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Author Topic: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)  (Read 2576 times)

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
« on: June 28, 2016, 11:37:38 am »
Later this summer we will be embarking on our first ever cruise.  It's a bit of a leap of faith really as it has never been on our agenda, either prior to my better half being diagnosed or since (until recently).  However, the opportunity came up to take a cruise up the west coast of Alaska - too much temptation for me!  I will be reporting back in September on our experiences.

However, just as a 'taster' as it were, I can inform readers that NCL have been very helpful thus far.  Though they don't go to much effort on their web site, if you get in touch with them well in advance, they provide forms to fill out which are supplied to the team on-board so that they know to make an effort to help specific passengers.  Just how much effort remains to be seen, of course!  We were advised to speak to the catering manager as soon as we check in too.

As far as shore excursions go, I await information back from the service providers with regard to any snacks and lunches provided.

Watch this space...

Offline Alison

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Re: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2016, 12:11:14 pm »
I have heard mixed opinions about cruises, some people have said their cruise was excellent when it came to gluten free (I actually saw a picture some posted on a cruise yesterday and they had a cabinet full of fresh gluten free bread and cream cakes!) but others have said they didn't get much, i suppose it depends on the company.
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Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2016, 11:29:08 am »
I have heard mixed opinions about cruises, some people have said their cruise was excellent when it came to gluten free (I actually saw a picture some posted on a cruise yesterday and they had a cabinet full of fresh gluten free bread and cream cakes!) but others have said they didn't get much, i suppose it depends on the company.
Based on another review posted on a specialist cruise site, if it's the same team still doing the catering aboard now that the Sun has transferred to the Alaskan waters, we should be well looked after.  Fingers crossed, eh?  ;o)

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 01:33:54 pm »
Well, I can report that we have merged unscathed from our cruise experience!  My wife survived without being 'poisoned'.

The GF dining experience was by no means perfect - there is still much room for improvement.  However, based on our holiday aboard the NCL Sun, we can say with a fair degree of certainty that the catering staff know what they are doing...mostly.

Having alerted NCL in advance, we were advised to speak with senior catering staff when boarding the ship.  We did this, which resulted in my wife being flagged up on their system whenever we booked into the dining rooms.  The Maitre D' was usually on-hand to speak to and we would often get a visit whilst dining.

The agreement was that my wife would consult one meal in advance and make her selections.  Therefore, for the evening meal she would ask to see the evening menu when we had lunch.  This worked...after a fashion.  The down side was that this was still a bit of a 'faff', particularly if we were on a long shore excursion that meant we missed lunch - she would have to place her order at breakfast.  Let's face it, how many of us are looking forward to ordering our evening meal straight after we have eaten our breakfast?!

Another disadvantage, despite ordering in advance, was that my wife's food tended to arrive in an haphazard fashion, either before or after everyone else - yes, it's nice to be 'special' but this is different.  Also, though there was always a small choice, it certainly was not wide, extensive or even obvious.  Again, still a bit of a 'faff' to select something suitable when all you want to do is make a choice and get on with life.  It would be so much better to have a menu clearly marked with GF options and alternatives.

Finally, with some degree of trepidation, my wife did give the buffets a try.  Steering clear of anything that was obviously open to cross-contamination, and also with a word or two with staff, she managed to safely enjoy buffet breakfasts and snacks.  However, again, on a couple of occasions her requests for GF muffins or toast did meet with delays.

She says that the food she had was good - some of the best GF fare she has eaten (particularly GF pancakes, muffins and even seeded bread).  She says steer well clear of the GF waffles - these were one item that the cruise line buys in and had all the appeal of cardboard!

Offline Cortina

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Re: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2018, 01:56:17 pm »
Does anyone have any more recent experiences to share about NLC? Did they improve their services at all in the last couple of years? We're considering booking a cruise with them in the summer.

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2018, 12:26:48 pm »
Sorry to say we have not been on any cruises since.

What I would say is that, in common with any establishment, it is good to alert them in advance to give both parties a fighting chance.  I contacted NCL ahead of our cruise and they put me in touch with the catering director (or whatever) of the ship.  We actually met with the person in charge by agreement when we joined the cruise.

When it comes down to it, it depends on the staff (and maybe even the ship): some are better than others at understanding and adapting to catering for a comparatively rare situation.  Get the lines of communication open early and keep them open.  Establish a good relationship with the personnel from table staff to restaurant managers from the start and this can help.  Of course, with such a large and often busy environment it can be difficult for them to get it just right - no excuse really, but there you go.

One advantage of the NCL style is that you are not tied to a specific sitting - try to avoid the busier times if you can, which may give you a better chance of good GF service.

Enjoy your cruise - we enjoyed ours very much.  I am sorry I cannot bring better news but suffice it to say our own experience has not dissuaded us from considering another cruise in the future.