August 2016 - Enchantment of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas
My family and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas - Royal Caribbean this summer and had a very traumatic experience with food allergies (my son and niece). I had contacted RC 3 times prior to the sail date notifying them of my son's food allergies. All 3 times I was assured that we would be accommodated and that it would be safe for him as long as we ate all our meals in the Main Dining Room (MDR). My sister had also contacted RC a few times for her daughter's food allergies and received the same reassurance.
When we wanted to eat at the Windjammer Cafe (lunch time - MDR was closed, something they didn't tell us when we were making cruise reservations), we received different answers from different staff members regarding what was safe to eat. Also, when we asked to see the ingredients label for some of the basic foods (pasta / bread), we were told that they didn't have it because it comes in bulk from outside. As a result of this, my son and niece had limited food options. My son was told all he could eat was rice pasta for lunch and dinner because the wheat pasta and bread had eggs in them. (My son is allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts; however, it is usually safe for him to eat wheat bread / pasta / dairy, etc.)
Two days into our cruise, we were having dinner at the Main Dining Room. My son ate rice pasta with broccoli, french fries, and apples for dinner. At the end of the meal, a family member surprised my son and daughter with birthday cakes that were special ordered to be peanut / treenut / egg FREE. This family member had asked the head waiter / staff several times to ensure that these cakes would be safe for the kids with food allergies. Within 5 minutes of eating the cake (few bites), my son complained that his throat was itchy and hurting, his stomach was cramping and he started to make gagging noises to throw up. I rushed him to the restroom where I immediately gave him Benadryl to stop the allergic reaction and then to the Medical facility on Deck 1 to seek medical attention. When I went to the Medical facility, I realized that my sister had also rushed my niece down there because of an allergic reaction. My niece is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and coconut. She had throat pain, coughing, stomach pain and vomiting. She was also treated with Benadryl and started to feel better after an hour. We suspect that there was cross contamination of peanuts or tree nuts (allergens they both have in common) while making these cakes.
We had a poor experience on Royal Caribbean because they failed to protect our children from allergens even though they had assured us that the foods they were eating were safe. The staff was not well trained on answering questions regarding food allergies. Ingredient labels were not available when requested. Windjammer Cafe food labels and MDR menu items did not indicate presence of allergic foods. This type of service is unacceptable in a world where food allergies are on the rise in children as well as adults. Cruise lines need to make an effort to improve so that families like ours can safely enjoy cruising like everyone else does.