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Panicking About Cruise
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I'm going on a Baltic cruise in a few weeks and I'm starting to panic about food. I thought it would be okay because I read so many comments from people saying they had no trouble getting food on a cruise. The problem is that I realize they meant ON THE BOAT. I'm panicking about the shore excursions, particurly the ones that are all day, the meal is included, and there's no option to go off on your own (like in St. Petersburg, Russia). And I hadn't realized until now just how strict they are about not allowing food to be taken off the boat - not even things like crackers or snack bars. So if I can't take food off the shop and won't be able to get to grocery stores (my normal source of lunch foods while travelling), how am I going to manage this? I don't want to just stay on the boat - I want to see these cities. I also don't want to stop my husband from having a good time. He's so sweet - he said he doesn't care what we do he just wants to be with me. We can do that at home without spending all this money! Anyone have any advice? How do you manage shore excursions??

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If it's any reassurance to you, processed foods are less commonly served there. I have a friend who lived in St. Petersburg for many years, and all the dishes she prepares are naturally gluten free. The Borsch should be gluten free, so if that's the only dish offered, you should be okay. But, really, I think you'll be able to find enough to eat that is safe.

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We just returned from a Norwegian cruise and even though they said not to bring food off the ship, we did bring packaged bars in our backpacks and they didn't say anything about it.

I researched ahead of time to see what restaurants we could eat at that were in the port cities. That will be harder with a shore excursion that includes a meal. The good news is that you will be so well fed on the boat that a plain salad one day on an excursion may seem like a welcome break! :)

Good luck!

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I am sure you can bring some crackers or snackbars in your purse to keep you going. I live in Australia which is one of the strictest countries in the world in regards to food items that can be brought in, and even our quarantine officers allow prepackaged bakery goods. You'll feel less panicky if you know you have *something* to tide you over, but I'm sure you'll be able to find some food there. Enjoy your trip!

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I am sure you can bring some crackers or snackbars in your purse to keep you going. I live in Australia which is one of the strictest countries in the world in regards to food items that can be brought in, and even our quarantine officers allow prepackaged bakery goods. You'll feel less panicky if you know you have *something* to tide you over, but I'm sure you'll be able to find some food there. Enjoy your trip!

I actually specifically asked the cruiseline about taking crackers off and they said that even that wasn't allowed. I'm just going to have to bring a very large supply of crackers and snack bars from home and then hide a day's supply of them in my bag and my husband's bag for each shore excursion. I figure if I spread out the supply between both of our bags if one of use gets searched, the other one may be able to get away with not being searched!

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I actually specifically asked the cruiseline about taking crackers off and they said that even that wasn't allowed. I'm just going to have to bring a very large supply of crackers and snack bars from home and then hide a day's supply of them in my bag and my husband's bag for each shore excursion. I figure if I spread out the supply between both of our bags if one of use gets searched, the other one may be able to get away with not being searched!

Oh wow, I am going on a overseas cruise myself in the fall and had no idea they would not allow you to bring your gluten-free snacks on the excursions. :( I understand not bringing fruit and things like that off the ship, but how dangerous is a packaged protein bar??

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I have cruised around the world gluten free. Also extensively in Europe and the Mediterranean. Over 150 days gluten free cruising. You will have no problem with sealed prepackaged food. Even places that didn't want the prepackaged nuts like Australia I said I needed it for a food allergy and pointed to the gluten free on the label. Not one time was my prepackaged sealed food confiscated. My favorites were the KIND bars. They made an excellent meal replacement. On some shore excursions I would ask the guide to check if the restaurant could do a gluten free meal. Many could so then I used my own judgement to determine if they knew what they were talking about. I also would bring prepackaged Ian's cookies. Another type of bar I brought was the Envirokidz crispy rice bars.

Keep in mind you may not take off anything that is not prepackaged and sealed. So the cruise line is right in saying you can't take crackers if your bringing them wrapped up in a napkin or a ziplock.

When they ask I always self identified and said I had prepackaged food due to a food allergy to gluten. And I showed them the food. I didn't try to sneak anything by.

If you've never tried them I highly recommend you take Gluten Ease digestive enzymes on the ship with your breakfast to avoid any reactions from accidental cross contamination. Would hate to be on a bus and need to find a rest room for a gluten emergency.

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Wheww!!! Thanks so much for the response Michelle! :)

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Your very welcome! I think you will have a great time. Cruising and RV travel are two of the best ways a celiac can travel and get great food. One thing to remember is that your on vacation. If you run into a restaurant manager, head waiter or chef that isn't cooperative or knowledgeable switch venues. I've had great people in all different venues but not everyone has been great every time. Sometimes the main dining room is great. Sometimes the head chef in the buffet is awesome. Sometimes a specialty restaurant manager goes the extra mile. But these people are just people and their knowledge level varies. It isn't your job to get them up to snuff on celiac. The ship will have plenty of different food venues so don't get stuck in the trap of trying to change the world. Also while I usually shy away from buffets check out the one on your ship and see if they have any areas of food where the celiac safe food is concentrated and there are no cc worries nearby. But don't risk eating anything adjacent to or in front of anything with gluten. Sometimes if I want something that is in this situation like a hard boiled egg in front of the pancakes or grilled chicken that has gravy already on it I ask a manager and they have always been happy to go to the back and get one right from the kitchen.

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I doubt very much they are going to check everyones bag as they leave the ship to see if they have food in there or not. I would definately put snacks in your bags and if for some reason they do find them then explain that you are on a gluten free diet and you need these foods in case you can't find anything gluten free whilst you are off the ship. It seems like a stupid rule anyway and it should in no way stop you from getting off the ship. I am sure that you will find food to eat anyway. I am not sure what ports you are going to but if you are going to Scandinavia they apparently do gluten free well and in Finland they even have gluten-free buns at McDonalds! Anyway make sure you do take your snacks with you, you can put them in your pocket if you have to. I am sure they are not going to frisk you! :D Have a fabulous cruise and enjoy your shore excursions. Make sure you have a big breakfast before you go and stash a few of those snack bars to keep you going. Do not worry about this minor issue and let it spoil your anticipation of what will be a wonderful experience for you.

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