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Mr. Click

Food Allergies, how to handle them

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We have our first Azamara cruise coming up in a few months and I am wondering what is the best way to handle some food allergy issues.  On Celebrity and Royal we have been fine just telling our waiters on the first night but with the different dining venues on Azamara is there someone, some place at corporate I should be contacting in advance?  

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1 hour ago, Mr. Click said:

We have our first Azamara cruise coming up in a few months and I am wondering what is the best way to handle some food allergy issues.  On Celebrity and Royal we have been fine just telling our waiters on the first night but with the different dining venues on Azamara is there someone, some place at corporate I should be contacting in advance?  

 

The good news is that service recognizing food allergies has dramatically improved in the past 5 years. 

 

There is one very important and highly recommended step to take. At least a month before cruising you should fill out a special needs/requests form.

 

This form (we get ours from our Travel Agent) has a section at the end for food allergies and is faxed to the RCI headquarters.

 

If you have undertaken the first step at home, in your stateroom, when you embark, you will receive an invitation to meet with one of the Head Waiters at the entrance to Discoveries at 5:45 that evening.

 

Once you discuss your concerns, the information is shared by computer with all of the dining venues.

 

At these venues, you may have to mention that your information is available for reference.

 

Furthermore, at any buffets on board, such as in Windows, there should be labels or tags that identify components of dishes that are often an issue such as gluten, lactose, etc. Unfortunately  I think this information may not include sea food.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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Hi Mr Click,

Yes, as Nordski says you should let us know ahead of time so the Chef is prepared. Once aboard, ask to discuss your sensitivities with the Restaurant Manager or Head Waiter. They'll take good care of you.

Here's a blog post I wrote about the subject a couple years ago. It's still valid...

https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/blog/food-allergies-and-cruising-everything-you-need-know

 

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2 hours ago, nordski said:

 

The good news is that service recognizing food allergies has dramatically improved in the past 5 years.

 

Furthermore, at any buffets on board, such as in Windows, there should be labels or tags that identify components of dishes that are often an issue such as gluten, lactose, etc. Unfortunately  I think this information may not include sea food.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Yes indeed labelling has improved greatly particularly over the past year or so.

 

You are right about seafood also. It is the ingredients that are not listed which may cause a problem to anyone with allergies to shellfish or crustacea, although labelling in some of those instances has also improved.

 

I contact the ship directly prior to sailing, meet with the restaurant manager on the first evening and although I know the menus pretty well, I still double check with the chef in Windows Cafe at lunch or dinner to ensure that all is safe for me. Possible "stumbling blocks" for anyone with similar allergies are undisclosed Oyster Sauce (although that has recently been listed on some foods) and sauces made from a fish stock which included shellfish and / or crustacea.

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39 minutes ago, Baynanno1 said:

 

Yes indeed labelling has improved greatly particularly over the past year or so.

 

You are right about seafood also. It is the ingredients that are not listed which may cause a problem to anyone with allergies to shellfish or crustacea, although labelling in some of those instances has also improved.

 

I contact the ship directly prior to sailing, meet with the restaurant manager on the first evening and although I know the menus pretty well, I still double check with the chef in Windows Cafe at lunch or dinner to ensure that all is safe for me. Possible "stumbling blocks" for anyone with similar allergies are undisclosed Oyster Sauce (although that has recently been listed on some foods) and sauces made from a fish stock which included shellfish and / or crustacea.

 

Thanks for adding that information.

 

 

Edited by nordski

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Thanks for all of the information.  I will get in touch with special needs in the next day or two.  Life gets tricky when you cannot eat anything that ever swam.  Did you know that worchestier sauce has anchovies in it?  Did you know some thousand island dressings have it?  did you know all Thai food is done with a fish paste base? Even if it is a chicken dish.... Celebrity and Royal have been great working with us so I am glad to hear Azamara is on top of things too.

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I should have added that while others are correct that you can work with the Restaurant Managers, and I am certain that that approach works quite well as it has for us in the past, we now like to make contact with the various Head Waiters.

 

There are two reasons:

 

1/ They tend to work as a team, so that they seemingly very quickly identify both the issues and the steps needed to address them.

 

2/ There are more of them and they are usually visible in all the venues, although perhaps less so in the Specialty Restaurants.

 

On recent cruises the Head Waiters have ensured that Mrs. Nordski, who has the allergies, has been able to participate in the ship’s various activities including special brunches, buffets, bbq’s etc.

 

In our view, the Head Waiters are an amazing group and we always mention their efforts in the Mid and Post Cruise surveys.

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The other think to add (DH has a serious allergy) is if you are going on an excursion involving a lunch tell land Discoveries as they do not, surprisingly join up with other ship information sources. However they will tell their agents of your needs. 

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1 hour ago, uktog said:

The other think to add (DH has a serious allergy) is if you are going on an excursion involving a lunch tell land Discoveries as they do not, surprisingly join up with other ship information sources. However they will tell their agents of your needs. 

 

Yes indeed. Shore Excursions staff email the agent / tour operator with detailed information.

 

However : there is often a "however". I have done a number of all day excursions with lunch included over the years. My experience on a few of those follows.

 

Sometimes the information reaches the right place, as an example Borobudur, where not only was the guide, but also lunch venue staff were aware of my allergies and took great care regarding my selections from their buffet. Same scenario on an all day tour to Lucca with a sit down meal.

 

On other occasions, for whatever reason, the information fails to reach the intended / essential person, for example on my recent tour to La Alhambra, the guide looked at me blankly when I mentioned food allergies and had no idea what I was talking about. I know Shore Excursions sent a detailed email to the service provider, but as on some previous occasions the message failed to reach the guide on that tour. Similar scenario on an overnight tour to Luxor.

 

That said, I should imagine that like me, anyone with food allergies is always vigilant regarding foods on offer and if unsure, will make enquiries.

Edited by Baynanno1

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Thanks again for all of the advice. We always make sure any excursions that involve lunch know what the problems are. On a recent Greek Islands cruise our driver/guide in Athens want to take us to his favorite, the BEST fish restaurant.  We explained and he took to THE BEST gyro place on earth. It really was.  

 

I tried to log into my Azamara account earlier to look up the info I needed to contact the right people but they wanted me to update my info including my email address and then refused to accept my two email addresses because they are already associated with my account......so now I know that Azamara's IT is as bad as the other two lines under the Royal umbrella.  Time to make some phone calls tomorrow.

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6 hours ago, Mr. Click said:

Thanks again for all of the advice. We always make sure any excursions that involve lunch know what the problems are. On a recent Greek Islands cruise our driver/guide in Athens want to take us to his favorite, the BEST fish restaurant.  We explained and he took to THE BEST gyro place on earth. It really was.  

 

I tried to log into my Azamara account earlier to look up the info I needed to contact the right people but they wanted me to update my info including my email address and then refused to accept my two email addresses because they are already associated with my account......so now I know that Azamara's IT is as bad as the other two lines under the Royal umbrella.  Time to make some phone calls tomorrow.

Try using your Celebrity log-in details.

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16 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Try using your Celebrity log-in details.

 I did, they are the same.  It is pretty annoying and now I am reading more and more about Azamara's failures on shore excursions it is making me wonder if this really going to be worth the cost and effort.

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24 minutes ago, Mr. Click said:

 I did, they are the same.  It is pretty annoying and now I am reading more and more about Azamara's failures on shore excursions it is making me wonder if this really going to be worth the cost and effort.

 

Mr Click, if you are referring to my previous post #9, the "failings" therein were not due in any way to Azamara's Shore Excursions staff, but rather due to the service provider (company / personnel) failing to pass on to the tour guide the detailed information provided in Azamara's email to the service provider.

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I can only add that I have a significant number of food restrictions and Azamara Chefs and staff have dealt with them flawlessly.

I have 5 weeks on the Quest starting next month and am not at all concerned, based on past experience.  I eat better on the ship than I do at home!:classic_biggrin:

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On 11/6/2018 at 8:12 PM, Baynanno1 said:

 

Mr Click, if you are referring to my previous post #9, the "failings" therein were not due in any way to Azamara's Shore Excursions staff, but rather due to the service provider (company / personnel) failing to pass on to the tour guide the detailed information provided in Azamara's email to the service provider.

No, not referring to your post at all but some other issues I have been reading about when I get a few minutes.  My adorable 18 month old grandson seems to think it is fun to toddle over and close my laptop when I am trying read stuff.....he does it with a grin. I think he will start working with RCI/Celebrity/Azamara IT department next week....

 

Thanks again everyone. We have had no problems sailing on Royal and Celebrity in the past but it never seems to make a difference whether we call/write ahead with them but I will make it a point to call this week, if the little one gives me my phone back...

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I have a Dairy Intolerance and found meeting with the Maitre’d at 5 45 pm too late to pre order for that evening. It was also at the same time as our Meet and Mingle, where I had to pay a fellow passenger for an excursion, so I went to the dining room earlier. Celebrity are better organised and will meet you much earlier in the afternoon. 

I would also pre order my meals the night before, but this never involved a sweet course, so my only option was a sorbet.

I found this improved greatly when Philip the hotel manager saw me searching for something I could eat at the Officer’s Brunch. He had a word with the chef and thereafter I was given a ‘special sweet’ every night.

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48 minutes ago, Mr. Click said:

  My adorable 18 month old grandson seems to think it is fun to toddle over and close my laptop when I am trying read stuff.....he does it with a grin. I think he will start working with RCI/Celebrity/Azamara IT department next week....

 

 

Your grandson most definitely sounds adorable! 🙂

I am sure you will be fine with food on Azamara.

 

Edited by Baynanno1

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My experiences from the Pursuit:

 

The gluten free bread options are better than they were two years ago - more choices and better tasting.

 

Labeling at the buffet can be hit or miss. There were things that were not labeled GF that clearly should have been. I had to find staff to double check.

 

There is no notice anywhere that gluten free soy sauce is available. You will need to ask for it, they request it from somewhere, and it arrives for your sushi after about 10 minutes.

 

GF hot dog and hamburger buns are available at the Patio. I saw the grill cook put tinfoil over a section of the grill to protect my patty from cross contamination.

 

Large buffets (such as white night) make me nervous. Labels were not next to the correct desserts making me unsure as to what I could eat. Lots of cross contamination by utensils. One of the staff took it upon herself to go to the kitchen and request the chef to make more chocolate mousse and brought it straight to me.

 

Pasta station has GF pasta. The cook grabbed an unused pan for making my sauce. However, he was about to plunge the pasta into the same water that had heated the regular pasta. I caught him just in time and he realized the cross contamination issue.

 

I wish they could get some recipes for GF cookies and desserts. In Mosiac the coconut macaroons are the only GF choice. The GF dessert choices in Windows were underwhelming. I live in Hooterville and our local bakery makes a very nice flourless chocolate cake and scones that even the not gluten free crowd likes. Azamara can do better.

 

Main dining room menus were well marked but pedantic. Caesar salad was not GF. I asked if it would be if there are no croutons. The answer is yes. Likewise the onion soup could become GF if the little toast gets replaced with GF bread. They did this with no problem for me but it could have been marked "GF available upon request".

 

I never had room service so I cannot opine on that.

 

 

 

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There is no labelling on Pursuit of any nut content on items. This caused us a minor issue just now but fortunately no harm done. DH is banned from buffet desserts until further notice. 

When we were on Ama Waterways they had a code eg h for nuts c for dairy or whatever and all buffet items and menu dishes  were labelled using the letters. Wish Azamara did that. 

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5 hours ago, MNgardens said:

 

Large buffets (such as white night) make me nervous. Labels were not next to the correct desserts making me unsure as to what I could eat. Lots of cross contamination by utensils. One of the staff took it upon herself to go to the kitchen and request the chef to make more chocolate mousse and brought it straight to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Night buffet makes me more nervous than any other, however as you discovered, "ask and you shall receive" is pretty much what happens on both Journey & Quest. We have not yet cruised on Pursuit.

On White Nights we chose to eat in Discoveries Restaurant and go up after dinner to deck 9 0r 10 for the party.

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