As we have once said here we are not “cruise people”, so we are not the best source to talk about gluten-free cruises. Fortunately, the gluten-free community is so giving and generous that we can always count on their help.
Elizabeth Kendrick, one of our Facebook friends read our article about gluten-free cruising and offered to share her experience with Disney cruises. We were thrilled to get her help on this topic, thank you very much, Elizabeth!
So to start off I would like to brag on Disney because they do a very good job educating their staff members. If you ever go to one of their sit down restaurants or to one of the restaurants on the top deck, the staff knows what gluten is. The restaurants by the pool area are the ones where you walk up and order. Even though they don’t advertise this anywhere, everything on the original menu has a gluten-free version of if you ask. They have gluten free cheese pizza (which they can add toppings to), chicken tenders, hot dogs, hamburgers, and they will even make a fresh batch of fries for you in order to avoid cross contamination. They also have a variety of sandwiches which can all be made on gluten free bread if you ask, but my personal favorite is the chocolate chip cookie.
The sit-down restaurants are a little different though. On Disney you are assigned a wait staff that will remain your wait staff for the rest of the cruise. This is really nice because you don’t have to explain your gluten allergy to a different waiter every night. However, in order to prepare your meal in the safest way possible Disney has you order your sit down dinners, and if you want to, your sit down breakfasts and lunches in advance. This can be tricky because if you don’t know you’re going to a sit-down restaurant the next day, then it makes your menu options more limited if you end up going. In other words, if you order in advance they can make anything gluten free (I’ve even had a gluten free cheese soufflé before), but if you show up to a sit-down restaurant with no warning, then you might have to order food that is already gluten free.
Once again, every single staff member is aware of what menu items have gluten, and if they don’t know they are more than happy to check on it. My best gluten-free experience though had to be at the adult only restaurant called Palo. You can inform your waiter ahead of time so they know about your allergy and then they are more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding the menu. Palo has great gluten free options, from gluten-free garlic bread to a killer gluten free chocolate soufflé. Even though Palo is by far my favorite restaurant, the regular dinner is still spectacular. They now have every dish on the menu labeled with a GF (gluten free) and/or a DF (dairy free) so people with allergies are aware.
Keep in mind though if you wish to order something else that is not GF they have every menu for every night available on the on-board app, so if you ask your server the night before they can make one of the non-GF dishes GF if you would like. One thing I forgot to mention is that on both of my cruises if you go see the head wait staff at the very beginning (where you can change your dinner time if you need to, or make Palo reservations, etc.) you can notify them about your allergy and so immediately when you get to dinner your wait staff is aware and can bring you GF bread to make you feel right at home with the rest of your family or friends.
Overall, I’ve had a good experience on Disney Cruises, but there is still room to improve, such as informing guests with allergies about their policies. But, these cruises offer plenty of GF celiac safe options and I would highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys a fun, relaxing, and memorable vacation.