional website, and asked him to sit with us for a few minutes. I wanted to know how they handled passengers with specific dietary needs.
Tamas Pata, assistant manager, said that when a travel agent books a Carnival Cruise, the agent is supposed to ask about special diet needs. I vaguely remember them asking me that question, and my answering no. Mr. Pata said on the first day of the cruise someone from food service contacts each passenger who indicated special needs. They bring menus for the whole cruise. You select what you want to eat and list any foods you can't have. Your food is prepared and served to you in the dining room.
As an example, Mr. Pata told of a person who was allergic to garlic who wanted fish with garlic sauce on Day 3. Their fish was served with a garlic-free sauce.
"I've seen it all," Mr. Pata said. "Wheat and dairy allergies, garlic and shellfish allergies, kosher and other religious diets. A few people choose to bring their food on board, but we can accommodate most people."
If you tell the travel agent ahead of time, they will even bring additional food on board. For instance, whole milk, lowfat milk and chocolate milk are standard items, but if I had said that my daughter needed soy milk, they would have had it on board and available for her.
Food on the buffet line is not specially prepared, so a passenger with severe reactions would have to be very careful there. But anything served in the dining room can be adjusted for a passenger's needs.
Today was a wonderfully relaxing day at sea. We did several activities together as a family, and each of us also spent time pursuing our own interests. I went to an art auction, and found it to be quite interesting. We all met at the hot tub before we got dressed for dinner.
My dinner began with mango soup. It was so good, the meal would have been a success if it had ended right there. Every night I have had the garden salad with olive oil because the specialty salad came with dressing pre-applied. If I had met with food service on that first day, I could have had the "hearts of romaine" salad served to me plain.
My entrÃ©e was Beef Wellington, another famous dish I have read about, but never eaten. It was served with ginger carrots and broccoli. In addition, my daughter gave me her asparagus and zucchini. This was the best night for veggies on the trip. Because of the abundance of vegetables, it was easy to enjoy the steak, but leave the crust of the Beef Wellington behind.
I ordered a fig cake for dessert. It was nice, but not good enough to be worth the wheat. After dinner we wandered the deck, watching people and enjoying the sea breeze. Tomorrow we leave this pampered place and return to the real world.
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