Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
cruznut1111

Gluten-Free Tips and Ideas (aka Allergies= PIA)

Recommended Posts

I've started this thread after searching "gluten-free" and realizing how sparse information used to be just a few years ago. Lady, Barbara, Bug and Irish posted queries about how to eat safely on board and no one answered. I didn't start posting my gluten-free travels until a few years later and was delighted when others started adding to the info list.

 

I'm thinking we can do better still. What if we use this thread for little ideas to help those with sensitivity, intolerance, celiac, coeliac to eat safely, without pain?

 

I have had good experiences on NCL, Oceania, Regent, Celebrity and RCCL. I have had bad experiences on the same list and a few others.

After years of dealing with this problem and each year finding less and less that the pleasures are worth the pains, I am still learning. It would be nice if I learned more before the fact instead of after. Perhaps more of you feel the same way.

 

This thread is not meant to substitute for individual inquiries about specific ships or lines. Rather, I hope it gives us a smalll space to come together with general tips, trick and ideas we have learned that will serve us well, wherever, however the wind and whim may take us.

 

And to all... a Gluten-free, glutin free, celiac, coeliac... Bon Voyage.

Edited by cruznut1111

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had more good experiences than bad on Celebrity and Holland America. As our numbers increase, I hope we see more consideration for tea, evening snacks, etc.

 

Has anyone tried "anytime dining" on Celebrity? If so, how well was it handled?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just saw your post. Thank you for starting something like this!

 

My son was just diagnosed last week, after we have already reserved and paid for our cruise on the Oasis this February.

 

Any real-life tips would really be appreciated. We have already notified RCCl who said they would make accommodations in the Main Dining room, so I am not worried about that. It is all of the other food temptations such as ice cream and candy that I wonder about.

 

For example, will I be able to find information on the ice cream or candy served aboard? What brand, etc.? I hate to be 100% limited to the Main Dining room for everything, especially for a growing teenager.

 

Anything specific to RCCL or the Oasis to help would be great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've not cruised on RCCI so cannot help there. It does help to talk to the matre'd's at the various dining venues throughout the ship, I've always found them to be very helpful when I explain my needs. I would think they could help with the ice cream issue. Between now and February, your son may learn to be observant in relation to the details of foods he enjoys which would allow him to eat away from the main dining room. I've found that the matre'd would bring me food from the kitchen if there was a chance of cross contamination. It always helps to avoid the busiest times if enjoying a meal out of the dining room.

 

Be sure to contact the cruiseline now with your request for a gluten-free diet.

 

Would this thread better serve our needs it there were a new catagory created for special needs? I'm sure many would not think to check Cruise Foodies for gf information and confining our tips to the individual cruise lines is limiting. Thank you cruznut1111 for initiating this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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- :confused:.

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 RCCI 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:DI'm on board the NCL Star right now, sipping a frosty Redbridge GF and all is right with my world.

 

So, here is my tip - call the Acess desk at least a month ahead on domestic embarcation points and two months ahead on European. Agree to purchase a whole case. If your cruiseline says "no" tell them NCL does it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is a wonderful idea!! Any chance we can expand it to all food allergies/intolerances? My 5 YO DS recently outgrew his allergies to wheat, barley, and rye, so we aren't GF anymore, but he is still allergic to eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, so we're still dealing with food issues for our upcoming cruise. Info seems to be really scarce, and Carnival's special needs department, although they've been nice, doesn't seem to have a lot of answers.

 

Cruznut1111-- Your general tips were very helpful, and most of them were applicable to our allergens, too! You suggested some things that I hadn't thought about.

 

I've got a million questions! What about bringing food onto the ships? The special needs dept. at Carnival has told me that I can bring on as much food as I want, and they will store it for me. Is this true (I seem to get different answers from them each time I call)? What sorts of things should I bring on (I'm thinking safe bread, pancakes, waffles, cupcakes, etc-- I'm going to bring my whole kitchen!!). If I brought on egg replacer (it is a white powder used to replace eggs in recipes) what are the chances that they'd use it to make DS pancakes, cookies, etc? Or am I just better off making them for DS and bringing them on board with me? Thanks for any answers, guys! --Katie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone had any experience crusing the ship Gluten Free? This will be my first cruise gf. I have talked to the special needs department and they told me they would accomodate my gf needs but I don't want to get on there and find I have to be real restricted. They also told me I could bring on my own foods for them to use but they had to be in the original manuf. pkging. I am thinking of taking the following, pizza crust, my favorite bread and crackers, gf all purpose flour mix to use to coat a meat or make my waffles. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on this in today's world, versus 2 years ago?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone had any experience crusing the ship Gluten Free? This will be my first cruise gf. I have talked to the special needs department and they told me they would accomodate my gf needs but I don't want to get on there and find I have to be real restricted. They also told me I could bring on my own foods for them to use but they had to be in the original manuf. pkging. I am thinking of taking the following, pizza crust, my favorite bread and crackers, gf all purpose flour mix to use to coat a meat or make my waffles. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on this in today's world, versus 2 years ago?

 

They left this little nugget out when I talked to them. I guess I need to call back. I was planning on baking cupcakes and freezing them for my little guy. I was also thinking about making waffles and pancakes (I guess I can buy the frozen versions of those, though). Anybody who has tried to bring food on board know what the scoop really is? --Katie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have cruised celebrity gf and have had both good and bad experiences. It was not unusual for me to be served 30 minutes after everyone else. Some waiters were more knowledgable than others and some times I left dinner hungry and went and had sushi (without soy). I always had salad to choose from on the buffet and found that most of the dressings were gf. this coming trip we are going on the eclipse (solstice class) and booked the Aqua class just to eat at Blu, which, since they cook things more often to order and is a smaller healthier dinning room, I am hoping that I will have an easier experience. The assist. maitre d did come and I preordered every nite for the next night. I learned to make sure I ordered sides, some lines think that if you order gf you only want veggies (no potatoes ) as a side. I think I may order two entrees this time, not due to hunger but because of taste. they did not season a lot of them very well. there are sauces that they have gf, but you need to ask for sauce with your dish if you like sauces, and even then, I had a difficult time. I know this sounds negative, but it was not all negative, not enough for me to stop cruising celebrity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are sailing on RCCI on Independence in Feb. Customer service had we fill out a form for food allergies and fax back. I was told I could bring any non perishable food onboard that I needed. They did not offer to store it for me, but I wouldn't take them up on that offer though. I am planning on taking gf crackers, salad dressings, nut mix, peanut butter so far. GF Beer/Cider would be fun- but probably wouldn't make it past security.

 

Has anyone bought gf beer/cider onboard RCCI?

 

I was told to talk to my dinner waiter in the dining rooms; the Manager of the cafeteria and special dining rooms. RCCI bakes GF bread daily, but it is not available in all venues.

 

I'm planning on making my waiter & maitre'd my new best friends so I'm not miserable for the trip.

 

I recently discovered some eggs you see scrambled on a buffet line or from the dining rooms are pre made mixes and have gluten in them. Can we not just crack an egg anymore??? I'll be ordering mine over med.

 

Have a great cruise,

Mchele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have any feedback on eating gluten-free OFF the ship? We're sailing in April and stopping in Aruba, Curacao, Dominica and St. Thomas. Whether or not we book excursions, I wonder what, if any, food I can enjoy for meals while walking around the islands?

 

Any idea of the often-served "rum punch" is gluten-free?

 

Jennifer

 

Adventure of the Seas '04

Adventure of the Seas '10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great thread- thanks for starting it! Great heads up on the eggs- maybe I'll do hard boiled....Good question about the rum punch....is the punch gf? How about grenadine and other things they might put in rum drinks??? Is peach schnapps gf?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LAST BREAKFAST - Okay, so you've had two weeks of great GF meals (only 1 blooper) with surprise stacks of Kinnikinik Chocolate chip cookies every few days, and Kinnikinik Blueberry muffins for breakfast and you've been promised that the last blueberry muffin will be in the special fridge with your room number on it - hmmm. Say,"no thanks, no problem, I'll take it back to my room tonight and bring it with me." I'm sure it was exactly where it was supposed to be - before the night shift came in and started the end of cruise clean up of all the refridgerators. But between them, the craziness of last morning, and changed crews, the meal was over when a harried maitre d' came rushing to the table with my newly discovered muffin. I felt like a jerk putting them through all that trouble. We settled back into our chairs, let the last minute packing wait and I ate every bite with a big grin. No way would I let a crumb go to waste after all that effort.

 

 

NACHOS, FRIES and other "safe" foods - As has been mentioned a few times, not every waiter on every ship understands things like cross contamination. So it wouldn't hurt to ask twice "was anything else cooked in the same oil?" I asked once and the answer was "no, gluten free for you" so I started munching. A few minutes later he came back to say, "there was one spring roll cooked in the same oil, is that a problem?":rolleyes:

 

GLUTEN FREE BEER tastes wonderful with NCL Le Bistro's Pork and saurkraut dish... and Kinnikinik pizza.... (it would have been even better with those hand made "Gluten Free Pantry" pizzas on the Sun) I was surprised to find I did a very credible job of demolishing the largest part of my case in 14 days.

 

Introduce yourself to the person in charge of special diets and ask to see a list of products available during your cruise - usually 2nd day. That's how I found out that there were cookies on board. It's also how you learn to recognize your best GF friend.

 

Tomorrow we are off on the Jewel, I'll compare when I return, but I know my last trip they were very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They left this little nugget out when I talked to them. I guess I need to call back. I was planning on baking cupcakes and freezing them for my little guy. I was also thinking about making waffles and pancakes (I guess I can buy the frozen versions of those, though). Anybody who has tried to bring food on board know what the scoop really is? --Katie

 

I did call Carnival back, and the person I spoke to in the special needs department told me that the foods I bring on board do not need to be pre-packaged (ie-- I can bake cupcakes and make waffles and pancakes and bring them on board). I'm not sure what to think, since it seems like everytime I call, I am told something different. I will call back in a week or two and see what they say then. . . --Katie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Katie,

I called RC again last week and they explained to me that it was customs that is the problem. People on these boards talk about successfully taking on sodas and water by the case but when I questioned that, she also said that it is all up to customs. I would much rather take my own bakery items as they are much tastier and healthier.

RC also told me that I could bring on my favorite pancake mix and pizza crust if I like.

Lori

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NCL BUFFET CONSOMME - This "custom soup CAN BE gluten-free if you take a few precautions. There are two pots of broth. One is used to heat/cook the items you chose and then the clear broth from the second pot is only used to fill your bowl.

 

So choose your items (only the soba noodles have gluten), and have the server pour the broth over from the second pot only - no cooking. Just takes a few minutes and they are fine.

 

(I wish I didn't have such extensive knowledge on this, but it was my main meal for most of my week on the Jewel last month.)

 

 

NCL's Le Bistro and some general news - Found that Bistro is really being gluten aware and has changed several sauces so they are now made with corn starch rather than wheat flour. They make their French Onion with a gluten free flavor mix. (So it is another perfect soup when you are under the weather.)

 

Also learned a bit about serving practices. We help them when we stay with small tables and our own groups. Because they do have to pay extra attention to us, there are sometime hurt feelings. Also, they try to bring our food out separately from everyone elses so there will be no chance of cross contamination.

 

Sorry that this is so heavily loaded toward NCL, but it does seem like we have been on them a lot recently. Have another one later this month on the Dawn. I'm hoping for limited smoking, no black mold (first time that has happened ever!) and a healthy great time with lots of port experiences to evaluate.

 

Off Ship- I have to let you all know about the new pies at Whole Foods! Wonderful, gluten-free, flaky crusts, tasty fillings. I tried Cherry and Pecan ones - yum!

 

St. Thomas - I remember having grilled fish and jerk chicken with no problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am booked on NCL Pearl in May and have e-mailed the access desk. They sent me a list of foods that I can pre-order. I'm just wondering, is there any extra charge attached to these foods?? I don't want to order a bunch of stuff and then have hundreds of dollars added to my cruise bill. Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband is celiac. We are taking our first Princess cruise on the Coral for an Alaskan cruise tour this July. Our very first cruise was with Carnival for our honeymoon 4 years ago. We had pretty good care in the dining room although the options weren't large. I am hoping that there will be more safe foods available this cruise. In the Carnival ship, if we didn't eat in the dining room, there was no way to know what was safe. And the buffet was disappointing and limited for him. (I loved the ship and everything else though.)

My questions are... does the Coral Princess have free ice cream like Carnival does? Have any celiacs used the buffet successfully? Has anyone taken the Denali tour and if so, what did you eat? Did you let the land tour know ahead of time and how? Ok, that's all for my first time. Thanks, Denise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am booked on NCL Pearl in May and have e-mailed the access desk. They sent me a list of foods that I can pre-order. Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks!

 

I think we all covered this on the other thread. I just wait until I'm onboard and ask what they have. Fortunately they had COOKIES - Pamelas and Kinnikinik - on the last two where I ate.

 

My husband is celiac. We are taking our first Princess cruise on the Coral for an Alaskan cruise tour this July does the Coral Princess have free ice cream like Carnival does? Have any celiacs used the buffet successfully? Has anyone taken the Denali tour and if so, what did you eat? Did you let the land tour know ahead of time and how? Ok, that's all for my first time. Thanks, Denise

 

Denise, wish I could help, but it's been too long since my last Princess cruise. All lines are getting smarter. Contact the Special Needs department right away. You may want to re-post this question on the Princess board.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have celiac. This will be my first cruise being diagnosed with it. I wonder if I can rally for Redbridge? :)

 

When you consider the difference in cost - $32 a case on land, $135-165 on board, you may want to rally for the privilege of bringing your own on board ;).

 

Oh - one or two more GF hints-

 

BUFFET TOASTER - I had two reactions on the Dawn. It wasn't until the second one (I wasn't eating) that I realized I was actually blimping from the gluten in the air. The first time we were sitting at a table that was close to the toaster. The second, I was standing near the toaster waiting to speak to the allergy maitre 'd. I know that this happens with peanut allergy and I know that "odor is particulate", but this was a first for me. YMMV

 

Surprises on the DAWN - I gave the maitre 'd lots of leyway for each day's meals and I got to eat a number of things I would never have thought to ask for. So don't limit yourself to your normal gluten-free choices. If something sounds yummy, ask if it can be fixed for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know why I didn't think of this before! I just made my own allergy card - a one line list of my "must avoids" - in the 10 languages I'm most likely to encounter on this fall's trip - ship and land.

I went to Google, then "more" and chose Translate.

I opened a new word document then went back to Translate and typed in the shortest sentence that would cover my woes. "I am very allergic to all wheat, barley and malt."

Only had to do this part one time.

Then all I had to do was pick my language, highlight and copy ( CTL C) the translation, open my word doc, then hit paste (CTL V). Easy!

Repeat for each language, then fancy it up a bit and print your personal document.

So often the special cards I've seen were just too wordy. My choice was to keep it simple and improve my chances that it will be read.

Now to make one for "where's the nearest toilet!":D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allergy Card - I mentioned how to do this a few posts ago. It worked beautifully! In Luxemberg one waitress read in French and her assistant in German. In Barcelona they were so happy to see I had translated into Spanish AND Catalon they gave me lots of special attention. I wore out 3 copies.

 

GROM Gelato - One of the worst things about going to Europe and seeing all those lovely gelato shops is the realization that all but the sorbets have gluten. GROM has one flavor with gluten and all the rest are gluten free. Even better is the gluten-free plastic box with it's own cups, scoops and spoons. I went to the website and printed out a list of all the locations where we might be going. Ended up trying four of them. Loved the smart way they behaved in all of them. There are shops in many ports - NY, (Paris), Venice, Florence (right of the duomo) and LA is coming.

 

Florence, Italy - I got to eat pizza!! There is a restaurant near the duomo on the left side called La Botteghe di Donatello. They have one page of their menu that lists gluten free items.

 

Italy - gluten free products everywhere there was a green or red cross

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son was just diagnosed in September, after we had made this reservation. He loves to cruise! We cruise with neighbors and there are always many boys his age in our group.

My concern is that he will be going around the ship with his buddies who will be able to eat anywhere as well as eat all of the forbidden goodies like pizza.

I immediately had the travel agent register him as needing gluten-free dining. Of course everyone says that it isn't a problem in the MDR and that you can ask at other venues to see what’s available. I just know how very embarrassed my son feels about the extra work it takes on his behalf. I’m hoping to make his time on board easy as he will be going around the ship on his own.

So...I plan to take notes and video my efforts on board the Oasis. I plan to post them so that everyone can know the "teen/child" perspective when they travel with their GF kids. I see so many posts about adults or children who have counselors or parents with them at all times but not many posts for the "tween" group.

I've done a lot of work already by calling the cruise line direct and speaking to a special needs representative. Not bad, but not very enlightening. I was told that I had to check at each food station and talk with the Food Managers. I've also called Johnny Rockets headquarters about their food.

I’ll post more as I put it together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...