As a traveler with celiac disease, eating gluten free is not a preference, but a severe health concern with dire consequences, and a 3-day migraine (with other unmentionable side effects) could truly destroy a 7-day cruise.
While I have been “glutened” many times in restaurants, I have had exceptional success eating perfectly on both Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Lines, to my joy and delight! Both knocked it out of the park in unique ways.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas noted gluten free choices at all main and specialty dining locations, and they went a step beyond at Chops Grille, checking with the chef if a mushroom-based soup was safe, which it was! Hooray for me and my obsession with anything mushroom!!! The filet and side of…yes, grilled mushrooms, was perfect as well. Eliminating gluten sacrificed neither taste nor texture, which is sometimes an issue. The restaurants did not offer a pleasing variety of gluten free dessert, so each night, G and I headed up to the Windjammer Café (the buffet near the pool deck) and while he feasted on chocolate chip cookies (he’s addicted), I grabbed an assortment of available desserts from the DEDICATED GLUTEN FREE TABLE AT THE BUFFET! It was labeled and all! There were meringues, macaroons (the coconut type, not French macarons), and even one night, a raspberry cheesecake! After dining at Chops and realizing there were no gluten free options, our waiter, Decan, sent up a personalized assortment of dessert to our cabin! Talk about above and beyond! There was a chocolate covered strawberry, rice krispie treat, and other treats. A hidden gem was Sorrento’s pizza, where they could make a gluten free cheese or pepperoni pizza. I have not had pizza that delicious since going gluten free, and when G wanted pizza (almost every day for lunch-he’s 9), I couldn’t refuse because it was true New York style pizza with the edges of the cheese a little crispy and sooooo good! I’m going to have to rebook if only for Sorrento’s, and that is an included meal on the ship.
Dessert on Disney Cruise Line, however, is wildly abundant, rich, and decadent, no matter if there is gluten or not! From crème brulee to flourless chocolate cake, and many times a chef’s surprise, which never disappointed, I rolled off that ship full and happy, with a variety of sweets unrivaled anywhere else!
As per usual, Disney service goes beyond compare at every juncture! I am able to view the menu for each following night so the chef is able to prepare what I’d like, regardless if it is available gluten free, with obvious limitations, of course. The first night on our first sailing on the Disney Dream, our waiter took our order, and we discussed preordering. There was a cream of asparagus soup on the menu, of course thickened with wheat. No problem-I went ahead and ordered another choice of appetizer without hesitation. After my initial appetizer came out, our waiter hands me a specially made bowl of the asparagus soup! The chef modified the recipe and whipped some up just for me! It takes a lot for me to tear up, but that did it. I have never been disappointed on our Disney Cruise Line sailings regarding availability of quality gluten free options, and the staff are wildly accommodating. More importantly, I have not had one issue with cross contamination on either line, and am so relieved and pleased about that.
For more recommendations about dietary requirements and restrictions at sea, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. As your point of contact, I always ensure that dietary needs are addressed and documented so there are no issues after you set sail. Bon appetite and bon voyage!