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Special Needs Department not terribly efficient?

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9 hours ago, Fa-Li said:

We have only done a special needs request once, on Rhapsody, and it was not honored.  Needed a medical fridge and not only was it not there, no one seemed to believe they exist.  We were in a suite, and everyone from room steward to concierge to guest services swore up and down that RC does not provide them.  So, like sross6019, we ended up juggling ice and zip locks the whole week.  Very unpleasant.  I got a special needs email when we got back asking if we were happy, and I replied immediately with a "since you ask...."  Got a very nice credit towards next cruise.

 

The steward did offer to take the meds to staff fridge, but given how expensive they are, and the very small temp window that is allowed, did not feel we could do that.  However, on the last day I thought to ask her to freeze the gel packs we had used on the plane so we had them on disembarkation.  This worked very well, and if we face this situation in future, I will pack extra gel packs for the purpose of switching out.  I know how long those last and wouldn't worry as much as I did with melting ice.  

Sorry to hear about your experience. If this happens again try the medical bay. The staff should be able to tell you if the ship has them and they may even arrange for one to be placed in your room.

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On 7/25/2019 at 6:58 PM, Gatordad815 said:

We have done 3 cruises now all with special needs requests, as our daughter has Celiac disease and must eat strictly gluten free and my wife must use a Cpap. 

 

# of times the dining room knew ahead of time about dietary needs: 0/3

# of times Cpap necessities were in room: 1/3

 

% of times ship staff took care of needs immediately with a smile: 100%

 

Once we establish and take care of these needs the first day (along with registering kids for kids club, unpacking, and all of the other first day “to-dos” that everyone else typically does), it’s always been smooth sailing. I consider it part of my first day to-do list.

 

I agree the communication between land and ship isn’t good, but as long as the staff on board can get my daughter food she can safely eat and get my wife the things she needs to breathe through the night, I’m a happy camper! These things seem to be harder to get in day to day life on land in my experience....

My granddaughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease last year. I would love to keep cruising with her and I’d like to know if your daughter has been able to eat in the dining room with no cross contamination issues. Do they cook her food in a gluten free kitchen using all gluten free utensils? We are terrified to let her eat anywhere except at home for fear she may be contaminated by gluten.

Thanks!

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I have been sailing with a CPAP for 20 years now. Before I cruise I call special needs and request distilled water and an extension cord. They have ALWAYS been in my cabin. Three years ago I started requesting a sharps container. It has always been there as well. I also have severe food allergies and I let them know that ahead of time. My first night at dinner, the head waiter comes to my table immediately to make sure the wait staff is aware of my allergies. I order my meals ahead of time and they are prepared separately. I’ve never had a problem.

what is this medical fridge some of you are speaking about? Is it in place of the one in your room? Unless one has a larger room, where would it be placed?

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I have only had an issue with them once and it really wasn't THAT big of an issue. 

I booked a family cruise and emailed Special Needs about 35 days before our cruise. The email included the name, reservation number cabin then the special need on all 3 rooms that needed something. In one of my sisters room was a sharps and a medical fridge (she needed a extension cord and distilled water) in my moms cabin was extension cord and distilled water and my mom needed a shower stool and my other sister had the shower stool... Wasn't that bad, we were all close to each other.. But just odd how scrambled it was

 

 

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5 hours ago, counsdr said:

My granddaughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease last year. I would love to keep cruising with her and I’d like to know if your daughter has been able to eat in the dining room with no cross contamination issues. Do they cook her food in a gluten free kitchen using all gluten free utensils? We are terrified to let her eat anywhere except at home for fear she may be contaminated by gluten.

Thanks!

I believe that all of the meals ordered in advance are prepared in a special kitchen. My Dd was diagnosed over 10 years ago, she’s been glutened before, it stinks, but it’s not life threatening like a peanut allergy. Sometimes she’d rather risk it than not eat out.

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6 hours ago, counsdr said:

My granddaughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease last year. I would love to keep cruising with her and I’d like to know if your daughter has been able to eat in the dining room with no cross contamination issues. Do they cook her food in a gluten free kitchen using all gluten free utensils? We are terrified to let her eat anywhere except at home for fear she may be contaminated by gluten.

Thanks!

 

I understand that fear well! Our daughter was diagnosed at 2 years old and she is now 6.  For a while after she was diagnosed the only place we traveled was Disney World, as they are good at accommodating safely. When we first considered cruising we booked a Disney Cruise for this reason. But in researching Royal Caribbean I saw many reviews indicating they handle special diets well, so we switched to Oasis.

 

 We have now been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises and she has been able to eat safely on all of them! They cook her food in a separate area and avoid cross contamination. It’s great as at home we have to cook all meals, so it feels like a real vacation!

 

I did a trip report of our first cruise that describes our food experiences if you are interested:

 

It may be too long for you, as it’s quite lengthy and talks about way more than just food. There are several other reports on here that are more succinct and have very good info about traveling on RC with celiac and I would encourage you to search out and read those.

 

I would also encourage you to travel with her and take her Cruising! Celiac can feel very limiting and lonely at times. The more you are able to have her out there experiencing things like everyone else the better it’ll be for all of you!

 

Good luck and feel free to reach out with any specific questions!

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/27/2019 at 1:50 AM, Bloodgem said:

Sorry to hear about your experience. If this happens again try the medical bay. The staff should be able to tell you if the ship has them and they may even arrange for one to be placed in your room.

 

Great idea!  Wish I'd thought of it, but will remember for next time we are traveling with the same meds.  Thanks

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Have cruised 7 times with Royal and have never had any problems with the special needs department and our daughter has a rare complicated medical condition  .On every cruise everything we have need has been in our cabin when we have gotten there or very shortly after and on that 1 time the extension lead wasn't there the room steward was on his way with it.

We always let the dining staff know again about our food allergies on the first day as we use My Time and just worry about not having a set table yet that they may not know. But everytime they have indercated that they already knew and have made sure that all our needs are met. On the Voyager of the seas the waitstaff really went beyond the call of duty by giving me the next days menu to look and pick out items.So they could make sure that none of our allergies were in it. 

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I need distilled water and also an extension cord for the older ships with limited outlets. I have sent an email to special needs about 30 days out and get an acknowledgement.  If it is not in the cabin, the steward has it when the rooms are done while we’re at dinner.  Interestingly, on Carnival you are required to supply your own extension cord and either can carry on your own distilled water or buy it in the ship.

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On 7/28/2019 at 2:31 AM, counsdr said:

what is this medical fridge some of you are speaking about? Is it in place of the one in your room? Unless one has a larger room, where would it be placed?

Room fridges are not standard in all cabins on all ships.  Here is an example of a medical fridge we got while on Rhapsody one time.  It sits on the vanity.  The second time we were on Rhapsody we received a mini fridge that was placed under the vanity.  

 

ql51PLdWOcedYaCpfKVBHl2Yl7t3jyg-3P14ThllT4vsuR6xUAUUrZc2AFAQ7wEt7hmqOmI-WIRJ1YCzpkmjbR2qJePAWylilbRWaRch-tHC7AgnOa81pVAX9r2rPorW08GdVU_Sav0FV_HS9-QACV38j6zchyQRAawjM16TfrXwmGniKAI1nmgQXvN8c7zlfqTregSp5FoScSSMH6pFdCz1U2-V1xoNdZigbYHvReKa6Vv4EiMGfL1heoOvvXmYfjk-74WLHojEqUfZt9Uis995HDSV-FihABCHjTZ7QUS_7srMJWt5XN2Pj747q8v4R-F9FjmKiBzTLIGRyXMY56-cz-pAvMzlaSkI9S6q03d1ZwaRN2U-OyHk5tAOOrDK4q_uRI6_zvuMtLITIvQ4bc7293L2yMOwhRJqrx_PS0YUTeNs-O9v97xnYgJA3q4rWl-JzZwRCrxF7fq_F-I5yqzOUVVCj2RLYK8F605evtq_ULkk_X2DlItjr1OQNcuf1FVTSGVeEwBzb8TifMc3sVYmFZol-1KQTsMYqFtayMGqee7DBpm1CHm1zP_PzjTEzyEluog32b6hEnfb41T-SL7mEcOKguqn1wTqh9kx_Q8bUu6LSlmDj_Eer1wl3h-bRHNxD-1Tput0q562qCrO_WzZE_gOP10=w703-h937-no

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26 minutes ago, NETSEG said:

I need distilled water and also an extension cord for the older ships with limited outlets. I have sent an email to special needs about 30 days out and get an acknowledgement.  If it is not in the cabin, the steward has it when the rooms are done while we’re at dinner.  Interestingly, on Carnival you are required to supply your own extension cord and either can carry on your own distilled water or buy it in the ship.

Interesting, another plus for Royal. Cant Imagine having to bring your own Distilled Water

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1 hour ago, ptod said:

Room fridges are not standard in all cabins on all ships.  Here is an example of a medical fridge we got while on Rhapsody one time.  It sits on the vanity.  The second time we were on Rhapsody we received a mini fridge that was placed under the vanity.  

 

ql51PLdWOcedYaCpfKVBHl2Yl7t3jyg-3P14ThllT4vsuR6xUAUUrZc2AFAQ7wEt7hmqOmI-WIRJ1YCzpkmjbR2qJePAWylilbRWaRch-tHC7AgnOa81pVAX9r2rPorW08GdVU_Sav0FV_HS9-QACV38j6zchyQRAawjM16TfrXwmGniKAI1nmgQXvN8c7zlfqTregSp5FoScSSMH6pFdCz1U2-V1xoNdZigbYHvReKa6Vv4EiMGfL1heoOvvXmYfjk-74WLHojEqUfZt9Uis995HDSV-FihABCHjTZ7QUS_7srMJWt5XN2Pj747q8v4R-F9FjmKiBzTLIGRyXMY56-cz-pAvMzlaSkI9S6q03d1ZwaRN2U-OyHk5tAOOrDK4q_uRI6_zvuMtLITIvQ4bc7293L2yMOwhRJqrx_PS0YUTeNs-O9v97xnYgJA3q4rWl-JzZwRCrxF7fq_F-I5yqzOUVVCj2RLYK8F605evtq_ULkk_X2DlItjr1OQNcuf1FVTSGVeEwBzb8TifMc3sVYmFZol-1KQTsMYqFtayMGqee7DBpm1CHm1zP_PzjTEzyEluog32b6hEnfb41T-SL7mEcOKguqn1wTqh9kx_Q8bUu6LSlmDj_Eer1wl3h-bRHNxD-1Tput0q562qCrO_WzZE_gOP10=w703-h937-no

Unfortunately it didn’t show up! Thank you!

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On 7/28/2019 at 8:46 AM, Gatordad815 said:

 

I understand that fear well! Our daughter was diagnosed at 2 years old and she is now 6.  For a while after she was diagnosed the only place we traveled was Disney World, as they are good at accommodating safely. When we first considered cruising we booked a Disney Cruise for this reason. But in researching Royal Caribbean I saw many reviews indicating they handle special diets well, so we switched to Oasis.

 

 We have now been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises and she has been able to eat safely on all of them! They cook her food in a separate area and avoid cross contamination. It’s great as at home we have to cook all meals, so it feels like a real vacation!

 

I did a trip report of our first cruise that describes our food experiences if you are interested:

 

It may be too long for you, as it’s quite lengthy and talks about way more than just food. There are several other reports on here that are more succinct and have very good info about traveling on RC with celiac and I would encourage you to search out and read those.

 

I would also encourage you to travel with her and take her Cruising! Celiac can feel very limiting and lonely at times. The more you are able to have her out there experiencing things like everyone else the better it’ll be for all of you!

 

Good luck and feel free to reach out with any specific questions!

 

 

 

 

 

I read your whole review!!!

unfortunately my daughter keeps her in a glass bubble because she is so afraid she’ll be glutened. Last week she went to Girl Scout Camp and the counselors forgot to go get her GF snack when the rest of the group were doing s’mores! She was left out and felt awful. It’s hard being a 9 year old girl whose constantly left out.

Thank you for listening to me and sharing your story.

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8 hours ago, counsdr said:

I read your whole review!!!

unfortunately my daughter keeps her in a glass bubble because she is so afraid she’ll be glutened. Last week she went to Girl Scout Camp and the counselors forgot to go get her GF snack when the rest of the group were doing s’mores! She was left out and felt awful. It’s hard being a 9 year old girl whose constantly left out.

Thank you for listening to me and sharing your story.

She will probably go through a period of not wanting to be accommodated, and standing out. As a tween/young teen, dd16 would always just eat before a birthday party. The older she got, the less sensitive she was about having food made for her. She plays varsity soccer and runs varsity track, lots of pasta parties. Now they leave the croutons off of the salad, and usually make her gf pasta. She recently went  to a sweet 16, and there was literally nothing she could eat, not even a potato chip, and she went straight from work. Fortunately one of her friend’s has celiac, so they starved together. 

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18 hours ago, counsdr said:

I read your whole review!!!

unfortunately my daughter keeps her in a glass bubble because she is so afraid she’ll be glutened. Last week she went to Girl Scout Camp and the counselors forgot to go get her GF snack when the rest of the group were doing s’mores! She was left out and felt awful. It’s hard being a 9 year old girl whose constantly left out.

Thank you for listening to me and sharing your story.

 

My daughter experiencing that type of Girl Scout camp experience is a big fear of mine as a parent, so I empathize with your daughter. Fortunately for me, our daughter is still 6 so we have control over almost all of her meals. But we won’t always...and she still does feel “different”at times even in kindergarten (she cried because she was the only kid wearing gloves building the gingerbread house at school last year).

 

We try to include her in everything though. We bring food for her everywhere we go, GF cupcakes to birthday parties, etc. And we choose family travel that makes GF eating easy. Cruises are so great for that because not only is the food safe, it actually feels like a vacation for my wife and me. I foresee many cruises in our family’s future just based on the ease of eating....

 

I wish your granddaughter the best! I know from personal experience this isn’t easy for her or your daughter, but fun experiences can still be had. Happy cruising!

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My experience is a bit different.  I use a BIPAP and when I request distilled water and an extension cord, the cord hasn't been in my cabin, but there has been an outlet for me to plug my machine into, so I didn't need one.  The distilled water has been in my cabin on every cruise that I have sailed when I have requested it.

 

I have a shrimp allergy, but I haven't notified special needs as I am careful as to what I eat and if I have a question if there is shrimp in the dish, I ask.  I have done that in the dining room and buffet.

 

My husband needed a sharps container for some meds he took and the container was not always in the cabin, but the steward brought it after he came to introduce himself.

 

I guess we/I have been very lucky and my last cruise I asked for a wheelchair to board the ship and within a minute or so, there was one for me.

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I always thought mini fridges were standard.  I've never been in a room without one. I'm going to be booking a room on the Navigator for January, and I may have to request a medical one, just to make sure.  Are they as big as regular mini fridges typically are?  I only have a small medication pen that I would be bringing, so I don't need a big one.  I can always do the ice thing if needed.  Has anyone had both fridges in a room?  How much of a pain was it?

 

I will also need a sharps container, but a small one.  Do they have different sizes?  1 standard size?  If I bring my own, will they dispose of it for me?  If I have an unofficial sharps container, will they take care of it?  Do any of the public restrooms on the ship or at the port have sharps containers?

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3 hours ago, MaskedTurtle said:

I always thought mini fridges were standard.  I've never been in a room without one. I'm going to be booking a room on the Navigator for January, and I may have to request a medical one, just to make sure.  Are they as big as regular mini fridges typically are?  I only have a small medication pen that I would be bringing, so I don't need a big one.  I can always do the ice thing if needed.  Has anyone had both fridges in a room?  How much of a pain was it?

 

I will also need a sharps container, but a small one.  Do they have different sizes?  1 standard size?  If I bring my own, will they dispose of it for me?  If I have an unofficial sharps container, will they take care of it?  Do any of the public restrooms on the ship or at the port have sharps containers?

The “mini fridge” that is in every room, is actually just a cooler. It’s always worked fine for my medication pen and keeping soda, etc cooled. The sharps container is quite small. My pen would not fit in it, but it held my lancets fine. It’s about 3”x7”.

Ive never seen a sharps container in the public restrooms or at the port. I know some restrooms in the airports have them.

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8 hours ago, counsdr said:

The “mini fridge” that is in every room, is actually just a cooler. It’s always worked fine for my medication pen and keeping soda, etc cooled. The sharps container is quite small. My pen would not fit in it, but it held my lancets fine. It’s about 3”x7”.

Ive never seen a sharps container in the public restrooms or at the port. I know some restrooms in the airports have them.

Thank you for the info.  My pen doesn't need to remain super cold.  It just can't be kept above a certain temp, so the regular refrigerator/cooler should be fine.  As far as sharps go, I would only need one for needle tips, lancets and test strips...for 4 days.  Even the smaller quart size ones would be big.  I wouldn't want to waste one, but it's probably worth having one just to avoid the stress and trouble of figuring out what to do with the waste.  

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I have sailed over 17 cruises with Royal and I have never had a problem with the special needs department.  I always email the special needs form about 90 days before we sail to request shower seat and extension cord for charging my chair.  They have always been in the cabin or arrived shortly after we arrived.  Wheelchair assistance at the port has always been arranged and if we have flights booked with Royal then they sort out assistance at the airport as well.

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On ‎7‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 12:49 PM, SamTimeDining said:

I typically follow up after the cruise with the Special Needs Department to tell them what was and wasn't done correctly. Typically it's the missing CPAP supplies. 

What CPAP supplies would they need to supply, if they did supply them?    This will be my first cruise using a CPAP and if there is something I need to request or bring with me, I would love to know that ahead of time.

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2 hours ago, legaljen1969 said:

What CPAP supplies would they need to supply, if they did supply them?    This will be my first cruise using a CPAP and if there is something I need to request or bring with me, I would love to know that ahead of time.

They will supply your distilled water as well as an extension cord, should the cabin configuration require one.

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2 hours ago, legaljen1969 said:

What CPAP supplies would they need to supply, if they did supply them?    This will be my first cruise using a CPAP and if there is something I need to request or bring with me, I would love to know that ahead of time.

Call them and they will supply you with Distilled Water and the proper extension cord. I’d suggest bringing some duct tape so you can then tape the cord to the carpet so you don’t trip over it!

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I use a CPAP and it has been hit-or-miss on water and cord being in the cabin when I board. In fairness to the cabin attendants, they really do have to clean a lot of cabins in a short time, so I understand the supplies might not be there when I first board. The good news is I have always had the water and cord by bedtime. I never thought about printing my special request form -- good idea, though so far there has never been a problem getting the water or cord without it.

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Ive never have any luck with them whatsoever when requesting stuff for my CPAP.   I always have to ask my cabin attendant and they claim they didnt know.   Im not expecting the distilled water, extension cord OR the mattress pad Ive requested to be in the cabin when I board the ship.  The ONLY reason I even go through the Special Needs dept at all is to give them my wheelchair information so Im not booted out of my accessible cabin.  Not that Ive ever heard of anyone getting booted out of an accessible cabin.

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