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We've only experience gluten free on the Serenade in the Caribbean, but it was fantastic. My daughter has celiac and every night at dinner they would go over the next night's menu with her so she could decide what she wanted. Some items were gluten free already, sometimes they would make an item gluten free for her. They had gluten free bread waiting for her at the table every night.
We usually ate breakfast in the Windjammer buffet and on our last cruise, items were labeled gluten free. If we had any questions, one of the chefs would walk us around and identify which items were safe. They even made her special gluten free pancakes on a couple of the mornings.
This is a bit off topic, but I saw you are in the Chicago area and I recently had a couple meals at a new restaurant that is 100% gluten free called Senza. Not sure if you have heard of it, but next time you are in the city it is well worth checking out. The entire menu is 100% gluten free, even all the beverages. Outstanding food, nice space and great staff working there. It is in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago:
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I have been eating gluten free for about 12 years now and have sailed with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Disney.
Celebrity Mercury did the best job of ensuring I did not have any problems. I was convinced the MDR staff were psychic as everyone seemed to know I needed gluten free and I never had to say anything twice. Only complaint was that the gf bread was bland and dry, but nobody ever tried to serve me regular bread. Celebrity got an A+
RCCL Mariner of the Seas did a pretty good job in the MDR and room service. I did feel the need to remind my servers occasionally--after eating gf for this many years, I can tell who "gets it" and who doesn't. But in the end they came through and I had no problems...until I went to the specialty restaurant, I'm pretty sure it was Chops. During dinner I started to feel bad (I'm very sensitive and have an almost immediate neurological reaction) the waiter swore everything he brought us was GF but a little later he came back to the table and said the Chimichurri sauce was not. Since I had to be more diligent and alert, RCCL got a B
Disney Wonder chefs were fine, but the waitstaff was surprisingly clueless. My second night I ordered onions on my steak. The waiter was arguing with me that I could not have onions because onions aren't GF. He couldn't explain why, but he knew it was so. Turns out, I couldn't have THESE onions because they were breaded and fried! I found this out because he brought them to me "on the side"...but on the side of my plate, touching my other food, not on a separate plate.
On all three lines, this is how the routine went:
Notify the cruise line well before your trip. Then, be sure to go to the dining room on embarkation day and discuss your dietary need with the Maitre d'. He might show you a menu and have you "pre order" your meal, or he might tell you the items you can have that night. Then each night toward the end of your dinner, he or the head waiter will take your order for the next night so they can plan and prepare accordingly.
I never eat at the Lido...people will unknowingly cross contaminate going from one dish to another with a utensil, plus the servers are usually way too busy to stop what they are doing to go back to the kitchen to ask the chef about ingredients, etc.
In general, cruising is one of the safest vacation options for us GF folks.
The cruise industry is really pretty dialed in on the topic.
I hope you have a great, healthy, gluten free trip!
Celebrity Century - Western Caribbean - 1997
Disney Wonder - Bahamas - 2006
Celebrity Mercury - West Coast Wine Cruise - 2006
RCI Mariner of the Seas - Mexican Riviera - 2010 (surprise 21st birthday cruise for my DD from her aunt and I)