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WhimsyMom December 7th, 2012 01:59 PM

Can you take food from ship to shore if you have Celiac disease? Please help :)
I am trying to book a last minute, surprise birthday cruise for the best husband in the world...and now Carnival is saying we cannot take food from ship to shore for our excursions!

I have severe Celiac disease and I cannot eat any foods that contain wheat, barley, rye or oats, and I certainly cannot trust the port locals to keep me safe. Any exposure to those gluten sources could send me to the ER, so I just pack my own PB sandwiches and have NEVER encountered a problem in the past. My disease limits our family in so many ways, the thought of it ruining this trip for my husband is almost more than I can bear :mad:

I have heard that Carnival can accomodate my gluten free foods and will allow me to bring aboard whatever I want to long as I keep it on board. What can I do to be able to go onshore and have a fun day with my husband? I'm getting desperate and even wondering if smuggling the foods off ship would work! LOL

Any advice would be so appreciated <3

**I haven't booked the cruise yet, was trying to do it today when they informed me about the food restrictions, hoping to book very soon if I can work this out! :)

Thanks :)

Donna December 7th, 2012 03:32 PM

I would think that if you picked up some goodies from the breakfast buffet and take with you should be no problem, providing there are items you can eat. I know, they will not let you re-board with food from the islands, that is a no-no for sure...In most cases, you can eat breakfast, and then do an excursion and come back to the ship to eat and go off again if you have the time?? I rarely eat while on the islands, I've usually already eaten on the shop, so other than may-be a drink, I don't get hungry again until it is time to get back to the ship.

Trip December 7th, 2012 04:12 PM

You really need to get the correct, specific, information directly from Carnival about this. Call a cruise line specialist travel agency to help you on this. I would NOT call Carnival directly, for this info. Let us know how you make out,and good luck.

green_rd December 7th, 2012 04:13 PM

Contact Carnival's special needs department they can probably work with you. Many ports have import restrictions that all cruise lines seek to honor. I have never seen anybody stopped trying to take food off the ship.

Many years ago a friend of my organized a Celiac cruise on the Big Red Boat. I hope you are able to have an excellent time.

WhimsyMom December 10th, 2012 03:08 PM

Thank you all for replying!

I had already contacted Carnival before I asked my ? here. I was informed that having such difficult dietary needs would never qualify me for 'special needs'...which I found odd. I am not even relying on them for much of my food, I have always lived on bread and PB that I bring from home in the past...who wants to get sick while on vacation? LOL. I learned long ago that food was food, having fun and NOT getting sick is worth a bland, safe from home diet :)

Donna, I think I will take a few sandwiches off ship, we plan on a strenuous day of water sports and I would hate to stop the fun in order for me to eat. I can say that I am always excited to watch my husband try new, local vicariously through him! :)

Trip, who would I call? I have no idea! LOL I did try one travel agency locally, but they weren't willing to talk to me unless I booked with them first...and they were offering almost NO discount.

Green_rd, I will email them this afternoon! Thanks for the email address :)

flowers December 13th, 2012 09:51 AM

Bring some SEALED bars from home to eat. If you can eat cereal, there are boxes of cereal on the breakfast buffet you can grab. Or sealed nuts they sell in the shops (expensive, so bring from home). Anything that is sealed will be allowed.

I noticed on my last carnival conquest cruise, they really screened in the ports this time. Purses were even opened and examined. I dont remember seeing them make women open their purses until this last time. I read on this or that forum that people managed to sneak food into the ports that was against the law and not respecting that country's laws. If you really need to not eat the local food, bring your own and make sure it is sealed. I have eaten local food even off carts and never gotten sick. Other than a box of cereal for emergencies if I have a long excursion, I eat the local food.

Most ports its the law .. its not up to Carnival .. its the law to protect their enviroment. If you are really picky about what you can and cannot eat.. I would bring some bars from home as I said. Some sealed snacks, and plan ahead.

flowers December 13th, 2012 09:56 AM


Originally Posted by WhimsyMom (Post 1457830)

Donna, I think I will take a few sandwiches off ship, we plan on a strenuous day of water sports and I would hate to stop the fun in order for me to eat. I can say that I am always excited to watch my husband try new, local vicariously through him! :)

Each port has different laws. More than likely sandwiches are against the law of that port.You say you would hate to stop the fun in order to eat.. if its taken from you as you are getting off in the port because you didnt plan ahead? .... and bring SEALED foods from home you could eat.. you only have yourself to blame. Please dont blame Carnival if special needs does not have a list of the laws in each port. Myself .. I would plan ahead.

But you would need to find out the laws of each port. Carnival may not have a list of the laws for each port you will visit. Carnival cannot make a exception to the laws in other countries.

WhimsyMom December 13th, 2012 11:39 AM

Celiac disease isn't being picky about food, eating anything with gluten would be like you eating rat poison...gluten is poison for my body. I will get so sick that I will need to be in hospital, I can't trust food carts or local restaurants for food. I cannot eat any cereal in the containers, they are all made with gluten or are contaminated by it through production lines.

I do not blame Carnival for the restrictions, but I DO think that there should be changes for the growing number of people with severe allergies & Celiac disease. Accommodations are made for those with physical limitations, people with food limitations shouldn't be left out either.

As far as my not being prepared and being to blame? You have no idea the lengths I go through to keep me and my daughter, who also has Celiac disease, safe. I make 100% of our food from scratch, 365 days a year. We don't eat ANYTHING unless I have verified how it was made and where it was made. I carry 2 days worth of food with me at all times, even if it's just a trip to the gas station...emergencies do happen and I make sure that we always have food. I do not expect anyone to make safe food for me at home, I have never had anyone cook for me. I plan on mostly eating PB sandwiches I bring from home and bananas on the trip, I am not counting on the kitchen to keep me safe...I am bringing enough food in case they don't understand how to TRULY prepare gluten free food.

Thank you though for pointing out 'sealed' foods, I will look into whether those are allowed off ship now.

flowers December 13th, 2012 01:27 PM

I apologize for coming across the way I did. Im saying Carnival has no control over the laws in the ports.

Is there nothing you can bring from home that is sealed that you could eat in the ports?

Im sorry for coming across wrong.. I just wanted you to be prepared. I just did Cozumel, Belize and Roatan, so perhaps those ports were pickier. I have never seen them search women's purses before getting OFF the ship.

I was trying to say what if you just tried to smuggle off sandwiches and got caught... have a back up plan and be prepared?

Im sorry .... I should have found a way to say Carnival cannot control the laws of other countries and what ports allow you to carry into the ports in the way of food.

I did not mean to sound like you dont have a huge problem on your hands. I have seen it on FOX news lately too. I do understand your problem, and hoped there was something you could bring from home to eat to solve the problem.

I am really sorry you have to deal with this disease. It sounds awful .. I did not mean to come off unsympathetic.

WhimsyMom December 20th, 2012 08:05 PM

Thank you, I apologize for being defensive. I don't hold Carnival responsible directly, but I do believe that they should do more to lobby for their guests who have food issues. I can guarantee that anyone in my situation would GLADLY provide documentation to customs to help in anyway with this.

I haven't found anything about what you mentioned before, can I bring SEALED items onto shore with me? Such as protein bars and such? I can, and have, lived off of those for days at a time....I would gladly do it this time too :)

As far as being sorry I have to deal with Celiac disease, don't be :) I rarely have issues such as this, I carry documentation from my doc that gives me permission to bring my own food into venues. I am happier, healthier and feel blessed to know what was wrong with me after all the years I was sick. I'm glad I don't have to take a medication for this, I just have to cut out junk food and eat a healthier diet. It really is manageable. I am praying that Carnival is true to their word and keeps me safe!

Thanks :)

flowers December 21st, 2012 07:31 PM

I have run into having my car searched for fruit just crossing state borders in the U.S. because they are afraid of transporting bugs within the fruit. That's the fear for countries, and it's mainly fruit or anything with fruit in it they seem to all not allow.

I took a apple the last morning as I was debarking the ship with me from breakfast my very first cruise and had already signed the customs form and never thought twice that I was breaking the law until later. I could have gotten into serious trouble. whew. I hear it is a serious fine to get caught.

sure, you can bring protein bars, or anything else that is sealed into a port. If it is sealed, there will be no problem, it will be allowed for sure.

I have a sister born with brain issues, and seizure issues I cruised with, and so we never planned ports ahead of time. We used the expression "having a bad day" when she was having seizures, and thats how I meant it when I was glossing over your issue. I deal day in and day out with a lot of people with a lot of serious health problems, so maybe I used too much of a euphemism. I did not mean it disrepectfully I promise. I am the person in my family who takes care of everyone and who copes with problems and who plans ahead. So, when I suggested planning ahead, that is me to a T, and how I am. I was just saying what I would do. Sorry it came across so poorly worded.

WhimsyMom December 23rd, 2012 04:12 PM

Thanks, knowing I can bring sealed items is perfect! I can eat my bars all day if needed :)

Thanks for your help :)

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