My gluten free diet on a Marella cruise

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I was diagnosed as Coeliac several years ago and need to follow a gluten Free diet and although the gluten free options available in most eateries have increased significantly in the last couple of years my expectations of what would be available for me to eat on board a cruise ship were very low. So much so I took a loaf of gluten free bread and gluten free cereal with me which I always do when travelling (just in case).

We arrived on the Dream just in time for lunch and went to the Lido self-service restaurant.

I was very surprised to see the number of not only gluten free but Vegetarian and Vegan options available. There was gluten free bread, Shepherd’s Pie (which I chose), Beef, Fish and Pork dishes, not to mention salads available.

For dessert the norm offering for a Coeliac would be fruit salad but on this occasion, there were a couple of options including Panna Cotta and fruit jelly.

On the first evening we dined at the Orion, which has waiter service.

The menu had several gluten free and other dietary options available and I was delighted when the waiter advised that it was possible to have some of the non-gluten free options prepared as gluten free. Gluten free bread was brought to the table and I ordered the coronation chicken salad, Pot Roast beef followed by Eaton Mess all were delicious.

At breakfast which I took either at Sirens or the Lido restaurants the staff would make me gluten free toast in a separate toaster, there were muffins and a full English available minus the sausages (which were not gluten free) and the biggest surprise was freshly cooked gluten free pancakes which you have to ask for and were delightful.

Afternoon tea at Sirens Restaurant also did not disappoint, there was a special section with gluten free options that included sandwiches, biscuits, muffins, cakes and scones.

Gluten Free CurryAt Mistrals Restaurant there again was another menu with various gluten free options which included a Cheeseburger in a gluten free bun and quite a few deserts.

Kora La had numerous options available if you had dietary requirements and I was again asked if there was anything on the menu I wanted that was not specified as gluten free that they advised they could specially be prepare for me.

The biggest delight was the Hot Stone Terrace/Terrace Grill. The waiters in this restaurant knew all about the different dietary requirements, they served me gluten free appetisers, there were plenty of gluten free options available on the menu and all the accompanying sauces were gluten free. The only gluten free desert available on the menu was Fruit Salad so I was amazed when the brought me Cheesecake and Eaton mess at the end of a very tasty meal.

The Terrace Grill can also make gluten free pizza and will try to accommodate all dietary requirements.

All in all, I was very impressed with the quality of the food available to me and the knowledgeable staff in the restaurants on the Marella Dream.

Needless to say, I brought my gluten free bread and cereal back home….

A Few Tips:

Make sure you advise your travel agent of any dietary requirements at time of booking. This is essential to ensure that the ship has the provisions to cater for you.

If you do not see something on the menu or buffet you want like pancakes for breakfast or pizza just ask the Restaurant Manager. They do not have signs advising everything that is available.

Gluten free bread is available in every restaurant you just need to ask if you don’t see it, the staff are very accommodating and will try to prepare anything for you.

If you are going to eat in one of the restaurants with waiter service let them know of your dietary requirements before you go to eat, this way the staff can ensure they are ready for you which will mean your fellow diners do not have to wait for your food to be prepared which can take a bit longer. This is because the Ship has a special sterile area in the kitchen where food for people with dietary requirements is prepared, all food prepared for you in this area is served with a cover to prevent any contamination.


Written by Linda Tippett – Wilson for Century Travel

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