I have just completed an 11 day Mediterranean cruise on the
Celebrity Equinox (June 27 – July 8th). It was meant to be a
once in a lifetime trip for our family, and it would have been if
the dining/restaurant staff could have met my special dietary
needs. I wanted to share my experience in order to provide
context and information for those considering a cruise with
I have Celiac Disease and I require a gluten free diet (diagnosed
August 2005). I am someone who is very sensitive to gluten,
and I follow a very strict gluten free diet.
Prior to booking our trip (January ’11), my travel agent
confirmed with Celebrity that my gluten free diet could be
accommodated. A week before the cruise, I was assured by a
member of the Celebrity staff (via phone call) that the special
diet was not a problem. On the first afternoon on board, I met
with the executive chef, the restaurant manager and the Maitre
D of the main restaurant (Silhouette) to review my dietary
needs and they assured me that they would take care of me.
Despite the good intentions of the staff, I was unknowingly
served items that contained gluten or that had been cross-
contaminated with gluten on multiple occasions.
As a result, my intestines became so irritated with multiple
doses of gluten that I could no longer process any food or absorb
any liquids. I ended up very ill (dehydrated and weak) and
required multiple visits to the onboard medical facility for
treatment and multiple IVs for fluids. Fortunately, I responded
to series of steroids injections that helped calm my intestines
and after several days I was able to stabilize.
When I began to recover, I again went to guest relations, and
met with the Maitre D and the Restaurant Manager and
explained how the current process was not working. The
sensitivity of the staff was heightened, but I was still
inadvertently served gluten. This was despite meeting with the
Maitre D before and during each meal and often double checking
meals and ingredients with the restaurant chef.
My conclusion was that although the restaurant management
had the best intentions (Maitre D, chef, restaurant manager),
they did not fully understand the needs of someone with Celiac
Disease. In addition, the waiters and waitresses are not trained
for special dietary needs.
If you are sensitive to gluten or have other food sensitivities, I
cannot recommend the Celebrity Cruise line as safe option
under any condition.