Gluten free at sea

For my holiday this year, I took to the waves and crossed the ocean on a five day cruise with P&O. My family and I had a raucous time, from Amsterdam to Le Havre with a pit stop in Zeebrugge in between. But the crucial ingredient for any  good holiday has to be the food. We had notified P&O about my dietary requirements prior to the departure, yet I was still apprehensive about what might turn up on my plate.

I thought breakfast was going to be a minefield. At every station, gluten glared back at me – toast, muffins, pancakes, waffles, croissants, the lot. The hot selection did offer gluten free choices, but with the eggs swimming in oil and the proximity of the fried bread, I decided to give it a miss. I found little bags of special gluten free cornflakes in one corner. That, along with some fresh fruit and yoghurt, made up my breakfasts each morning. And tea. There must always be tea.

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Lunches were mostly the constant gluten free staple of salad. Although there was often a range of choices, I questioned the quality of the vegetables, after they had been prepared possibly hours before, then sat under lights on the counter. Stll, beggars can’t be choosers. Pudding every day at lunch was meringue. There was no wrapped cakes or biscuits that I was expecting, not even branded like the cornflakes. I was offered meringue at afternoon tea and it was also a pudding option at dinner. No more meringue required for quite some time now.

Speaking of dinner, it was the highlight of my day, which is, incidently, just like home. The head waiter was so kind when talking about dinner options and pointing out his recommendations. I never felt like I was missing out at dinner, which is not always the case when one ventures abroad. I ate such a range of dishes, treacle tart, lambs’ kidneys, prawn cocktail, roast chicken dinner, all prepared in a specialist area of the kitchen. One night, the chef ever prepared my very own fish and chips. It was a true delight.

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I ate, drank and made merry on my holiday. The food options weren’t always as healthful as I would like, but my gluten free requirements were catered for splendidly, particularly at dinner. I am looking forward to returning to a healthier eating style, but I do not regret one bite from my amazing holiday.

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