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About Flamingo

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  1. Flamingo

    Viking River Cruises

    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!
  2. Flamingo

    Viking River Cruises

    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.