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  #81  
Old February 25th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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irvington irvington is offline
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Anyone with experience on Holland America? We are locked into them at this point, but will probably take a cruise next year and it would be worth it to go on a line that is helpful with dietary restraints. We are pretty spoiled here in Oregon since there is so much awareness.

In our particular case, my younger son has an issue with wheat. Having things labeled GF or wheat-free is a big help to him. He is willing to eat a wide variety of things and is conscientious about sticking to wheat-free. In his case it causes mood issues and (TMI, I know) bedwetting. We don't have to worry about trace amounts but it is nice to know the ingredients. Here many restaurants label menu items that will work on various diets (veg, vegan, GF, dairy-free) -- seems like that could be a low-cost way for the cruise lines to be more sensitive.
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  #82  
Old February 25th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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Our last experience with HAL was in June. They do not label items on the menu or at the buffet. The maitre' d will visit your table at dinner and you pre-order your meal or meals for the next day. If you want pancakes the next day, you need to let them know then. If you eat at the buffet, you will need to find a maitre'd and they will guide you as to what is gluten-free.

Prior to sailing, you should contact HAL and pre-order the items you would like. These are Kinnickinnik products and include breads, cereals, pizza crusts, etc.
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  #83  
Old February 25th, 2012, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bakcd View Post
Our last experience with HAL was in June. They do not label items on the menu or at the buffet. The maitre' d will visit your table at dinner and you pre-order your meal or meals for the next day. If you want pancakes the next day, you need to let them know then. If you eat at the buffet, you will need to find a maitre'd and they will guide you as to what is gluten-free.

Prior to sailing, you should contact HAL and pre-order the items you would like. These are Kinnickinnik products and include breads, cereals, pizza crusts, etc.
thanks for the info!
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  #84  
Old February 25th, 2012, 04:04 PM
graceinmelbourne graceinmelbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by irvington View Post
Anyone with experience on Holland America? We are locked into them at this point, but will probably take a cruise next year and it would be worth it to go on a line that is helpful with dietary restraints. We are pretty spoiled here in Oregon since there is so much awareness.

In our particular case, my younger son has an issue with wheat. Having things labeled GF or wheat-free is a big help to him. He is willing to eat a wide variety of things and is conscientious about sticking to wheat-free. In his case it causes mood issues and (TMI, I know) bedwetting. We don't have to worry about trace amounts but it is nice to know the ingredients. Here many restaurants label menu items that will work on various diets (veg, vegan, GF, dairy-free) -- seems like that could be a low-cost way for the cruise lines to be more sensitive.
It would be great if cruise lines labelled items in the buffet as to whether they are gluten free, dairy free, etc. It would be very helpful to passengers and staff working at the buffet wouldn't be asked questions all the time. Royal Carribbean don't usually label food in the buffet but they do in cruises sailing out of Australia. I think it must be because there is a high level of awareness here about GF so passengers expect it. Why can't they do it with all cruise lines?? I can't be that difficult really.
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  #85  
Old February 25th, 2012, 04:56 PM
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I've been told it is because of the possibility of cross-contamination but labeled or not, the possibility still exist. It sometimes takes 2 or 3 trips around the buffet area to find a maitre'd.
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  #86  
Old February 3rd, 2014, 12:26 PM
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Default Gluten free, freestyle vs set dining

It's been about a year since the last post here.
I am not the best with logging on here, however I believe that this is an important thread for fellow gluten free cruisers. So I am going to add some more personal experiences from our GF cruising. My son was 12 when first cruised gluten free. He is now 15. For teens, (maybe teen boys?) eating differently than your buddies is a pain, more work than he wants to put the effort into. Maybe a little humiliating? To the adults...worth the effort...it's life.
Since our first experience cruising GF, which was on the Oasis of the Seas, I have found that all cruise lines address GF dining rather well.
I prefer the smaller ships because they are much easier to get a quick grasp on the options available. (Fewer dining choices)
I don't care for the "my time," or "free style" dining option for the following reason. In those venues you will NOT have the exact same waiter each night. At regular Main Dining Room dinners, you Do have the same set waiter, he/she is one step ahead of you with your GF preferences at each meal. For example...the fresh steak fries on the table for my son as a replacement for the bread when the boys sit down. It really bothers me when the waiters bring a basket of bread and butter for the rest of the table to munch on and my hungry son has to watch. Little dining preferences like this, are what make having the same waiter each night a plus.
That said, we did get to know the maitre' d very well on our NCL "free style" dining. He would show up at each dining venue for us, however there was a little bit of a lag time. Sometimes we would have to look for him. He even showed up in both of our specialty restaurant venues. (BTW..always bring your own GF soy sauce on board if you think that you would like to specialty dine or choose an Asian dish.)
Also, I always generously tip my wait staff and maitre' d ON THE FIRST NIGHT when I meet and review the GF options with them!! (Obviously it would just be the maitre'd on the first free style dining night since you will not have the same waiter from there on.)
BTW...sailing on the Oasis of the Seas again over Easter break. I've heard that they now have GF pizza! Woohoo!
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  #87  
Old March 26th, 2014, 08:42 PM
fab5family fab5family is offline
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Default Gluten-free Travel Cards

http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/

I printed out these travel cards for our upcoming cruise. Will let you know after the cruise if they were a hit or not.
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  #88  
Old April 20th, 2014, 10:06 PM
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Mezzaluna Mezzaluna is offline
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Talking

I'll begin by saying I haven't read the entire 5-year old thread. Also, although I don't have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, my dear friend (and travel agent) does. I've traveled with her many times and have learned a lot from her about how to enjoy cruising while eating gluten free. (I also love to cook and bake, so I've learned to bake some goodies for her as well.) She was diagnosed 7 years ago and cruises several times a year. She has NEVER been sick while cruising because she follows some of the advice I've read here, and also learned a few tricks of her own.

As has been noted, some lines are better than others at providing a happy culinary experience for GF customers. Some of the ships in a line are better than others, as I read of Driftwood's experience on RCCL's Jewel. Still, RCCL/Celebrity were better at it earlier than most of the rest. Their regular dining room menus, which everyone receives, are coded for gluten, lactose, sugar and vegetarian needs. Nice start.

Hats off to the member who advised starting your trip by choosing a particular table in the dining room and always eating there. I might also suggest befriending the maitre d' in that dining room FIRST. S/he can help select the best service team for you, the one who knows the dishes best and can tell you if the sauces and other ingredients are appropriate or not, as well as if that team is willing to ASK if they don't know. The maitre d' will know who's a little too lazy and might just say, "It's okay" and not understand that a little flour can cause a night of agony.

That maitre d' can also do things like help you get cheesecake for tomorrow night's dessert when GF cheesecake isn't a usual dessert item. Hey, if you don't ask, you don't get, right? Sometimes a dish that's not typically GF can be made GF if you ask, or can be ready for you the next evening. (Sometimes they just can't make it to their standards and will tell you "Sorry, no.") The maitre d' can also connect you with managers who can help you find out what's okay to eat at other venues on the ship, such as the poolside grills, etc. (The burgers are great! Don't miss the hot dogs, either.)

I've seen buffet managers escorting people in the buffets, pointing to appropriate dishes to enjoy, but it does take time and you have to be patient for the buffet. I do see GF waffles and pancakes offered at the buffet at breakfast on Celebrity ships. They're prepared on dedicated grills in the kitchen, not out front with the rest of the regular stuff. Same goes for the GF toast, etc.

This is Celebrity I'm talking about, because it's the only line I've witnessed operating like this. I can't say others might not as well. There's more to my friend's bag of tricks, but I've run out of time and you're probably getting eye fatigue if you held out this long.
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  #89  
Old April 21st, 2014, 11:17 AM
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Anyone ordering gluten free on Celebrity, or any other ship for that matter, should be very cautious. I wish I could say that everything was great, we would have another two or three cruises in the next year. On our recent back to back on the Infinity, there were several mishaps. The dinner menus that are notated with allergens are good but there will be evenings with no selection displaying the gluten free symbol.

It is true that they will make gluten free waffles and pizza crusts. Even scones for tea. However, they are made with pure rice flour and no gum to give it texture. From the taste of what I've sampled, they are using a regular recipe and just substituting pure rice flour. It doesn't work. You cannot put enough syrup on the waffle to make it palatable. I really enjoyed the whipped cream and jam on the scone but the scone itself was inedible.

On my recent sailing, I requested cheesecake the second time and was told by the waiter "I will just take the crust off for you as I did the last time". Needless to say, I did not order cheesecake again. I was served a beautiful chocolate mousse but it was on a rice krispie crust that the pastry chef argued it was gluten free. I was also offered cookies that contained oatmeal. On a previous sailing in May, I had asked for a couple of dinner selections to be modified and they were done so successfully. This sailing, on the same ship, the same items were very disappointing and not finished. I really hate to make a special request and leave something uneaten, but when something is that bad, I will not eat it.

These are just a few of my recent experiences. Some are very aware of the gluten free requirements and others are clueless. The supervisor of the Lido was a great help and very knowledgeable. Celebrity does not appear to have a desire to improve their offerings which is a shame. I will think long and hard before we plan another long cruise, which we love.

The positive was that I had requested that they stock a gluten free beer which they did. It was not advertised, but available to me on request.

For those planning to cruise, be cautious and take snacks!
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  #90  
Old April 21st, 2014, 09:58 PM
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Default Great to see this thread is active!!

I hope this thread is still helpful to all of you. There were a lot of miserable days learning to watch for all the little horrors that could creep into my food.

The cruise lines are all pretty amazing compared to 5 years ago, but this is when overconfidence can overtake carefulness and waiters not as well trained as they think they are. I have been glutened way more often by folks assuring me they know what to do than by those who know nothing but want to help.

BAKCD, it was great to read you got your gluten free beer. I got a chuckle remembering how hard I had to work for that first delivery. They made me purchase the whole case... I think there is a thread on it somewhere.

I'll be back on board for the first time since 2010 so I will report on what I find on board and in Alaska.
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  #91  
Old April 26th, 2014, 11:13 PM
MouseGal MouseGal is offline
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Default AThank You and Questions re: Ruby Princess

This thread has been a very helpful read...DH and I are headed for a 12-night British Isles cruise on the Ruby Princess in 2 months, and I've been worrying a bit about the dining issue. I have severe allergies to gluten and casein (dairy), in addition to milder issues with some seasonings. I have lupus, so it is vital that I avoid any additional inflammation -- exposure for me not only means 4 or 5 hours of agony and being close to the bathroom, it also means a cascade effect with the lupus.
Because this is a port-intensive schedule, I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do about breakfasts - hopefully the MDR will be open early enough that it will be an option for us each day. I figure I'll be fine in London before the cruise - there's a Whole Foods about 2 blocks from the apartment we're renting! And I'm going to take Lara Bars and (will they let you take fresh fruit off the boat in the UK, since the boat is just going from one UK port to another?) fresh fruit if I can manage it, for lunch each day in port. I can't see risking a "pub" lunch really...

The email from Princess said to contact the maître d' as soon as I board - has anyone done this? They were actually very responsive - they asked if I preferred soy milk or rice milk, and really suggested strongly that I stick with the MDR or the specialty restaurants.

Lastly - I noticed several comments on the thread about seeing people who were apparently gluten-intolerant, or celiac, "cheating" (the Kellogg's cereal), or taking a risk by eating at the buffet...I can't understand that at all...
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  #92  
Old April 27th, 2014, 05:56 PM
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Yes! Do check in with the Maitre D' when U get in the first day. He can confirm or add the details for you and give you the names and locations of your contact person.

For safe buffet mornings hardboiled eggs are always a good choice. I check the cold cuts and cheese as well. Maybe safe- maybe not. I stick with fruits that can be peeled. Now this is my secret backup for early Breakfast.....a couple ounces of leftover meat from dinner. Of course this only works if I have a fridge but I already know it is safe for me.

Cheating. Is the pleasure worth the pain? Half of my cheating came from saying Yes too often until I got unmasked and figured out how much damage I was doing. The other half came from ignorance. Time and pain change this over time.
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  #93  
Old April 29th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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Default Review of RCCL Oasis Gluten Free 4/12/14

First: This is ONLY A REVIEW. If you have Celiac disease and travel with active kids/teens/adults THAT DON'T TAKE THE TIME TO SIT IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM for each meal you may learn from this review. Or not.
I KNOW THAT TRAVELING WITH A MEDICAL DIET IS OUR CHOICE. THE CRUISE LINES ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO ACCOMMODATE US. We are very grateful that they even try. Without their effort we wouldn't be able to cruise anymore.
This was the first ship that we cruised on just after being diagnosed with Celiac disease back in it's inaugural year.
So this was our second time cruising on this ship Gluten Free.
The many different dining venues were gracious, educated and supportive in helping us to know what was available at each dining venue ON OUR FIRST SAILING on this ship. However that was not the case on this sailing. I boarded, thinking that I could be more at ease since I knew the attention that Oasis dining paid to GF diets.
Last time my son hung out at Johnny Rockets for breakfast and lunch. This time not at all.
Last cruise the head chefs were amazingly attentive, came out and pointed out all that was available, or not available. On our last sailing, burgers could be requested at The Wipe Out, Windjammer and Johnny Rockets. Fries could be ordered at Johnny Rockets. (not the other venues though because of common frying oil. )The head chefs were amazingly attentive. They even came out and pointed out all that was available, or not available.
In the main dining room, our Maitre D was on the scene and informed from our first night. Our waiters were outstanding!! They had a plate of GF steak fries at the boys table every night, ready and waiting when the boys sat down. That way my son had something to eat and share while the other boys gobbled down their bread and butter.
Not the same on this cruise.
This time, as I always do, I paid a visit to the dining room Manager first thing to confirm my dining GF in the main dining room. They confirmed my request. At dinner time though it was very chaotic on the first few nights. It took maybe two nights before we figured out who the Maitre D was. I always seek him/her out to give them $50 from the start to handle our GF request well. It took 3 nights before there was GF bread at my son's table. My waiter, at my table, was spot on after the first night. Therefore I would bring my plate of bread over to my son.
I pretty much left the research up to my 15 year old son for the aft dining options during the day since he would be on the Flow Rider and Teen activities on the back of the ship. He knows the routine. My bad!
This sailing the head chefs at each venue were not so gracious, and just stated that there was nothing available there and to try elsewhere. Johnny Rockets was the worst! The first time I visited and inquired this cruise, I had been told that the breakfast fries were no longer GF because of an ingredient but that the burgers and lunch the fries were fine (no cross contamination). The next time I went....Different Story....they said that I could order fries and wait 20 mins while they changed out the oil and made an uncontaminated batch. A burger had to be requested too because of a spice that they needed to skip.
One night I skipped my main dining to watch the sun set as we pulled away from our port. I had to be at the front of the ship for a scheduled entertainment venue at 8PM. I decided to run, (and I mean Run), to the Windjammer after the show ended to grab a bite for dinner. Since the show got out at 9:15, I didn't make it to the Windjammer in time before it closed at 9PM. (I tried anyway to see if it was still open as did hoards of other passengers that I saw in front of me inquiring to the attendant at the door. ) So that left...room service, Johnny Rockets, the Promenade Cafe and Sorrentos Pizza. I went to Johnny Rockets for some fries. An attendant outside barked at me that they don't do special requests. I replied that I was told to request for GF. He said that only at certain non busy hours, and non late hours could they accommodate me.(mine was late that night...9:30) I was gracious and thanked him for the update on the information. I walked away astonished at his behavior. I felt like I was at street vendor in Brooklyn.
One day at the Windjammer Cafe while the head chef was going over what there was to eat besides white rice and boiled potatoes, he pointed out Beef Burgundy. I Repeatedly asked, "Are you sure that it is GF, you don't use any flour?" (It was going to be the ONLY thing to eat other than rice and potatoes. ) He finally said that it was made specially with Guinness Beer! I told him that beer has gluten. He was embarrassed. I went away eating my rice and potatoes. I had eaten something bad in Haiti that caused me to feel ill so I was staying away from salads. I just wanted to be able to serve myself something prepared. I could have waited 20 mins for them to grill a chicken breast. The Promenade Cafe only had Glutinos GF snickerdoodle or chocolate chip cookies. Room service would take awhile, very limited options GF, grilled chicken or burger and I would be relegated to my room and eating very late. So I skipped dinner.
So now I am thinking.....what the ____ has my son been eating?
**There is a fabulous GF pizza at Sorrentos that takes 20 mins to prepare! You can choose your toppings! ( I was eating so much of that pizza that it sadly began to lose it's appeal.)
I surmised that my son wouldn't take the time to come down to Sorrentos for lunch, stand in line, order a pizza and wait 20 mins while his friends would be finished back up at the Wipe Out Grill. As it turns out....he ate hot dogs, pizza and frozen custard! Aghhh.( He also had a burger or 2 which did not bother him!)
We ate cereal that we brought for breakfast in our room out on the balcony. We ordered room service every morning for bowls, spoons and milk.
**Another special treat.....GF cupcakes that can be ordered at the Cupcake Cupboard a day in advance. Very yummy@ $3.00 each. (Same as regular cupcakes I believe.)
**This was the first time that there was a GF dessert offered at every dinner.

As for me, I found the best selection at the Solarium. I should have gone there every day for lunch and breakfast. I pretty much had a diet of grilled chicken breasts, potatoes, rice and pizza for lunch. (Eating at the Solarium would have upped that selection.)
This was an Easter break cruise as compared to a mid January Inaugural year last time so it is possible that this staff was stressed out. Main dining was very crowded!!!
**I bought the Royal Replenish package to be able to have smoothies, sparkling water and specialty coffee. That was a plus!

Having cruised on NCL a few times between our first Oasis sailing and this cruise...I have to say that the NCL handled the GF better than the Oasis did.....this time around. Service overall, in general on Oasis has gone down slightly from the inaugural cruise. In my case we are paying for the ship and what the ship has to offer families. It is an amazing ship!

I may try Allure next, for one more go around on a non-Easter break, and stay focused on the Solarium dining. It may just be better to sail on a smaller ship. (Which without my son....I would choose!)

So that is my experience on the current Oasis GF dining. Obviously if you are an adult, eat a lot of salads, don't mind the time required to put in a special order, don't mind sticking with the main dining room for all meals, or Solarium for bkfst and lunch....you're probably good. I'm living and learning!

Happy sailing and keep on keeping on cruising GF.
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  #94  
Old April 29th, 2014, 12:12 PM
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Default GF breakfast

Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseGal View Post
This thread has been a very helpful read...DH and I are headed for a 12-night British Isles cruise on the Ruby Princess in 2 months, and I've been worrying a bit about the dining issue. I have severe allergies to gluten and casein (dairy), in addition to milder issues with some seasonings. I have lupus, so it is vital that I avoid any additional inflammation -- exposure for me not only means 4 or 5 hours of agony and being close to the bathroom, it also means a cascade effect with the lupus.
Because this is a port-intensive schedule, I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do about breakfasts - hopefully the MDR will be open early enough that it will be an option for us each day. I figure I'll be fine in London before the cruise - there's a Whole Foods about 2 blocks from the apartment we're renting! And I'm going to take Lara Bars and (will they let you take fresh fruit off the boat in the UK, since the boat is just going from one UK port to another?) fresh fruit if I can manage it, for lunch each day in port. I can't see risking a "pub" lunch really...

The email from Princess said to contact the maître d' as soon as I board - has anyone done this? They were actually very responsive - they asked if I preferred soy milk or rice milk, and really suggested strongly that I stick with the MDR or the specialty restaurants.

Lastly - I noticed several comments on the thread about seeing people who were apparently gluten-intolerant, or celiac, "cheating" (the Kellogg's cereal), or taking a risk by eating at the buffet...I can't understand that at all...
I would suggest that you put out a room service request each night for spoons, bowls and milk for the next morning to be delivered at a time that suits you. Then bring along a box of your favorite GF cereal. I know it's more like camping than cruising, but it gets you by.
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