Cruising with Dairy Allergies

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by DisneyMommy04, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. DisneyMommy04

    DisneyMommy04 Earning My Ears

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    We are cruising for the first time with our son (9) who has a dairy allergy. We have already made a note of this on our reservation, but I wanted to find out if anyone has any experience cruising with this sort of allergy. Will we have a hard time finding things for him to eat? :confused3

    Thanks for your help.
     
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  3. cruisecrasher

    cruisecrasher DIS Veteran

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    They have soy milk. I'm vegan and my daughter has dairy allergies. They let us preorder not only for the next night's dinner, but DD's meals for lunch in the club or lab the next day. I've got an (admittedly half finished) trip report linked in my signature.
    They even made us chocolate desserts and pancakes...just don't be shy and speak to your head waiter each evening after dinner. On the Magic, Luis (our head server) let us call him through guest services if we wanted room service and couldn't get what we wanted (soy milk is no problem, specially made items are harder to get from room service, easier at Topsiders and sit down restaurants)
     
  4. Stephandy03

    Stephandy03 Mouseketeer

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    Agree - my daughter has dairy allergy too and when we cruised (on Carnival) they had soy milk for us.

    Just curious - cruisecatcher - you can eat chocolate? I thought most chocolate has dairy in it. My daughter only eats dark chocolate after I've scrutinized the ingredients. We avoid all chocolate desserts in restaurants b/c I assume it's made with milk chocolate.

    We usually ask for a side of fruit for her dessert. They never had problems with that on our cruise (again, not Disney, but if Carnival can do it, I'm sure Disney can too).
     
  5. cruisecrasher

    cruisecrasher DIS Veteran

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    They specially made dairy free and egg free chocolate raspberry layered cake with coconut milk whipped "cream".
    I do eat (high quality, non dairy) chocolate all the time. There are semi sweet and white chocolates made with soy lecithin. I tend to prefer dark chocolate and make moist stuff myself from pure cocoa powder. But there are these-
    http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/chocolate-for-baking/mini-chips/
    ;)
     
  6. rutgers1

    rutgers1 DIS Veteran

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    When we were on the Dream, it seemed like the staff were tripping over themselves to accommodate our sons' allergies. They even went as far as to bake special brownies that they wouldn't be allergic to.

    Disney is awesome with food allergies!
     
  7. abdgeek

    abdgeek DIS Veteran

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    As PP have said, Disney is great with all allergies, not just dairy. I have a dairy allergy(milk, cheese, cream, etc.) and I usually tell the head waiter at my first meal of my allergy. I say usually because I eat dairy at home and take Lactaid if I want the item bad enough and I am fine. I find that when I tell the waiter, they stop me from eating anything with dairy in it. I do eat chocolate, bread(most types) and other things that have dairy in it without having to take my pill. I think it depends on how the item is made.

    Your son will be fine. If you go to the buffet, let the server know and they will have the chef walk the line with you to tell your son what he can have.
     
  8. DisneyMommy04

    DisneyMommy04 Earning My Ears

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    Thank you all. I am feeling a little easier tonight after reading all of your posts. I have never worried when we have been in the parks but the cruise just had me a little nervous.

    Thanks again! :):)
     
  9. cris0809

    cris0809 Might be why the rum is always gone

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    Lactose intolerance and a dairy allergy are different things but either way the staff will go out of their way to make sure you are accommodated. Communicate as clearly as possible with them, talk to your head server and everything should be fine. Don't be afraid to ask questions or make special requests. They will do their best.
     
  10. tartemis

    tartemis DIS Veteran

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    So, I hate to be a downer, but this fall we went on our first cruise with Disney and our youngest daughter (3 years old) has a severe dairy allergy. Honestly, it was a bit of a nightmare. In full disclosure, our daughter's allergy is so severe that she will break out in hives from merely touching dairy (as opposed to ingesting it when she will have more severe symptoms). Normally, that isn't that hard to do, but on the Dream, there are ice cream stations on Deck 11 and on our first day on the cruise there was literally ice cream dripping everywhere. I swear 80% of people were eating ice cream on the deck. My daughter broke out in hives within a few hours on the ship.

    Also, while they are very good about making allergy-free meals in the dining rooms, it can be very hard finding allergy-free meals at other times -- for example if you are out on an excursion and miss the standard sit-down meal. Room service will NOT even try to accommodate an allergy. Also, they won't provide allergy-free meals on the excursions themselves. (At least they did not on ours.) After my daughter had not eaten anything since breakfast and we missed lunch because of an excursion, I tried to order her a hot dog and french fries through room service and they wouldn't let me (even though neither contains dairy). Then I said, fine, I know you can't guarantee it is dairy-free because it isn't made in a separate kitchen, but please just send me one anyway with no mayo or any other dairy-based accompaniments. I kid you not, it came with butter dripping on the bun and coleslaw all over the plate. My daughter eats out at restaurants all the time that don't have an allergy-dedicated kitchen, but with some basic common sense, we have never had a problem. Disney, however, was completely inflexible to the point that my daughter had to eat cereal with soy milk for an entire day because the order through the main kitchen wasn't placed early enough.

    Then at Castaway Cay, they had supposedly made a dairy-free meal for her, but she ended up breaking out in hives all over and spent the afternoon in the medical building. It was very stressful.

    While we thought the cruise was great in other respects, we have decided that we will not do another one for a while -- our daughter is still young enough that she may outgrow her allergies, but even if she doesn't, when she is older I will feel better about her ability to keep herself safe and recognize early when a major allergic reaction is coming on.

    FWIW, we have been to Disney World with her many times and never had an issue. I was expecting the same with the Disney Cruise line and was disappointed.
     
  11. cruisecrasher

    cruisecrasher DIS Veteran

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    Ill admit, if you want something special from room service or to take to cc or on a Disney sponsored excursion, you need to request it the day before. We found that out when I phoned four hour before our tea with Alice to discover they can provide allergen free cookies, given 24 hours notice. I brought a pre-packaged non dairy snack from home and she had that with her tea. The next day room service delivered a whole plate of cookies to our stateroom. They just need notice.
    I'd imagine the contact allergy does create a host of difficulties. Like how on earth do you let them play with other kids or in the clubs?
     
  12. tartemis

    tartemis DIS Veteran

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    After the fiasco our first full day on the ship, I went to talk to customer service about the situation and FWIW, they told me that there was nothing they could do -- that I always had to go through the main dining room and nothing could ever be brought through room service or on excursions, even with advance notice. This is where i think if you have a really great serving team that they may be able to help you out -- I think ours was only okay as I had to push to try and get meals pre-ordered so our daughter wouldn't have to wait for her meal. And the only reason I knew to do that was from reading these boards.

    Re contact allergies -- at the kid's club she was actually fine, probably in large part to the fact that they require all kids to wash their hands before going into the club. That first day around the rest of the ship, however, I swear there must have been a thin coating of melted ice cream over the entire deck and hand railings in the rest of the ship.
     
  13. cruisecrasher

    cruisecrasher DIS Veteran

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    When we were onboard they had ice cream split making in the clubs...that's why I thought that'd be hard.
     
  14. kalc12345

    kalc12345 DIS Veteran

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    I totally agree!!!

    My son can't have anything with artificial colors/flavors or high fructose corn syrup. It is hard because EVERYthing has those ingredients. But DCL was beyond awesome!! They made sure he had safe food and just what he wanted.
     
  15. MommytoaPrince

    MommytoaPrince Mouseketeer

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    Our experience with Disney cruising with allergies was great. Our son has milk, eggs, soy, wheat, corn & shellfish allergies and I felt like Disney was very aware and went above and beyond to provide him with plenty of options.
     
  16. LeslieG

    LeslieG DIS Veteran

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    MY DS13 has a dairy allergy. Hasn't grown out of it, and I'm assuming at this point he won't. Anyway, I have stopped giving notice about his allergy, because I have found that if I do, they will not listen to me as his mother when I say yes, even though there's a little milk in the chicken finger batter, he's okay eating it. I understand their caution, but I didn't like their attempts to override me in what he could or could not eat. He does okay with small amounts of dairy, just not a glass of milk or a bowl of ice cream or mac and cheese.

    They were pretty good supplying soy milk, but they did not offer to make him anything special as far as desserts. They did bring him rice dream ice cream I think it was.

    The best person to speak to is the head waiter. They know more than your server. My head waiter did give us some packs of cookies that were dairy free, so it was nice to have those when we were at the buffet or in the cabin.

    I just got frustrated with their attempts to bring him a plain chicken breast and plain baked potato for dinner every night.
     
  17. franluvsbubba

    franluvsbubba Mouseketeer

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    Wow! Tht IS very disturbing and interesting! My DD, now 10, is allergic to soy, wheat and dairy. We've been on 2 cruises and go to Dis at least once, sometimes twice a year. We've NEVER had a problem. On the cruise, both at the sit down meals, and the regular times whn we wanted to catch a bite, the staff was helpful and she never had any problems. So sorry to hear u had this experience. :(
     
  18. MeLaNie9

    MeLaNie9 DIS Veteran

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    We were on the Dream last Aug - me and my two sons, one who has FPIES with dairy. FPIES is a rare delayed allergy, he has to ingest dairy to have the reaction which occurs about 2 hrs later and is very severe. We have been to WDW a number of times and have always been impressed with their handling of the food allergy. I would say that our Disney cruise experience was so-so. This was our first cruise ever and I had read on these boards that I should go to one of the restaurants upon boarding to find our head waiter and let him know of the allergy and that he would help us throughout. Upon boarding and asking someone where to go to do this, I was basically dissuaded from this and sent to Cabanas to eat. Cabanas was actually probably the best place for my son because a chef came out every time to go through the buffet or to take his special order. The restaurants were another story. I thought the head waiter was to help us but he basically did nothing for us the whole cruise. In fact, I think we only spoke to him once. Our poor server, who was always running around like crazy, helped us order food for our son for the next day after every dinner. The choices were pretty limited, especially for CC. Because the server was always so busy, we were always left in the restaurants when they were cleaning up from our dinner service - that was just the only time he had to spend with us to get the food ordered. One night the server was so tired and exasperated he just told me that he would order my son "chef's choice" for the dinner the next night. That turned out to be a huge hunk of prime rib which he would not touch. (It really did look kind
    of gross) DS could not have any of the bread or rolls and he was very upset by that. We spent 4 days after the cruise at WDW and DS was happy again - he could eat the bread at GG and the Wave and he was ecstatic.
    Admittedly I did not know exactly what I was supposed to do to make this work better. We are taking another cruise in Nov and hopefully we will figure it out by then!
     
  19. budwmn

    budwmn If you believe in magic, you belong

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    I just returned yesterday from a 3 night cruise on the Dream. I have a life threatening dairy allergy and had no problems. I preordered my meals each night and they were not only safe to eat, but delicious. They offered me dairy free doughnuts, pancakes, and desserts. I'm trying to watch my weight, so I avoided those items, but it was nice to know that they offered choices. I ordered Rice Krispies and soy milk for breakfast. I honestly enjoyed my dairy free meals.
     
  20. CarolynU

    CarolynU <font color=CC0000>Proud Mum twice over<br><font c

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    Seems as if it very much depends on the skill and willingness of your head server. One year ago on The Magic our head server was not really interested, so although my DDIL's meals were pre-ordered sometimes all she got was the meal minus any sauce or flavour. One time she literally got a bowl of plain pasta. However, last week when we got on The Fantasy she found out that Fitz a head server who she remembered from 2008 was on there, and therefore she requested him, and her wish was granted.
    Oh my goodness what a difference! Fitz was so onto it, and he sat down after our meal every night and went through every item on the next days menu to say what she could have , what she couldn't have or what could be adapted. When the server was taking care of us Fitz was watching and overseeing every move so that nothing slipped through the net. He was amazing.
    So the experience can be handled smoothly or not, but if it isn't being handled well don't hesitate asking for a change in head server to someone who makes the experience magical. It can be done.
     
  21. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

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    I agree with you actually, especially since you cruised w/a 3 YO. Food options are limited, and some of the servers don't understand allergies. We've cruised on both the classic ships and the Dream and noticed that they are MUCH better on the classics w/allergies (and food in general).

    The decks with the ice cream were my worst nightmare.

    We've been cruising w/our allergy kid since she was 18 months. On our last 7 day she "ran out" of things she was interested in eating by day 3, and the head server handed us a big bag of Ruffles from the pantry so that we weren't always hunting him down in the afternoon for snacks. They had the same thing for her daily, grilled or pan fried chicken, rice pasta, marinara sauce. There isn't much variety when you're little :worried: (she's allergic to dairy, egg, nuts). At age 3 she wasn't too keen on eating rice and salmon. They couldn't think of anything else to make her, so she ate french fries and snacks from days 4-7.

    For our upcoming cruise I found a picture of "pad thai w/tofu." She got excited that there would be a different flavor profile for her to try. We've been working on eating salmon at home, but I honestly can't think of anything else besides grilled chicken, oven baked salmon, rice pasta and table bread.

    Her allergist is having her do an open food challenge in his office before our next cruise. I will literally have a heart attack w/an epi pen in hand as she takes her 1st bite of peanuts, full on cow's milk and scrambled eggs.

    If she could have regular mac & cheese one day---oh to dream!
     

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