Wind Surf Cruise Review by hannahz
- Sail Date: June 2012
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Suite
Unfortunately several in our party have celiac disease/gluten intolerance. One family member is type 1 diabetic with celiac and for him it is essential not to be in an environment where he might be "glutened" (and he is very careful as a result). There were many problems with how gf was handled for our group on this cruise. First problem is that much of the food is served buffet style and there is an apparent lack of understanding how this presentation can easily cause cross contamination.
On the first day at lunch we asked for some cold cuts and cheese to be brought out for 3 passengers who were gf and they brought out two thin slices of cheese, and two thin slices of meat. That set the tone (we were expected to use the buffet) but unfortunately there were other issues as well, such as learning after the fact that certain grilled meats had been marinated in something that may or may not have had soy sauce (which some did not seem to realize usually contains wheat -- particularly with the brand they referred to which was Kikkoman).
They made a bigger effort with dinner but at none of the other meals was there really much confirmable "safe" food for our celiac family members much of the time. Whenever we asked about items during lunch or high tea they would start asking if we had ordered our gf dinner (as if this was the only meal they needed to provide gf offerings for). In theory since they grill there should be food available but in practice unless you are willing to eat grilled meat and rice for all meals (and skip offerings in between) it might be an issue. They rarely offered to bring substitute items when most or all offerings on the buffet were not ok for us, instead bringing the conversation around to whether we had ordered our dinner yet (again, as if the one meal a day was supposed to do it for us). Near the end they started to do more, particularly when we told them one party member had celiac and type 1 diabetes and he was having a big problem on board getting adequate food or being assured it was safe in terms of possible gluten contamination (which makes him sick and messes his blood sugar management). On the last night the chef made brownies for us, which was nice. Previous nights the dinner and dessert options mainly seemed to involve us selecting from the existing menu by guessing which items they could make for us with least difficulty.
Incidentally, there is supposed to be a sandwich bar open most of the day where they offer freshly made sandwiches, but when one visits that venue the sandwiches are pre-made inside a glass display case and we did not feel that we could get a comparable gf sandwich made up on the gf sliced bread we had brought on from port. It always felt to us like we were imposing if we asked for something not in their buffet offerings, and then there was also the sense that the person asked might not know what he was doing in terms of keeping things safe from cross-contamination.
They seemed to mean well but in our experience they really had no idea what we were up against in terms of trying to find safe food with what was offered. One family member lost weight on the cruise. Our overall impression is that they have not yet developed a full awareness of the needs of passengers like us, and in the future we will look elsewhere for holiday and cruise planning.