Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Traveling Gluten-Free

Traveling gluten-free can create some anxiety, but it isn't going to stop me.  I have traveled more in recent years (for business and pleasure) since going gluten-free, and it does seem to get a little easier each time.  Depending on where I'm going and how long I will be gone dictates how much planning I need to do (and how many gluten-free snacks I'm going to bring with me)!  I usually like to travel with some gluten-free pretzels and breakfast bars.      

I have been able to see some amazing places in the last few years that I didn't think I would ever see!  We went on a 14-Day Caribbean cruise and 10-Day Mediterranean cruise, both on Oceania Cruises.  I have heard that many cruise lines will accommodate for special diets (with advance notice), but my cruising experience has only been with this one cruise line so far. They were incredible and are known for their fine dining.  With a few weeks notice of my dietary restrictions, they were able to make accommodations for me.  For nights that I planned to eat in the Grand Dining Room, the menu would be dropped off at my room in the morning.  I would check off what I wanted and return the menu to the front desk so they would be ready for me when I arrived later.  The chef was always available to point out what I could and couldn't eat at the buffet (and there was plenty I could eat), and gluten-free bread and rolls were available for me at every meal.  I ate so well that I never wanted to leave!

The shore excursions were a little challenging at times.  I had done some research about gluten-friendly establishments before our trips,
but when we chose a shore excursion
through the cruise line, we didn't have as much freedom to go off on our own.  I would definitely recommend going on some of the formal excursions, but you may want to bring some snacks on those days just in case!  

The Caribbean cruise was easier because it sailed out of Miami (close to home). For the Mediterranean cruise we had to fly from Miami to Barcelona on Iberia airlines, and then fly back home from Athens on Delta. Both airlines were able to provide gluten-free meals with advance notice (I don't know that Delta will do this on domestic flights), but I am still always a little cautious when it comes to eating and flying (especially on very long flights).  Again, your personal gluten-free snacks can come in very handy for these situations. 

I'm sure there are many other gluten-free travelers out there that are probably more adventurous than I am, but this works for me.  I am seeing the world and LIVING gluten-free. 



  1. I really appreciate your comments about gluten-free dining choices on Oceania. I, too, am planning a 10-day Mediterreanean cruise coming up in October. However, I booked the trip before I realized my gluten issues. I also avoid all dairy and I became nervous about shelling out big bucks for a cruise where I am can only LOOK at the food! I was even considering cancelling altogether! I understand shore exersions will be challenging, but knowing the ship can accomodate me is a wonderful feeling that puts me more at ease. I am glad you mentioned that I need to ask for gluten-free options for the (long) airflights. Like you, I will be flying to Barcelona (from Boston) and returning from Athens! Wow, thanks so much for writing this. You have reassured me. Now I can look forward to my 20th anniversary cruise and leave the apprehension at home! TerriSea :)

  2. I'm so glad this was helpful for you! I'm planning my next cruise for this summer. Enjoy your cruise and have a Happy Anniversary!