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Gluten Free on the Bellissima

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Hi ... taking a cruise for the first time in mid-June with two of my sons, one of whom is gluten-free and diary free.  I've noticed from the MSC website that they expect to complete the gluten-free certification process once the ship is launched.  Given the 3/2019 expected launch for the Bellissima and based on their performance for the Seaside and Seaview, should I expect that they would be ready by my cruise in June?  What should I expect if they're not?

 

Thanks!

Stuart

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Hi Stuart,

 

I was on the maiden voyage of MSC Bellissima; I'm coeliac, and my son is allergic to cow's milk. I was told that gluten free food was prepared in a separate kitchen to prevent cross contamination and a different waiter brought me the gluten free menu and took my orders. I am very sensitive and I didn't have any problems at all, my son's dairy allergy was also well handled. 

 

The gluten free options were all delicious and I didn't feel that I was missing out. 

 

I hope this helps,  enjoy your cruise, we certainly did.

 

Charissa 

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I just got off the Musica, with my husband and I both having gluten intolerance.

Strengths were Attention to avoid cross contamination 5/5 (separate kitchen and table service, not buffet), and quality/selection of food 4/5.

Weaknesses were speed and timing of service, and introduction to the program. I received a generic form letter in my cabin that my "request for special care would be handled" but nothing specific regarding where to find the gluten free service. I would have to visit guest services with all the other confused cruisers boarding the same day. 2/5.

Worst aspect was painfully slow service for lunch, waiting 10-15 for menus and 30-40 minutes from ordering to receiving food. Usually took an hour and I have when I normally finish a meal in 20. In the MDR for dinner, the timing was even worse, with the waiter bringing out our GF food at completely different times from the rest of the table, up to 15 or 20 minutes before or after. Very awkward!

Another aspect of the poor timing was limited opening hours of the lunch dining room which made it impossible to enjoy part or sometimes any at all of your port days. I did Not inquire whether it was possible to get GF room service or a brown bag lunch, because my and my husband's sensitivity are mild enough to take our chances on the well-segregated buffet, where meats and cheeses were completely isolated from breads, cakes, and pastas, and once again from fruits and yogurts. Being lactose free or having a dairy allergy would have been more difficult to manage at the buffet than to avoid gluten.

Unlike an earlier poster, I did feel like I was missing out on various parts of the menu not offered as gluten free. Most notably, there was no gluten free pizza, an enormous disappointment I must say. I also do not accept my gluten free diet gracefully in general, and I looked wistfully and lustfully at all the croissants and pastries on other's plates. Dessert in particular was less decadent with fewer choices.

It was not until the last day of 7 that our server remembered to bring butter for our bread, predictably dry but served warm on all but 2 nights.

With the most important factors of contamination and quality being good, I would still rate the GF service overall a 4/5 but with lots of room to improve the speed and timing.

Suggestions for food choices:

The king prawns were mushy, the mashed potatoes were soupy and downright awful, the pasta was not notably better than what I can fix at home (and very al dente in traditional Italian style, but otherwise good to excellent.

Desserts of the day were all cakes, predictably dry just like all GF cakes, but they offset most with thick layers of cream so all in all quite good. They seemed to be cut from frozen rather than fresh, though. You can request ice cream or sherbet even if it is not listed.

I kept forgetting to take menu photos most nights.

I highly recommend the octopus, veal, calamari, roast beef. Husband said the moussaka was not at all authentic (he is half Cypriate so he ought to know) but nevertheless a tasty dish.

20190723_191127.jpg

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