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Always Go To Your First Dinner On Your Gluten-Free Cruise

It is very important to arrive for the first dinner.  You don't have to always go to dinner in the main dinning room when there is the entire ship to eat at if you wish to try your luck outside the main dinning room. 

Arriving at the first dinner is your chance to introduce yourself to the Head chef.  Even if he never sees you the head chef is going to know that you take your special diet very seriously from your form, and that you made it to dinner.

When you walk in the dinning room the head matri D and hostess will be greeting people.  Talk with the matri D and tell him it involves your health.  Tell him you have a special diet and you came in earlier today to drop off your special diet request (if you didn't speak with him already).  Ask the matri D if he could send the hostess over to your table when they have time to talk with you about your meal that night, and the future meals you will have in the main dinning room.

Your Waiter (just going to use waiter to make it easier) will come over and you are going to explain briefly to him that you have a special diet, illness and that you came in the dinning room earlier and turned in your special diet request for tonight’s meal.  You should tell the waiter to tell the bread server not to serve you any bread. The waiter will pass the word to the bread server. Just like a cook the bread server might not be able to speak English.

Let him know that you are waiting to speak with the hostess (You of course need to rearrange this if the hostess comes before the waiter). You are going to leave it in the hands of the hostess to determine who brings your meal because she will know if your waiter is capable of doing your meal. 

When the hostess arrives at your table introduce yourself and tell her that you are on a special diet and that you had Chef Daniel help you write out your meals (If we all do this maybe they will understand that there are a lot of us and that we should have a gluten-free menu--made up by me or someone else).

Let her know that all your meals must be gluten-free.  Tell her that it makes you very, very ill even if you eat the smallest crumb.  Let her know that you came in earlier and gave your meal request to someone in the dinning room (if you remember the name give it), and that you asked for your menu request to be turned into the head chef in the kitchen. Ask her if the chef did receive it and is working on your meal. 

Let her also know that every day you will turn in a meal request for the next day (The main dinning room is open for breakfast and dinner on carnival). Tell her that you use Chef Daniel's program to make out your menus in advance but you do want to see the menus for the cruise ship's meals for dinner to make sure you were sent the right ones for your cruise. You should have already seen tonight’s menu when you arrived earlier. Ask the hostess when she would like your meal request for the next day. Be very nice and ask if it's possible for the hostess to get your meal to make extra sure that it is done extra carefully.

If you decide to come in for breakfast and you know that at dinner time ask if it's possible when you come in at breakfast time to be able to sit at a table where you can have the same waiter, or maybe the same hostess so that you feel better about your meal. 

The wait staff works every shift so they are there no matter what and if the hostess isn’t there she most likely will tell another hostess to take care of you. That goes for the chefs and cooks in the main dinning room; the chef who cooks your meal for dinner is most likely cooking it for breakfast if you go to the main dinning room. 

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This is why I especially love cruises because of how I have been treated. I must remind you that I have only been on Carnival and unless someone sends me for free on another one I really see no need to go to another company because of my diet.  I have three boys--two teenagers--see what I mean...

You have talked to the hostess and these are the points you should have discussed with her:
  1. You have a special diet request that is very serious and you will be very ill if you do not follow it.
  2. You are doing the Chef Daniel way in asking the chef to follow exactly how to prepare your food and not to vary it in any way--even not to garnish the plate.
  3. You ask the hostess to tell the waiter and the bread server to be very careful with your food.. Your family does like bread so please serve them. Once they took it a little to far and my wife didn't get any bread. It doesn’t hurt to let them know that it’s just you with the special diet if that is the case.
  4. You will leave a copy of your meal request before you go for the following day, and if you are unable to make it you will call the main dinning room to let them know you are not coming (This is the part where we don't want to piss off the chef cooking our meal. You don't have to go if you change you mind.  If you make your menus like mine and ask for a great meal it does take time. The chef does have other jobs too). Tell the hostess you will call to let them know if you decide not to come.
  5. Tell the hostess the time for the breakfast and whether it will be in the dinning room or room service. If you’re never on time make the time in between two times just to have an idea and in case you over sleep and don't come. Breakfast is not like dinner unless you make it way over board but I don't see that. I ask for a cheese omelet and ask the chef to use fresh eggs to crack them and bacon. I haven't found bacon with gluten in it there--it is possible but I have never seen it. Some sausage does contain gluten.
  6. Ask the hostess when you come for breakfast that she and the waiter who waits on you for dinner can wait on you for breakfast.  There are muffins, croissants, etc., that a bread server serves.  So to be safe and to save you having to talk about your diet over and over again try hard to get the same waiter--trust me!
  7. If you love the chocolate moose like I did ask for it at breakfast.  Boy I loved that stuff...
  8. Make sure she has all of the menu requests for the next day.

Don't bombarded her with all this info at once or she might forget--let her know little parts at a time

When you receive your meal look at it and see if your menu was followed--don’t accept something that doesn't even look close. I have refused chocolate moose when they served a chocolate candy on it.   I asked questions to the hostess and she went back and asked the chef--only then was I satisfied.  This is very serous to me and I will not take a chance if they vary from my request, and if they do I will ask questions.  If I am not satisfied I will not eat it to make someone else happy. I get way to sick if I do that.

Don't allow stuff made up like relishes or chutneys that might have vinegar in them to be garnishes on your plate.
You should have a great meal because you constructed it yourself--so it will feel good.

When the meal is done and you had your dessert make sure that you have done everything for tomorrow’s meal. Is your menu turned in--are you having breakfast there--or do you want room service to bring your breakfast to you?  They have a special menu for room service and hopefully you got it but if not ask for it now and use a blank form that you brought with you and fill it out and put the time you want your food delivered.

With the cruise ship I am not sure who cooks room service so you have to decide if you are going to trust someone you cannot see. I know in the main dining room the sous chef cooks my meals--even breakfast.  When I order room service I asked for hard boiled eggs cooked in only water. Some places use vinegar to help the shells from cracking when they are boiled so I ask for my eggs with shell on and served hot. I do this to make sure that they are not pulling eggs out of the boiled bucket they can buy.

Each time you come to dinner you do the same thing and if you don't come to dinner make sure you bring your meal request around dinner time.   Make sure you call if you don’t come, even if they have your meal request turned if for that night’s meal.

So you are done eating dinner and now you can enjoy the ship for awhile. Next time hitting the ports!

 Chef Daniel P


I am available for consultation and to convert menus for your cruise.

As always, welcomes your comments (see below).

Spread The Word

1 Response:


said this on
17 Jul 2008 1:04:33 PM PST

I have already received your mail. Gee, you see, Europe is great! And I can't blame you for that. As for myself, I have also plans where to go when my next vacation comes. Japan is my no. 1 option, because I am fascinated by their cute crafts and of course, their food! God, raw! Haha. Isn't that interesting? Well, hope to catch with you soon. Good luck and more power!

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