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Being in Control of Your Gluten-Free Diet on a Cruise Ship

I am a chef so misspell words, terrible grammar is what you will get...but I am one of the best of best when it comes to food...believe that. Feel free to ask questions because I want to help like I have helped many others...

How to get gluten-free fine dining on a cruise
Of course book your ticket first and  notify the ticket agent you have a special diet..I assume they put it in the ticket. Your ticket will tell you what sitting you will have for dinner and your table number so always keep that in mind for future correspondence. Next I contact the cruise line per their web page and use the contact info to let them know that I am on a special diet and will need help with all my meals. I tell them to please foreward to the correct persons . Remember to put in your letter the date you are going and your table number and time you are eating also your room number (hint' if you get severely ill or just a little it will spoil your trip so treat it like it will ruin your trip).   Also you want to ask the cruise line to notify the ship,
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and maybe they will send your letter you make out explaining in detail your illness one to the Head chef and one to the matrure D'. In my letter I tell them in bold letters that CROSS CONTAMINATION is my worst fear (A chef using the same tongs he uses to flip a sandwich then he uses it to put my lobster on the plate...just a small example or a cloth to wipe the rim of my plate he just used on another plate).

Once my letter is drafted and emailed I keep a copy to take with me when I board the sailing day. You would be amazed that they will remember you from your letter because they did with me.  So now they know I am coming and the next thing I do is ask the cruise line for the menus of the meals. For the ships to save cost they have menus for the whole year so that is very easy to do. They will send you breakfast menu and the cycle of dinner menus so hang on to next time I will tell you how to master the menu. Why should you be stuck with simple food cause you have celiac or another food allergy? So the next time I post I will wow you with some menu ideas and how to plan your dinner meals before  you get to the cruise...'till next time.
Chef Daniel P

As always, welcomes your comments (see below).

Spread The Word

5 Responses:


said this on
20 Mar 2008 5:14:00 AM PDT
I tried doing something similar on a recent trip. The dinner waiter and maitre'd didn't speak enough English to understand my diet restrictions. Even talking to the maitre'd the after boarding didn't really help. I ended up eating a lot of salad or stir fry from the buffet and a la carte stations by the pool.

Chef Dan

said this on
20 Mar 2008 2:45:11 PM PDT
Thats why I am here...I hate salads, well I'd rather eat next blog will show you how I make a meal for a king or queen...stay tuned as this will show you how to get the dinner for all the days...and if interested folks I will show how to get a hamburger from the non English staff. Trust me I did it and you can to. You just have to have patients and know what to do--I will explain soon.


said this on
23 Mar 2008 1:10:26 PM PDT
I am planning a cruise. Please post an example of the letter that you sent. I am not sure what 'chef language' to include to insure safe dining.


said this on
23 Mar 2008 5:58:10 PM PDT
I am so glad to read your advice. We had booked a cruise on Carnival Destiny before I was diagnosed. Please keep writing as I will look forward to every entry. As a teacher, I think you get an A for spelling! I will try to get menus for my sailing dates tonight!

said this on
25 Oct 2012 2:37:05 PM PDT
I have found that CARNIVAL's ships do a fabulous job with my gluten-free meals! Everyone in the main dining rooms and additionally at the 'specialty' food areas set up throughout the ship can provide me with a gluten-free meal (which is NOT only salad! or fruit!!) Be careful regarding their ice cream stations, though! I found that even though I was told that the soft serve ice cream is gluten-free - it was not. However, the frozen self-serve yogurt machine sitting right next to the ice cream machine proved to be gluten-free! So, I was able to 'indulge' there!

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All Activity Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Forum - All Activity

I believe the talk around this forum is that cheerios are not gluten free enough for people with celiac at this time. I don't know if anything has changed on that and when their lawyer calls me I'll quickly delete this. haha

Could be we generally say get off of dairy for a few months when going gluten free. The part of the intestines that produce the enzymes, and help break down dairy are associated with the tips of the villi, which are the most damaged if not gone in celiacs. THIS is why most of us end up with a lactose intolerance early on. And most can introduce it later after healing. As to her symptoms with it there was a bunch of research about dairy permeated the gut and causing neurological issues in a autism study I was looking at years ago. And there have been other studies about damaged intestines and how the hormones in milk can easier effect ones body. Personally I also have a huge grudge against dairy on a personal level as it is not natural to suck on a cows tits and drink the stuff, nor your dogs, nor a rabbits......I mean come on even Human Breast milk you would find odd to drink as an adult right? Back in the past dairy was a great way to get calories and fats when there was famine, etc around I mean it is meant to make a calf grow into a 500+lb cow. But on a genetic and hormonal level it is not really for human consumption and now days the whole corporate BS propaganda push and dairy farms shove that oh its healthy stuff down your throat. There are plenty of dairy free options for everything feel free to message me if you need help finding anything I have been dairy free for over a decade.

The full celiac panel checks TTG IGA and IGG, DGP IGA and IGG, IGA, EMA as Jmg stated above. Your test included TTG IGA and IGA. If your IGA was low, a low on TTG IGA would be inconclusive. But your IGA is fine. A high on any one test is a positive for celiac and should lead to an endoscopy for confirmation. So I'd get tested for TTG IGG, DGP IGA and IGG and EMA since there are symptoms. Warning I'm not a doc.

I did a gluten challenge for my endoscopy and requested a second blood test after my follow up with the consultant. I never did see those results but my GP said no celiac was indicated: Which left me gluten free for life, that wasn't an option after the challenge, but with a less satisfactory diagnosis, one by omission rather than the definitive 'you're celiac' one I was expecting. Yes! I have been 'properly' glutened on a couple of occasions but on several more I've detected a change or a reaction based on what could only have been trace amounts. NCGS is as yet poorly understood but patients tend to have more neuro symptoms than digestive. That's definitely been my experience, although it was only after going gluten free that I realised quite how many digestive symptoms I had just been living with as 'normal'. Close friends and family get the full explanation. 'I have an auto immune disease similar to 'coeliac etc.' If they stay awake long enough I'll tell them about the less than perfect testing process I went through or the Columbia Med research and the possibility of a blood test soon. They can see the difference between me on gluten and off it so they understand its not all in my head* If I'm ordering food in a restauarant or asking questions about food prep etc I will often just self declare as coeliac - people are aware of that and understand those requests are medical rather than fad diet based. I don't have any problem doing this, I'm not going to claim that and then cheat on dessert for instance and to be honest I expect once the research is complete the two conditions may wind up alongside others as different faces of the same coin. In the meantime I safeguard my health and avoid getting into a detailed conversation about genuine gluten sensitivity versus faux hipster posturing! *apart from the bits which are in my head

I originally had it on my face and scalp. (22 years ago) First biopsy with dermatologist came back as folliculitis. Then when I had a new outbreak on my upper back, she was able to remove a nice clean blister and we got the diagnosis of DH. She started me on Dapsone (100mg/day) and gluten free diet. Now I take 25-50 mg/day. My understanding at the time was that DH was the skin version of Celiac. Did a lot of research on my own. I met Dr. Peter Green at a Gluten free Vendors Fair and he said that a diagnosis of DH IS a diagnosis of Celiac, even if no other symptoms. So I stay gluten-free