Europe Box Lunches, Food/Snacks Off the Ship?

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#1
Columbus, Ohio
17,992 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
What's the actual policy and practice with Celebrity on taking any food items, box lunches, etc. off of the ship when doing your own private port tours, having a car rental, etc.??? Is it really "illegal" in most or all foreign ports, especially for in Europe? We are getting ready for our first cruise on Celebrity, doing the Solstice June 7-19 for Italy, Croatian Coast, etc.

On other cruise lines, for both Norway and Russia, our cruise lines (other than Celebrity) have prepared box lunches for us that we used and had during our various on-our-own shore trips. This included apples being included for the boxed lunch. No problem or hassle. It worked well for us. Saved money and time. Does it depend on the Europe country? Or, is it more a question for what's convenient OR NOT for the cruise line to do and provide? Can anyone clarify more with added details and specifics for what is allowed, done, etc.? We'll do some "local lunches" in some port, but we like having the flexibility to have a snack and/or save time when needed. What have been your experiences when asking the ship for such help/service?

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


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#2
12,845 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
As seen in other threads, Celebrity does not prepare box lunches unless stated that they are part of an excursion.
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#3
Chicago by way of Boston and NOLA
16,819 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
It has nothing to do with what the cruise line may or may not do - it has to do with the country you are visiting agricultural laws. Nearly all countries have laws to protect their agriculture; these laws restrict what items may be brought into their country. The specific items and penalties for breaking the laws vary greatly from country to country. Most countries allow pre-packaged items (i.e. sealed granola bars, protein bars et.c), very few countries allow fresh fruit and vegetables. In terms of other items such as dairy, nuts, meats etc. what is allowed varies quite a deal.

If caught breaking agricultural laws you risk being detained and/or being levied a large fine (the fines tend to range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or more). Do not bring any fresh foods into a foreign country unless you are crystal clear that the country permits what you are bringing; otherwise you risk significant personal consequences as well as risk damaging the host country's agriculture by introducing a foreign pest.
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#4
12,845 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
No meat, cheese, milk, yogurt or other dairy products can be brought into Croatia.



Croatia bans tourists from bringing own food

ZAGREB - Croatia has banned foreign tourists from bringing their own meat and dairy products into the country in order to meet EU rules on food safety.

Gordan Jerbic, head of the veterinary section at Croatia's agriculture ministry, told Reuters on Monday the ban took effect on June 1 and was passed in line with European Union directives.

The country is a candidate for EU accession and hopes to join the bloc by 2011.

"The new rule was adjusted with EU legislation. This was a demand from the European Commission, something we had to do. The idea is to prevent a possible spread of animal diseases from contaminated food," Jerbic said.

"It is the same in all EU states."

Croatia relies heavily on tourism, which generates one-fifth of its gross domestic product.

"If customs officers are consistent in checking people on borders, it could have some negative impact," said Jan Papez, spokesman for the Association of Czech Travel Agents.

guardian.co.uk
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#5
Chicago area
14,079 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
I know that everyone has different things they like to do, but we usually look forward to a nice local snack or lunch off the ship to experiance local foods. This is especially true in Europe!

In fact one of our fond memories from our last visit to Croatia was a small sidewalk cafe just inside the North gate into Dubrovnik where we sampled a couple of fantastic local dishes http://simon-pics.smugmug.com/Cruise...35501163_nkLmb
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#6
Shalimar FL
5,107 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Always had time to have a nice lunch or just a snack, either on an organized tour or on our own. part of the fun. Strongly suggest not to plan or worry about taking stuff with you. All the ports you visit are set for tourists, and you'll find the range of full dining to snack places/picnic food to enjoy where you wish.

I take a small backpack and add what we need and off we go, or step into a place. But I do Love it when someone asks me where the best place in town is to eat.....I point back at the ship and say, 'And its free!'. I'm soooo funny!

On a recent thread asking a similar question, I related the story of a lady getting nailed sneaking some fruit in. She was escorted into 'the back' and given a full search. Don't know, but the rumor was she was fined also. They don't fool around with bugs being brought in via fresh foods.

Enjoy.

Den
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#7
Portsmouth, UK
256 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Last Med cruise on P&O Ventura we took a small backpack and took food off. We ordered the continental breakfast including dried fruit and nuts and packed that up for our lunch. We had rolls, butter, cheese, cold meat and yoghurts. We also took a small flask of boiling water, teabags, milk and sugar.

If we were hiking at the port we weren't near shops or restaurants so this worked well for us.

If I recall correctly we used the backpack in Cadiz and Cephalonia and had no problems at all.
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#8
9,600 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
You were fortunate you didn't get caught. I wouldn't want to be responsible for giving someone advice that would end up causing them to have a large fine, not to mention that it's just not the right thing to do.
#9
12,845 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Butter? Meat? Cheese? Yoghurt? And P&O lines never had any statement in their daily program or signage at the gangway telling you not to? Or did you just choose to ignore it? In any case, you know now that such things are not allowed.....
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#10
Chicago by way of Boston and NOLA
16,819 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by susieh
Last Med cruise on P&O Ventura we took a small backpack and took food off. We ordered the continental breakfast including dried fruit and nuts and packed that up for our lunch. We had rolls, butter, cheese, cold meat and yoghurts. We also took a small flask of boiling water, teabags, milk and sugar.

If we were hiking at the port we weren't near shops or restaurants so this worked well for us.

If I recall correctly we used the backpack in Cadiz and Cephalonia and had no problems at all.
You only had no problems at all because you did not get caught. You could have been detained and had a several thousand dollar fine for breaking agricultural laws. Not smart.
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#11
Minneapolis, MN
912 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
I thought pre-packaged items were ok. We usually bring factory wrapped individual sized granola bars or cheese & crackers. And, by the way, we've never eaten them as we usually find something local to sample.
#12
12,845 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
You should be fine with sealed, pre-packaged foods. Energy bars, small individual packs of cereal, things like that. Don't think I would try those "cheese" and cracker packs, but then it's not really cheese so maybe that would be ok.
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#13
QLD--AUSTRALIA
8,942 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by susieh
we took a small backpack and took food off. dried fruit and nuts , butter, cheese, cold meat and yoghurts.milk .
if you tried to take off any of these in an Australian or NZ port it's a $220 fine..the sniffer dogs would soon find it

OFF THE AUS CUSTOMS SITE
These items are prohibited and will be seized and destroyed by AQIS
DAIRY PRODUCTS
  • All dairy products (unless from a country listed as foot and mouth free). Whole and dried
    products that contain more than 10% dairy product as an ingredient. Infant formula accompanying a child and New Zealand dairy products are allowed.
EGGS AND EGG PRODUCTS
  • All whole, dried and powdered egg, and egg products that contain more than 10% egg as an ingredient, such as mayonnaise.
SEEDS AND NUTS
  • Cereal grains, popping corn, raw nuts, chestnuts, pine cones, birdseed, unidentified seeds, and some commercially packaged seeds and seed ornaments
LIVE PLANTS
  • All potted/bare rooted plants, cuttings, roots, bulbs, corms, rhizomes, stems and other viable
    plant material
LIVE ANIMALS
  • All mammals, birds, birds' eggs, and nests, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects
UNCANNED MEAT PRODUCTS
  • All animal species - fresh, dried, frozen, cooked, smoked, salted or preserved meat, including salami and sausages.
FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
  • All fresh and frozen fruit and vegetable
..
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#14
San Mateo, California
5,300 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I have travelled all over the Mediterranean and northern Europe over the years, I don't once recall any notice in any ports. The only time I have seen such notices is in Mexico and here in the US.

In all my travels I only once took a snack when I was on a 12 hour tour in Egypt. I was afraid to eat anything in port even though I was on a tour that included lunch. I bought a beer at the hotel and drank it out of the bottles vs a glass, again to reduce any risk of getting ill.

I will be again in the Mediterranean in October will have to look again to see if there are any such notices in the ports.
#15
Chicago by way of Boston and NOLA
16,819 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by pris993
I have travelled all over the Mediterranean and northern Europe over the years, I don't once recall any notice in any ports. The only time I have seen such notices is in Mexico and here in the US.

In all my travels I only once took a snack when I was on a 12 hour tour in Egypt. I was afraid to eat anything in port even though I was on a tour that included lunch. I bought a beer at the hotel and drank it out of the bottles vs a glass, again to reduce any risk of getting ill.

I will be again in the Mediterranean in October will have to look again to see if there are any such notices in the ports.
Ports do not have a list of all local laws posted. Just because you do not see a notice does not mean it is legal to take fresh foods off the ship and into the host country. You need to research this BEFORE your cruise. Look into agricultural laws of the specific ports you are visiting to see what you may bring, or prepare yourself via bringing along prepackaged snacks with you from home (i.e. granola bars, fiber pars, protein bars etc.) as these are permitted in nearly all countries.
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#16
12,845 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Eclipse Western Caribbean, March 2011, the announcement was made over the ship's P.A. "no food can be taken ashore", and the sign was posted at the gangplank as well. Of course, that seemed a little late, as those who had carefully packed their ham and cheese sandwiches were on their way.
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#17
Portsmouth, UK
256 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Cruising within the Med is within the EU most of the time and you CAN take such foods within EU countries. For example thousands of people travel to France to the hypermarkets to buy French food and bring it back (by Ferry) to the UK. It's allowed!
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#18
Chicago by way of Boston and NOLA
16,819 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by susieh
Cruising within the Med is within the EU most of the time and you CAN take such foods within EU countries. For example thousands of people travel to France to the hypermarkets to buy French food and bring it back (by Ferry) to the UK. It's allowed!
I believe the law is different for bringing food from one EU country to another versus bringing it from outside of the EU to an EU country (as is the case when bringing food off a cruise ship). Not 100% sure on this, but I believe that is the case.
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#19
Portsmouth, UK
256 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by Gonzo70
I believe the law is different for bringing food from one EU country to another versus bringing it from outside of the EU to an EU country (as is the case when bringing food off a cruise ship). Not 100% sure on this, but I believe that is the case.
correct - it's all on the govt websites - if you want to take a snack off the ship as it travels around Europe (once you've docked for the first time) then I can't see a problem
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#20
3,178 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by Gonzo70
I believe the law is different for bringing food from one EU country to another versus bringing it from outside of the EU to an EU country (as is the case when bringing food off a cruise ship). Not 100% sure on this, but I believe that is the case.
I come from New Zealand where (as posted by an Australian, above) we are very strict about bringing any foodstuffs into our country.

I remember being horrified, when I entered the UK by air, to find that, at that time, there were no restrictions on bringing foodstuffs in from abroad. No one asked us and there was no agriculture declaration form or inspection.

At that time, The UK was in the throes of a major foot-and-mouth (cattle disease) epidemic. We flew in to the UK via South Africa, where biltong (a sort of dried meat) was freely available in the duty-free shops in Johannesburg. We could easily have brought potentially-infected meat into the UK, and no-one would have known.

New Zealand has never had a foot-and-mouth epidemic, and it would be ruinous to our economy if we did. On our return from the UK to NZ, we had all our baggage opened and inspected and all our shoes had to be disinfected.

I totally understand the need for countries to protect themselves against the introduction of agricultural pests or infections and I would not even contemplate taking any foodstuffs on shore from a ship.
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