My last vegan cruise post featured a number of specialist sailings. These were either charter cruises, sold exclusively as a vegan sailing with no non-vegan dining onboard. The majority, however, are large vegan events on ships with their own vegan catering arrangements and social events fitted around the general sailing. But what if these few specialist sailings just don’t work for you and for your schedule. Maybe you holiday with an omni friend/partner and family who wouldn’t do a vegan cruise. You may fancy a sailing to a destination that isn’t visited by these specialist vegan cruise sailings. So can you cruise as a vegan on a regular, standard sailing of a cruise ship? Would they be vegan-friendly? Yes, they can be. Let me tell you.
In the last 18 months, I have sailed on 4 ‘regular’ cruises as a vegan and have done some research into options on other cruise lines. Let me start with those I have yet to try, but am determined to sail with soon.
My vegan cruise wish-list
P&O (Carnival-owned UK cruise line catering mostly for the British market)
So @pandocruises have been excellent thus far. Each night at dinner we get a preview of the following night and choose our vegan meal. They have a separate vegan/veggie menu, or we can mix and match from the regular menu. Tonight we had a Seitan, Tempeh, toasted nut and tahini Wellington with Yorkshire herb pudding. 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻That was just one out of three courses 🙈Two other couples sitting near us said they were jealous of our separate menu and they'd prefer ours! #winning #veganwinning #vegan #pandocruises #cruising #nomeatnoproblem #dairyisscary #veganfoodshare #vegannoms #eatyourveggies #crueltyfree
Italian Costa cruises are another Carnival-owned brand, rarely seen in the British waters. They introduced a vegetarian & vegan menu already back in 2015. Having a set menu to order from instead of having to adapt dishes must be so much easier for both cruisers and staff. But even more than Costa’s menu, I am wanting to try…
Oceania is the premium brand of Norwegian Cruise Line and this May they sent out a fabulous press release about a brand new vegan menu onboard. Not just healthy food. They had me at vanilla waffles, chocolate vegan ricotta pie and strawberry sable. The raw juices and smoothies are good too, surely. Even if just to offset the calorie laden vegan desserts.
Holland America Line (HAL)
HAL are another cruise line I am looking forward to trying. They are another Carnival-owned company and offer a separate, official vegetarian menu which has vegan options clearly highlighted. Much like on most other cruise lines who improvise or amend regular dinner menu courses to suit vegan diet, you need to pre-order items from this menu. Still, it is great to have a cruise line that acknowledges vegan customers with a menu.
My vegan cruises so far:
I have sailed twice on Royal Caribbean and much like Princess, their website does not mention vegan diet but you will find dining options onboard. Just as with Princess, the main dining room staff will liaise with you to adapt existing vegetarian menu items to suit vegan passengers. On the first night, I had the cheese omitted to make the vegetarian starter dish vegan.
The Windjammer buffet (lunch & dinner) has a selection of vegetarian options including stir fry and pasta stations, vegetarian curry…and an extensive salad bar, naturally.
Happy #MeatfreeMonday all you lovely people! #Cruise lunches can be a little DIY. Dinners you pre-order and get #vegan meals, lunches you make do with what buffet offers. On this particular day there must not have been a veggie curry and I didn’t fancy another Chinese or pasta stir fry. So s selection of colourful goods from the salad bar with bread it was. But sometimes salad is just right 😊🌱⚓️🛳#royalcaribbean #latergram #holiday #windjammer #veganfoodshare
At breakfast, the Windjammer buffet serves bread, beans, mushrooms etc with a selection of fruit, soy milk and JusRoll cinnamon swirls. My dessert for the week! Porridge was made with water so that was my breakfast choice, every day. No dairy-free spread on Royal either, so you either have to use fruit or jam.
I have written a separate post titled “Vegan food on MSC Splendida” about my three-nighter taster cruise. I found the buffet great, with lots of options but the main dining room did not impress so much. But on the basis of the ship, the service and the staff I would definitely sail with them again – even if it meant having to dine in the buffet on all nights.
Cruising as a vegan on a ship full of omnivores can be a challenge with the abundance of food on display. Dining experiences vary even on different ships of the same company, as I discovered on my two Royal Caribbean sailings. But, I was always fed, didn’t go hungry and had a great time regardless both on and off the ships. I am convinced other vegans can have successful sailings on these ‘regular’ cruises too – for many it may be the only kind they can take to accommodate those they travel with. If you have any questions on any cruises that I have taken and dined vegan, do ask. If you have any cruise questions otherwise, do ask too – have sailed on more ships as omnivore than as a vegan.
The latter three are the cruiselines I have had the pleasure to cruise with since becoming vegan. The former four more I am looking forward to sailing with, hopefully sometime in the future. Not this summer though, as we are trying a Thomson cruise (UK holiday company, part of the German TUI group). They have a ‘new’ ship TUI Discovery 2 and an in itinerary/ports of call we have not sailed with anyone else. Hoping they’re as vegan savvy as P&O are – it remains to be seen. I shall be reporting as soon as we’re onboard.
If you have any questions on any cruises that I have taken and dined vegan, do ask. If you have any cruise questions otherwise, do ask too – happy to help! Ships, ports, excursions..could even write a blog post on any cruise subject you request.
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