Today I would like to welcome guest blogger Cruise-Dude to the CruiseMiss blog. I came across an article on his site recently that focussed on the topic of food allergies and food intolerances. I found it to be very informative and as I suffer with food intolerances myself, I asked if he would like to guest blog on this very subject. It is something that affects many people when taking any type of holiday and I thought it may, especially for a first time cruiser, be something that can diminish the food worry and allow you to simply look forward to the cruise ahead.
Those who suffer from food allergies are all too familiar with the difficulties that come with eating away from home. Not knowing the ingredients in prepared dishes, being limited by the number of available options, and constantly worrying about cross contamination are all part of the frustration. As someone who suffers from gluten intolerance myself, I was a little concerned when embarking on my first cruise. I wondered whether or not there would be gluten free options on board, whether the kitchen staff was adequately equipped to prevent cross contamination, and in general whether or not I’d be able to survive a full week not knowing the exact ingredients in every dish. Luckily, my fears were unfounded, and I managed to enjoy a wide variety of meal options from beginning to end.
The good news for those who suffer from allergies or food intolerances is that all of the major cruise lines are well equipped to deal with the most common dietary restrictions. For instance, those who suffer from gluten intolerance, like myself, are able to order gluten free bread with breakfast and dinner. On Royal Caribbean, the main dining room even offers gluten free pancakes for breakfast. When it comes to lactose intolerance, all of the major cruise lines offer dairy free alternatives such as soy or rice milk. While you may not see these products out in the open on the breakfast buffet, if you ask, the chefs won’t hesitate to help you out.
When it comes to food preparation, the on-board chefs are well trained to avoid cross contamination. If you order a dish that typically contains dairy, the chefs are more than willing to go to the effort to prepare a modified version. In general, all you have to do is ask. Upon arriving in the dining room on the first night of my cruise, I spoke with the head waiter, who recorded my food allergies in the system. From that point on, each evening prior to leaving the dining room, the head waiter would visit my table and present a modified allergen free menu for the following evening. At that time I would choose my allergen free option, and it would then be specially prepared the following evening. Instead of offering breaded chicken Parmesan, the chef was able to prepare a gluten free option. When it came to the clam chowder, I was surprised to learn that my soup could be thickened with potato starch instead.
For the first few days of my cruise, I was a little apprehensive when it came to eating outside of the main dining room. I figured that it would difficult to determine the ingredients in the dishes on the Lido deck buffet, and that the chefs at the burger bar would be unaware of their ingredients. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The chefs at the Lido buffet were able to provide a precise list of ingredients in all of the main dishes, and the chef at the grill was able to show me the box where the burgers came from. Much to my surprise, they were 100% beef, without the usual fillers such as breadcrumbs.
Overall, the cruise lines are incredibly accommodating for those who suffer from allergies or food intolerances. Every chef on board is well trained and is aware of the most common food allergens, and is able to prepare allergen free dishes upon request. Furthermore, the head waiter, as well as the buffet staff are incredibly accommodating to your every need. If you are looking for a special product that isn’t out in the open, it’s quite likely that one of the chefs is willing to go grab it from the back. After my first cruise, I have been back, time and time again, and have never experienced a negative reaction due to my allergies. That alone is a testament to the care that is taken by the cruise staff to ensure that those who suffer from food intolerances are able to enjoy their voyage.
Do you have food allergies or intolerances? If so feel free to leave a comment and let us know about your experience with this whilst on board.
I can share with you that I have to ask for soya milk whilst on board as I can no longer have cow’s milk on cereal or in drinks. I have never had a problem getting it. As Gerry said, you may have to ask but it is always available for you. You can also usually ask for a glass of it to take back to your cabin, that way you can refrigerate it and still enjoy a morning cup of tea or coffee without having to venture off to one of the on board dining venues.
Author : Gerry