Phoenix Food and Travel Photographer | Eating Keto While Cruising

Eating Keto While Cruising

My best friend and I just got back from our yearly Carnival Cruise to Ensenada, Mexico, leaving out of Long Beach, Ca. It’s a quick 3 or 4 day cruise that we can usually grab for $340 or LESS with tips and taxes! They have some great deals right now ya’ll that make for a perfect mommy’s weekend away. We had a great time and I was really surprised about how easy it was to stick to my ketogenic diet! For those that have no clue what I am talking about, it’s a low sugar or low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet. I highly recommend the blog for more information, but I am on this diet to not only lose some weight but it really does increase my energy, helps me sleep better at night, controls some of that brain fog I get from being hypothyroid and helps me lose weight (when I can gather the willpower to really stick to it). There are so many other benefits I gain from it but let’s get back to how you can eat Keto on a cruise.

Before I start with breakfast, I wanted to add that each cruise line will be different when it comes to what they prepare and what the staff’s knowledge of the food is. I know that on a Disney Cruise, if they can’t answer my question, out the huge binder comes with all the info on their foods. Disney will also go out of their way to make something for you if you can’t find it and they have a lot more offerings for food sensitive people,everywhere from sugar, gluten and vegan. Carnival, not so much. Granted, it is the cheapest cruiseline I have found, so you get what you pay for. But, don’t let that stop you from going on a Carnival Cruise..we have always really enjoyed it but if you want more in the way of, well, everything, Disney is the way to go. So on to breakfast. It is probably by far the easiest meal to eat keto on a cruise line.We usually eat in the dining room for breakfast, as neither of us are big fans of buffets. The dining room makes your breakfast to order and you can get salmon and cream cheese (just tell them no bagel) or a made to order omelet with veggies, cheese, or bacon. YUM! Grab a hot cup of coffee with half and half and you are good to go! Carnival didn’t have any keto friendly fruits available at breakfast which was a bummer but oh well. On the last day, if you do not get up early enough (who wants to get up early on your mommy’s weekend), you get to eat in the buffet. There you can find boiled eggs, scrambled eggs (they will make you a fresh omelet if you go out on deck by the pool to order it), sausages, bacon, cottage cheese, block cheese and deli meats. Again,  no keto friendly fruits. Tip: Bring your own keto friendly sweetener like stevia or monkfruit. They will not have this on the cruise.

For lunch, we stuck to the 2 dining areas out by the pools, Guy’s Burger Joint and the BlueIguana Cantina, cause again, we really don’t like buffet food. But, the buffet does have a fresh carved meat, deli meats and cheeses and a few keto veggies to pick from. At Guys Burger Joint, I had them grill me up a burger with cheese, no bun. You then can take it to a toppings bar and add lettuce, onions, bacon, pickles, pico, etc. It was super yummy and very filling…if its not filling, go back for more! At the BlueIguana Cantina, I had them make me and open faced grilled shrimp burrito (you kind of need the burritos they just put everything on paper if not). You can also get chicken or pork. Then head to the toppings bar and add every keto friendly item on it you can like salsa, pico, cheese, cilantro and sour cream. Just don’t eat the burrito. Lunch is another area that I think eating Keto is pretty easy when on a cruise ship!

You can be a weirdo like my bestie who wanted pizza and no crust, so she ordered one, took the toppings off and added it to her cauliflower…yum…not..I would rather just not have pizza lol but she loved it!

Now on to dinner. Keto is totally doable at dinner time on a cruise but you will be given a lot more options that may not have complete descriptions on the menu. Like the stuffed portabello mushroom that comes covered in breading and appears to be fried, or the miso salmon that has loads of sauce covering it. There is nothing wrong with sauce per say but there could be tons of hidden sugars in the sauce. Tip: Always ask your waiter to put the sauce on the side.

You may also see things on the menu could be made keto friendly like asparagus soup ( I mean, come on, it should be cream, stock and some aspargus) but again you never know. You can always ask for the ingredient list, but I found Carnival staff not very knowledgeable and they never offered to bring anything out for me. Disney Cruise Line staff will bring it out if asked. Some of my favorites on the dinner menu where the duck (ask for the thick sauce on the side), salmon patties with a cucumber salad, and stuffed mushrooms (didn’t eat the sauce), steak with broccoli, ceviche, green beans and the tuna! So good. Tip: If you do not see a dinner you like….pick a few appetizers! Cruises allow you to pick more then one appetizer or dinner or salad.Now,on to the best part! Dessert…or not. Sorry, but Carnival did not have that many options for sugar free desserts. Disney Cruise Lines definitely accommodates their diabetic and low sugars cruisers better, so don’t think it will be limited on every cruise you take. So, what we found is that Carnival has 1 NO SUGAR ADDED item each day, but not sugar free (can someone say sugar free jello at least?). We found that most of the Carnival staff thinks that no sugar added means sugar free. Very frustrating. We even had the nicest buffet manager bring us out an “sugar free” strawberry cake, to only find out at dinner that it was no sugar added. Good thing we shared, and I feel sorry for the diabetics on the cruise who unexpectedly found themselves adjusting their meds most likely. Also, sugar free does not mean carbohydrate free. Unless its made with almond an coconut flour, which is highly unlikely, it’s going to be full of carbs. So if it’s a sugar free cake or pie, it’s highly unlikely it will be keto friendly. Tip: Unless you know its sugar free and low carb, just say no. It’s likely too good to be true.

But, do not despair! We did find some things that you could eat! Well, 3. Dinner service had 2 of the items, a yummy sugar free chocolate ice cream (99.9% guarantee that it’s made with an artificial sugar you want to stay away from though, so use at your own digression) and a cheese plate for dessert. We did ask for no bread or grapes on the cheese plate, and asked if we could have strawberries instead. They brought us strawberries the first night but after that told us they had no more strawberries on the other nights. The 3rd item for us was iced coffee with half and half, which can be found at the Coffee Bar. I did splurge and got whipped cream on mine. I know, I know, the strict keto peeps are having a heart attack about now but it was a vacation and I really wanted whipped cream. So, yes, some whipped cream is low sugar and carbs, and this one was, BUT it still has sugar in it. Again, bring your own sweetner if you do not want Equal or Sweetnlow.

Last but not least. . drinking alcohol on a cruise. Unfortunately for you, I do not drink, but fortunately cruises have lots of bars. I recommend the blog Ruled Me for a guide on alcohol that is keto friendly. You do have choices! Also, remember you can bring on your own wine! On the day the cruise embarks, you are allowed to bring on board one standard 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne per person. Each person carrying on alcohol must be 21 years of age or older, and the bottles must be in your carry-on luggage. No hard liquor or beer is permitted. Tip: You may be limited by how much alcohol you bring on but you can bring as many keto friendly snacks as you would like!


So, I am confident you can cruise, eat a ketogenic diet and have a great time! Hopefully, you can see this as well. Some cruise lines may have more choices as well as more knowledge about what they serve, but you can still do it! What is your favorite keto friendly foods while you cruise? I would love to hear them! By the way, I didn’t gain any weight on my cruise.

This is me in the picture above. I started my weight-loss journey 4 years ago and I am using keto to maintain the 60 pounds I have lost, and hopefully lose more! This is by far the best I have felt on a vacation, by sticking to my diet and I am looking so slim because I recently ditched my bra!! Huh? Yep, I now wear these sweet camis by Ruby Ribbon that hold up my DD’s better than my expensive bra AND trim 1-3 inches off my belly, sides and back. That’s right, NO more underwires and my girls are held up high, and you cant tell from this picture that I always look 2 or 3 months pregnant (I had twins and then 2 more pregnancies)! I can’t afford my tummy tuck right now, but the camis do the job with out shoving underwire into my lymph nodes, but by holding up my stomach and back, and picking my girls up to where they are supposed to be. Can you say no more back fat? I can 🙂 Check out my favorite cami here and ditch your bra today!










Claudia Krusch - July 16, 2018 - 7:06 am

You look amazing! Congrats on your journey! I’m checking Ketogenic out!

Deborah H - July 13, 2018 - 2:17 pm

This was such a helpful post!!! I can see how easy it could be to stick to a keto-friendly diet even while cruising. I could totally eat those grilled shrimp burritos every day 🙂

Pamela Frost - July 12, 2018 - 5:06 pm

I know many people who have been doing the Keto diet lately. It does seem like a pretty easy menu to follow, especially when managing the protein and carbs intake. I think they key is in the macros from what I was hearing. But it’s great to hear you were able to maintain your daily diet while on vacation!

Linda - July 12, 2018 - 11:47 am

What a fantastic way to share your vacation! But now I’m terribly hungry!!! 🙂 Thanks!

Michele Tremblay - July 12, 2018 - 10:39 am

Wow! What a thorough job of taking us through the food choices. It is interesting to read because I have some big food issues that I must manage everyday so glad that you are “on the job reporting “. Sounds like the cruise was fun.

Rachel - July 11, 2018 - 11:30 am

This post made me so hungry! Very detailed and great photos! Good for you for sticking to your plan on a cruise. That is not easy!

Shelley Webb - July 11, 2018 - 10:40 am

I’ve actually been on that cruise (not my favorite)! It looks like you did very well with your keto choices! How many grams of carbs do you try to stick to per day?

John Saib - July 10, 2018 - 4:00 am

Awesome Post, Thanks for sharing this article.

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