Cruise Ships

I've been working with Lesley Hayden-Hock at Travel Leaders for about a decade now. I've used her personally to plan many of our family's trips (domestic, international, and cruises), and I've referred countless gluten free families to her over the years. Lesley has mastered the questions to ask resorts and cruises when booking clients who have special dietary needs, whether they be gluten free, dairy free, or have other sensitivities. She works with the Food and Beverage Directors directly and has developed great working relationships with a wide range of high-end resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean where service is top-notch. Many of these resorts are also what's called "gourmet all-inclusive." Lesley's clients always get special VIP treatment. The resorts understand how to keep gluten free diners safe, and they aim to please. They even go so far as arranging for new dedicated gluten free toasters -- and bake a special cake or cupcakes for a gluten free child's Birthday. It ends up being a vacation for everyone! After all, in today's "do it yourself" world, we all often try to juggle too much. If you're like me, you may find there just aren't always enough hours in the day... Read more →

Multi-generational travel has become increasingly popular in recent years, and cruise ships provide the perfect venue for bringing travelers of all ages together. In fact, it's something to consider for a family reunion! Let's face it, it's hard to please every traveler on a trip, but cruise ships sure come close. There's really something for everyone, whether you like relaxing by the pool, trying out a zip line or simulated surfing, scheduling a spa visit or time in the gym, hanging out in the casino, taking in the entertainment on board, heading to the teen center, or playing mini golf. And the ports of call offer a range of options for differing tastes as well. Plus, on a cruise ship you have the option of spending some time together -- and some apart. Best of all, there are dining options for every taste, and cruise ships typically offer plenty of choices for gluten free folks -- and even travelers with other dietary restrictions. The post below was reprinted with permission from Travel Leaders agency, where one of our favorite gluten free travel specialists works. Lesley Hayden-Hock, reachable at 800-487-6110 or [email protected], knows the best cruise lines for gluten free dining... Read more →

Our son has been gluten free for over 12 years now, after a diagnosis with Celiac Disease in April 2005. We have dined out considerably since then...and traveled extensively in the U.S. and to many major European cities. There have been ups and downs along the way -- both pleasant surprises and occasional disappointments. I've written in the past about the Top 10 Mistakes Restaurants Make When Trying to Provide Gluten Free Meals. Don't get me wrong...even as the founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Dine Gluten Free mobile app -- along with this Blog -- I'm actually not particularly hard on restaurants that at least make an effort to serve our gluten free community. And frankly, our 14-year-old son is pretty easy to please as well. As long as there are a few options on a menu -- and they are prepared safely and with optimal taste in mind -- we are happy. At this age, he is content with a juicy steak, a burger on a decent gluten free bun, simply prepared gluten free pasta, most gluten free pizzas, and any chocolate dessert that can claim it's gluten free! My Top 10 listing from months ago hits on how... Read more →

Today, we share another guest post from an experienced world traveler...this time it's Celiac blogger Gail from 50 Beds and Counting, a blog in which she discusses transitioning to retirement, travel adventures, learning how to build an active retirement life, and living with Celiac as well as heart disease. She shares her latest adventure, a 5-week trip beginning in Hong Kong and traveling to Sydney, Australia aboard the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. When I was diagnosed with Celiac more than eight years ago, I was concerned how this illness would impact traveling. I worried my travel dreams would be curtailed by my fear of finding healthy, safe food away from home. As it turned out, mostly I didn't need to worry. When I retired in 2014 (PhD clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and educator), my initial plan was to ramp up my travel schedule -- and I did. My husband and I have enjoyed international and domestic cycling trips, hiking tours, regular old walking around and sightseeing vacations, and cruises to far flung locales like Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, South America and more. Many of these experiences I've chronicled in my blog 50 Beds and Counting. One of the many advantages... Read more →

As you may know, my husband and I love to travel as much as our busy schedule allows, and we almost always include our kids. Writing this Blog and managing GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Dine Gluten Free mobile app have given me the opportunity to share two of my greatest passions...traveling and finding safe and wonderful places to dine gluten free wherever we go. Our son's diagnosis with Celiac 11 years ago has made things a little more challenging when traveling, to be sure, but this post I'm sharing today, written by gluten free travel agent Ellen Morse and the 2016 Family Friendly Cruise Travel Planner, reminded me that including our kids on all our journeys is worth every bit of extra effort. Not only does it create memories and quality family time, but it teaches our kids valuable life lessons. I loved reading this wonderful post, and I wanted to share it with you. Seven Valuable Life Lessons and Skills Taught by Travel: 1. Travel helps children develop decision-making, and builds confidence – As you travel, a wide variety of choices present themselves. Gone are the routines of home; instead, children have the opportunity to make choices about which new... Read more →

These days, with so many travel portals offering thousands of reviews (including ours for the GF community -- GlutenFreeTravelSite), many people don't see the need to use a travel agent. Our culture has become very do-it-yourself, with people going online to read reviews and then booking their own travel arrangements, thinking they're saving time or money. But I'm here to advocate the opposite. While there's certainly a great need for sites like ours (and the more "mainstream" -- not GF focused -- sites like TripAdvisor), they are still just part of planning a great trip. I always recommend people go online to read reviews and get a feel for the most GF-friendly destinations, properties, and restaurants as a first step as they begin to consider different travel options. But speaking from much personal experience, travel agents can also be an enormous help. I have used them to help plan many trips for our own family, I wouldn't have it any other way. Here are my TOP 10 REASONS TO CONSIDER USING A TRAVEL AGENT: 1.) They have YEARS of expertise, something none of us can match even after spending hours or days trolling travel websites like GlutenFreeTravelSite, TripAdvisor, or Airbnb.... Read more →

Almost every day, we hear about another great place for gluten-free travelers…and I get so excited to share these discoveries with you. That's our mission here at Gluten Free Travel Blog -- and also on our website GlutenFreeTravelSite…to help you take a true vacation from worry. We want to help you find places where you won't have to educate chefs or ask a zillion questions before each meal…places that give you confidence and let you forget about your dietary restrictions. That's why today, I'd like to recap some recent discoveries -- and also remind you of where to go to get more travel ideas on our website. Just a couple weeks ago, we announced a new itinerary for gluten free travel to Croatia, but are you aware of the other special itineraries for places outside the U.S. detailed on the Gluten Free Getaways page of our site? Keep in mind, these aren't "group" trips…you can follow the suggested itinerary developed by Celiac travel agent Ellen Morse OR customize it according to your own budget and interests -- AND pick your own dates of travel. Like cruising? If so, you're in luck…cruises are one of the most "gluten-free friendly" ways to... Read more →

You may have heard me discuss how cruises have become one of the best options for gluten free travel. Providing you enjoy the idea of cruising, it can be a wonderful experience that typically allows you to have ample choices for gluten free meals -- while limiting the amount of time you'll have to take to explain your diet each day of your trip! Most major cruise lines now have policies for gluten free travelers whereby they request that you note your dietary needs at the time of booking. You can do this yourself or through a travel agent. Some of the cruise lines will even have you fill out a questionnaire with your dietary needs and/or preferences prior to your trip. This should all be done as far in advance as possible, so that the cruise ship has time to order any special items you may require. Most cruise lines stock various gluten free staples (in addition to being able to prepare many meals that are naturally gluten free), and you may even be able to request specific items or brands (again, your chances of getting them to stock something special depend on which cruise line you're traveling on,... Read more →

It's time to start thinking about planning Winter escapes and Spring Break vacations! If you've put off planning due to concerns about whether you'll be able to find a vacation spot that can accommodate your gluten free diet, I'm here to say you have plenty of options. And frankly, "accommodating" is no longer an appropriate word to use in this case...there are now MANY resorts and cruise ships that go WAY beyond merely "accommodating" their guests. They deliver a truly incredible and memorable experience for the gluten free traveler. So how do you find the best places? I'd suggest contacting Lesley Hayden, a Gluten Free Travel Specialist with Travel Leaders travel agency. She loves her job, and she loves her gluten free clients even more! While not gluten free herself, Lesley has spent the past few years of her long and successful career as a travel agent building up quite a following among gluten free clients -- and working with chefs at numerous resorts to ensure these clients are well taken care of. Many of the resorts Lesley works with are top-rated, all-inclusive resorts located in the Caribbean and Mexico. And if cruising is more your thing, Lesley can also... Read more →

So many things are do-it-yourself in today's world. Nowhere has that become more prevalent than planning a trip. Whether you're booking a flight, reserving a rental car, or making reservations at a hotel or resort, chances are you do it yourself. Wouldn't you love some help? Wouldn't you love to be able to delegate this one thing to someone else -- someone who actually has decades of experience planning trips...and can therefore do it more efficiently? I know it's one area of my life that I appreciate the extra assistance -- especially since the research into the gluten free aspect of wherever we're traveling can really add to the complexity of planning the trip. But fortunately I've had the priviledge of working with one particular travel agent, Lesley Hayden of Travel Leaders, to help plan and book many of our family's trips over the past 4 years. There's another added benefit beyond Lesley's expertise: She can save you money. She can leverage her contacts that she's developed over decades to help you find deals you wouldn't be able to find on your own. She just saved our family hundreds of dollars on last-minute lift tickets at Whistler Ski Resort in... Read more →

I'm always looking for travel opportunites that truly give gluten free travelers a "vacation from worry" opportunity for you to travel in which all the meal details have been taken care of. That way, you can truly relax and enjoy your vacation without hours and hours of advance planning -- or scrutinizing every every menu for the duration of your trip. I recently learned of Gluten Free Cruises, started by travel agent Lynda McHenry. She has organized a Gluten Free Food and Wine Cruise down the Danube River from May 22-29, 2013. You'll board the brand new AmaPrima river boat from Ama Waterways, a company that's been delivering quality cruises to her clients for 10 years. The boat is equipped to accommodate 164 passengers and make stops in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Passau, and Vilshofen -- with an optional 2-day stay in Prague. Lynda has 35 years experience as a travel agent, 31 of which have been as the owner of her own agencies. She, her husband, and her daughter are all gluten intolerant. They started a gluten free grain business, as well as a dedicated gluten free cafe in Oregon. Lynda launched Gluten Free Cruises with two... Read more →

Whether you've been gluten free for a long time -- or are newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity -- you'll likely agree that maintaining vigilance when dining out and traveling can be a real challenge. You never know what level of gluten free savviness you'll encounter at restaurants, stores, and travel destinations. But there is one thing you can do to virtually ensure success...plan ahead. After tackling these challenges first-hand as the parent of a Celiac child -- and reading the thousands of gluten free dining and travel reviews submitted to our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, over the years -- I have a comprehensive "mental checklist" of sorts that I rely on when planning any trip. Recently I shared these 12 tips for gluten free travel success with The Daily Meal website. Some tips may be common sense and ones you yourself use, while others bear repeating. Check out the article and corresponding slideshow showcasing the 12 Ways to Eat Gluten-Free on the Road, and be sure to forward to your fellow GF friends or family members. For a more detailed explanation of these and other tips for successful gluten free dining and travel, you may want to refer to... Read more →