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Old December 29th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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Default Food Allergies

I had posted a similar topic on *edited*, which went very much astray -I was amazed at how much hatred people had towards people with food allergies!

On Carnival Dream, I was very disappointed with how they handled common food allergens. I was disappointed in how very little knowledge the serving staff had off the allergens that may be contained in the foods.

My suggestion, to the cruiselines, is to identify the common allergens - like nuts. If an item contains nuts, put a little peanut icon on the menu or buffet sign, to let patrons know that an item contains nuts.

There was one dessert I had in the Carnival MDR for lunch. It was labelled as "apple parcels". There was no description of "nuts" in the dessert menu. When I asked the server, he told me there were no nuts. The pastry was actually lined with almond paste. I recognized this after the first bite, and fortunately for me, benedryl came to the cure and I did not need my epi-pen. A simple nut icon on the menu, would have allerted me (and others) to the presence of nuts in this dessert item.


Even in the buffet line (Dessert section on the Dream) .... I asked the young server which items had nuts, to which she told me "no nuts". It was very clear that many of the desserts were garnished with nuts. I know there are language barriers, but still.

Restaurants all over the world sign their menus with little icons for nuts or other common allergens .... I wonder when cruise lines will catch up.

I'm very fortunate right now to be going through some revolutionary (IMHO) allergy treatements which are treating me of my fruit&nut allergies. And, my son is appearing to outgrow is peanut/tree nut allergies, so this may no longer be an issue for us .... but I know others would benefit from at least being allerted to which items contain common allergens,, so that you are not relying on the knowledge of an individual server to let you know.
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Last edited by Trip; December 29th, 2010 at 08:44 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 06:44 PM
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youve got me worried now - i am very allergic to pine nuts and pesto. how best should i alert the ship before i cruise. i notice youre off on the eurodam soon, where to? im on it in may.

molly
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Old December 29th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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I know that Carnival has a process whereby you can make special dietary requests ahead of time.

It would seem to me that all of the lines have some way of making special requests.

The key is contacting then well enough in advance (2 months perhaps) before your sailing with any concerns.

Also, talk with the MD for the dining room when you board, having your table assignment with you so that they can make arrangements with the waitstaff.

From the Carnival site:

Do you offer gluten free food?
We do offer gluten free bread, pasta, cake and pancake mix. They are readily available onboard.

Do you accommodate special diets onboard?
Special Diet Requirements - Food Allergies
Most simple diet requirements can be accommodated on board. We do not have Dieticians on board; therefore, we can only offer assistance with simple requests such as the method of preparation (including no cross-contamination) of menu items. If you have a food allergy, please consult with our dining staff for assistance with meal options and food preparations. Arrangements for all special diet requirements need to be arranged with the guest's Head Waiter on the first night of the cruise.
Lunch and dinner menus in the main dining room feature Spa Carnival selections which are:
Lower in calories
Lower in sodium
Lower in cholesterol
Lower in fat
A vegetarian entrée (trans fat free).
Designated by a special menu symbol, the Spa Carnival items are accompanied by a listing of the number of calories and grams of fat contained within each selection; the number of carbohydrate grams per dish is listed beneath each low carbohydrate selection.
Depending on the diet, the following applies:
Poultry and meats are broiled or roasted.
A low carbohydrate prepared appetizer, salad and entree selection.
Reduced carbohydrate, trans fat free bread selection will be available each evening, on request.
Salads are prepared with low-fat or fat-free dressings.
Desserts are prepared with Sweet n’ Low or NutraSweet instead of sugar.
Low-cholesterol egg substitute is available as well as diet jellies and sugar-free syrup.
Trans Fat: Carnival stopped using cooking oils containing trans fats in 2005. While most items among the cuisine choices are already trans fat free, we are conducting a detailed analysis of remaining items that can be replaced with trans-fat-free variations and are working with vendors to find suitable alternatives. We began moving away from ingredients containing trans fats two years ago, motivated simply by a desire to take the healthiest possible approach to food preparation and menu offerings in the interest of our guests’ well-being. Carnival’s latest initiative to eliminate trans fats is slated to advance over the course of the next six months as the company continues to identify and replace additional items.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 08:54 PM
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Queen, This could take some work on your part, but, you make such valid points, I would urge you to write a letter,and copy it to several major cruise lines.

Your complaints and your ideas to change the way cruiselines handle this issue, is so important to so many. Some else to consider is contacting your local tv station, to see if they have a consumer reporter. They could be an advocate for you in helping the cruiselines address this very important subject...
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Old December 30th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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Molly - We're sailing Eurodam on March 19th.

As I noted in my last paragraph - the food allergies are not as much of an issue to me right now due to some allergy treatments I am going through. For the first time in over 20 years, I am eating fresh fruits and nuts. I'm amazed - but I digress.

Like the next poster suggested - you need to make your allergies clear to the travel agent, to the maitre d and to the waitstaff - I did all of that. At the time of our sailign on DREAM, I was more concerned for my young son than I was myself. I had planned to let him partiicpate in Camp Carnival, and had completed all of the allergy information for their enrollment. But how safe can that environment be, when PB&J is on the menu? For the record, I am not asking for PB&J to be removed from the kid's menu! But, I had to be conscicous of the fact that I was placing my son in that environment. As an adult, I can ask questions, and look for nuts in garnishes, or "hidden" in items where one would typically expect it such as brownies which often contain walnuts. The issue for me is when ground nuts are used or hidden in items that you would not typically expect to find nuts, such as an apple pie/apple parcel. It was stewed apples wrapped in phyllo (IIRC). I never expected teh phylo to be lined with almond paste.

You'll find that, on board, when you ask if a menu item contains "x" ingredient, you'll get a patronizing response that if your're allergic its best not to take a chance.


Trip - some interesting suggestions. I did write a letter to Carnival at the tiem, though I never received a response. I also left a lengthy comment on my comment card, which I forgot to submit. I complained on the Carnival message boards AND a lenghty post about this subject at another cruise forum (it was editted out above, so I won't bother re-stating!). As I noted above, I am fortunate to be treated of my allergies, so this will have to be someone else's plight. It just seems so strange to me that the cruise ships are so non-aware when it comes to something that is so common and apparent to restaurants in North America.
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Royal Oasis of the Seas - 2013 {pending}
Disney Fantasy - 2013
Disney Dream - 2012
Royal Freedom of the Seas - 2011
HAL Eurodam - 2011
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Carnival Dream - 2010
Grand Princess - 2002
Royal Voyageur of the Seas - 2000
Royal Sovereign of the Seas - 1999
Carnival Ecstacy - 1991
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