Cruises have become one of the better options for gluten-free travelers, since most of the big cruise lines have policies in place to serve people with special dietary needs. Below we’ve outlined those policies — as well as the contact information for each cruise line. It is important to note that cruise lines aren’t always consistent in satisfying their gluten-free guests. It can vary from ship to ship, region to region — and may have a lot to do with the knowledge of the particular Executive Chef in charge. It is worth working with a travel agent to find the best fit for you. One gluten free travel specialist we recommend contacting to book a cruise is Lesley Hayden-Hock. She knows each cruise line in and out...and can help you choose the best one based on your dietary needs and general travel preferences. She has access to special deals you may not find yourself, can help you choose the best cabin(s), and will handle all the details of your gluten free meal requests. Her number at her Travel Leaders office is 800-487-6110, or you can email her at [email protected].
Disney Cruise Lines
As expected, Disney works its magic for the gluten-free diners on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships -- and now the new Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Much like the Disney World theme parks, there is a genuine effort made to accommodate special diets. You'll leave your worries at home when you book one of their 3, 4 or 7-night cruises at 800-951-3532 or disney.com. Just have them note any special dietary needs on your reservation at the time of booking.
Celebrity Cruise Lines
Celebrity Cruises makes a note of a guest's gluten-free needs at the time of booking and then has all gluten-free cruisers fill out a "special needs" form prior to the trip. A "special needs" representative will then contact you for more details if needed. You will meet with the dining staff on the first night of the cruise. For more information, call Celebrity's Special Needs department at 866-592-7225 or email them at [email protected].
Royal Caribbean recently enlisted a registered and licensed dietician and nutritional consultant to shape the cruise line's gluten free program into a more guest-friendly experience. All gluten free options are now clearly labeled on the ships' menus, and new gluten free bread offerings will be available upon request in all the ships' restaurants. Royal Caribbean shares a video on their website detailing this new program. You can also contact them at [email protected] to let them know about your gluten-free needs, or have them notate it on your reservation at the time of your booking. For booking or more information, you can call 866-562-7625.
Carnival Cruise Lines
This cruise line is willing and able to prepare gluten-free meals and typically keeps gluten-free bread, pasta, pizza and other specialty foods onboard for the many requests they are now receiving. Visit Carnival Cruise Lines or call 800-438-6744 x70025 for assistance booking a cruise and noting your special gluten-free requests. You can also email them at [email protected] . A note will be made on your reservation, but you are also encouraged to fill out a form and to remind your waiter and maître d' of your dietary needs when boarding. You are welcome to bring your own non-perishable food as well.
Princess Cruise Lines
According to their policy, you must advise Princess in writing (at least 35 days before you sail) of any special diet, allergies or medical needs. You can FAX your request to Kelly Ashley in Booking Support (FAX: 661-753-0180), email her at [email protected] or call 800-774-6237. For cruises other than within Alaska, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, Trans-canal and Australia/New Zealand, including transpacific and transatlantic sailings, please advise them of any special dietary requirements at least 65 days prior to sailing. Once onboard, please check with the Maitre D' to confirm your request.
Currently, the gluten-free items they carry onboard are: gluten-free bread mix (Abel & Schafer brand), gluten-free cereal, gluten-free flour, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free macaroni, gluten-free spaghetti, and gluten-free sweet cookies. With the gluten-free mix, they can make desserts, pancakes, muffins, biscotti, pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, flourless chocolate cake, and pizza crust. Gluten-free beer or gluten-free vodka can also be pre-ordered.
Norweigan Cruise Line (NCL)
Norwegian Cruise Lines asks that gluten-free requests be made at the time of booking, preferably at least 60 days in advance of your cruise. They note the request on your reservation and you are encouraged to speak with the restaurant manager when you arrive onboard. Norwegian Cruise Line does not permit you to bring on board any food item that would require preparation by the ship's staff or food items that require cold storage in the ship's kitchen. For questions or booking, call 866-234-7350.
Holland America Cruise Line
When booking a cruise with Holland America, call their Ship Services Department at 800-541-1576 to have them note your gluten free needs, at least 90 days before departure. You will be sent a form to fill out, which also allows you to choose specific gluten-free foods you'd like to have (muffins, cookies, pasta, pizza, etc) so they can make them available to you. On the first night of your cruise, they suggest speaking with the maître d' or head waiter, who will already be aware of your gluten-free needs. According to the cruise line, gluten-free requests are very popular, so they always have plenty of choices.
The three luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria make up the renowned Cunard line. If guests have special dietary needs, Cunard must be advised at time of booking or, at the latest, six weeks before sailing. Every effort will be made to comply with such requests. Call 800-728-6273.