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 [email protected]
$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.