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Severe food allergies - anyone have any recent experience please?


storkington
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We are thinking of booking with HAL, possibly Nieuw Amsterdam (if that makes a difference), but our adult daughter has severe food allergies. I noted on HAL's website their statement that as long as they are advised of everything this should not be a problem.

 

I would like to hear from anyone with recent experiences please. Did you have to constantly ask the kitchen/chefs etc? How easy was it to get food prepared that was in accordance with your allergy list, any issues with cross contamination (as that is an issue for our daughter)?

 

Thank you for any experiences you can share with us.

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45 days on Rotterdam. Home Jan 25th. I am allergic to fresh garlic.  The MDR waiter would bring me a menu after dinner I could mark for the next night. Most waiters will ask about allergies. In Canelletto our steward would order something for me the chef could make without garlic. Just give them a day or two so chef can prepare. 

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I have multiple food allergies to some very common things used to prepare food -  examples are  fresh/cooked carrots and peppers (not the spice)  which is often in many foods.  I filled out the allergy form prior to the cruise, and also brought a detailed typed letter listing all my food allergies and gave it to the head maitre'd when I boarded the ship. I had multiple copies so he could distribute it to the staff.  The maitre'd brought me up to the Lido to meet with the head staff there and if I ate there I was to call for this staff member  or his assistant so my food could be specially prepared.  I eat pretty simply on cruises and eat none of the desserts, except ice cream,  due to cross contamination.  The staff knows the ingredients of everything that is prepared on board, and if it is prepared from 'outside the ship' they will tell you that they don't know what is in it and you should pick something else. I was fine and had a great cruise.  I was told not to eat in the speciality restaurants as they don't have separate kitchens and for dinner it was the MDR. I did Lido for lunch and sometimes breakfast.  So with these restrictions your daughter will be fine.  

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4 minutes ago, tupper10 said:

I have multiple food allergies to some very common things used to prepare food -  examples are  fresh/cooked carrots and peppers (not the spice)  which is often in many foods.  I filled out the allergy form prior to the cruise, and also brought a detailed typed letter listing all my food allergies and gave it to the head maitre'd when I boarded the ship. I had multiple copies so he could distribute it to the staff.  The maitre'd brought me up to the Lido to meet with the head staff there and if I ate there I was to call for this staff member  or his assistant so my food could be specially prepared.  I eat pretty simply on cruises and eat none of the desserts, except ice cream,  due to cross contamination.  The staff knows the ingredients of everything that is prepared on board, and if it is prepared from 'outside the ship' they will tell you that they don't know what is in it and you should pick something else. I was fine and had a great cruise.  I was told not to eat in the speciality restaurants as they don't have separate kitchens and for dinner it was the MDR. I did Lido for lunch and sometimes breakfast.  So with these restrictions your daughter will be fine.  

 

Thank you! Our daughter has similar food allergies (carrots, all nuts/treenuts, cucumber, parsley, any stone fruit/veg, etc), so it's good to hear that you were able to enjoy your cruise and get some decent food. Our daughter has little laminated cards with her "death foods" (as she calls it) and takes them everywhere to hand out where and when needed.

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I can't eat any dairy and what the others have said has been true for me - they bring you a menu the day before and you pick out what you want so they can make it dairy free (in my case).  They have a "special diet" station that I think these requests go through down in the galley.  However, it's not always perfect.  I've been served a "dairy free" dessert topped off with real whipped cream - my head waiter caught it as it was being served.  And the buffet is another issue.  Lots of room for cross contamination there - their head chef told me to always ask for a serving of something from the back as on the line food drips from spoons, etc. into other dishes.  And I always ask the line chefs what I can eat that doesn't have dairy in it.  If I ask three different people about 25% of the time I get different answers so proceed at your own risk at the buffet.  I also bring my own dressings and breads onboard because that seems to be two areas where it's hard to get items dairy free.  Sometimes I also bring my own desserts onboard as I get tired of eating fruit for dessert all the time.  So there are limitations but the travel makes up for that.  Just please, please bring an EpiPen with you.  I don't know how many times I've chatted with passengers with allergies and either they didn't bring one on the trip with them or it's back in their room somewhere.  Good luck!

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2 minutes ago, Reydnn38 said:

I can't eat any dairy and what the others have said has been true for me - they bring you a menu the day before and you pick out what you want so they can make it dairy free (in my case).  They have a "special diet" station that I think these requests go through down in the galley.  However, it's not always perfect.  I've been served a "dairy free" dessert topped off with real whipped cream - my head waiter caught it as it was being served.  And the buffet is another issue.  Lots of room for cross contamination there - their head chef told me to always ask for a serving of something from the back as on the line food drips from spoons, etc. into other dishes.  And I always ask the line chefs what I can eat that doesn't have dairy in it.  If I ask three different people about 25% of the time I get different answers so proceed at your own risk at the buffet.  I also bring my own dressings and breads onboard because that seems to be two areas where it's hard to get items dairy free.  Sometimes I also bring my own desserts onboard as I get tired of eating fruit for dessert all the time.  So there are limitations but the travel makes up for that.  Just please, please bring an EpiPen with you.  I don't know how many times I've chatted with passengers with allergies and either they didn't bring one on the trip with them or it's back in their room somewhere.  Good luck!

Thank you!

 

She never travels anywhere without her epipen. I like the idea of bringing some of your own stuff onboard. Will have to look into that, as we are flying in from Canada, and I am sure there is a limit to what food stuffs we can bring over - but worth bearing in mind!

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38 minutes ago, storkington said:

 

Thank you! Our daughter has similar food allergies (carrots, all nuts/treenuts, cucumber, parsley, any stone fruit/veg, etc), so it's good to hear that you were able to enjoy your cruise and get some decent food. Our daughter has little laminated cards with her "death foods" (as she calls it) and takes them everywhere to hand out where and when needed.

I am also allergic to tree fruit and nuts, shellfish etc. you get the idea.  As the other poster said I also bring some of my own food. You can bring packaged products onboard so I take some cookies, just to have some dessert other than ice cream, the crackers I know I can eat, and my own salad dressing.  Again she will probably have to eat in the MDR .  FYI when the menu had things either I couldn't eat or didn't like, the staff made me what I wanted. You order your meals the night before so it isn't a problem.  On the first day when you meet with the staff you order your dinner then, after looking at the menu.   Also for the first 'lunch' on board I bring my  own meal since I know that the staff is swamped and don't want to risk eating at the Lido. 

 

The nice thing about this is you get to know the staff. I was assigned the same waiter and given the same table so the waiter/bus staff etc were all aware of my allergies.  The same maitre d usually helped me and when he was off he made sure to give the others all of my information.  I carry an epi pen as well but never had to use it- thank heavens.  

 

 

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39 minutes ago, storkington said:

 

Thank you! Our daughter has similar food allergies (carrots, all nuts/treenuts, cucumber, parsley, any stone fruit/veg, etc), so it's good to hear that you were able to enjoy your cruise and get some decent food. Our daughter has little laminated cards with her "death foods" (as she calls it) and takes them everywhere to hand out where and when needed.

 

They (all main ships) these days VERY seriously, as they do with *any* allergy concern.

 

DH was suddenly diagnosed with celiac disease (the real disease, damage to body, etc.) late in life.

We now notify the cruise line's "Special Needs" department, and they'll usually send a special form to be filled out.  I've needed a special form for a different type of allergy, one with less severe consequences, but it would still put me out of commission for a few days.

 

They do give you the opportunity to speak with someone special from Food Service shortly after boarding, and they can give you a menu in advance so you can choose specific items for the next day.  This didn't happen here, but on another cruise line, when I expressed disappointment about not being able to eat something... next thing I knew, someone came out of the kitchen and offered to make a special version of it for me if I would tell them which day I wanted it and where I would be eating.  I did not take them up on that, but it was very much appreciated.

For *cross contamination*, they will do special food preparation to avoid this.

 

However, we ALWAYS - on board or at restaurants, etc. - announce the allergy when arriving/being seated, and again when someone takes our order.  Then, when served, we again will say something like, "This is the GLUTEN FREE <whatever item>, correct?"

 

They do *not* want a serious adverse event of any type on the ship, especially not one they could have prevented but didn't!  OTOH, mistakes do happen, so we *always* ask/double check as described above.

 

And yes... EpiPens always travel with us.

Those and all essential meds are always in our carryon (with smaller supplies of each in my purse) and one of us always has "hands on" (or one hand, anyway) that bag.  On an airplane, it goes under the seat in front of one of us.  And my purse under the seat in front of the other one.

Someone might think the crown jewels were in there, the way I am protective of that.  But it that went missing, we'd be heading home or to a hospital and not continuing our trip...

 

Enjoy your cruise!

 

GC

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