Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vacationing When You Can't Eat Like the Masses

Today I have a guest blogger. A few months ago, I was contacted by Erica Kritt from The Cruise Web  to ask if she could write a guest post regarding cruising for those who are gluten free. I have been on many cruises and realize that there are things that are helpful to know in advance.  This guest post is Erica's advice if you plan to take a cruise and have eating restrictions.
My last cruise

Vacationing when you can’t eat like the masses
By Erica Kritt, The Cruise Web Team

The Ship's Kitchen

Traveling is a wonderful thing, but for those of us who don’t eat like the masses, it can be a bit stressful. Sometimes it’s hard to find something satisfying on the road and it’s a hassle to ask for substitutions or exclusions at each restaurant you visit. However, when you do have that great meal in that perfect venue, it makes your travels so much sweeter.

It seems that many travelers with food allergies or intolerances have turned to cruising because travelers don’t have to repeat their requests every time they sit down to dinner.  The wait staff on a cruise ship is trained to remember any special requirements or preferences, so once they know your dining needs, you can fully expect them to be accommodated for your whole vacation.

Baked Alaska
Vegetarian meals will always be available on a cruise with no advanced notice or preparation needed. However, those with gluten issues are wise to let their cruise consultant know of their food allergy, at the time of booking. This helps the cruise lines make sure to have enough gluten free product to give the cruiser a wide variety of options – including gluten free breads, pancakes, pizza and pasta.

Salad for the masses
 Holland America, a cruise line known for its fantastic service, requests that passengers request gluten free foods, at least 30 days prior to embarkation. Although Holland America does offer gluten and lactose free meals at their buffet, this is the exception and one shouldn't assume it will be available. Many cruise lines cannot guarantee any cross-contamination at the buffet, therefore recommend having all meals in the dining room or at a specialty restaurant on board  However, ships’ buffets are usually stocked with fresh fruit and a salad bar for those looking for pure ingredients with little risk of allergens.

While there is a lot of preparation before hand, it’s important for travelers with food allergies or intolerances to make them known to the waiter and the headwaiter in the main dining room. The dining room staff will help those with restricted diets, by guiding them through the ships menus for the next day, when you sit down for each night’s dinner. This helps make sure that a meal will meet the travelers needs and won’t require the passenger to wait for the chefs to make their dinner, while their friends and family get their meals.

Gluten Free Foods Available at Sea

Remember these are not guaranteed on all ships; you need to work with your cruise line ahead of time to make them aware of your needs.
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cake
  • Pancakes
  • Muffins
  • Waffles
  • Pizza

Picking A Cruise 
It’s hard to say which cruise line offers the best food or gluten free experience. It depends on the cruiser. At The Cruise Web, we recommend booking with a cruise consultant who can listen to your needs and work with the cruise lines to make sure all of your requests are accommodated.

Have you had experience gluten free cruising?

Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web. The Cruise Web is a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation!

Disclaimer: I and Gluten Free A-Z Blog do not have any affiliation with Erica Kritt or The Cruise Web. I do not benefit in any way from this post. In addition, I do not know anything about or endorse The Cruise Web. This post is strictly for educational purposes only. If you decide to use The Cruise Web, please do so at your own discretion.

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  1. Hi Judee, thank you for visiting me and becoming a follower. I'm already a follower of yours.
    We took a Holland America cruise in Alaska and enjoyed it very much! Have fun!

    1. We took one too and loved it. It was also great for gluten free.

  2. Hi Judee, I remember taking a cruise with my family about twelve years ago and had a chef that personally took care of all my gluten-free dietary needs. Even though I may not have "eaten like the masses" I sure felt like a queen when they served me delicious rolls & desserts all gluten-free!

    1. I also had gluten free bread daily on my last cruise. I've done all inclusive vacations, but they seem to be clueless. Cruises are best for special eating needs.

  3. Hi Judee,
    Looks like you had a great time with lots of good food! Thank you very much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen


Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.