Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cruising Gluten Free

Before You Cruise 
1. Be sure your dietary restrictions are noted in the application. 
2. Email the Special Needs Department to reconfirm your dietary needs. 
3. Assigned Dining for dinner - Many people prefer utilizing the assigned dining option so they can have the same table and wait staff each night for dinner.  With anytime dining, you can also request the same wait staff.   On many ships, the main dining room will also be available for breakfast so you’ll only need to navigate the buffet for lunch. 
4. Investigate booking a suite level cabin - On some cruise lines, the suite level accommodations come with their own dining rooms that include a lunch service so you’d be able to avoid the dining rooms. 
5. Pack meal replacement options - While you will have gluten free food available on the ship, you may not have the same options on shore. Many excursions last 6 - 8 hours and the included snack will likely not be gluten free. 

Once On Board 
1. Meet with the Maitre’D to confirm your reservation indicates gluten free. 
2. The first night at dinner make sure to introduce yourself to your servers and educate them about your dietary needs and the seriousness of your condition.  
3. Pre-order food for the next night’s dinner - At the end of dinner, request to see the next night’s dinner menu. The server should review for you what is gluten free. If the server doesn’t seem confident in what is gluten free, ask for the maitre’D to come over. If you can’t find something you like on the menu, pre-order something else.  Stir fry with chicken, steak or grilled chicken with vegetables or a pork chop with mashed potatoes are all great options. 
4. Navigating the buffet - Ask for a manager or chef to come out to walk around the buffet with you.  You may also be able to special order gluten free toast, pizza or pasta from the buffet kitchen. 
5. If you are having trouble getting what you need -  go to guest services and ask to speak with the Hotel Director. She/He oversees the food option and should be able to help you troubleshoot any issues that may come up.  The guest service staff will not be able to answer your dining questions, but they should be able to get a message to the Hotel Director with your concerns. 

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