Do You Have Celiac Disease and Have Questions Or Need Help?
Join Celiac.com's forum / message board and get your questions answered! Our forum has nearly 1 MILLION POSTS, and over 62,000 MEMBERS just waiting to help you with any questions about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. We'll see you there!
Follow / Share
|Get Email Alerts|
- Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)
- Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)
- Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages
- Celiac Disease Symptoms
- The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free
- Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results
- Is Buckwheat Flour Really Gluten-Free?
Cruising with Celiac
- By Daniel Cojanu
- Published 05/10/2016
- Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Spring 2016 Issue , Gluten-Free Travel
Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Spring 2016 Issue - Originally published April 14, 2016
Celiac.com 05/10/2016 - As we all know, traveling with celiac disease can be somewhat challenging. Trying to avoid situations of contamination can be quite difficult, yet we accept this challenge so we can go about a normal routine which in my situation, includes traveling. My wife and I who travel quite often do enjoy a good cruise due to the relaxing atmosphere and great care we receive for my dietary issues. Our experiences on Princess Cruises has been very positive and clearly, they take dietary issues quite seriously.
Unfortunately, not so much with Oceania Cruises. First of all, this experience is based solely on my recent trip. I suspect some other folks with celiac may have had a positive experience. That's great. This article is based solely on how I was treated by this cruise line in August of 2015.
Oceania insists that any request for special diets be submitted by the travel agent. Not sure what happens if you book online.
Once on board, the person in charge of special diet requests met us at dinner and explained we would get a menu in our mailbox every evening. We are to circle our choices and bring it to the desk by 8:30am. We made the mistake of going on a tour and not having it in until noon and guess what? Yup, you order off the menu.
After this discussion, I was directed to dinner choices that could be prepared gluten-free. I was surprised to see my dinner entrée loaded with croutons. O.K., first day shakedown, let's see what happens. Strike 1.
As we all know, buffets can be dangerous but I attempted to try and see if they had any gluten-free foods available. I selected a breakfast item that was clearly battered and asked the server if this was gluten-free. He looked somewhat quizzical and said "yes". Strike 2. I then asked for gluten-free toast. It took a full 15 minutes for them to toast 2 pieces of bread. Strike 3. Later in the cruise, we stopped for lunch at the poolside café where I ordered a sandwich with gluten-free bread. "We don't have gluten-free bread on board" was our waiters' response. After I indicated that was surprising since I have it at dinner nightly, he finally went off and secured my lunch. Strike 4 ?
I could go on and on but I will spare you the rest. Oceania is a high end cruise company with prices to match. Princess on the other hand was exemplary. Once your request is in, you receive an email with a list of gluten-free menu items that will be available. If you want gluten-free beer, this is also offered albeit at a price. Every evening, the maître d comes by so you can order for the next evening. Clearly, they take people with dietary issues seriously.
Why the disparity? I believe it's what I encounter as many restaurants. Since gluten-free dining has become the latest fad diet, I honestly believe that many establishments (and cruise lines) don't feel the need to take proper care. My suspicion is that they just look at gluten-free requests like "oh good, another one of them" and don't take it seriously. I guess my final advice before selecting a cruise would be to see what the initial reaction is to your request. If they respond like Princess, and I suspect other cruise lines, I would at least look carefully at booking a nice vacation. Would I go back to Oceania? I would not. I have put my concerns into writing to them and two months later, no response. My travel agent also followed up about this situation, again, no response.
Traveling with celiac is difficult enough, and I hope that certain companies will begin to take us more seriously.
Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).
Gluten-Free Travel Tips
This is the time of year when families
take vacations and travel the world.... [READ MORE]
How to Eat a Gluten-Free Breakfast While Traveling
Staying at a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast with Breakfast IncludedWith your trip you will have to stay at a hotel or resort.... [READ MORE]
Gluten-Free Airline Travel
I am here to help you with your needs as you travel, and to be able to keep the "Gluten Monster" away, so you can enjoy your trip.... [READ MORE]