With new and expanded menus catering for vegetarians and even vegans, cruise lines are working hard to broaden their culinary appeal.
Once the cruise buffet was the happy hunting ground of the carnivorous, with hunks of beef, pork and chicken in plentiful supply.
But the rise of vegetarians and vegans has seen a big shift. Now, your as likely to find haloumi nuggets and Portobello mushroom burgers on the menu.
If you’ve decided to put your steak in the ground, here are some of the best cruise lines for non-meat eaters.
The luxury line which is known for its food offerings (culinary courses, specialty food cruises and market shore excursion), last year rolled out extra vegan options. The main dining room features more than 250 dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the morning, guests can have raw, cold-pressed juices as well as energy bowls filled with super berry acai. For dinner and lunch, there are menu items such as truffle-flavoured parsnip soup, vegan tortillas and Italian chocolate vegan-ricotta pie.
Holland America Line
The premium cruise line caters for special-diet cruisers with nearly 30 dishes for vegetarians and vegans (as well as coeliacs). Guests can find these dishes in the main dining room and it includes asparagus, carrot and zucchini tart which are baked in cheese custard and served with a three-grain pilaf of lentil, barley and wild rice. In June this year, the cruise line will host a cruise for Vegan Food Planners to Canada and Alaska. The Vegan Vacation at Sea is also offered onboard other lines such as Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.
Norwegian Cruise Line
While you might be hard pressed to find meat-free options at NCL’s carnivore restaurants, the chefs at neighbouring restaurants can deliver vegetable pad Thai or portobello mushroom layered with goat cheese. The main dining room generally also has meat-free starters.
Known for its healthy spa packages as well as specialised eating plans, it’s no surprise that Celebrity Cruises has dedicated vegetarian menus. Vegans fare less well as there is a fair amount of cheese in the dishes. For those who are into carbs, there are also lots of pasta dishes. The buffet has pizza and a pasta bar as well as a made-to-order stir-fry. Try the vegetable korma or spinach and ricotta ravioli.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten-free, the line accommodates everyone. Guests with special diets just need to give the line 60 days’ notice of your dietary requirements. For the vegans, Silversea also has raw-food options. Most of the dining areas onboard Silversea ships offer vegetarian or gluten-free options, but for the ultimate onboard experience, it is worth asking the luxury line to customise your eating experience onboard.
Carnival Cruise Line
The family-fun cruise line’s free dining outlets generally have one or two vegetarian dishes. At Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, there are veggie burger with mushrooms and caramelised onions and at the Blue Iguana Cantina, try the bean burrito. There are salads, pasta, pizzas and even the steakhouse will make off-the-menu vegetarian options for you as well.
If you’re sailing in the Mediterranean with Costa, the line has options for vegan, gluten-free and diabetic guests. The line improved its vegan and vegetarian options in 2015 and guests can now enjoy dishes from Michelin-starred chef Bruno Barbieri – think spinach flan, confit cherry tomatoes, salsa verde and thinly sliced sesame bread. From last year, vegetarian can even indulge in a 12-course degustation menu from the famous chef in the main dining room.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.