As it’s the time of year when people are going on holiday, I thought it would be good to share my experiences of gluten-free travel.
Being gluten-free doesn’t mean you can’t go abroad – you can still enjoy eating out in restaurants or your hotel, you just have to be careful and do a bit of research before you go!
Over the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to go on a couple of cruises. We have travelled with both Fred Olsen and various P&O ships, both companies were excellent.
I’ve got to say I have been totally bitten by the cruise bug, I love the sea, it’s a fantastic way of getting tasters for so many different countries in one holiday and the icing on the cake is how well they are able to cater for the coeliac diet! When booking the holiday I simply advise the tour operator of my dietary requirements and then when on the ship have a quick natter with the head waiter to let them know I am coeliac.
The staff have always been fabulous and make sure all the meals are gluten-free and suitable for my diet. To allow you to have a good choice they just require you to pre-order meals for the following day, by doing this the chef has time to prepare, gluten free Yorkshire, sponge, soufflé….the list is pretty endless!!
In the morning there will be gluten-free toast for your breakfast and whether you choose to go to the self-service or the waiter-service restaurant, you can be sure to be looked after by the informative and attentive staff. I have enjoyed gluten-free cakes and sandwiches with afternoon tea, one day they changed the oil in a fryer so I could have the chips… a large portion too! Last year was a huge hit for me as one of the chefs came from Goa and prepared a gluten-free curry every lunch time!
You don’t need to pre-order meals for the self-service buffet, just check with the chefs to make sure the dishes you are considering are suitable.
When we have the “shore” days, I ensure that I have had a good breakfast if we are going to be out for the day. That way I know I will only need a snack or ice cream whilst out and about (just do your usual checks to ensure gluten-free*). In fact if we are only walking distance from the ship we would probably get a coffee at a pavement cafe, watch the world go by and then stroll back to the ship for lunch and pop out again in the afternoon.
*Coeliac UK have useful information and translations to download.
My main tip would be to pack a few of your favourite nibbles to enjoy with a drink, as although there is a shop on board, what they stock may not be what you fancy.
As you can see I have only positive things to say about cruising and cannot recommend it highly enough as there really is something for everyone onboard.
If cruising isn’t your thing I know there are also lots of hotels who will provide gluten free meals for coeliacs, we would always recommend that you check with your hotel or tour operator before you book.
Coeliac UK also offer some advice on travelling when following a gluten free diet.
Happy travels! 🙂