Travel Success (& Horror) Stories
Snowflakes July 20, 2015 at 2:57 pm #12043
Hubby wants to go on a cruise to Alaska. The last one we were on, I got a rock hard stone cold piece of inedible chicken the first night alone on a plate. It went downhill from there. I was sick from day two. I lost 9 pounds from the limited foods that I had to choose from.
Anyone know which line is good?
Dick L. July 20, 2015 at 5:03 pm #12059
We cruised on Wind Star’s Wind Surf last year from Lisbon to Dublin (8 nights) and I had no problems. One time at dinner someone from the galley was about to deliver my order and had contaminated it somehow (I think it may have been a normal roll). Our waiter and my wife both saw it about the same time, and it was promptly taken care of. One or another of the chefs took me through the breakfast and lunch buffet lines every day and let me know what was safe. Great service and good food.
I’m not sure about their other ships and whether they have Alaska cruises, but personally I would trust Wind Star line.
EllenParticipantEllen August 20, 2015 at 9:29 pm #12728
I’ve not been to Alaska, but did cruise on NCL two years ago. They were very helpful when I explained that I have Celiac Disease. But I did have to have a plain steak and baked potato on the first night because I didn’t find the Matre D before dinner. After that, though, they brought me the next night’s menu at dinner each night, and I chose my entree in advance. There was always gluten free bread available, and I breakfasted in my cabin on fruit plates my daughter brought me from the buffet. Had a great time and will most likely go with them on my next cruise.
Dick L. August 27, 2015 at 2:13 am #12806
My wife and I recently got back from a Grand Circle tour, most of which was on the Corinthian, a 100 passenger ship. The tour was a little hokey, but the service on the ship was excellent. After we embarked I went to the front desk and asked to see the purser or the executive chef (as suggested in the trip materials). The restaurant manager turned out to be the appropriate person to talk to on that ship, and they promptly went and got him. He was a gem. He was quite familiar with taking care of celiacs (he’d had five on the previous sailing, two of whom also needed dairy free meals). He explained that he would take my dinner order and bring the food. He or a chef was always around for the breakfast and lunch buffets to let me know what was safe. (There were always plenty of options.) Usually there were two or three things on the dinner menu that were or could be made gluten free, and there was always a choice of chicken, salmon, or steak if one didn’t like the menu items. Ten nights on board: no problems. There was at least one more celiac on board, as well as a woman who couldn’t handle acidity in foods and I think one or two people with dairy problems. The galley seemed to be pretty used to dealing with special diets.
Hulagirl_TikiParticipantHulagirl_Tiki October 5, 2015 at 5:52 pm #13164
I cruised with Norwegian and was very disappointed with the service I actually got. When I didn’t order the food ahead of time it took on average 30 minutes to get me food and they didn’t have a menu, so they would say what do you eat? I was like chicken, potatoes, rice, vegetables etc. This meant I would literally get whatever I said plain on a plate, not a real dish or menu item with any sauce. When I ordered ahead they couldn’t always find my food or it came out ice cold a few times. I had better luck with certain maitre ds but it also seemed to be on how busy they were and their mood. I honestly felt like I was a burden to them by their attitude at times and it was stressful at every meal. They would also get confused and I had to question everything the waiter brought me as they weren’t communicating well. I find out on my 5th day of a 7 day cruise they had GF pizza. One person brought me GF muffins and cookies at breakfast, but I never saw them again (I think I asked and they couldn’t find them?). Compared to say Disney World it was really low standard service. I felt trapped and eating all those basic foods I lost about 3LBs that week, which is actually ironic because everyone else on the ship gained weight.
Dick L. October 5, 2015 at 8:05 pm #13191
My wife and I took another cruise this fall, and again it turned out fine for me. This one was on the Pearl Mist (a 200-passenger vessel, the first from a new company, Pearl Seas Cruises) from Toronto to Portland, Maine. The cruise itself was a little flakey; we spent an extra night in Toronto, either because of a non-working bow thruster or because they were flying in a replacement captain (the previous guy had some family problem). (We got both stories.) And they missed one other scheduled stop, because of high winds and the lack of a bow thruster (which never did get fixed). Otherwise, there were some good excursions, the ship was mostly in pretty good shape, some of the entertainment was very good (and some so-so), and we didn’t have any rough weather. So acceptable, but not great.
The dining room was probably the highlight for me. I talked to the food service director (I think that was his title, he was over both the dining room and the galley) and he assured me that a gluten free diet (I’m the celiac in the family) would not be a problem. Although the dining room was open seating, we liked the first waiter we had, who seemed to be at ease with the concept of gluten free (and was generally very friendly and helpful), and we always ate at one of his tables. Each morning everyone was given the lunch and dinner menus and asked to indicate choices, although those could be changed at meal time. Generally there were four entree choices, seafood, beef, chicken/duck/pork/lamb, and vegetarian. Usually about half of these were or could be made GF. There was space at the bottom of the menu for special diet reminders and special requests. They had GF bread for me, some GF pasta, and later in the cruise they said they’d gotten some GF hamburger buns. I think I was the only celiac on this cruise (about 175 passengers, almost full), but there was another guy who was eating gluten free.
On our previous cruise we’d asked for some Indian food (they had an Indian restaurant manager and half their cooks were Indian), so we tried again, and they did a chicken curry (as best they could– decent but not great) and a shrimp curry. Most of their soups used a prepared broth that contained wheat, but they did a couple of GF soups for me that were pretty good. Almost all of the desserts had gluten, but they had rice pudding a couple of times and there were always a number of ice creams and sorbets available. The mango sorbet was particularly good. They were fairly responsive; when we complained about overcooked fish, the food service director asked how we liked our fish done, and after that we got fish sauteed with pepper and garlic, which was generally not overcooked.
The only glitch in my food service was a soup one time that came with croutons on it; I told the waiter “That’s not my soup”; he looked at it and saw the problem and immediately apologized, took it back and replaced it with the right one (one of my specials, I think it was).
Pearl Seas is an expensive cruise line and I didn’t feel at all hesitant to make special requests, either because of my celiac or just in general. And they responded well, with no hint of resentment. I do think that in some cases they could have purchased higher quality food and I think they should have done more frequent provisioning. We did get fresh salad greens at at least one port along the way, but they didn’t take much advantage of the local bakeries (or bake very good bread themselves), and I think most of their seafood was previously frozen.
ahrweilermParticipantahrweilerm October 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm #13338
I cruised to Alaska with Princess Cruises and had outstanding experience. I was utterly pampered by the head waiter and maitre d. They would bring me the menu for the next day each night at dinner and I would choose my meals in advance. After they became aware of my tastes they began to bring me “extras including three desserts instead of one. The guys at the burger bar and pizza stand were well trained about avoiding cross contamination.
The wait staff even brought me a bunch of packaged gf food in the last night so I would have food for the long train ride to Denali. Incredible great experience. Make sure to notify ship in advance and stick to the formal seatings for best bets although when I had to use buffet the staff was knowledgable and helpful there too.
lmacvParticipantlmacv December 1, 2015 at 10:56 am #13696
We did a 7 day cruise on Disney and it was fantastic. I had choices galore, the food tasted great, and I was never nervous about the preparation. Even room service had some great choices.
I know Disney has a cruise to Alaska (we did the Caribbean) so that might be a good option. We certainly plan on more Disney cruises in the future.
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