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We chose the Emerald Princess because I read that they could feed me gluten free safely. We were told repeatedly that immediately upon embarking we should find the Matre D'. We dropped off our bags and went directly to our dining room where the person at the door told us we could not speak to the Matre D' wand would need to wait till dinner. I argued my point several times but they refused to allow the conversation. At dinner we ordered a hazelnut crusted salmon with veggies. We were served a plain, overcooked piece of salmon and a few veggies. At dessert the Matre D' came over to show us the menu for the next day. He laid the menu on the table with the bread crumbs from our table mates present all over the table. I immediately grabbed it and said "please don't let it touch the bread" at which point he said "oh this is a real issue, most of our gluten free diners just prefer it" so I explained celiac disease and luckily the entire attitude shifted immediately. I was fed safely the entire trip with dinners and breakfast being the clear winners. The lunch staff clearly did not have the time/desire to feed us nearly as well and we were mostly served plain chicken with some salt and some plain veggies with salt. No butter, no sauce, nothing fun. We tried to get around it by ordering something not on the menu but that just ended up being plain fish with a bit of butter and plain veggies with a bit of butter. Tea time I was served a delicious gf scone the first tea but then they failed to appear until I finally asked on Friday and discovered they had them all along just didn't tell me. Desserts were hit and miss, and they don't offer options they just hand you something and expect you to like it. One night the "chef's special" was literally a bowl of jello with fruit in it and ICE CREAM on top. I'm sorry but that is just not a dessert I expect to be served! Luckily we found early on that the International Cafe had gf items about half the time. That particular day they had chocolate mousse and strawberry macaroons! We had some delicious meals as well. The staff was exceptional at searing meat well, one night we had tiramisu and when the regular menu had apple pie I asked if they could make a gf version and they did! It was amazing and the same day the international cafe had some little apple/raspberry desserts with pie crust (sort of a cake shape with pie crust on the bottom and top, it was odd but delicious. The Matre D's were all wonderful, our waiter and his assistant were amazing and by the end of the 2nd day I never had to utter the words gf again. They all knew, would announce it to one another, and the food would appear. My iced tea was quickly replaced as soon as I finished it, my water glass always full, and amazingly the staff didn't treat me as if my diet was inconvenient for them even though I know running to the allergen ktichen to get my food had to be a pain for them. Our room steward was amazing. I do not know how he knew when we left our room but every time we came back from breakfast and dinner he had been there cleaning/straightening/etc. Our room lacked for nothing and he always greeted us by name. I couldn't have asked for anything more from him. We did Movies Under the Stars one night and though it was a fun experience they have very few chair pads and very few blankets so it was extremely cold which detracted from the experience. The cruise CONSTANTLY tries to sell you things. They put advertisements in each days port information. They crowd the limited room in the main piazza with sales tables such that navigating through is a nightmare. They have servers walk around at breakfast trying to sell you mimosas. They try to sell you sparkling water at dinner. They were polite when told we were not interested but every day it was the same thing over again. The cruise is expensive and I felt like further trying to upsell so often was not necessary and detracting in our experience on board. We booked our excursions mostly through costco though we did add a last minute one in Victoria through the ship. They charged us double the excursions website advertised price which if I had internet on the ship I would have known and not booked through the cruise as that is a crazy mark-up. My husband and I are introverts so we avoided the shows as the cattle car feel getting in and out was overwhelming to us the one time we did try. We had no problem finding quiet places on the ship to hang out, play scrabble, read/knit, etc. I would like to suggest that it would be nice if the ship paired the gluten free patrons together for dining as it was very nerve wracking trying to keep my plate and utensils clear of the debris from the rolls our dinner mates ate. We were with two other sets of people and one was very clean and polite but the other scattered bread crumbs ALL OVER every meal. My husband sat by her and we moved our plates away as it was all we could really do but it would have been much less stressful to be at a table without rolls in the first place. I would also love to see some more options than gf bread. We were offered gf bread at every meal and it was quite lovely. However at breakfast the "regular" eaters get options of trays and trays of baked goods. We had bread, blueberry muffins and plain muffins (that really tasted like cupcakes without the icing) Gluten free donuts are not that difficult to make and they have a dedicated gf fryer. Also gf bagels are prevalent enough and would have been nice for breakfast instead of just the same toast we get at lunch and dinner. Again the bread is good, just some variety would be nice however I have to hand it to them I am crazy sensitive and I never got sick. I had been anxious about the embarking process but they really made it very easy and efficient both at the start of the trip and at each port. The staff was exceedingly competent in every department. The food, overall, was good. The room was nice and had a very roomy closet and a set of floor to ceiling shelves. The bathroom had counter space on both sides of the sink as well as the entire length of the wall under the sink and three floating shelves about the sink. I had no problem fitting our six bags worth of things in the room and our suitcases under the bed. We loved formal night and found most people tried to meet the dress code most of the time. Reynaldo, our room steward. Jason our waiter. Dragena our assistant waiter. You were all amazing and we miss you already. Jason ALWAYS went out of his way to serve me, even when he was in the dining room at tea time and I wasn't at his table he would nod to me and bring me the gf options as quickly as he could. When he discovered my fondness for whip cream he would get some from the back that hadn't been out with the gluten treats and it would just appear with his characteristic "Madam". Dragena always went the extra mile to get anything I wanted even if it meant she had to go up to Horizon to get it for me. They were a gift and made me feel like I was special the entire time we were with them. We had various other waiters at breakfast, lunch and tea. They all served us well and even with the language barriers we were always able to communicate. The Matre D's checked on us often and always made sure I was safe. To be honest I was terrified going into the cruise about being able to eat safely, and the first dinner had me nearly in tears afraid that I had made a huge expensive mistake and was trapped. By the end of that first night I felt better about it all and by the end of the cruise I was on my phone trying to figure out where we wanted to go next. Yes, some meals were boring but they were safe and at the end of the day that mattes far more.

Gluten Free Cruising

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by akadragonfly

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Interior
We chose the Emerald Princess because I read that they could feed me gluten free safely. We were told repeatedly that immediately upon embarking we should find the Matre D'. We dropped off our bags and went directly to our dining room where the person at the door told us we could not speak to the Matre D' wand would need to wait till dinner. I argued my point several times but they refused to allow the conversation. At dinner we ordered a hazelnut crusted salmon with veggies. We were served a plain, overcooked piece of salmon and a few veggies. At dessert the Matre D' came over to show us the menu for the next day. He laid the menu on the table with the bread crumbs from our table mates present all over the table. I immediately grabbed it and said "please don't let it touch the bread" at which point he said "oh this is a real issue, most of our gluten free diners just prefer it" so I explained celiac disease and luckily the entire attitude shifted immediately. I was fed safely the entire trip with dinners and breakfast being the clear winners. The lunch staff clearly did not have the time/desire to feed us nearly as well and we were mostly served plain chicken with some salt and some plain veggies with salt. No butter, no sauce, nothing fun. We tried to get around it by ordering something not on the menu but that just ended up being plain fish with a bit of butter and plain veggies with a bit of butter. Tea time I was served a delicious gf scone the first tea but then they failed to appear until I finally asked on Friday and discovered they had them all along just didn't tell me. Desserts were hit and miss, and they don't offer options they just hand you something and expect you to like it. One night the "chef's special" was literally a bowl of jello with fruit in it and ICE CREAM on top. I'm sorry but that is just not a dessert I expect to be served! Luckily we found early on that the International Cafe had gf items about half the time. That particular day they had chocolate mousse and strawberry macaroons! We had some delicious meals as well. The staff was exceptional at searing meat well, one night we had tiramisu and when the regular menu had apple pie I asked if they could make a gf version and they did! It was amazing and the same day the international cafe had some little apple/raspberry desserts with pie crust (sort of a cake shape with pie crust on the bottom and top, it was odd but delicious. The Matre D's were all wonderful, our waiter and his assistant were amazing and by the end of the 2nd day I never had to utter the words gf again. They all knew, would announce it to one another, and the food would appear. My iced tea was quickly replaced as soon as I finished it, my water glass always full, and amazingly the staff didn't treat me as if my diet was inconvenient for them even though I know running to the allergen ktichen to get my food had to be a pain for them.

Our room steward was amazing. I do not know how he knew when we left our room but every time we came back from breakfast and dinner he had been there cleaning/straightening/etc. Our room lacked for nothing and he always greeted us by name. I couldn't have asked for anything more from him.

We did Movies Under the Stars one night and though it was a fun experience they have very few chair pads and very few blankets so it was extremely cold which detracted from the experience.

The cruise CONSTANTLY tries to sell you things. They put advertisements in each days port information. They crowd the limited room in the main piazza with sales tables such that navigating through is a nightmare. They have servers walk around at breakfast trying to sell you mimosas. They try to sell you sparkling water at dinner. They were polite when told we were not interested but every day it was the same thing over again. The cruise is expensive and I felt like further trying to upsell so often was not necessary and detracting in our experience on board.

We booked our excursions mostly through costco though we did add a last minute one in Victoria through the ship. They charged us double the excursions website advertised price which if I had internet on the ship I would have known and not booked through the cruise as that is a crazy mark-up.

My husband and I are introverts so we avoided the shows as the cattle car feel getting in and out was overwhelming to us the one time we did try. We had no problem finding quiet places on the ship to hang out, play scrabble, read/knit, etc.

I would like to suggest that it would be nice if the ship paired the gluten free patrons together for dining as it was very nerve wracking trying to keep my plate and utensils clear of the debris from the rolls our dinner mates ate. We were with two other sets of people and one was very clean and polite but the other scattered bread crumbs ALL OVER every meal. My husband sat by her and we moved our plates away as it was all we could really do but it would have been much less stressful to be at a table without rolls in the first place. I would also love to see some more options than gf bread. We were offered gf bread at every meal and it was quite lovely. However at breakfast the "regular" eaters get options of trays and trays of baked goods. We had bread, blueberry muffins and plain muffins (that really tasted like cupcakes without the icing) Gluten free donuts are not that difficult to make and they have a dedicated gf fryer. Also gf bagels are prevalent enough and would have been nice for breakfast instead of just the same toast we get at lunch and dinner. Again the bread is good, just some variety would be nice however I have to hand it to them I am crazy sensitive and I never got sick.

I had been anxious about the embarking process but they really made it very easy and efficient both at the start of the trip and at each port. The staff was exceedingly competent in every department. The food, overall, was good. The room was nice and had a very roomy closet and a set of floor to ceiling shelves. The bathroom had counter space on both sides of the sink as well as the entire length of the wall under the sink and three floating shelves about the sink. I had no problem fitting our six bags worth of things in the room and our suitcases under the bed. We loved formal night and found most people tried to meet the dress code most of the time.

Reynaldo, our room steward. Jason our waiter. Dragena our assistant waiter. You were all amazing and we miss you already. Jason ALWAYS went out of his way to serve me, even when he was in the dining room at tea time and I wasn't at his table he would nod to me and bring me the gf options as quickly as he could. When he discovered my fondness for whip cream he would get some from the back that hadn't been out with the gluten treats and it would just appear with his characteristic "Madam". Dragena always went the extra mile to get anything I wanted even if it meant she had to go up to Horizon to get it for me. They were a gift and made me feel like I was special the entire time we were with them. We had various other waiters at breakfast, lunch and tea. They all served us well and even with the language barriers we were always able to communicate. The Matre D's checked on us often and always made sure I was safe.

To be honest I was terrified going into the cruise about being able to eat safely, and the first dinner had me nearly in tears afraid that I had made a huge expensive mistake and was trapped. By the end of that first night I felt better about it all and by the end of the cruise I was on my phone trying to figure out where we wanted to go next. Yes, some meals were boring but they were safe and at the end of the day that mattes far more.
akadragonfly’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IE A216
The cabin had plenty of storage and the mirrors made it feel much bigger. We didn't mind the interior room at all. I read here to turn the tv onto the onboard ship camera when we went to bed so when we woke we would be able to see during the night and also know when it was daylight. That worked out very well for us! The closet was big, lots of shelves, and our room steward Reynaldo was amazing.
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    We took a trolley tour of the town which was disappointing. The driver was far more interested in spouting about town politics and telling "stories" than he was giving a good tour. We then took a bus out to the glacier as we were told the bears were around eating salmon and could be viewed from the walkways. The forest service had closed all the access to those portions so overall we spent a good deal of money for very very little benefit. Juneau seemed entirely geared towards getting tourists money in every possible way. While all the ports make their living off of the tourism both Ketchikan and Skagway did so in an entirely customer centered way and offered service for your money. Juneau did not.
    View All 54 City Tour Reviews
  • Kayaking
    Our original excursion of Kayaking was cancelled last minute despite the fact the roads had been closed for weeks. The website said the tour operated rain or shine and that refunds would be given if the tour had to be cancelled. They made this process VERY difficult and time consuming. I was very disappointed they didn't let us know BEFORE the cruise that the roads were closed so would have time to pick a different excursion and also give us our money back without a fight so we could pay for a different excursion. I would NOT recommend the kayaking as their customer service is non-existent.
    View All 23 Kayaking Reviews
  • Lighthouses, Totems and Eagles
    This was our favorite excursion. The captain was wonderful, the crew willing to come stand by you and talk you through seeing the eagles nests until you found them, we saw bald eagles, fledgling eagles, nests, and a pair of mated bald eagles. We absolutely loved our time on board their ship and would highly recommend to anyone.
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  • White Pass Scenic Railway
    We took the bus up into Canada and the train back. Our bus driver was friendly, engaging, and knowledgeable about the area. When he stopped at scenic points he always offered to take a photo of us with our camera. He offered paper towels to dry off cameras/phones as it was raining.

    The train was a beautiful ride even in the rain. I wish they would have cleaned the windows so the photos would be better but we greatly enjoyed the experience.We did feel it was tad pricey for the duration but we were glad we partook..
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  • Craigdarroch Castle
    We booked this last minute through the cruise. I wish I had internet on the Ship and could have known they charged DOUBLE the advertised price of the excursion. The bus tour was excellent and the scenery lovely. The castle was beautiful and we loved the gift shop as it had unique things unlike all the other ports where all the shops sell the same thing with a different name printed on it.
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