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GlutenFreeinNYC

Cruise questions

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Hi there,

I hope you're all having a good day! I'll be heading on a week-long Carnival cruise shortly and had a few questions:

-What is the tipping protocol? I've prepaid gratuities, but feel like the food request will warrant something extra. Should I tip the headwaiter? Hostess? Regular waiter? Chef? Those cooking at, say, the sandwich or pasta bars? If so, how much is appropriate, and should I tip at the beginning of the cruise, the end, or split it up?

-It looks like the main dining room will be closed during lunch hours on most days. Any recommendations on safe bets for midday meals? I'll be on the Carnival Sunshine, for what that's worth.

Thank you so much for any information you can share!

 

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9 hours ago, GlutenFreeinNYC said:

Hi there,

I hope you're all having a good day! I'll be heading on a week-long Carnival cruise shortly and had a few questions:

-What is the tipping protocol? I've prepaid gratuities, but feel like the food request will warrant something extra. Should I tip the headwaiter? Hostess? Regular waiter? Chef? Those cooking at, say, the sandwich or pasta bars? If so, how much is appropriate, and should I tip at the beginning of the cruise, the end, or split it up?

-It looks like the main dining room will be closed during lunch hours on most days. Any recommendations on safe bets for midday meals? I'll be on the Carnival Sunshine, for what that's worth.

Thank you so much for any information you can share!

 

Well, I have never cruised on Carnival, but I am sure they can accommodate you.  I assume that you have already alerted them that you require gluten free meals.  If not, please contact Carnival immediately.

Here are my own tips.  Some folks eat off the buffet line, but not me or hubby except for coffee/drinks and baked potatoes (jacketed) and fruit that we wash in the restroom (people touch everything!)  Okay, I am OCD, but my last glutening which occurred the previous summer made me sick for three months (GI tested my antibodies to prove it).  

When we board, I go to the buffet restaurant ASAP and ask to speak to the Head Waiter (they are usually there greeting customers and often trying to up sell to specialty restaurants.   Let them know you have celiac disease and must be gluten free.  They may try to tell you that each dish is clearly marked gluten free, but really?  Who's to say that some other passenger is not going to switch spoons (or I have seen passengers wandering around with serving spoons...I kid you not!  The staff usually will  go downstairs and fetch a gluten free meal for me from the main dining room's kitchen as there is usually a dedicated area for allergies.  We have to wait up to 20 minutes or so but it is worth it.  Starving?  Get a baked potato wrapped in foil until your gluten-free meal arrives.  Now, do not do this every single time.  Those folks have to go down several levels to fetch food and you don't want to be a pain.  But if the main dining area is closed, they need to make an effort to keep you safe. 

On our last cruise, we were advised not to eat anywhere but the main dining room and that included room service (they are not trained to handled allergies).  My headwaiters have sent goodies (prepackaged gluten free rolls and cookies for us to keep in our room.  We can always grab whole fruit (I wash it first) to snack on.  I bring gluten-free non-perishable items with me to eat while at port in case we can't find anything (which can be often).  Again, when we get back to our ship, we contact our headwaiter and he/she can prepare some snacks until we have dinner.   Be grateful and not picky.  

We eat all meals in the dining room (or at least as much as possible).  Our headwaiter had a few other celiacs on our cruise this summer, so they prepared some gluten-free waffles, etc. for our breakfast!  What a treat!  At breakfast, we'd have different waiters, so our headwaiter would always instruct our waiters each and every time!  They even let me tour the kitchen and showed me the allergy section.  

The only time I did not feel safe was at the buffet.  We once ordered gluten-free pizza and I realized (I watched) that that restaurant didn't really have the gluten-free thing down), do I called him on it.  Got the manager etc.  So, be careful.  Other cruises made us frozen Udi"s which was just fine with us.  They covered it up in foil so that we would not get any cross contamination from their pizza oven.

So, have fun!  

Tipping?  We prepaid our gratuities, but we gave our headwaiter an extra $200.00 for his time.  For us, it was well worth the service and safety of our food.  It does not hurt to slip some of the tip ahead of time (like after your first meal!)  

Oh, I checked your ship.  You must eat in the diningroom if you have special dietary needs.

Edited by cyclinglady

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Thanks so much for your thorough reply, cyclinglady! I have a much better idea of what to expect now going in and roughly how much to tip --  I really appreciate it! (Love the idea to order two of the same item -- I'm definitely going to do that on days I'm extra hungry!!) :)

And thanks for your good wishes, Darissa! Have a great time on any cruises that may be in your future! :)

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