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Old 12-16-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
sunrise717
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Food Allergies and cruising..

Hi everyone! I will be going on my first cruise EVER ) but I have Severe treenut allergies. I was wondering if I could eat at the quick service restaurants on deck by the pool or if I actually have to eat every meal at the MDR. Ill have 2 dd with me and to go to the MDR each meal would waste so much time.Does anybody have any experience with this??and could you give me any tips. Thanks
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:20 AM   #2
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While it would be best to eat in the MDR, the quick service restaurants will attempt to accommodate you. They are unable to guarantee cross contamination, etc.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:11 PM   #3
RemysMom
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Just off the Fantasy and my sister-in-law has a treenut allergy. They went above and beyond in all of our sit down dinners. Each night she was given the menu for the next night to choose her dinner. They then separately prepared and delivered her meal to the table to prevent cross-contamination. Each night she was served her own bread basket and a special dessert. It really was quite impressive.

As for the other locations, she still seemed to fair quite nicely and had no trouble.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:08 PM   #4
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I haven't taken a DCL cruise yet (Mine is in Feb 2014!) so I can't tell you my first hand experience, but I have a son who is allergic to all tree nuts, so I've been reading lots of reviews about food allergies on this board.

Sounds like they go above and beyond to accommodate people with food allergies/restrictions.
I feel like getting to know your servers in the MDR and letting them know of your food allergies would be a safer bet than to just stop in quick bites as those places probably serve many people throughout the day so they won't remember if you have any food allergies or not.

Our allergy doctor suggested showing the Epipen to the servers whenever we dine out. Not to scare them but to let them know we're not some over reacting parents. By showing the Epipen, it really gets the message across, that if you ingest a tree nut, it's serious and we'll have to use the Epipen right there and then. It has worked, and so far, we haven't had to use Epipen on my. (knock on wood)

I tend to do this whenever we go to ethnic restaurants because some people are not as aware as typical American restaurants. Ethnic food tend to have lots of tree nuts in their food, too. I'm Japanese and food allergy is JUST starting to get awareness in the last decade.
Better be safe than sorry. Have a safe cruise!
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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I went on my very 1st cruise this October on the Wonder. And I have food allergies but mine is seafood & citrus fruit. They were so accommodating even when I had brunch at Palo. Every night in the mdr's they gave me the menu for the next night so my food that is cooked in a separate kitchen would be served the same time as the others. At Palo I wanted the pancakes with the rum syrup & the chef made a special order for me cause there is o.j. in the syrup. It was so good!
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:27 PM   #6
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YMMV.

I have been on 10 DCL cruises so far. I have an anaphylactic reaction to strawberries. The first few cruises, DCL was very proactive. I ordered desserts the night before, etc. This was on both the Magic and the Wonder.

The last 3 cruises, the head server and server never even asked about any food allergies. I brought it up, but definitely was on my own in terms of ordering, etc. Pretty disappointing. This was on the Dream and on the Wonder.

Hoping the Fantasy does a better job in 12 days!
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #7
Bella29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunkyminky View Post
I haven't taken a DCL cruise yet (Mine is in Feb 2014!) so I can't tell you my first hand experience, but I have a son who is allergic to all tree nuts, so I've been reading lots of reviews about food allergies on this board.

Sounds like they go above and beyond to accommodate people with food allergies/restrictions.
I feel like getting to know your servers in the MDR and letting them know of your food allergies would be a safer bet than to just stop in quick bites as those places probably serve many people throughout the day so they won't remember if you have any food allergies or not.

Our allergy doctor suggested showing the Epipen to the servers whenever we dine out. Not to scare them but to let them know we're not some over reacting parents. By showing the Epipen, it really gets the message across, that if you ingest a tree nut, it's serious and we'll have to use the Epipen right there and then. It has worked, and so far, we haven't had to use Epipen on my. (knock on wood)

I tend to do this whenever we go to ethnic restaurants because some people are not as aware as typical American restaurants. Ethnic food tend to have lots of tree nuts in their food, too. I'm Japanese and food allergy is JUST starting to get awareness in the last decade.
Better be safe than sorry. Have a safe cruise!
You and a medical doctor think there are "over reacting parents" falsely claiming tree nut allergies? That's interesting. I can see it being possible with gluten but not with tree nuts.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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YMMV.

I have been on 10 DCL cruises so far. I have an anaphylactic reaction to strawberries. The first few cruises, DCL was very proactive. I ordered desserts the night before, etc. This was on both the Magic and the Wonder.

The last 3 cruises, the head server and server never even asked about any food allergies. I brought it up, but definitely was on my own in terms of ordering, etc. Pretty disappointing. This was on the Dream and on the Wonder.

Hoping the Fantasy does a better job in 12 days!
Out of 4 cruises we have had two good, one mediocre, and one negative experience with DCL's handling of my son's egg and peanut allergies. We were on the Fantasy 2 weeks ago and they did a good job. I suggest speaking with your head server when you arrive (ask for him or her in the Royal Garden at lunch) to explain your allergy and pre-order your dinner. Ours was Anil and he was very helpful.

I also emailed special services ahead of time and have previously faxed in a form signed by our doctor but none of that seemed to help at all.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
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You and a medical doctor think there are "over reacting parents" falsely claiming tree nut allergies? That's interesting. I can see it being possible with gluten but not with tree nuts.
I would imagine he's referring to incidents where parents insist that an entire school be nut free, or thinking that the restaurant would interpret that to mean that no one in the restaurant should be served nuts while the allergic person is dining there. There are also folks who will tell servers that they are allergic to something that they don't like, to ensure that it doesn't make it into their food, not realizing that it could cause staff to think others are "crying wolf".
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by sunrise717 View Post
Hi everyone! I will be going on my first cruise EVER ) but I have Severe treenut allergies. I was wondering if I could eat at the quick service restaurants on deck by the pool or if I actually have to eat every meal at the MDR. Ill have 2 dd with me and to go to the MDR each meal would waste so much time.Does anybody have any experience with this??and could you give me any tips. Thanks
MDR is the safest. At the buffets if you ask someone will tell you about ingredients in each dish but they can't guarantee the last patron before you didn't sprinkle walnuts into the open serving dishes. At quick service they will tell you ingredients but nothing is prepared separately and they don't take the same precautions against cross contamination (e.g. No dedicated fryer for the fries) so it is riskier. Same for room service.

You can usually get packaged cereal, yogurt and milk at the breakfast buffet which would be quick and safe. Other than you have to decide what your risk tolerance is.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:34 PM   #11
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Make sure you let Disney know of your allergy before your trip! When you first board the ship, go to the area where they are taking dining changes and make sure your allergy is on your reservation and that your servers are aware of it. At your first meal in the main dining rooms, talk to your servers and head server to make sure they are aware of your allergy. There's no need to show them your EpiPens, but definitely have them with you! They will take your order on special order sheets and have it prepared specially for you. The first night may take a while. After that, you should be able to pre-order your meals for the next day, so they can make things special for you, like modifying a soup to not contain pine nuts or whatever the case may be. They can make special desserts if you pre-order them too. Chocolate lava cake is pretty popular with my husband. I prefer fresh berries and Enjoy Life cookies, but that's just me and my cookie addiction. A chef made special cookies just for us one time - a whole heaping plate to take back to our stateroom!

If you identify your allergies at the quick service places they should bring a chef out to talk to you and review ingredients for anything you would like to eat. If you don't talk to the chef, don't eat there! After consulting with the chef for the poolside quick service locations, we were able to each chips (fries) at only one place (dedicated fryer that week, I hear that doesn't happen often) but not much else due to cross contamination risk at those locations.

The buffet is much easier to navigate. Upon arrival, let the staff member handing out hand wipes and/or plates know that you have an allergy and would like to speak to the chef. The chef will walk you through the buffet line, take your order, and make a plate for you in the kitchen to prevent cross contamination. If you don't identify yourself as having allergies they have no way of knowing. Ask for the chef and get your plate made in the kitchen. It may take a while to get your food, but it's the only safe way to navigate the buffet.

All in all, Disney is really good with allergies. If your server doesn't get it or doesn't take your allergies seriously enough (it's very rare, as they tend to pair people with allergies and servers with allergy training), ask to speak to the matire d' or go to Guest Services and be reseated immediately. They don't know you have an allergy unless you tell them, and mention it at every meal, especially ones without your usual servers. Also, servers and chefs are human and mistakes happen, so always be cautious and ask questions if you have any. Never eat anything until you've verified the ingredients - that includes bread and condiments brought to the table, as they aren't typically checked for allergens by most servers.

Always have your autoinjectors (EpiPens, Allerject, Auvi-Q) with you. ALWAYS: at the pool, at the shows, in port, everywhere. Munching on that fresh cut fruit from the pool deck seemed like a good idea... until I saw the peanut butter cookies brought out of the oven and placed next to the fruit... I made a mistake and didn't ask, and got sick. Not sick enough to require the EpiPen, but sick enough to remind me to remind others. So don't eat the fresh cut fruit on the pool deck. Only the bananas and oranges on deck are safe because they can be washed and peeled.

Take your usual precautions and have a wonderful trip!

PS - They have really good pancakes and waffles for guests with allergies.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:32 PM   #12
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You and a medical doctor think there are "over reacting parents" falsely claiming tree nut allergies? That's interesting. I can see it being possible with gluten but not with tree nuts.
No I'm saying this because we've had people tell us, literally to my face, that they don't believe in food allergies. This person said that he thinks food allergies are just "Rich white folks" over reacting.
I told him, well, I am not poor but I'm not rich. I'm also Asian, not white, but my son has tree nut allergy.

There ARE some people out there who are just uneducated about food allergy and do not believe in it.
There are also some cultures out there that do not think food allergy is a big deal. They see some allergic reactions (not anaphylaxis, but some rashes for example), they think it'll go away if they keep eating it.
I went to school in Japan for two years when I was in elementary school. I am lactose intolerant but they didn't care because they didn't believe in it. So they forced me to drink milk daily during lunch and I felt sick every day. Luckily, things are starting to change over there now that people are more aware and learning that food allergy CAN be a serious health threat to some.

This is why my doctor told me to let restaurants know that we're not joking when it comes to my son's allergies.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:38 PM   #13
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My youngest dd (now 6) has been on 2 other dcl trips with no problems. She has severe peanut and tree nut allergies. The servers at all three restaurants went above and beyond to ensure that she was safe, as did the CMs in the oceaneer's club/lab. We never encountered any CMs on the ship who even batted an eye when we asked for ingredients/cross contamination info. This is one reason why we continue to sail dcl.
we always buy the extra med insurance for the trip, but I feel rather confident that we will not need it (not for this anyway)
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:16 PM   #14
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We have been on 2 DCL trips with my son who has a deadly tree nut and peanut allergy. We have at least 5 epipens with us (not that that many would work but I always bring 'back up" in case something malfunctions" and both Benadryl liquid and chewables (in case he can't chew and I have to pour it down his throat which I did at WDW once at the Contemporary resort). I have to say my experience at DCL has far surpassed my experience at WDW. The chef has come out at every restaurant to ensure I knew what was safe for him vs. 'risky'. Buffets we tend to stay away from unless we can guarantee there is no "cross contamination" - he mostly would grab stuff not from a buffet but from pool deck places like the "burger and hot dog place" where nothing had nuts. When we did go to buffet places we'd get a waiter to go into the kitchen and speak with the chef. Everyone was very accommodating- especially when I use the word "deadly". (I'm sorry, but I'm an RN and to me anaphylaxis can equal death, especially in the middle of an ocean.....). I do NOT play with my kids lives....
Be prepared and be smart. We bring wipes with us and wipe the tables down - some waiters fine it insulting. I don't care. I have no idea if some kid had an uncrustable there earlier that day. Not my problem if someone is insulted. It's my kids life. Tough crap.... Once they understand why I'm doing it they usually help me!

We always get a table just for us so there isn't the risk of someone else ordering nuts at the table. I would hate to tell someone "sorry you can't have that" during their vacation so my kid can be safe. I love the opportunity to meet other people, but find dinner isnt' the place for it because we have to keep our son safe without impacting other's abilty to order what they need to order for their children.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:02 PM   #15
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On our last cruise, I ordered an appetizer (don't remember what) and my server told me that there was something in it that came prepackaged. Since they couldn't guarantee that the prepackaged food was uncontaminated he warned me that I should probably stay away from it. I decided to avoid it.

On the previous cruise, I had ordered the Caesar salad and was told that there were anchovies in the dressing (I'm allergic to most seafood). I'm usually pretty good with anchovies that are in a paste in a small amount like in a caesar dressing or which are highly processed like in Worcestershire sauce (not so much with an actual whole one as I discovered at another occasion). Told them that so I ordered it. No problem. I ordered it again later and was reminded that it had anchovies and was asked if I had been OK with the last time, which I had. I was impressed that he not only remembered that I had tried it previously but also checked to make sure that I was fine with it - they didn't consider that I've already been told once so they no longer need to say anything.

I don't think that you should ever need to show an epipen to the servers - they do take allergies seriously and don't think that they're made up or DCL wouldn't go to so much trouble to have separate kitchens or kitchen areas (depending on ship). You'll notice that meals for people with allergies are written up on a pink slip so that they don't get mixed up. Even when we have breakfast at an MDR instead of the buffet, my order goes onto a pink slip even if I'm ordering pancakes just so that they aren't cooked anywhere near seafood. Allergy information is on the ticket they print out when they ask you for your stateroom number when you go to the MDR for breakfast or lunch so they should know even if you don't say anything.

At the buffet, I never bother to ask for the chef or a CM to walk me through it, but I do look at what other platters are near to where I'm selecting food in case others have moved spoons (which they do) and cross-contaminated. If there's a seafood platter near to the food I'd like, I simply skip it just for safety. If I'm not clear on what something has in it, I skip it.

The counter service places cannot prevent as much cross-contamination because they have only one kitchen and prep area. I'm careful there but recognize a certain amount of risk. I'll tend to avoid anything that may be deep fried if they deep fry fish there. If you ask about cross-contamination or if something is X allergy free they'll tell you the truth about whether or not they can state that it won't come in contact (normally they can't guarantee it). They won't tell you what you want to hear.
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