We recently sailed with Cunard onboard the wonderful Queen Victoria, and one of my main questions before getting on board was, How is Gluten Free dining onboard Cunard Queen Victoria?
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How easy it is to find Gluten Free food onboard Cunard Queen Victoria?
For everyone that loves to cruise, one of the main topics the conversation starts with is how the was food & drink! So when it comes to someone like myself that has to eat Gluten Free it adds another level to the experience, which starts with how easy it was to eat. Usually, a good gauge is how many crew you need to ask about the Gluten Free offering before you can eat!
My Cunard experience was an excellent experience for me. We only did a four-night cruise, which included a chance to try the main dining and speciality dining onboard. This means I got to experience most of the formal dining on board. We were onboard for four nights, so we only had limited opportunities to sample the casual dining onboard, such as the Golden Lion Pub, Winter Garden and Lido Grill.
Lido – Queen Victoria Buffet for Gluten Free
The Lido buffet was available for the vast majority of the day, with break, lunch, afternoon tea and evening dining available, with only a few hours each day where The Lido was closed to allow the crew time to change between meal services.
For breakfast, on one side, they have a dedicated counter for all your free-from options, including gluten-free bread/toast, pastries, cereals, and dairy-free alternatives, making things nice and easy to find and readily available.
I started there depending on my mood and then selected fruit options, cooked breakfast, cold meats etc. When using the other counters, I just read the labels to check what was gluten-free.
You can also get the Cunard famous Afternoon Tea in the Lido if you prefer a more casual vision rather than opting for the pageantry offered in the Queen’s Ballroom. Here you can help yourself, with once again a counter set up with all the gluten-free options to create your Afternoon Tea.
Bamboo Speciality Restaurant
We also dined at the speciality evening menu one night in The Lido. During the evenings, one section is transformed into a pop-up venue, which we were told changes its menu depending on the region of the world the is travelling. In this case, the restaurant was called Bamboo, and featured a pan-Asian menu.
Food is prepared fresh nearby, which offered a fun bit of food theatre and atmosphere, and for the gluten-free option, they could easily swap items out for me. The food was fantastic, and this experience is a gem that many may need to pay attention to due to the location being set up in The Lido buffet; the food was incredible and one to be noticed if you are a fan of the cuisine on offer on your sailing at this location. I recommend booking this as a speciality option.
Britannia Dining Room – Main Dining Room
The main dining room onboard Cunard Queen Victoria is the Britannia Dining Room; this is where you would eat your evening meals if you choose not to upgrade to speciality dining.
You can also opt to eat a table-service breakfast or lunch here if you prefer your meals to be on the formal side.
When it comes to Gluten Free, when you are presented with the menu, you can choose from the clearly marked Gluten Free items. However, should you plan it dine in the Britannia Dining Room nightly, In that case, the head waiter will show you the menu for the following evening and discuss with you what options are available to you. This allows you more flexibility for substitutions as the chef will have time ahead to prepare.
Our waiting team was confident in the menus and knew what was available and what could be substituted easily on every menu we dined from, so there were no issues in finding something you would enjoy.
The food here was lovely, and the dining experience was excellent, a shining example of the White Star service Cunard pride itself on. We were not on a fixed dining time, so when we dined in the main dining room on our first and last evening, I hadn’t preordered my meals, and nothing was a bother; I had a range of options and simple things like gluten-free bread, just came out without any fuss or significant delay.
Speciality Dining – The Verandah Restaurant
This steak restaurant is amongst the best we have ever had on any cruise ship, possibly even on land; that’s not hyperbole!
Not only was the food incredible, but the whole dining experience was elevated from when we arrived to when we left completely stuffed and satisfied. You even get a choice of knives to dine with.
My steak was excellent, and again the whole experience of dining Gluten Free was easy, with the menu clearly marked, and the waiter knew what options were available and able to recommend substitutions on those that weren’t marked; it’s always worth asking, as there are often more choices then the menu first may suggest if you are willing to work with your waiter.
Queens Ballroom and Cunard Afternoon Tea
It’s fair to say that when people think of Cunard, they think of Afternoon Tea, and it’s hardly a surprise. We’ve mentioned that you can have a casual afternoon tea in The Lido. However, this is where you want to be. There is a brilliant spectacle and sense of occasion when taking afternoon tea in the Queens Ballroom.
I’m pleased to say as a Gluten Free person; everything was covered and available for me, including gorgeous sandwiches and scones.
All you do is let the waiter know once seated, and they will make a note to bring you the tray with the Gluten Free options, be prepared to wait, as it can take some time for them to bring the plates around to you, depending on how busy service is, which usually its a sell-out event. However, you should put this on your cruise to-do list when sailing with Cunard, as it’s a highlight and included in your fare unless you decide to add some bubbles! And why not I say!
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