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Food allergy education, advocacy, and support

Cruises

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Planning to set sail on the open seas? Don’t let having a food allergy hinder your adventure. Cruising with food allergies doesn’t have to be a stressful experience as long as you are prepared. Before booking your trip, ask questions of the cruise line; consider the on-board child care options as well as the ship’s medical officer.

Potential Questions to ask the cruise line

  • What are you policies/procedures for guests with food allergies?
  • Are the limitations on the restaurants that we can dine at?
  • Are there any fast food/food on deck options for guest with food allergies?

Child care considerations

  • Are staff trained on how to recognize an allergic reaction and when to administer Epinephrine?
    • Is there a way to reach parents if a child has an issue while in the daycare area?
    • Is the onboard doctor called with any type of medical issue in the child care area?
    • Is food allowed in the child care area? How are the children with food allergies protected?
    • What are clean up procedures so there isn’t residue/cross contamination?
  • If a food allergic child is in the child care area during a meal time, how do they get a safe meal?

Medical Officer

  • What training/certifications do you require your medical professionals to have?
  • Does the ship have extra epi if needed?
  • Does the ship have equipment to intubate if needed?
  • Is the ship large enough for a helicopter to land if evacuation was necessary?

General Tips

  • Pack safe snack and treats (cookies, food for port days)
    • Remember customs rules. Possible ideas are small bags of chips, prepackaged safe cookies etc
  • Consider itinerary
    • Middle of ocean vs. sailing along the coast (easier evacuation if needed). Remote ports with limited medical facilities in port if needed
  • Consider size of ship
    • Very large- more dining options, might not have consistent waiter. Harder to get a safe meal to bring back to room (very convenient option for breakfast).
    • Medium- Possibly consistent weight staff, easier to order food to go and eat in room
    • Small- Probably consistent weight staff. Double check that the chef will be present entire voyage. Double check ability to land helicopter to evacuate and medical facility/equipment available. What medical facility is available?
  • Take out travel insurance
    • There are inexpensive insurance options that fully cover medical evacuation
  • Use a Travel Agent who has experience with food allergies
    • Ours is Pam Stubbs, 757-277-8796