Reviews Written by BobSuarez:  

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Norwegian Sky

Miami, FL

1.5 Palms
1.5 Palms
Celebrity Cruise To Forget Apr 20, 2016
reviewer: BobSuarez from Tampa, FL

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (strict gluten-free diet) about 10 months before I went on the Celebrity Eclipse cruise. My wife and I enjoy cruising and have loved our pre Celiac Disease cruises on Celebrity. After looking at the Celebrity website I felt confident they could handle my gluten-free needs. After taking the cruise I realize my expectations were set much too high. The cruise was very much an experience I am trying to forget. I couldn't wait to get off the ship. It was a nightmare. They certainly could not handle my gluten-free diet needs. Before taking this cruise my wife and I booked a 16 day transatlantic cruise with Celebrity. Based on my experience on the Eclipse, we canceled the transatlantic cruise. I will never go on another Celebrity cruise.

The feeling I got from almost all the staff was they didn't want to be bothered with my gluten-free diet problem. Not one staff member ever said to get back to them if I thought I was having any problems with getting the gluten-free food I needed. The following is a description of my experience on the cruise.

General Comments
--Called the Celebrity special dietary needs number, 1-866-592-7225, before I went on the cruise. They told me I should just eat in the main dining room. When I got on the ship I found out this was not possible since the main dining room is not open for lunch the day we boarded the ship and also when we were in ports.
--Right after we got on board I asked the Maitre D where we could get a gluten free lunch and he said go to buffet because almost all the food is gluten free (very not true).
--Almost every time I asked a Celebrity staff member a question to do with gluten free food, the answer was "I don't know".
--The second day of the cruise I talked to Guest Services about keeping my gluten free diet on the ship and they said the head chef would come talk to me at dinner that night (2nd night of the cruise). The head chef never did come to see me.
--It took me many days on the cruise to learn what food was available and how I could get it. An example of this issue is that I didn't find out until the 4th day of the cruise that I could get gluten-free scones at the buffet during tea time. To get them I needed ask a staff member for them. There was no sign to tell me this. It would have been nice to know this from day one of the cruise.

Main Dining Room (Moonlight Sonata) Comments
--Dinner: At dinner the appetizer and main course menu showed which items were gluten free but the dessert menu didn't. I had to ask the server and he really didn't know which items on the dessert menu were gluten free. He had to go back to the kitchen and ask.
--By the third night of the cruise, the Maitre D brought the next night's menu to me so I could pick out what I wanted for the next night. This was helpful.
--Note when I did find out which desserts were gluten free, it was very limited and was usually just the Crème Brulee. I was tired of Creme Brulee by the end of the cruise.
--Lunch: None of the lunch items were marked if they were gluten-free. I asked the server and he would have to check with the kitchen.
--The main dining room was not open for lunch the day we arrived or the days we were in port.

Buffet (Oceanview Cafe) Comments
--Except for one dessert, none of the food on the buffet was labeled if it was gluten-free. Also when I asked the staff if it is Gluten-Free they all said they didn't know.
--On the first day, I asked the Sous Chef what is gluten free. He said what is safe to eat is the Indian food section. He waved his hand and said all this Indian Food is gluten free. I said what about the Poppadoms and Roti and he said oh right they are not gluten free. He didn't take me for a tour of the buffet and tell me what other gluten-free food was available, like gluten-free pizza which I found out later.
--I looked at the gluten free dessert, cheese cake, and saw it was next to other dessert items that all had gluten. I than observed other people using tongs from gluten free cheese cake to pick up cookies and other desert items with gluten. After they were done they put it back on gluten free cheese cake. This is a serious cross contamination issue. I didn't notice the staff showing any concern about cross contamination.
--My experience at the buffet convinced me the staff was not taking gluten-free seriously. Who knows what they were doing in the kitchens.

Room Service Comments
--None of the items on the menu were marked if they were gluten-free
--When we were in Costa Maya, my shore excursion left at 11:30 and there was no place to get food for lunch at 11 AM. I talked to the shore excursions people, and they had no suggestions. I called room service at 9:30 AM, and they said I can't get lunch items until the earliest 11:30 AM, giving me zero time to eat. They did say I could get continental breakfast items like Danish (lots of gluten). I gave up asking people, so I ended up getting some gluten free bread, peanut butter, and jelly from the breakfast buffet and made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We were concierge class passengers with supposedly expended room service menu 24 hours a day. I expected a lot more from Celebrity.

Other Dining Areas Comments
--None of the food in the other dining areas were marked if they were gluten free or not. This included the Cafe Al Bacio and Mast Grill. There was Vanilla Mousse at the Cafe Al Bacio, but I couldn't eat it because none of the staff knew if it was gluten free. My guess is it was but I couldn't take the chance.

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