When I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease three years ago one of the first things that I thought about was travelling Gluten Free. We love travelling and especially cruising so when it came to sailing on our first cruise post-diagnosis I was apprehensive to say the least. Would I be able to enjoy the treats? Would they understand cross-contamination? Would I be stuck with the same boring things every night? I honestly needn't have worried.
I had previously notified our travel agent and also emailed the Royal Caribbean special requirements department for extra reassurance. I was told not to worry and that they catered for those on a Gluten Free diet and that all I had to do was let our waiter know on the first night.
I told our waiter that I had Coeliac Disease and required Gluten Free food for all meals; he acknowledged and asked the head waiter to come and see me straight away. The head waiter explained that he would take my orders for breakfast/lunch/dinner the night before to ensure all ingredients were kept separate. He was reassuring in the fact that all food is prepared in a separate area of the Galley and that it was his recommendation that I didn’t eat at the buffet for contamination purposes (we did check the Windjammer buffet out and they did have a section dedicated to Gluten Free however I would not recommend due to the cross-contamination).
Royal Caribbean’s main menu had plenty of GF options, you’re spoilt for choice. They are however also able to amend the none-Gluten Free meals to cater for my needs. They ensured that GF bread was available each meal and made muffins every morning to accompany breakfast. The muffins were incredible and the chocolate chip soon became my favourite along with the pancakes with fruit and cream.
Our waiter, Suyanto, often advised against options on the menu due to the GF alternative not being fantastic therefore occasionally he arranged for a surprise dessert. The chocolate ganache with cherries was to die for- definitely the best dessert of the holiday (so I had it twice).
My favourite plate of food was definitely the Arancini, a dish I didn’t expect to be Gluten Free. It was so crunchy and delicious, such a shame this was an option on the last night.
Another nice surprise was the pizza from Sorrento’s (the ships takeaway facility). The pizza had to be ordered in advance but I really did not mind waiting 10-15 minutes for it to be cooked fresh, especially as it was delicious. They also had an endless supply of UDI’s cookies to snack on whilst waiting (always a positive as they were so yummy!)
Royal Caribbean do have their speciality restaurants that do have Gluten Free options however, due to the service we received in the Main Dining Room we did not opt for the chargeable restaurants- there was simply no need I was spoilt rotten and ate like a queen.
The amazing service didn’t end with the options on the ship; the shore excursion desk also went above and beyond to make sure the meals included on our trips in St Petersburg were also gluten free. All this took was a quick trip to the team to explain and the information was sent to the company on shore.
Overall, I honestly cannot fault Royal Caribbean at all. Our waiters were amazing and went above and beyond to ensure I ate well and safely every day. Their knowledge in cross-contamination and keeping everything separate was fantastic and due to this I did not have one reaction across the two week cruise.