In September 2017, we—like so many of you—got that phone call informing us that our son Peter’s blood levels looked off. I was surprised, but then again with the last 3 years of recurrent pneumonias and awful constipation with SO much pain, I wasn’t. The momentary relief of hearing we possibly had an answer brought a combination of both joy and fear. From there, the endoscopy and additional labs were scheduled and approximately 3 months later we had a diagnosis—Celiac Disease.
Celiac Disease is not something new to our family, as 5 of our loved ones have been diagnosed—including my husband Geoff and son Peter!
What next? The changes to our kitchen & home commenced, meetings with various teachers and school staff happened, and continue to happen, and we soon recognized the approximate $500 dollars a month added to our monthly grocery bill! OUCH!!
We got this, right?
I found the first six months we were on auto-pilot, just go go go. A few steps forward and a few steps back. Peter started to feel better, but we had many hurdles to cross! Travel?!? How do we handle that? Can we even do that? How do I trust my child and family will be in safe hands in restaurants, let alone on a VACATION!?
Up to this point, traveling has always been a huge piece of our Family Memory making! Now what do we do? Well, this mama got to work and began exploring. Since Peter’s diagnosis, I’ve actually put my Healthcare Masters’ degree job on the shelf and have become a Passionate Mom-First Celiac/Gluten-Free Travel Specialist! There is so much out there, but also so many fears that many of us wrestle with daily. This insight into my background and value system helps explain my mission today: to connect exciting and safe travel opportunities with families and people who have the desire to travel—but aren’t sure of the possibilities available to them.
We have continued our family adventures, and nothing has brought me more joy than seeing my child, and other gluten-free family members, be able to enjoy trips again without being fearful of the “unknown”. Vacations finally feel like “vacation” again.
Cruises have always been one of our families “crowd pleasers”! It’s a way to see the world where adults and children alike are able to celebrate as a family and there is SO MUCH TO DO! But, cruising gluten-free, is it possible? We have cruised gluten-free on a variety of cruise lines. Some do better than others, but efficiency continues to be an issue…across all brands.
In the Fall of 2018, we reached out to Royal Caribbean and presented an idea to them. A gluten-free cruise! Would they be interested? Would they be open to the thorough education necessary to FULLY understand what being 100% gluten-free entails?
Well, not only were they open to it, they invited my entire family onboard to test drive and open the kitchen galley doors for a full gluten-free inspection! I was so impressed and have done my best to share that experience on this site. (be sure to see our Photo Gallery)
So, after many meetings with Executive Chefs, Food and Beverage Managers, and Royal Caribbean executives, the Inaugural Celiac Cruise was set! After months of planning, preparation, meetings, and site visits – our Inaugural Cruise set sail in January 2020 and was a HUGE SUCCESS! Our guests LOVED the freedom and the worry-free environment and we can’t even begin to thank all of our partners enough that helped us pull it off. Of course, that was just the start of our journey and we couldn’t be MORE EXCITED! Join us on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas February 17-21, 2022 for our next Celiac Cruise!