Anyone know if cruise lines are attentive to someone with P/A? We're thinking about taking our kids on a Disney cruise. Not sure about the risks on board and being out to sea for a period of days? B/T/W, the kids are not P/A, it's the adult! Thanks for any input.
On May 23, 2005
I've read that cruises in general but particularly Disney cruises are very good for people with food allergies.
We are actually going on a Carnival cruise (5 nights with family) in June. They said that they can certainly accomidate us. We're supposed to meet with the head steward when we get there.
They said that kids are not allowed to bring food into the kids program area. They do serve PB@J as an option on the menu (all the cruises do this).
When are you going? I'll post again about this after our trip.
I'm sure you'll be fine on Disney. Have fun!
On May 23, 2005
That's great that Carnival is being accommodating with you. They weren't with me.
For our 15th anniversary, DH wanted to surprise me with a trip for our family--and he picked two for me to choose from: a Carnival cruise from Galveston, TX to Cancun and Cozumel or a trip to Cozumel by plane. We chose the latter for several reasons. First, after researching, I didn't feel safe on Carnival (more about that). Second, it gave us more time vegetating on the island where they brought us free drinks on the beach. That plus a great book. Can't beat it.
About Carnival: I called to get information. We hadn't bought tickets yet. The person I was referred to--something like an accommodations to disabilities specialist--was extremely unhelpful. She said that she couldn't begin to talk to me about guaranteeing safety (even in a relative sort of way) until we had purchased tickets. I said I couldn't purchase tickets unless I could be assured of several things (how FA are handled on the ship, how my DS would be able to eat safely, what accommodations could be made with group children's activities, etc.). She said she couldn't help me unless I bought a ticket. I tried to communicate that I couldn't lay out any cash unless I had some basic comfort in how my son's PA would be handled. We went back and forth many times. I asked specific questions about the resources available to the ship's doctor. She said that I should carry all the epinephrine my son would need in a reaction. I asked what other resources would the ship's doctor have, and she said I need to be prepared to handle the reaction with what I brought on board.
I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing. I couldn't believe I had this conversation. It was almost surreal to hear that I needed to be able to supply everything for an anaphylactic reaction. I even explained that other things are used besides epinephrine. She wouldn't relent.
If they've changed policies, that's great, but I'd be hard pressed to ever use Carnival based on my experience on the phone--which was less than a year ago, BTW. Our trip was in early September 2004.
On May 24, 2005
We went on a Disney cruise and it was WONDERFUL! Let them know ahead of time and they take care of everything. I felt very safe and was able to relax the entire time. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were an option for the kid menu but it never really concerned me. There were way too many better options, so I did not see that much pbj.
On May 26, 2005
Thanks for the input. We are probably not going until next year but the wheels are in motion now. I just wanted to make sure a Disney cruise would be somewhat accomodating before committing to it.
On May 26, 2005
My 14 year old daughter (PN, TN and shellfish allergies)and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise this March and it was very successful. Every evening our headwaiter sat down with us after supper and went through the menu for the next day and my daughter selected items and he made sure they were prepared properly. We ate in the buffet restaurant a few times, the omelette station and fajita statin attendants became our friends. We took a couple of bags of safe cookies and chips for snacks and she ate a lot of fruit for snacks.
We got a private tour of the galley/kitchen as well and were really comforted by the cleanlinesss of it. Also, there was an entire wall in the galley that listed all their menu items and exactly what ingredients were in each item - right down to the seasonings!!
We had a GREAT time - I wasn't sure if I'd even like a cruise, but we'd do it again for sure.
We were very emotional when it was time to go home because the dining staff/bar staff and room attendants were so wonderfully attentive and helpful.
On May 30, 2005
I am a cruise expert lets say here!!I just love cruises and we go on a cruise usually every 9 months or so.. well first I want to say DISNEY was AWESOME with us.. They put us in a special spot where the head waiter checked up on us every night sometimes 2-3 times he would come over to us..like the previous post on royal carribean they showed us the the kitchen met with head chefs..the first day of every 1 of our 4 disney cruise we have been on they went over every food that may be interest of my ds eating that is safe and unsafe !!EXCELLENT all the way... Disney is # 1 in our vacation plans from now on.I have also been on Carnival last sept and they where very good as well.They where not as much as disney but I had no complaints about carnival.They also sat our family in a area where the head waiter was aware of us the whole night.Always checked on what i was going to order...for him very good..the only thing was camp carnival i didnt have my 3 yr old go to because I just dont leave him with anyone like most of you are probaly familar with..and disney as well now my 5yr old son loves the disney program better of course,I didnt leave 3yr old ds with disney camp counslers either but that is me, I have not left him with anyone since I found out he has a severe PA except my DH who knows ...So I would go Disney all the way>> Plus they are great with kids! We will be going again this sept on a 5 night with Disney..
On Jun 13, 2005
We feel pretty comfortable with what we've learned from Carnival though there is definately a certain degree of risk involved. They did say that they are very familiar with food allergies and told us to meet with the head steward as soon as we get on the ship. It is already in my son's profile that he has a "nut" allergy. They are able to make special preparations for people with food allergies. I am bringing some Hershey's baking chocolate and some morsels so that maybe they can bake something special for my kids. I'll also bring some extra snacks just in case. Plus, my kids have been known to prefer fresh fruit to dessert anyhow. I think that we'll be O.K. My husband talked to them about the medical situation. They have several MD's and several RNs on duty at all times and they are equipped to manage many life threatening emergencies. Anaphylaxis is not that difficult for them to manage because mainly it's treated with medicines and worst case sinario, they are trained to intubate. They are equipped to manage a variety of emergency situations until a patient can be transfered out (if that be necessary). They have all the basic emergency drugs and can actually maintain a sick patient for several hours or days. Yes, we do have to keep our Epipens handy but if an emergency occurs, for example, in the kids camp, medical personel and we would be paged immediately. It won't take us but a minute or two at the most to get to him. Plus, he won't be eating in there anyway. He'll eat all his meals with us.
I would have liked to do a Disney Cruise too but we are going with family whose kids are older than ours. Plus, Disney cruises were completely sold out and were literally double the price. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img]
We leave on the 26th, sail on the 27th (June). I'll let you know how it goes! Honestly, I'm not that worried about it. In fact, I'm really looking forward to it.
On Jul 18, 2005
I've been meaning to reply about this for a while as we've already been home for a couple of weeks but just haven't had any long stretches at the computer. KWIM?
Anyway, with the exception of an incident in the Camp Carnival, our experience on Carnival was fine. Our kids ate off the kids menu which for lunch and dinner was mostly hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, and mac&cheese. For breakfast fresh fruit and either pancakes, french toast or scrambled eggs,etc.
For dessert, my older one ate jello and/or the soft ice cream. The only thing was that the soft ice cream was not in the main dining room so we had to go up to the Lido deck for that (not a big problem). Each night, the chef made a special dessert that was carefully prepared away from the other desserts that was nut free. (cheese cake, apple pie, etc. which as it turns out, my older one wouldn't eat anyway!) Anyway, there were no reactions at all.
The only bad thing was that, we dropped them off in Camp Carnival the first morning at sea because they were having "get to know each other" type of activities. My older DS,7,(PA) spent the morning there and really enjoyed it. I had reinforced to him not to eat anything offered to him and had also explained to the counsellors about his allergy. No problems there.
My younger son, 3 has no food allergies so far but we are strictly avoiding nuts until age 4 (our allergist usually recommends avoiding nuts until age 3 but did not discourage me from waiting until age 4 just to be safe).
Anyway, before dropping him off in the 3-5 year old room, they already knew that he was "allergic to nuts" and not to give him snacks. His name tag even said on it "no snacks". I told them that I brought our own snacks just in case. They told me. "you don't need to do that because they won't be having a snack until after lunch anyway." I double checked, "are you sure?" and they swore no snacks would be served.
Well don't you know, about an hour and a half later, they paged us to tell us that they accidently gave him a chocolate coin but that he only ate a little bit before they realized what they had done. He had no reaction. But I was SOOO mad!! This is after the director of the program had anounced it the day before in the orientation that the camp was peanut free!
Anyway, even though I knew that the camp really was not peanut free since I knew that they get various home baked cookies from the main kitchen and they provided M&Ms at "make your own sundae", I did feel that I communicated sufficiently with them prior to leaving my son that he can not eat anything of their food.
When we went to get him, the director profusely apologized and admitted that it was her fault. While there, I checked the ingredient label on the coins and sure enough, they said "May contain, peanuts, hazelnuts," etc. though it was not part of the regular ingredients.
Obviously, he was not going to be left in there again.
So the bad part is that he may or may not have been exposed to nuts. But luckily, his chance of developing a nut allergy at 3 years, 3 months is very small. He has never shown any signs of food allergy before. Also, I'm sure that no matter what I do to avoid nuts, he has likely been exposed casually to micro amounts (but you never know!).
So, bottom line, would I choose Carnival again? Yeah, I wouldn't not go because of that one thing but I do regret sending a 3 year old to the camp. We did have a really great time otherwise and the kids loved it! I would like to do a Disney cruise next year maybe.
We had beautiful weather the whole time. At this very moment, Cozumel and Calica (where we went) are getting slammed by Emily.
On Jul 18, 2005
We also had a great experience on the Disney Wonder in January. The only problem my then 4 yo DD had was that she broke out in a rash on her forearm right after we sat down to eat in one of the restaurant that has arms on the chairs. I went and washed her arms and hands well, and she was fine. There might have been peanut residue left over from lunch and we didn't get it all wiped off, or it could have been something else totally unrelated.
On Jan 3, 2006
Just returned from a 9 day cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruise line. Before leaving for the trip we sent letters and e-mails to the cruise line, got all of our ducks in order so to speak. As soon as we were checked in on board we spoke with a Head Waiter regarding my son. From that moment forward every meal was a breeze! If anyone has questions ask away. My son is PA only but we avoid all nuts as well.
On Jan 3, 2006
I just came back from a 8 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean. We informed our waiters and they were very good about helping us select the right food for our son. The selection of food was great! And since our son was allergic to milk, they also brought him his own soymilk every meal.
On the way to the elevator one night, there was a mom asking her teenage son "Did you bring your epi-pen?" I asked her if her son was PA, and she said she had 4 kids, 2 of whom were PA. I wanted to stop her and ask all these questions with someone who's probably dealt with PA much longer than me, but I didn't want be to intrusive, and unfortunately, I never ran into them again.
So anyway, I guess there were at least 3 PA kids on our cruise this past week.
On Jan 4, 2006
We went on a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise last year and we had a great experience as well. The headwaiter and waiters at our table were ALREADY aware of my 15 year old dd's allergies(PN,TN, shellfish) and were waiting for us to show up at dinner the first night.
We had a great headwaiter named Mimi and he went over the next day's menu with my daughter every night after dinner. She made her requests and he took it to the head chef to make whatever modifications/precautions were required. The only thing she didn't eat off the menu was dessert, except one night he brought her a bowl of fresh strawberries, with whipped cream and another night he did a cherries jubilee on their soft serve icecream(safe). We also went on a tour of the galley and I was impressed by the organization and cleanliness of the whole facility. I'd do it again and feel pretty secure, I think.
Glad to hear other people had good experiences too!
On Jul 20, 2006
Has anyone gone on Norweign Cruise Lines? I'm thinking about it, but the TA is concerned because they have free style dining and it might be harder to control.
On Jul 24, 2006
We went on Norwegian last December and found them to be a little iffy. At the time, we were not aware of our daughter's peanut allergy but thought she still had her egg allergy. In the buffet area, they seemed unimpressed with us for even bringing her there and not very helpful. We stuck to cheese and fruit. In the dining room, we were told on one occasion that the spaghetti was fine and then another night that it was not. Apparently the same spaghetti..... We were quite impressed with the kids camp though - strictly peanut free and very aware. It could have been our fault for not calling ahead etc to let them know of her allergy but we weren't overly impressed.
On Jul 25, 2006
Originally posted by McKenziesMom: [b]
We had a great headwaiter named Mimi... [/b]
Just for the record, it wasn't me!
On Sep 10, 2006
Raising for ALG.
On Feb 10, 2007
reraising for MEKC.