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CDH

Viking River Cruises

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Viking River Cruises (Berlin-Prague) had wonderful gluten-free food. Our travel agent advised Viking River Cruises in advance of my nutritional needs. The chef was able to turn most all dishes to gluten-free. In the morning, I would place my order off the daily menu choices. If I didn't want what was going to be served, chicken and steak were always available. Whether it was soup or sauces, I didn't have to worry. If we were on a city trip and we were on our own for lunch/dinner off the ship, I took my gluten-free awareness cards from this site (German and Czech) and was accommodated. A few times it took a few restaurants before we found one that had a "clue" as to what gluten-free meant. All in all.....a wonderful experience.

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CDH,

Thank you for relating your experience on the Viking River Cruise. My wife and I will be going on one from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Your note is encouraging.

Thanks.

Rajawali

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Thanks for posting! Its good to hear of a successful experience. I'm considering them but had heard you couldn't get gluten free food due to the language barrier.

Rajawali could you post also when you get back with both good and bad experiences so we can see if this was an exception? I also want to do a Moscow - St. Petersburg.

Thanks,

Michelle

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We are doing the Germany - Austria trip on Viking in November. I contacted them about my multiple intolerances (gluten, dairy and soy) and preferences (quasi-vegetarian) as well as my husband

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I would be interested in knowing how you do with Viking. I had similar dietary needs and was assured by a different line (Amadeus) that they could accommodate me on a Budapest to Amsterdam trip. They did a substandard job on that. I hope you do better ...

One resource I found before my trip was www.menudata.com. It is a free service where you can put multiple food allergies/preferences into a translation into a large number of different languages. I printed out sheets in Hungarian, German, and Dutch with my multiple needs. No restaurant had a problem understanding the translation.

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Thanks for posting! Its good to hear of a successful experience. I'm considering them but had heard you couldn't get gluten free food due to the language barrier.

Rajawali could you post also when you get back with both good and bad experiences so we can see if this was an exception? I also want to do a Moscow - St. Petersburg.

Thanks,

Michelle

Michelle,

I will post my experiences when we return early in October.

Rajawali.

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I have booked a Yangtze River Cruise (China) with Viking River Cruises. My materials said that I should notify them of any dietary restrictions. I am diabetic and have celiac disease. I called and spoke to them. They recorded information about the diabetes and told me that it would be impossible for me to eat "gluten-free" on the trip. I tried to explain that I can eat meat, vegetables, and rice in the hope that they could at least provide gluten-free meals while I was on the ship. They said no. At no time while in restaurants, planes, or on their ship would I be able to eat gluten-free.

I wanted to ask whether it would be okay if I brought food into China in my luggage, but they just said that they wouldn't deal with it and hung up. They stopped taking calls from the travel agent at one point. When I tried to reach them with unrelated questions, they again repeated that they didn't do gluten-free. (During that call, I never mentioned gluten-free, but they had obviously tagged me in their system in some way.)

I am currently planning on taking lots of food on the trip. I'm not sure how I'll get 16 days of food into my luggage (and still have room for clothing), but I've already paid for the trip, so I'm going.

My advice: check with the cruise line before assuming that they can handle gluten-free on your trip. My problems with them might be related to China, but they might have similar issues in other countries.

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I took the Viking Cruise of the Danube last fall and didn't have any issues with getting gluten-free food there. Most of the dishes were gluten-free anyway but when appropriate the chef would adapt the meal for me (including making soup) and the staff was quite understanding of the issue. One note though, most dishes contained some form of dairy or meat.

Viking caters to Americans. Most meals had local themes but were very much geared toward American palates. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and lots of the stuff was gluten-free. They also make things like omlets for breakfast if you don't want to eat off the buffet. I am not a cruiser but the cruiser folks on the boat said the service was much better on the China route so I would think that you wouldn't have any issue getting a gluten-free and/or diabetic menu. The boats are pretty small so the managers, chefs and staff will get to know you.

As for taking food into China. You can take anything that isn't organic - meaning fresh fruits, vegetables, etc. I took plenty of pasta, condiments and sweets. You'll be thankful for the extra space in your suitcase that your eaten food creates when you pack to come home!

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Thanks for posting! Its good to hear of a successful experience. I'm considering them but had heard you couldn't get gluten free food due to the language barrier.

Rajawali could you post also when you get back with both good and bad experiences so we can see if this was an exception? I also want to do a Moscow - St. Petersburg.

Thanks,

Michelle

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Thanks for posting! Its good to hear of a successful experience. I'm considering them but had heard you couldn't get gluten free food due to the language barrier.

Rajawali could you post also when you get back with both good and bad experiences so we can see if this was an exception? I also want to do a Moscow - St. Petersburg.

Thanks,

Michelle

Michelle,

I apologize for the tardiness in posting my experiences on the Moscow-St.Petersburg cruise on Viking. Please refer to my response that I entered today (5/14/08): "River Cruise Moscow to St. Petersburg".

Thanks.

Rajawali

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I'm back from my Viking River Cruise of the Yangtze. Although Viking told me that I would not be about to eat gluten-free in China, I had a wonderful experience. I had prepared a Mandarin card explaining what I couldn't eat. I showed it to my tour guide Richard, and he said that he would take care of the land meals. He said that it would be good to place the card near me at the restaurants, although not all of the wait-staff would be able to read it. He called ahead to each restaurant and ordered a special meal at each location. I didn't get Peking Duck, but I was able to eat everywhere I went. I was delivered one soup and one meal incorrectly. I recognized that the soup was bad when I tasted it, so I had a little contamination there. I could tell that the meal was bad as soon as it was delivered: I showed my Mandarin card and the meal was replaced right away. Many of the special meals were vegetarian: I suspect the meat is prepared in advance, and vegetarian entrees were fast replacements. My meals were frequenly delayed a short time, but I was on vacation and not in a hurry.

On the Century Sun, Cristophe (the Maitre-d) reviewed the meals with me each morning and selected replacement dishes as necessary. My wait-staff on the ship (Jacky, Olivia, and Maggie) always remembered and made sure that I got my special meal. Another rave: we had tried to order a pitcher of Margaritas when we got on board, but could only find individual drinks. I talked to Cristophe about pitchers and he set up a price for pitchers of Margaritas while we were on board. The price was a great deal, so the group I travelled with had Margarita pitchers every day!

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