How to Eat Vegan Food When You’re on a Cruising Holiday

Last week, I went on a cruising holiday to Tasmania from Melbourne. I have been on a cruise before, but I haven’t cruised as a vegan traveller. I was both excited about the prospect of amazing vegan food, yet I was somewhat reserved about whether it was going to be easy. Suffice to say, and despite my wary anticipation, I cruised through my holiday with relative ease and I was able to eat vegan during all my main meals. Staff members were more than happy to bend over backwards so I didn’t miss out and I was able to enjoy my holiday without any negative eating experiences.

Here are my tips on how you can eat vegan when you’re on a cruising holiday so you don’t miss out.

Outline your vegan dietary requirements upon booking your cruise

A cruising holiday isn’t any different from any other mode of holiday. Upon booking your cruise, it’s best to ensure your vegan requirements are recorded at each step of the way; including your booking. Tell your travel agent about your vegan requirements so they can record it on your booking in the travel agent’s and the cruise company’s systems. This means you’re being a thorough and informative traveller and the cruise company then knows what to expect.

At the same time, choose your dining option

On this last cruising holiday, Anytime Dining was chosen. This means I could dine in the dining rooms at any time they’re open. This is really helpful, especially on days when you’re in port and out on a day excursion. You’re not pressuring yourself to be back on the boat by a strict time.

Talk to the Maître d’ at the start of your holiday

You’ve chosen your dining requirements for the duration of your holiday and you’ve decided to dine in the dining rooms. Now, it’s time to sort out your vegan options. When you arrive at the dining room and are seated, ask to speak to the Maître d’. He or she will be able to recommend which meals on the day’s menu can be made vegan. He or she can also check with the kitchen staff and ask any further questions you may have on your behalf.

You can order the day before

Menus for the next day’s dining are available on request and the Maître d’ may even encourage you to order in advance. At the end of your meal the night or lunch before, request to see the next day’s menu and place tour order with the Maître d’. Then, all you need to do is turn up at the next lunch or dinner sitting and notify your waiter that you placed an order the day or night before. Then, just sit back and wait for your meals to arrive.

But, what about breakfast?

I wanted to have a little more flexibility to my mornings (yes, I like to sleep in on holidays) so I decided to dine in the buffet area at breakfast time. I found this to be a little easier than dining in the dining room. I was able to choose fresh fruit, grilled vegetables, plain rice and vegetable stews. Each day tends to be different so kitchen staff are also very helpful when asked to clarify what ingredients are in each dish. If your questions to kitchen staff are specific and you outline you’re vegan, the kitchen staff can answer your questions in detail for you. Ingredients aren’t always listed on a sign near the dishes, so be alert and aware. Also, just don’t expect a meal to be cooked or prepared especially for you. Still, there’s enough food to choose from. You can also ask waiting staff for plant-based milk once you’re seated. On my cruising holiday, I was able to request soy and rice milks.

Other treats can be found when you look…

A cruise ship tends to have other eateries to choose from, such as cafes, patisseries and pizza bars. On my cruising holiday, the pizzeria was able to transform their vegetarian pizza to a vegan option, just by removing the cheese. Vegan gluten-free bases were available, too. It’s just a matter of asking the chef about all ingredients used, from the bases to the sauce and toppings then asking the chef to adjust to suit your vegan needs. It’s amazing what you can find, just by asking and being thankful for the help you receive.

Have you been on a cruise as a vegan traveller? Did you have a good or bad experience? Do you have any cruising tips from your own travels? I’d love to hear about your cruising experiences in the comments below.

Disclaimer: The above vegan travel tips were developed as a result of my personal travelling experiences while travelling with Princess Cruises from Melbourne, Victoria to Hobart, Tasmania in Australia. I am not affiliated with, nor receive payments from, Princess Cruises for the purposes of this blog post.

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