AmaWaterways Chef's Table

Cruising with coeliac disease on AmaWaterways

I was recently diagnosed with coeliac disease, and I must admit, I was nervous about travelling abroad again. I had read so many hints and tips online, printing our translation cards, etc, but I need not have worried. I was in extremely safe hands onboard AmaWaterways’ beautiful ship; AmaViola.

Before travelling, I informed AmaWaterways that I had coeliac disease and required a gluten-free diet. I knew the message had gotten through to the ship when we boarded quite late, and the Head of Food & Beverage brought sandwiches and salads to our cabin, carefully noting that my tray, completely sealed and covered, was all gluten free.

All meals on AmaWaterways are á la carte, and each time I sat down, the serving staff double checked if I had any dietary requirements and always brought my own basket of gluten-free bread. I was given the normal menu and just asked for what I wanted; there wasn’t a single occasion I was told no. 

There were plenty of breakfast options, including steak and eggs which were served with bacon and sausage, avocado on toast with poached egg, and my personal favourite, eggs benedict. One morning they were offering a special of pancakes and berries, and I had prepared myself to be disappointed but asked if they could be made gluten free. The server went to the kitchen and came back with a big smile on their face and said – yes!  The best thing about AmaWaterways is they have their very own pastry chef in the kitchen, so everything, including gluten-free bread, can be made fresh everyday.

Ama Waterways pancakes

Lunch often included a selection of soups and salad, a sandwich of the day, and hot roasted meat like the gammon we had flaked beautifully; it was so soft! Three tapas dishes were served as a starter for lunch, and I had the nicest cold fish salad that included prawns and calamari, as well as a dish of mozzarella balls and tomatoes. They had a few classics such as hamburgers and pizza, and one day I was sure I was getting a hamburger until I saw one of my favourites—gnocchi! And you’ve guessed it, they could make it gluten free! So of course I had that and had the burger on a different day. 

Ama Waterways burger

After a few days, the serving staff became familiar with me, and as soon as I sat down they were bringing out the gluten-free bread basket for me. Dinner options were just as detailed and beautiful as the lunch menu and often included some local delicacies. In Vienna, they had schnitzel on the menu, and it was lovely to be able to feel immersed in the destination we were visiting. 

Ama Waterways fish

As I am only newly diagnosed with coeliac disease, I still remember what “muggle” food tastes like, and I can confidently say I did not notice the difference. None of my meals were compromised on taste or presentation, which you will see in my photos. Food is such a huge part of travelling for me, and I was worried that being coeliac would taint my experience. While it does come with a little worry and pressure, I could certainly relax on board AmaWaterways and know that my dietary and foodie needs were taken care of to an extremely high standard. 

Call Panache Cruises on 0161 513 8200 if you want to learn more about cruising with dietary requirements.

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