Posted December 21st, 2009, 10:38 PM
In the buffets
- try to get in early or ask the buffet chef to bring something from the back if you are worried about cross-contamination. Personally, I worry about everything on the buffet, but I eat there anyway. On Oceania
they made sure to use clean tongs for my food or if they were concerned, my assigned chef brought food from the back or fixed something special. I actually ate all my meals at the buffet. On NCL
the servers called the buffet chef to go over any offerings that interested me. On Celebrity
I was stunnned to see the omelet guy put bread in the omelet pan to cook someone a sandwich and then thought he could use the same pan for my omelet. He was very cooperative when I said I had to have a clean pan and spatula. On RCCL
I went to the spa buffet and they made things up for me at the back so I didn't have to worry about cross-contaminaton. On Regent
they worked with me extensively, but I got in trouble because I didn't know they put the bacon on bread to drain it and they floured the french fries. On gluten-free desserts - there may be a few of these on the buffet, but if there is a gluten dessert behind it forget that option. Everyone drops crumbs as they serve themselves. On Celebrity the maitre d' understood and made sure all gluten-free items were grouped together. The next day they were rearranged by color-
Gluten alert - watch the hot chocolate. Maybe it's just me, but I have a real reaction to Nestles. I'm guessing there is some malt in the mix. Swiss Miss works for me safely.
At the ice cream stands
- If they have cones I just have to skip it. They never seem to have much time and they move from flavor to flavor without changing scoops. Cone crumbs are everywhere. On Oceania they don't do cones, but if there is one ice cream with wheat I have to assume every flavor has been contaminated. Do try to check out the smoothies, they are usually a safe choice.
At the Grills
- Watch for the brands of ketchup, mustard - also watch a bit before grabbing food from there. Are they cooking the burgers in a different place from the buns or are they put in the same place on the grill?
At the Parties
- Eat before you arrive!! In all our cruises I have only had one party with one appetizer I could eat. Watch out for the "champagne". House brands may have malt. (PS - Beware Grey Goose! I'm guessing you already knew about whiskey and scotch.)
On the Shore Excursions
- You can't bring ship food off in most ports so be sure to have some commercially packaged snacks with you. Be sure to tell the shore excursion staff you are gluten free and they will notify your excursion staff, but have a backup. ShoreEx doesn't get to share the notification you have given Access/Special Needs so be sure to let them know when you book.
In the Dining Rooms
- Make sure you plan your meals ahead. If you are eating at a group table watch for bread crumbs from the other diners. If you have a waiter who can't accommodate you, ask to be moved. This is your health. Don't get upset, don't fuss, just move. I was well served in the main diningrooms on Celebrity
and in both cases they found me a private table for two when I quietly explained my only other safe option was to have all my meals sent to my cabin. On NCL
I am happiest in the small dining rooms and the extra price is very small.
Okay, that's it for me tonight.
402 nights at sea... 1,111+ nights abroad
Travelers Century Club count - 70 countries
Cruiseline Count - 17 (still sailing- 8)
Ship Count - 34
(still sailing - 20)