Blogpost: Coral Princess Panama Canal (Part 2) :: Cruising Gluten Free

Blogpost: Coral Princess Panama Canal (Part 2) :: Cruising Gluten Free


This is Part 2 in a 4 part series about our vacation on the Coral Princess through the Panama Canal. You can find Part 1 here.

This part in the series has more food pictures than the first part did. I think I gained a few pounds just remembering how good everything tasted…careful, you might leave hungry :-)

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

Day 4 – Los Angeles California

We had a light meal from Room Service before heading ashore.

Breakfast

  • Gluten free rice crispies
  • Small fruit bowl
  • Plain unsweetened yogurt

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Los Angeles was our first Port of Call after leaving Vancouver three days earlier.

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The Los Angeles Princess Cruises Cruise Ship Terminal, is in San Pedro (north of LA). We walked off the ship around 8:30am and spent the morning walking about. We wandered along the Promenade to the Port of Calls Market and eventually made our way up 6th to the San Pedro Brewing Company.

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They had free WiFi, so I was able to check in with the kids as well as the blog.

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We had a nice lunch at the Pub. They didn’t have a gluten free menu but the waiter seemed to have a good knowledge of the menu ingredients.

Lunch

  • Swordfish Sandwich (without the bread) and Cole-Slaw.

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I asked about ordering Fries instead of Cole-Slaw but they didn’t have a dedicated fryer. They cook everything, including breaded items, in the same fryer.

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From the Pub, it was only about a 15-20 minute walk to the Pier. We returned to the ship mid-afternoon and Sailed Away from Los Angeles just before dinner time.

Dinner

  • Salad: Watercress, Radish and Iceburg Lettuce
  • Grilled Beef Filet Medallions with Green Peppercorn sauce, steamed vegetables and roasted potatoes
  • Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake (this was one of the regular menu offerings. I have to confess, I sought out a second helping of this dessert at the International Cafe later that evening)

Our cabin door decor :)

A bit of background about Cruise Ship Door Decor. I had never heard of such a thing until I started hanging out with like-minded cruise lovers over on the Cruise Critic site. One of the people I got to know online and later got to meet up with on the cruise was Tracy. She suggested decorating our door and after checking out some images online, I thought why not? 

I got the idea of taking the Beach Boys tune Kokomo and switching up the lyrics so it had the names of the Ports and/or Countries we would be visiting on this cruise. I also printed copies of flags of all the countries and put them up around the poem.

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After we finished a Port visit, I used a highlighter to check the place off our list. Our Room Steward said people would often stop to read the poem. We occasionally heard laughter outside our door and one day I opened the door to see a Ship’s Officer standing there with an amused look on his face. Confused, I asked if I could help him and he said “I’m just reading your poem”. I closed the door and stepped out of his way. After I turned the corner and walked away, I heard him chuckle.

Day 5 – At Sea Day

Breakfast

  • Horizon Court Buffet – fresh fruit and plain unflavoured yogurt

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We had Lunch in the Provence Dining Room.

Lunch

  • Salad Greens with Balsamic Dressing
  • White Fish on Chimichurri Sauce with steamed vegetables (the steamed veggies replaced Succotash. I believe because the creamed corn in the Succotash had gluten in it)

I discovered the International Cafe and the Horizon Court Buffet feature a different gluten free dessert item each day. These treats were hard to resist, especially the chocolate ones.

In the centre row, is the gluten free treat of the day.

Centre row, is the gluten free treat of the day.

In the International Cafe these treats were behind glass and served by a pastry chef. After explaining about my gluten intolerance, I asked him to use clean tongs. He happily complied.

Strawberry Meringue

Strawberry Meringue

In the Horizon Court bakery area, the treats were laid out for self-serve along with other pastries. I could see the tongs had obviously been used interchangeably between the various sweets. I figured cross contamination was a given and decided against having any but then I discovered more of the gluten free treats on display behind glass.

Here again, I explained about my gluten intolerance and asked that they use clean tongs to get me a fresh treat from the display case. In most cases they happily complied. I did run a problem one day where the server got clean tongs and then served me a treat from the self-serve area. Language was a barrier in that case. He was a young server, not one of the chefs and obviously had no idea about cross contamination. He must have thought I was being snooty…not picking up the treat for myself.

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I stopped by and talked to the cooks at Princess Pizza. They don’t have gluten free pizzas listed on the menu but they can do them if you preorder the day before. They make the pizza dough in the morning and send it up from the main galley downstairs

I was pretty pumped about finding gluten free treats and ordering gluten free pizza! Feeling brave, I decided to try the Princess Ice Cream concession…funniest Gluten Free moment of the trip! I asked the person serving Ice Cream if the soft serve was gluten free. She replied “yes ma’am, the soft serve is complimentary”. I said no, I have an allergy to gluten. I need to know if the soft serve has gluten, or is it gluten free? She said “you don’t need to pay extra for it, it’s free”. I left it at that :)

Dinner

  • Appetizer: Stilton Cheese and sliced pear
  • Main: Shrimp Danielle
  • Dessert: Creme Brûlée (big portion!)

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The Creme Brûlée was huge by my standards. Knowing there must have been 18,000 calories in that dish, I tried my best not to eat all of it. Started a chant in my head…only half, only half of it, you will eat only half of it…I vaguely remember licking the bowl clean…I feel such shame…lol

Coral Princess Atrium

Coral Princess Atrium

This evening was the first of three formal nights. We got all dressed up and even did the Champagne Waterfall but didn’t get a nice picture of it. We posed for one Formal Photograph but I’m going to respect the photographers copyright and not publish it online. You’ll just have to imagine the two of us all gussied up, standing on the marble stairs in the lower level of the beautiful four story Atrium. We’re holding hands and smiling.

Day 6 – At Sea Day

Breakfast

We chose to have Breakfast in the Provence Dining Room. I wanted a change from the gluten free safe bets of fruit and yogurt in the Horizon Court Buffet. Thought a hot breakfast would be nice.

  • Gluten Free Bread, lightly toasted
  • Fruit Plate
  • Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Omelette (it was a bit on the dry side, maybe over-cooked?)

The waiter we had that morning got really frazzled after I told him I was gluten free and had not preordered my breakfast meal. As he was serving us, he was getting people’s orders mixed up. In my mind it only reinforced the fact that it’s better to preorder and it also made me appreciate how for our evening meals, we had the same wait staff every night. They didn’t get flustered, they knew me and my dietary needs.

Lunch

I didn’t get my gluten free pizza for lunch today. There was a lineup at Princess Pizza when we got there and I heard someone ahead of me ask about a gluten free pizza. Maybe he got my pizza?

  • Horizon Court Buffet – Salad and fixings (much the same as with the breakfast buffet, I stayed with salad because it was in a stand alone serving area and seemed pretty safe)

Snack

After confirming the soft serve ice cream was gluten free, I decided to give the ice cream servers another try…

Me: can I get soft serve in a cup?
Server: no cups, we only have cones
Me: I have an allergy. I cannot eat the cones. I would like the soft serve in a cup.
Server: you don’t want a cone?
Me: (about ready to give up again) I am allergic, I cannot eat a cone!
Server: oh? Okay, I give to you in a glass (takes a small water-glass out of the freezer, fills it half full with soft serve and serves it to me with a spoon)
:-)

Dinner

  • Shrimp and Scallops
  • Fresh Pineapple Slices with Mild Goat Cheese
  • Jerk Chicken (this was really nice. Moist and flavourful)
  • Individual Crustless Key Lime Pie

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For Dessert, everyone was having Key Lime Pie and Jose surprised me with my own little gluten free version. Sweet! Jose and the Waiters seem to delight in being able to offer me these yummy little surprises.

Good morning Mexican Sunrise :)

Good morning Mexican Sunrise :)

Day 7 – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

As we often did on Port Days, we started our day off with a light meal from Room Service before heading ashore.

Breakfast

  • Gluten free rice crispies
  • Small fruit bowl
  • Plain unsweetened yogurt

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Cabo San Lucas is a Port that doesn’t have a dock big enough for the ship. The ship anchors out in the harbour and you have to take a Tender Boat. It’s not too bad but tendering certainly draws out the process of getting ashore.

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We took a Bus Tour and really enjoyed our visit at the Glass Blowing Factory in Cabo.

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I took this next picture to share with you. I wanted to show you the creative ways they used glass to make these fruits and veggies. 

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We also enjoyed the views from the Sunset Point Restaurant. You can barely see it, but our ship is in the background.

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Here I am in San José del Cabo looking all touristy :-)

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One thing I noticed about the places we saw in Mexico, is they have the most beautiful interior courtyards. The picture below is of the inside of a place called Mia Casa. It was part Restaurant, part Retail Shop and off this interior courtyard, maybe part Residential.

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Those were the highlights of our day in Mexico.

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After what seemed like a long wait (it was hot and we were getting hassled by over zealous, tour operators, peddlers and hawkers) for a Tender Boat, we were back on the Coral Princess. Our Haven.

Lunch

  • Horizon Court Buffet – Salad and fixings

Snack

  • Catalana (Spanish version of Chocolate Creme Brûlée…I probably don’t have to tell you how much I enjoyed this one!)

And another Sail Away. This one took us past the famous El Arco.

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Dinner

  • Melon Salad
  • Strawberry Smoothie (it was almost room temperature, as were their chilled soups)
  • Scallop Carbonera (without the Orzo Pasta)

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On this night, the Waiter placed a plate in front of me that had non-gluten free orzo pasta. Before I could question it, Jose (the Head Waiter) swooped in, said “that’s not for you” and whisked the dish away. They replaced it a few minutes later with the pasta free version I had ordered.

After Dinner and an apology for the almost disaster with my dinner, Jose asked me if I got my gluten free pizza from Princess Pizza up on Lido Deck 14. After I said no, I think there was a mix up. He said it won’t happen again. He would talk to the Chef and make sure extra portions of gluten free pizza dough get sent up daily.

Princess Links

Princess Links

That night, they were playing Life of Pii up on the top deck at Theater Under The Stars. It was a nice warm evening. Sitting there in the open air eating popcorn and watching a movie on the big screen. It was such a novel thing to do. Brought back memories of Drive-In Movie Theatres.

After the movie we went to Princess Theater to see Canadian Comedian Doug Funk. He does a lot of improv with audience participation. I was sweating for a bit when he came up our isle but he selected the woman seated in front of me. Phew! He had us laughing so hard, tears were running down our faces.

After that we joined in the festivities at the Mexican Fiesta Party in the Explorers Lounge. The Cruise Directors staff were having fun playing party games with the passengers.

It was a full evening but you know what? On this cruise, it was actually an early night for us. We were in bed by 11pm.

Day 8 – At Sea Day

Breakfast

Another morning at the Horizon Court Buffet. For breakfast, we mostly alternated between Room Service on Port Days and Breakfast Buffet on the At Sea days.

  • Horizon Court Buffet – bacon, fresh fruit and plain unflavoured yogurt

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Jose had arranged for a standing order so I could get gluten free pizza any day that I wanted without having to preorder it. They make the personal size gluten free crusts in advance and usually you had to give the pizza guys 24 hours notice before you could get one.

I finally got to have my gluten free pizza…yippee! It impressed me when the pizza cook replaced his gloves and grabbed a clean board before handling the gluten free crust. The gluten free crusts are a smaller size than the regular pizzas, so there was no worry about them using a contaminated pizza pan. 

At that point I relaxed and went to sit down. I realised afterwards that maybe I should have hovered to make sure he used fresh uncontaminated sauce and cheese but I never got a reaction, so I guess all was well. 

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I loved the gluten free pizza! I asked my husband about the regular pizza and he said it was just okay. It was like mall pizza by the slice and best if you could get it straight out of the oven before it sat under the heat lamps for too long. The pizza guys Constantine and Vito got to know me and usually a nod and a smile was all that was necessary before they got busy making a fresh GF pizza for me.

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Lunch

  • Gluten Free Pizza

Snack

  • Canapés

We signed up for a wine tasting event and they actually made these gluten free canapés for me. Mine looked like the ones they served everyone else but my toppings were on gluten free bread. There was no mistaking the taste. Upon closer inspection, some of the toppings were different. My husband had a beef pâté that must have had gluten in it. I had an extra shrimp one instead.

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Once again, I was really impressed with the lengths the Coral Princess Crew were willing to go to care for me. After all, I was just one passenger in the two thousand aboard.

It wasn’t like they had a store of gluten free foods in the galley that they rolled out for anyone who requested it. Everything gets prepared from scratch.

There was another passenger who sat at our table during the wine tasting who generally tries to follow a gluten free diet. She turned down the plate of canapés they were serving everyone else and asked for something gluten free and dairy free. They said they would see what they could do but I think it was too short notice. I’m not sure she got anything to nibble on as we tasted the wines.

She and I got to talking. I told her about the gluten free pizza and the next time I bumped into her she said she’d tried it and loved it but because she tries to avoid dairy she wasn’t going to order it too often.

Dinner

  • Lightly Steamed Asparagus with Bacon and Onions (this was delish)
  • Watermelon in a light creamy sauce
  • Vegetable Rague (didn’t really care for this vegetarian dish. Overcooked veggies and too many peppers for my taste)
  • Cherries Jubilee (a gluten free dessert that was the same as what everybody else was having. Love it when that happens)

On The Bayou was the name of their big musical production show this evening. It was so popular, they had to squeeze in three seatings. We caught the last performance and loved it!

They had a 50′s Party going on in the Explorers Lounge. Music that’s easy to dance to. We had fun rockin it out with some of the new friends we made on this cruise.

My last Travel Journal entry for the day…Great Day! Fun night!

Day 9 – At Sea Day

Breakfast

  • Room Service for Tea, Coffee and my daily prune juice
  • Horizon Court Buffet – fresh fruit and plain unflavoured yogurt

We were going to to have lunch in the Provence Dining Room. I had pre-ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad without the Croutons but we didn’t make it there before they closed at 1:00pm.

They were running a Smoothie Station up on the Lido Deck but I was feeling chintzy and didn’t feel like paying the extra $4 for a fruit and yogurt smoothie. So it was Horizon Court Buffet once again.

Lunch

  • Horizon Court Buffet – Green Salad and Cottage Cheese with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Coral Princess has a place called The Grill. It is just up the stairs from Princess Pizza. At different times,  Hubby tried their beef burger and chicken burger with fries. He enjoyed both. I never asked about getting a gluten free lunch at The Grill. I was happy enough with the pizza I was getting right below them on the Lido Deck.

Dinner

  • Wild Game and Mushroom Pâté (this was something different for me and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would)
  • Pineapple and Prickly Pear (first time trying prickly pear. Liked the flavour, didn’t expect the seeds)
  • Surf and Turf, Filet Mignon and Jumbo Shrimp (I could eat this every night! The steak was juicy and tender and the shrimp was plump and delicious)
  • Seafood Skewer (I asked if they could bring just one skewer for me to try. They brought out a plateful to pass around the table for everyone to try)
  • Dessert got a little out of hand this evening. The waiter said he wasn’t sure if they had made a special gluten free surprise for me so he brought out a dish of Sorbet and then Jose showed up with a dessert in each hand. One was the hugmungus Creme Brûlée they have on the menu and some special Apple Walnut Spring Rolls. Needless to say I couldn’t eat them all but loved having a taste of so many treats.

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Dinner tonight was Foodie Heaven! They almost needed a wheelbarrow to carry me out of there :-)

Day 10 – At Sea Day

Breakfast

  • Horizon Court Buffet – fresh fruit and plain unflavoured yogurt

This morning we enjoyed some downtime. I think I was still digesting that big dinner from the night before. Mostly we hung out in our cabin. We had chores to do. Princess Ships have Passenger Laundry rooms on each deck, so we did our laundry.

Lunch

  • Pizza (took this one back to our cabin to eat on the balcony along with a nice cold can of Strongbow Cider)

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More downtime, we spent the afternoon making the poster I showed you in Part 1 of this series.

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Dinner

  • Fruit Cocktail with hint of Cinnamon (loved this. Simple, yet delicious)
  • Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce (mmmm, so good!)
  • Pork Cutlet and Steamed Vegetables (I’m not much for pork but enjoyed how nice and tender these cutlets were. Reminded me of the Slow Roasted Pork Chops I make at home)
  • Chocolate Truffles (keep bringing it! Intense chocolate flavour. I could eat these all day every day!)

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The Chocolate Truffles were my favourite out of all the desserts (and there were many) on this cruise.

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That evening we went to see tribute artist Bobbie Brooks Wilson. It was our second time seeing his show. We really enjoyed it both times.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much. I do think cruising is an excellent way to travel if you are gluten free and it was nice to share my story here with you today. I hope to see you back for Part 3 where we visit the Ports of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and Puntarenas, Costa Rica on our way south to the Panama Canal. Writing about this vacation sure has been a great way for me to revisit the memories.

Other posts in the Cruising Gluten Free series…
Cruise Line Food Art
Coral Princess Galley Tour
Coral Princess Panama Canal (Part 1)
 

Follow Laureen Fox’s board Cuising Gluten Free on Pinterest.

Why take Folic Acid? Scientific research has shown that if women take 0.4 mg of Folic Acid 3-4 months prior to and during pregnancy, the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida is reduced by up to 75%. Please consult your physician to determine what is the right amount of Folic Acid for you.


 

This post is linked to the following events:

The Mommy Club hosted by Crystal & Co

Allergy Free Wednesdays hosted by Amber at The Tasty Alternative



 

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Thanks,
Laureen

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Laureen Fox is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in the Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.
BlogPost Cruising Gluten Free Travel

2 comments

  1. Chrissy says:

    Looks like a fabulous trip! The food sounds amazing1 Thanks so much for sharing at our Mommy Club Resources and Solution Linky party last week! Hope to see you back!

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