Rave reviews from a loyal gluten-free guest

Louise and Calvin Boraas were ecstatic about their upcoming Christmas Markets cruise with AmaWaterways. There was just one hitch: Louise and the two sisters traveling with her have celiac disease, which can make dining away from home very difficult.

Traveling Gluten-Free

A variety of symptoms ranging in severity afflict those with celiac disease, but diets entirely free of gluten allow them to lead normal, symptom-free lives. "If I accidentally eat something with gluten, it could put me out of commission for at least a day," explained Louise.

"When you’re traveling in the gluten-free world, you’re always a little bit worried about the capability of a hotel or ship," said Calvin, a former food industry worker. "But when I read promotional materials from AmaWaterways that mentioned their membership in La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, I understood that meant we’d be surrounding ourselves with people who had the expertise to deal with our dietary needs."

Often, however, the couple has found many restaurants promising gluten-free menu items are catering more to those following fad diets rather than those whose bodies reject any ingredients that have touched others containing gluten. This can be especially challenging to communicate to servers and chefs in different countries where English is not the primary language.

Although their travel advisor noted their dietary restrictions on the booking and they filled out a form detailing their needs, Calvin and Louise were still a bit hesitant that an intimate river ship would be able to accommodate their family at mealtimes. However, "AmaWaterways far exceeded our expectations," admitted Calvin.

Special Tip: Be sure to mention any special dietary needs you may have to your travel advisor as well as on your passenger information form before traveling and please speak with the maître d’ at the beginning of your river cruise to ensure your experience is just as memorable!

Surprise and Delighted On Board

When they arrived on board AmaStella in Budapest, they were immediately met by the maître d’, who listened to their concerns and went through the menu options available, including the gluten-free cookies in the Main Lounge and gluten-free beer, which Louise noted is often very difficult to find, particularly in unfamiliar cities.

At dinner, Louise recalled, "I got to participate and eat basically everything everyone else had. It was the most happily surprising experience I’ve ever had on vacation." From breakfasts, where she was served gluten-free toast and pancakes, to special desserts, Louise and her sisters were treated to a delicious and worry-free dining experience. "Someone was always paying attention and I never felt like a bother or I was imposing when I made a request."

Louise and her sisters were even surprised with boxed lunches during their full-day excursion in Vienna, just in case the restaurants on shore were unable to handle their unique needs.

Happier and More

So impressed by their amazing experience, Louise and Calvin soon reserved a Tulip Time river cruise on board AmaLea. "I went into the second cruise with pretty high expectations," said Louise. "But I was just as happy, if not happier, with all the accommodations."

On a night when the dessert table offered chocolate fondue, which can get contaminated quite quickly when others dip cookies or cake in the chocolate, a server took Louise aside to show her the dessert and allowed her to dunk first. "That kind of consideration…when they go to that degree of taking care of you, the worry of eating is just completely gone. The awareness and commitment on board from A to Z was fantastic," raved Calvin. After having sub-par experiences with other travel providers, Calvin said, "We won’t even think of going anywhere else. AmaWaterways gets nothing but rave reviews from us."

Indulge in wonderful dining experiences like Louise did aboard our ships and prepare to be surprised and delighted when sailing with one of our 2024 Europe itineraries.

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