While intimidating, cruising with food allergies can be a fantastic experience. If you are unsure about whether or not a cruise is a good idea for someone with food allergies, don't worry! The cruise industry is renowned for being extremely accommodating towards food allergies. The following tips will help your cruising experience be seamless so you can focus less on your allergies and focus more on having a fun vacation.
1. When you book your cruise, you should let the travel agent know that your “party” has allergies. They will put the information in their notes, and it will pop up on your reservation. The cruise staff will see it, including the dining room staff. My dad is a travel agent, so when we book a cruise, he makes sure they know about my allergies.
2. When you get on the cruise ship, you need to visit the Maitre D. They will help you with your allergies by answering any questions you may have. Preordering food the day before in the dining room is a great way for the kitchen to prepare your meal. They will take extra precautions because cruise lines do take allergies seriously. Every evening you should speak with the Maitre D or your head waiter. Ask them for the menu for the next day, and then they will take your order and make sure it is prepared without your allergens.
3. You can also visit the kid or teen club and explain your allergies to the cruise staff in charge. Sometimes in the kids club, they will have name tags for the kids. If you have allergies, the name on your tag might be a different color. If you are a teen, you need to be responsible for yourself and make sure to find out the ingredients before eating anything in the teen club.
4. Researching restaurants on different islands and countries is a crucial step to consider. You always want to be prepared when you go to a new place—knowing where and what you want to eat at a different place can benefit you. You can call ahead and find out what is and is not safe for you to eat.
5. If you don't feel comfortable eating on the island/country stops, you can always order room service on the cruise or pack food from cruise restaurants/buffets to bring with you. It is always helpful to bring a lunch box on board to hold your food. It is also a good idea to pack some snacks with you for the cruise. When stopping on the island/country, make sure you have your letter saying that you can bring your food anywhere due to your allergies on hand. If you don't already have this letter, make sure to get one from your allergist!
6. My last tip is the things you should always carry with you. I carry a string bag with my EpiPen, Benadryl, inhaler, antibacterial wipes, and a water bottle. It is important to always carry this bag. As a basketball player, it is always on the court with me.
I hope you found my tips helpful. I also hope my tips sparked an interest in cruising and the confidence that you can take the proper precautions to be safe. I can’t wait to see you on a cruise, having fun, and feeling safe!