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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
bakcd bakcd is offline
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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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irvington irvington is offline
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Quote:
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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Quote:
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
bakcd bakcd is offline
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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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Xewrsw Xewrsw is offline
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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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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
bakcd bakcd is offline
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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
cruznut1111 cruznut1111 is offline
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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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