This is what you should have done. Or get all done before your departing date.

  1. Booked your cruise with the agent and let them know you have a special diet (sometimes it goes through and sometimes it doesn't). Be safe and figure they screwed up.
  2. Make sure you know your room number, time you are eating dinner in the main dinning room and your table number. All this goes on your form letter.
  3. Contact your cruise line directly and tell them you have a special diet and that you are going to contact the head waiter when you arrive but you want them to be notified ahead of time to let the ship know that on this date at this time and at your table number you will be requesting a special diet.  You don't need to tell them any type of diet just a special diet.  Ask them for all the menus for your cruise dates (all) even if you don't use them you might. Again it probably will get lost and they will not know you are coming but we took two cruises and on one they knew and one they didn't. I approached both like they wouldn't know.
  4. Sit down and make a form letter--I showed an example in a previous blog entry--then type out your meals. This takes time unless you hire a chef (for example, if I did it with someone it would probably take 1 to 2 hours. A chef is going to ask you what you can eat, and what you like). You know what you like and just think of you cooking at home.  Don't give measurements  like 1/4  cup of bourbon in the seafood.  This chefs who are cooking your meal know how to cook.  Say a splash or just make it taste good.
  5. Make sure you bring extra copies of your form letters in case you have other meals or the cruise line gives you the wrong menus for your cruise.
  6. Do you need the gluten free safe and forbidden list--if so bring it. you can still ask to look at the ingredients.
  7. Do you want to bring your own salad dressing if you have a fridge in your room? Do you want to bring your favorite spice or hot sauce that doesn't need being cold?  These are my thoughts on all restaurant sauces and dressings whenever I eat a hamburger at the pool side kitchen (I will go over dinning at ala cart kitchens later).  I walk around to find an unopened container.  You never will know if the container you are about to use has been knocked into the bread and has a crumb on the rim or a piece of a crouton on the salad dressing you might be about to use. I take the extra time to find one that is not open and even listen for the pop it makes when the seal breaks. If I can't find a new one on the table I ask for a new one. Again a cruise line is going to go though so many of these containers they don't mind getting you one. For me one crumb puts me sick for at least four days, so I just can't take a chance. My sister who is also celiac doesn't have it as bad as me and a crumb will not affect her like it will me. Only you will know if you need to worry about such things, but with me the cruise is over if I eat small amounts of gluten.
  8. Know your dessert ahead of time. I highly suggest that you have one dessert and have it served every day. The bake shop is full of gluten in the air. It is so much safer to ask the pastry chef to make a large batch and cover it and serve you with the same batch. Again, that goes with your own celiac level--you be the judge.
  9. If you are the adventurous type try searching the Internet in your destination and see if there are gluten free meals at any local restaurants.  I have never tried this but maybe you want to try it. I would have a form letter for them maybe the one you use for restaurants. So make sure you have those. I will tell you what I did briefly here. I asked the dinning room for some cheese, vegetables and fruit, we had a fridge so I got it for dinner at the end of my meal. Yes, I used a form letter and gave it to my hostess the day before and it said that I would like it at the end of my meal.  When we went into town and my family ate I pulled out my lunch sack and ate with them.The people at the restaurant could hardly speak English, so there was no way that I was going to try to explain my condition English.  The one time I forgot and we were way away from the boat I asked for cheese and some vegetables at the local pub we were at. Cheese is good protein and a good substitute for you. I have found that some cheeses have wheat in them so I always go with orange cheese just be careful.
  10. HAVE FUN AND BE PREPARED. REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU'RE ON THE SHIP..especially if you make a million at the casino!!!
 Sognie
Chef Daniel

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