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Is the food served on shore excursion tours safe?

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Mar 31st, 2009, 08:56 AM
  #1
cd
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Is the food served on shore excursion tours safe?

We are on RCL's Jewel of the Seas in April and will be in ports Aruba, Cartagena, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Grand Cayman. We are signed up for excursions in all ports. All given by RCL except Costa Rica which is a private excursion given by OkeyDokey tours recommended on CruiseCritic. The Panama, Costa Rica and Grand Cayman tours include lunch. Can we conclude that the food items are safe if the tour is recommended and given by the ship we are on?
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Mar 31st, 2009, 11:41 AM
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I would assume so. Afterall, they do not want a ship full of sick people. In all of our trips including Russia we have never had a problem.
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Mar 31st, 2009, 01:59 PM
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cd
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Thanks fmpden, I was just wondering if we should take the same percautions we do in Mexico. Only bottled drinks, no ice, only peeled fruit and only cooked vegetables.
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Mar 31st, 2009, 02:07 PM
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If it is a ship organized tour, it should be good. On a trip to Coba, the bus actually stopped for "Subway". Product is quite acceptable. We also had meals at hotels and restaurants at stops organized by the cruise line. They are generally pretty clean and provide bottled beverages anyway.
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Mar 31st, 2009, 04:32 PM
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You should be fine. However and please take this in the right way, I'd be wary about OkeyDokey tours from C. Soto. I too have read some good stuff but also I've see several poor reviews and the complaints therein are remarkably similar. That is sometimes he doesn't give the vehicle he promises( no A/C), charges more that agreed upon, cuts short the tour and packs in more people that he says he will. Just an FYI.
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Mar 31st, 2009, 04:52 PM
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The disclaimer on ships' websites says they are not responsible for any land tours even though they sell them.

It also depends on your stomach. For some reason, on the Panama cruise I had to avoid fresh fruit. The salads (raw veggies) were fine.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 05:58 AM
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I've never had a problem with food or water in the Caribbean. I drank tap water in Panama when I was there last month and found the standard of cleanliness quite high, even in a neighborhood bodega. I drank bottled water in Costa Rica, but I was in some pretty isolated places; food-borne illnesses are not usually a problem there. Even in most of the touristy parts of Mexico, it's a misconception that there are still huge, lingering problems with food and water safety. Things are really much better there now than they were just 10 years ago.

The only place on your list that I have not vistied is Cartagena, and I can't vouch for anything there. But I really don't think you have much to worry about in terms of food safety.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 06:41 AM
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You're always safe eating cooked food while it's still warm. Fruits where you remove the peel are another safe bet. Sometimes I catch myself violating these rules and still end up okay.

I would expect any ship organized tour to give you safe food. Most (not all) of the areas around ship ports seem to have adopted decent health standards.

When in doubt, stick with the number one rule. Everything cooked and still warm.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 07:56 AM
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cd
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Thank you everyone. I appreciate your sharing your safe food experiences! I feel so much better.

HOWEVER:

Jacetwatch, I'm glad you shared this with me. Where can I read these bad reviews on OkeyDodey? Are they on CruiseCritic and I missed them? I can't think of anything worse then a car with no AC in 90degree weather with 90% humidity. Maybe we should stick with the boats tours here too. If you have more info, I would truly appreciate it.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Bdjtbenson, you mewan everything cooked and still hot. Warm would be a receipe for disaster as the bacteria will start to grow at lower temepratures. You want the food temperature to be at least 140 in a warmer.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 12:50 PM
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cd: I saw these reviews in cc but its been a while ago, sometime well B4 we cruised the Panama canal last Feb. We had a stop in Costa Rica and I do recall seeing these reviews sometime around last summer, maybe late summer like August. We actually booked the PC last June, just after our So. Caribbean cruise. Just had to have something to look forward to.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 06:17 AM
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cd
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Thanks jacketwatch, I did go to CruiseCritic yesterday but I could not find any poor reviews on him, but I did not go that far back. I think I've decided to still go with him and just not get into the car if there's no AC.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 08:58 AM
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Actually I looked yesterday as well and the reviews now are all very good. If it were me I'd probably do the same thing. I would recommend have an email with his promised and agreed upon rate. I hope all goes well. BTW in CR don't forget the Lizano sauce. Its sort of a Worchestire sauce jazzed up to suit CR tastes by a fellow named Lizano (duh! ) and its about $1.00 per bottle there, about $6.00 per here. I just opened another bottle today for meat loaf seasoning. Its sort of a national condiment there. Cheers, Larry
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 10:43 AM
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cd
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Thanks for the sauce tip Larry.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 11:52 AM
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I travel to Central/South America alot, and the issue isn't that the food/water is necessarily "dirty" (although, sometimes that is the issue) - the issue is that there are just sometimes differences in the water, that if you're not used to it, you can get sick. Some of my Latin America folks can't drink the tap water here - so I would always follow the rules you mentioned you follow in Mexico... Having gotten sick from "different" waters in several places (ie, from ice) - I just don't take the risk. Who wants to ever have the chance of feeling bad....
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