Gluten Free Dining on the Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship
|Norwegian Sky (Norwegian Cruise Line)|
|Review Type:||Cruise Ship|
|Location:||Departed from Miami, Florida with stops in Nassau, Bahamas and Great Stirrup Cay|
|Contact:||at the phone number above|
|Date Visited:||September 2015|
|Review Posted:||September 24, 2015|
|Summary||Gluten free freestyle on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)|
This month we are showcasing a cruise review. Cruises are fast becoming one of the most popular choices for gluten free travelers, due to the ability of most cruise lines to accommodate gluten free diets. To read the gluten free policies of the major cruise lines and read a sampling of cruise reviews submitted to our site, visit our Cruise page. We also recommend working with a cruise specialist like Lesley Hayden from Travel Leaders to book your cruise (800-487-6110). There is no cost to you, and she can often save you money by accessing deals that aren't even available online. She can also help you select the best cabins for your needs and make sure your gluten free needs are articulated to the staff onboard.
I was worried, to be honest, about traveling on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), because I hadn't yet found enough reliable reviews on how they handle gluten free passengers. But, I was assured by both the agents who booked the trip and the agent at NCL I spoke to on the phone that my passenger info noted I was gluten free and I would be fine. Right away, I was pleased to see a letter from the assistant Maitre'D, Ashely Estacio, confirming my "special dietary needs." I met with Ashley and confirmed that he would go over the menu with me for each day to identify those meals the kitchen could prepare safely as gluten free. Ashley also arranged for me to pick up some sandwiches for a 'sack lunch' for my excursions! I have never had a cruise line offer that opportunity! I also met up with Ashley in the buffet, which I was hesitant to try, but he took me over to the chef, and between the two of them, they helped identify foods I could eat, even offering to make something in the back if I needed.
A special thanks to Ashley for being my dessert hero: when the chef advised that the flourless cake was actually not gluten free due to the decoration on top, Ashley surprised me with not one, but two plates of gluten free versions of the flourless chocolate cake! In addition, our group had reservations at the Cagney Steakhouse, a specialty restaurant on board. Glenda was on hand to help me pre-order my meal for the next evening, which went off without a hitch. It was all very delicious. I noticed a couple of things that could have been better (no gluten free options at the buffet and nothing marked on the menus as a gluten free option), but I truly did not want for anything. I have some suggestions to make a gluten free traveler feel like they matter, but truly Ashley and the rest of the restaurant staff did a great job in making me feel like I mattered anyhow.
I have been on a total of five cruises and this was my third traveling after my Celiac diagnosis. We had no children in our group and I was the only gluten free person. There was another guest with some food allergies, and I witnessed how they also seemed to bend over backwards to accommodate her needs. My previous cruises as a gluten free traveler were on Carnival, who also did a great job, and Princess, who just didn't bring their "A" game and made me feel like I didn't matter. My next cruise may just be on Disney because I've heard good things about them, but you never know. NCL did a great job and I had a great trip!
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Karen Broussard is the Founder and President of GlutenFreeTravelSite. Karen launched GlutenFreeTravelSite in 2008 after her son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at a very young age. She and her family found that dining out and traveling could be a real challenge for people following gluten free diets, and she wanted to provide a place where the gluten free community could go to share their experiences first-hand with others.
In addition to heading up GlutenFreeTravelSite, the DINE GLUTEN FREE Mobile App, and the Gluten Free Travel Blog Karen is an Associate Editor of Simply Gluten Free Magazine and volunteers each summer at Camp Celiac in Rhode Island. A graduate of Georgetown University with a degree and career in Marketing, Karen resides with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC area.