Cruising with a Gluten Free diet for Coeliacs
This article has been written by our cruise specialist Jacqui Ridler.
Travelling with a special diet can sometimes be a challenge but not on a cruise. Meals are tailor made to your own requirements, whatever your allergy or intolerance, and on some cruises it is even possible to get Kosher and Halal meals.
Gluten free cruising
I am a Coeliac and on my recent P&O Caribbean cruise on Ventura I was given a gluten free version of everything available to other passengers including things like toast and pasta. My cabin steward Tess put gluten free chocolate chip cookies in my stateroom throughout the cruise. I could even partake in afternoon tea with a choice of various gluten free freshly cut sandwiches and cakes. Other cruise lines that offer afternoon tea for special diets include Oceania Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Cunard.
It is a little more challenging eating in the self service restaurants on board the ship. If you know who to ask it is still possible, I advise my customers who they should speak to depending on which ship they are going on.
Check with your cruise specialist at time of booking that the cruise line can accommodate your dietary needs. For cruises that include pre or post hotel stays I always contact the hotel to make sure the dietary requirements of my customers can be catered for.
My best holiday dining experiences with my gluten free diet have been on board Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Fred Olsen cruise lines, Cunard and P&O. Coming top has to be ultra luxury line Silversea, my food was fabulous and the waiters were so discrete no one at my table knew that I was on a special gluten free diet.
Ensure you advise your travel agent so the ship is aware of your specific requirements. Usually during dinner, the Maitre D will bring you menus for the following days meals and will take your order for lunch and dinner, and if you are wheat or gluten intolerant they will even bake fresh bread, soups, sauces and desserts.
Crystal Cruises can also accommodate a gluten free diet for Coeliacs, they have advised:- "We are able to make quite a lot of menu items gluten free, such as roasts, fish and seafood, sauces, salads, appetizers, and desserts. Our executive chef can daily recommend a wide variety of gluten free dishes from our featured menu. Furthermore we are also able to make gluten free bread and muffins as we use gluten free flour onboard if specially requested.
Here are some standard items we carry onboard which are gluten free:
- Gluten free Spaghetti
- Gluten free flour
- Gluten free Pancake/Waffle mix
If the guest has any special items required, we can submit a special order form to our Purchasing Department." Seems like Crystal Cruises have it all under control.
Seabourn executive chefs have considerable experience dealing with various dietary restrictions including Coeliac and gluten-free. They generally handle this on an individual basis, meeting with the guest every few days to plan some menus. They do prefer (and this is in the guest’s interests) to have notice of allergies or special dietary requirements well in advance of the cruise sailing date to facilitate provisioning for a better variety and selection. This would especially be true for a group requiring the same sort of dietary restriction, to ensure that they have proper provisions onboard. Seabourn’s onboard cuisine is cooked fresh daily, from scratch, so the ships would not normally have any pre-processed food on board unless a guest requested specific products or commodities in advance.
Oceania Cruises is committed to providing the very best experience to all of our valued clients. As such, we recognise that there are many varied dietary requirements, whether by choice or medical necessity.
Fortunately, we are able to proactively respond to the needs of clients with Coeliacs by arranging a meeting with the head chef as soon as you arrive onboard to discuss your particular needs - and personal tastes. We will then arrange regular meetings to review the daily menus with the goal being to provide a coeliac-friendly version of whatever meals are on offer, ensuring that all of our clients enjoy the very same high quality experience.
Whether you have an intolerance, allergy or special dietary needs, cruising is a good way to enjoy great cuisine while on holiday.
If you would like to talk to me about gluten free cruising for Coeliacs, please contact me on 01323 763 579 . Further information about a gluten free diet can be found at coeliac.org.uk
(c) Jacqui Ridler