On the high seas off of the western Alaskan/Canadian coastline, a Celebrity Cruise aboard the Solstice is offering a surprising number of gluten-free options in almost all of the dining and snack venues onboard the ship. (http://celebritycruises.com)
The main dining room (with two dinner services every night) has a menu that is coded for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and low calorie. The specialty restaurants (and there are 5 of them, not including small snack cafes and outdoor grills) have such attentive service to diners with special requests that they offer to pre-book your evening meal the night before. Wait staff also exhibits thorough training through their diligence to verify with the chefs that an item that is not marked gluten-free, is indeed safe for a passenger.
Here’s more good news: there are plenty of options that are available for almost round-the-clock eating. And, once it is known that you are a gluten-free diner, the staff is very friendly and forthcoming with ideas and selections. Example: At the huge lunch salad bar everyday, all three prepared salads of shrimp, tuna, and egg are labeled gluten-free and are for everyone to enjoy. Also, salad dressings can be ordered gluten-free or you can select a high quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. In addition, there is also a pizza bar where you can order your own small, custom topping gluten-free pizza. It is made with a corn masa crust and is baked crisp for a very tasty lunch entrée.
Here’s a little bad news: the baked goods of breads, cakes, pastries, and cookies* are the typical flat-tasting varieties (*excluding the almond-dried cherry macaroon cookie which was fantastic, but only available once). Many are pre-packaged items made with tough white rice flour that is also very high in calories and low in nutrition. Surprisingly, during all breakfast services there are no gluten-free pancakes, waffles, or French toast offered at all. On a first-class ship with all of the latest culinary trends and a highly skilled kitchen staff, it is quite frankly disappointing.
There is more than enough to enjoy for gluten-free eaters on this cruise, and like one of the presenters said, “People come aboard as guests, and leave as cargo.” Bring a pair of stretch pants for your debarkation day home.