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Cruising with a peanut allergy


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We're taking our son's friend with us on our Horizon cruise next month and he has a peanut allergy. We've never had to worry about this type of thing and don't really know much about handling it. Our PVP told me to email the Guest Access (Special Needs) Dept., which I did, but they gave me what was pretty much a generic, canned response. So now I'm looking for some more info. in an attempt to go into this as prepared as possible.

 

He's 18 so he's old enough to know what he can and can't eat, but he's never cruised on Carnival before, so there's going to be a lot of new exposure to food venues he's unfamiliar with.

 

Special Needs told me to talk to our waiter on the first night, which I already know to do. We have Your Time Dining, which means there's the potential to have a different wait team every night. For starters, we'll be sure to tell them every night if we do get different wait teams. I've read that people with food allergies often pick their meals the night before, but is that absolutely necessary? He can look at future MDR menus on the Hub app to see what he'd like and what he knows is typically safe. Can he do that or do they insist on preparing a meal that was picked the night before to ensure there's no cross-contamination?

 

The only other thing Special Needs told me was that the MDR is the only place they can accommodate special dietary needs. With the other food venues, I understand that we get what we get, but since my son and his friend will be eating a majority of their meals outside the MDR, I was hoping to find out which venues are safe for peanut allergies, or at least who we need to talk to once we're onboard to find out.

 

As for the Lido buffet, I'm sure he knows what he can and can't eat from a buffet, but do we need to worry about any possible differences Carnival uses with their ingredients that he'd be unaware of? Is cross-contamination a concern for peanut allergy sufferers at the buffet? Is there someone we can speak to about it?

 

Moving on to the other eateries like Guy's Burgers and Pig & Anchor BBQ, the Pizzeria, Pasta Bar, etc. I feel like pizza and pasta would be safe zones, but we want to be sure. Guy's Burgers are fried on the griddle right there in front of us, but do they use peanut oil for the fries? Things like that worry us a bit. How do we best prepare him for all those other stand-alone food venues? At their age, they're obviously not going to be by our sides the whole time, so we need to give him all the info. he needs to safely make his own choices.

 

I've always heard such good things about Carnival's Special Needs Dept., but I must say, I was disappointed with the response I got from them. Things like this are very important and I felt like they brushed me off with a typical scripted response. Like I said before, this type of thing is new to us and we just want to be prepared as possible ahead of time. Does anyone here have first-hand knowledge of cruising with a peanut allergy or traveling with someone who does? Thanks in advance.

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Thank you for sharing. That was very helpful. So as someone who's in the know about nut allergies, would you say it's safe for us to assume that the food venues that were safe for you will also be safe for our son's friend? Meaning, since you could eat at them, can he feel safe eating at them too without saying anything to anyone, or should we still talk to someone? Did you just walk up and ask for the chef as Pig & Anchor or did you make arrangements to meet them?

 

I did see the nut allergy indicators on the Sea Day Brunch menus when we cruised back in December and it made me think about our upcoming cruise. For all of the items that don't have those indicators next to them, are they completely safe, or is cross-contamination a concern? We'll be sure to tell our waiter then, too.

 

We'll look out for any paperwork he might get on embarkation day. This is all new to us so we don't really know where to begin.

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My son has a peanut allergy and we have sailed with him 4 times with no issues. If he isn't sure if something has peanuts or peanut byproducts in it, he should ask the server or the people working at the lido or skip that food. As far as cross contamination is concerned, that could happen but in our experience it hasn't been a concern. He should carry an epipen with him in case he does have a reaction.

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Yeah, we definitely want to make sure his parents send an EpiPen along with him.

 

That was one of the things I asked Special Needs in my email that they didn't address. I wasn't sure about the crew members who simply serve the food, whether it be at the buffet or elsewhere. If we asked them if something was safe, do they have that knowledge or do we need to ask someone higher up the ladder?

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52 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

Yeah, we definitely want to make sure his parents send an EpiPen along with him.

 

That was one of the things I asked Special Needs in my email that they didn't address. I wasn't sure about the crew members who simply serve the food, whether it be at the buffet or elsewhere. If we asked them if something was safe, do they have that knowledge or do we need to ask someone higher up the ladder?

 

There were only a few times where the person serving us at the lido or other spots was unsure, in those cases they asked one of their superiors who were near them and we were able to get the answer. My son is a rather picky eater, so that may have helped too. 

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My wife has never had a problem with her tree nut allergy on board.  She does prefer to eat in the dining room for every meal possible and she usually orders her next evening's dinner the night before.  We have been on quite a few cruises and Carnival is as good as any other we have been on and we have never needed to use her Epi-pen on any cruise.

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Although he's 18...do you need any kind of permission to make medical decisions on his behalf if it came to that?  I know that's something that's mentioned when cruising with someone else's kid..though usually that pertains mostly to minors. 

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40 minutes ago, BroadwayGirl said:

Although he's 18...do you need any kind of permission to make medical decisions on his behalf if it came to that?  I know that's something that's mentioned when cruising with someone else's kid..though usually that pertains mostly to minors. 

 

I've thought about that, but as a legal adult, I hadn't planned on taking a travel letter. The DHS website only specifies minors.

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We just had the first cruise with my husband who has alpha gal - the tick allergy where he can't eat beef or pork. We read the menus diligently each night and the crew answered our questions and helped us with any concerns. I hope your experience will be excellent.

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On 2/12/2020 at 12:54 PM, Organized Chaos said:

So as someone who's in the know about nut allergies, would you say it's safe for us to assume that the food venues that were safe for you will also be safe for our son's friend?

 

First, please, please know that peanut allergies are not the same as "nut" allergies. Peanuts are legumes. I have a mild peanut allergy (thank goodness only mild) that also happens to extend to peas, beans, and other legumes such as lentils. Now, that said, make sure he does not also have nut allergies.

 

Some people claim frying in peanut oil would not trigger a reaction in most people allergic, but I do not trust that info, so avoid whenever possible.

Edited by amyotravel
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1 hour ago, amyotravel said:

First, please, please know that peanut allergies are not the same as "nut" allergies. Peanuts are legumes. I have a mild peanut allergy (thank goodness only mild) that also happens to extend to peas, beans, and other legumes such as lentils. Now, that said, make sure he does not also have nut allergies.

 

Some people claim frying in peanut oil would not trigger a reaction in most people allergic, but I do not trust that info, so avoid whenever possible.

 

The person I was replying to mentioned having both tree nut and peanut allergies, so I just said "nut" in passing conversation. He's only allergic to peanuts, nothing else in the legume family. I also had a conversation about peanut oil with his dad, just by happenstance, a few years ago. An organization I volunteer for was hosting a fish fry and I remember his dad asking me if we used peanut oil, so that's how I know that's a no-go too.

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I have a strong allergy to shellfish and, in particular, shrimp.  One evening we skipped the dining room and ate at the buffet.  I got something that looked like chicken stir fry and I remember it was vaguely labeled.  Ended up it had shrimp in it which I found out after already eating some.  The good news is that I can say for sure they have Epi-pens in the infirmary.

 

I would just be very careful with the buffets.

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I have a peanut allergy and have had no problems at all.  I let the dining staff know and they have allowed me to preorder my dinner the night before.  All he has to do is let them know.  If you are planning on a seaday brunch, let your waitstaff at night know.  They will let him preorder that the night before also.  Stay away from the buffet for the most part.

 

Have a great cruise!!

 

 

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8 hours ago, ajm said:

The good news is that I can say for sure they have Epi-pens in the infirmary.

 

I would just be very careful with the buffets.

 

We'll make sure he takes one, but if all else fails, it's good to know the ship is prepared. If you don't mind me asking, were you charged for their EpiPen? I know they're crazy expensive.

 

Our son never goes to the buffet, but his friend might want to. If he does, we're going to make sure he makes it well known to the server staff, or someone higher up the ladder, about his allergy. To be sure to ask questions if there's any doubt whatsoever.

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8 hours ago, chasinraynbowz said:

I have a peanut allergy and have had no problems at all.  I let the dining staff know and they have allowed me to preorder my dinner the night before.  All he has to do is let them know.  If you are planning on a seaday brunch, let your waitstaff at night know.  They will let him preorder that the night before also.  Stay away from the buffet for the most part.

 

Have a great cruise!!

 

I've seen a lot of people talk about ordering their meals the night before. I didn't know if that was absolutely necessary or not. He can view the menus ahead of time from the Hub app and pick something before we go to dinner, but I didn't know if they insist on getting the order the night before so it can be prepared separately without the risk of cross-contamination.

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On 2/12/2020 at 2:54 PM, Organized Chaos said:

Thank you for sharing. That was very helpful. So as someone who's in the know about nut allergies, would you say it's safe for us to assume that the food venues that were safe for you will also be safe for our son's friend? Meaning, since you could eat at them, can he feel safe eating at them too without saying anything to anyone, or should we still talk to someone? Did you just walk up and ask for the chef as Pig & Anchor or did you make arrangements to meet them?

 

I did see the nut allergy indicators on the Sea Day Brunch menus when we cruised back in December and it made me think about our upcoming cruise. For all of the items that don't have those indicators next to them, are they completely safe, or is cross-contamination a concern? We'll be sure to tell our waiter then, too.

 

We'll look out for any paperwork he might get on embarkation day. This is all new to us so we don't really know where to begin.

 

I would always ask I even still ask as sometime ingredients may change. You can just walk up and ask someone at the station and if there english isn't great they will get supervisor to talk to you. I stay away from all desserts on buffet those are way too dangerous. I stick to the soft serve  ice cream as its safe but not the cones just have it in the cup. Always ask never be shy they are so willing to help you. On the first day on the horizon when you get on go to the desk for dining room that is located beside the coffee shop I believe on deck 5 they will take his order for first night in dining room and then he will be giving the menu for the next night at dinner so he can pre-order anything he want...on the buffeets like at breakfast cross contamination is always a factor but main dining rooms are open or ask someone at the buffett and they will make a plate for you from the stuff an the back that no one has touched...Also the breakfast burritos at blue iguana are safe and delicious. If you have any other questions shoot me an email at robrutherford@gmail.com

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On 2/14/2020 at 5:38 PM, Organized Chaos said:

 

I've seen a lot of people talk about ordering their meals the night before. I didn't know if that was absolutely necessary or not. He can view the menus ahead of time from the Hub app and pick something before we go to dinner, but I didn't know if they insist on getting the order the night before so it can be prepared separately without the risk of cross-contamination.

 

I would preorder to make sure of no cross contamination.  

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This is my basic post about allergies..... We travel with a group that combined has allergies to peanuts, treenuts, shellfish, egg whites, chocolate, MSG and liquid dairy. Only had issues with 'user' error, no issues with Carnival. If you have a nut allergy, know that Carnival classifies seeds as nuts. 
 
Each ship seems to do things a little differently. This has been our experiences on the West Coast ships.  
If you have an odd allergy contact Special Needs before your cruise. If you have a 'normal' allergy no need to do so. 
 
 
See the Hostess at embarkation when the Maitre 'd has hours. Hours will be in the FunTmes, usually starting around 1pm. The hostess will take that night's order.  Each night the hostess or your waiter will bring you the next day's MDR menu-breakfast, brunch/lunch and dinner.  If deciding between two entrees, order both.  For brunch don't hesitate to order a  breakfast and lunch if you want to eat both meals in the MDR. At ATD, an order slip will be generated and given to your waitstaff when seated.  They will confirm the order with you.  
Only issue we've ever had was one cruise DD's food arrived before mine. 
 
For room service, they cannot make special for you but they can tell you the ingredients.  No special area so there is always the possibility of contamination
 
Buffet is a minefield.  Ask the Hostess or the Head Lido Chef or the Food and Beverage crew in the officer whites.  DO NOT ask the line cooks or those serving desserts. They mean well but do not know the full recipes.  Cross contamination is always a possibility.  
 
Onshore--- we bring allergy cards. I made our own but you can buy some at selectwisely dot com. 
You can only bring off commercially prepared food. We bring cereal bars, boxes of cereal, bottled water, hard candy etc. 
Many ports will check. Some will do a physical search, others use dogs.  You do not want the cute Labrador to sit next to you.  I've had them alert on my Lemonheads. 
 
Kids clubs have a form to fill out. There are some snacks served at times. The younger kids meet up at the dinner buffet certain nights.  Ask the counselors what's on the menu.  
 
Gluten Free has a few different things.  Cruise Critic has lots of info about GF.  Use ‘gluten’ or ‘celiac’ in the search engine.  Know there’s at least GF pizza, noodles, bread available.
 
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