Ahhhh cruising… It is one of our favorite ways to travel here at Disney Park Princess. We love the elegance of the Disney Cruise Line ships, the exotic ports of call, and most of all – the food! With so many dining options to choose from on board the Disney Cruise Line (DCL), there is just no excuse to be hungry. But what if you have food allergies like me? Good news! Cruisers with food allergies can enjoy delicious options as well.
Sharla and I recently had the opportunity to sail on the Disney Magic from New York City to Quebec. I have multiple food allergies. The most severe is my allergy to wine and beer – even when cooked in sauces. (Let’s all have a moment of silence for the lack of wine in my life…) While this may not sound like a difficult allergy to handle, you would be surprised. Wine is a common ingredient in MANY dishes and is frequently used in kitchens to deglaze a pan, as the base for a marinade, and can be found in many sauces. (Not to mention beer battered fried things like fish and chips!)
Before Your Cruise (Note Your Food Allergies)
So how are food allergies handled on Disney Cruise Line? Let’s start with how to notify the cruise line of your allergy. Disney Cruise Line has a Special Services team for guests with medical needs. You can fill out a form online or reach them by phone at 407-566-3602. If you are working with a Travel Agent (you are, right?!), then you can have your agent note your allergies on your reservation as well.
Be sure to list all of your allergies and be as specific as possible!
Onboard Disney Cruise Line
Once on board, be prepared to confirm your allergies with every server, assistant server, head server, or chef you encounter. This is very important! The Main Dining rooms use a central kitchen that has a separate prep and cooking area especially for guests with food allergies to avoid cross-contamination. For this reason, I recommend eating in the Main Dining Rooms when possible. It is far easier for them to accommodate any special needs than it is for the buffet or quick service locations. However, I was able to dine at Cabanas and the quick service locations with no trouble. I simply had to wait a few minutes while the servers confirmed if an item was safe for me to eat!
At dinner each evening our wonderful server Glenda presented me with the menu for the following nights restaurant. I was able to pre-order my meal in order to allow the chef time to make adjustments or create a different sauce for me. This was a wonderful treat as on some other cruises, I have been relegated to dry proteins with no sauces. But on this cruise, the chef was able to make me custom sauces and gravies each night! My fellow cruisers also enjoyed getting a sneak peek at what was to come.
What Happens If You Have A Reaction
It happens! You fill out every form, and mention it to every server you see. But then you just can’t resist trying a bite of someone else’s food, or you eat something you think is safe from the buffet. Be sure that you have packed any remedies or rescue medications you may have. I have a “rescue” medication that I keep with me at all times! There is also a medical center onboard that can provide medical assistance if needed.
Keep in mind that no one knows your needs better than you do. Be prepared to explain your allergies repeatedly, and please have patience with the Disney Cruise Line staff. They will work with you to insure that you have the best experience possible. It may mean waiting a few additional moments here or there for your meal or an answer, but it is well worth it!