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 Post subject: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Hey guys! I'm going on a Carnival cruise from NOLA to Cozymel this week, and I've read a few blogs about how to get vegan food on the cruise. I believe I'm supposed to talk to maitre'd (is that even how you spell that?) when I get on the boat, but I was wondering if anyone here has experience with vegan food on Carnival cruises. Is it tasty? Will I find enough to eat? Should I pack a suitcase full of Larabars?

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Oh, and by the way, this is the former Tofu Witch. Just now re-registered....decided to use my crunk name since its more of who I am these days. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:37 pm 
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my parents took our family on a carnival cruise 6 years ago. my brother and i are both vegan and we were scared about the trip & starving the whole time. but it was actually pretty amazing. we talked to the maitre'd & she sat down with us and helped us plan our whole week of dinners. she also gave us tips on where to find vegan food during the rest of the day (there was a place with veggie burgers, there was veggie sushi, etc.). they will also send soymilk up with cereal in the morning via room service!

i don't think we got the total gluttonous cruise experience, because everyone else had 24-hour buffets. but we ate well!

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:56 pm 
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There was a very detailed thread about eating vegan on cruises on the old forum. I don't know how to find the old archived posts, otherwise I would try and find it for you.

I realize now that I am of no help at all!

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:59 pm 
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I'm going on a Holland America cruise in January. I need to call them soon and try to work out the vegan dining options. The travel agent is supposedly taking care of it, but I don't really know how much I trust that that will happen. I am planning on bringing some snacks with me.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:36 pm 
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GraciaKai wrote:
There was a very detailed thread about eating vegan on cruises on the old forum. I don't know how to find the old archived posts, otherwise I would try and find it for you.

I realize now that I am of no help at all!


I did a search first, but I couldn't find anything. I wonder if the old forum stuff is gone now. That would suck. I probably just didn't know what I was doing though...bet it's still here somewhere.

Glad to know about the maitre'd helping plan a week's worth of dinners. I'm a nerd about meal planning so that makes me feel better. And also good news about soymilk and veggie burgers!

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:47 pm 
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I was just coming to post about a similar thing... I am going on a Royal Caribbean cruise later this month. I've been on multiple cruises but this will be my first cruise as a vegan. I was vegetarian for all of the other cruises though.

I called Royal Caribbean to put in my request and they told me that they "do not serve vegan meals." I know that they typically have 1-2 vegetarian meals available in the dining room each night. They are usually pasta with cheese or some Indian dish, which probable have butter.

I'm sure that I can cobble some meals together from salads, pasta and sides but that was annoying. I'm probably going to bring a bunch of clif bars and some nuts and cookies. I know that I will mostly be dessert deprived.


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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:48 pm 
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Miss Crunk wrote:
GraciaKai wrote:
There was a very detailed thread about eating vegan on cruises on the old forum. I don't know how to find the old archived posts, otherwise I would try and find it for you.

I realize now that I am of no help at all!


I did a search first, but I couldn't find anything. I wonder if the old forum stuff is gone now. That would suck. I probably just didn't know what I was doing though...bet it's still here somewhere.


They are supposed to be archived and searchable, but I don't know how. You could PM a mod and ask them. The post was detailed and had a ton of info, I can't remember who wrote it. It wasn't that long ago, maybe a few weeks before we started the new boards.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:56 pm 
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I went on a Holland America cruise in 1997. It was tough.

You have to keep your eyes open. (Custom "vegetarian" stir-fry, made right in front of me, with butter (?), worcestershire sauce (?) and meat (!).)

The dining staff was as accommodating as they could be. The head waiter made a special purchase of soy milk for us at some port or other. But it's not very vegan-friendly.

Then, again, maybe it's changed since then.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:58 pm 
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Jessy wrote:
I was just coming to post about a similar thing... I am going on a Royal Caribbean cruise later this month. I've been on multiple cruises but this will be my first cruise as a vegan. I was vegetarian for all of the other cruises though.

I called Royal Caribbean to put in my request and they told me that they "do not serve vegan meals." I know that they typically have 1-2 vegetarian meals available in the dining room each night. They are usually pasta with cheese or some Indian dish, which probable have butter.

I'm sure that I can cobble some meals together from salads, pasta and sides but that was annoying. I'm probably going to bring a bunch of clif bars and some nuts and cookies. I know that I will mostly be dessert deprived.


On Holland America, we had plenty of plain baked potatoes and (always) the fruit plate for dessert. And questionable, don't-ask-don't-tell veggie burgers.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Aw man, I hope Royal Caribbean's gotten better since then. Sounds like Carnival is okay...though I do hope there's SOMETHING on the 24-hour buffet that's vegan. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:49 pm 
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So I just called the Special Needs department for Royal Caribbean..the person I spoke with was very helpful (much better than the person from the other day.) She told me to speak with the Maitre'd and that they would be able to accomodate a vegan diet. She said that they even can make cakes without dairy and eggs if they have notice in advance. :)

We are probably going to eat at the buffet most nights since this is planned as a very laid back cruise. When we cruise with family we dress up and eat at the main dining room every night. This time we are cruising with friends and we all just want to chill.

When we cruised on disney a few years ago there was a family at our table whose children had multiple food allergies...each night the restaurant Manager came over and went over the next nights menu with the mom. I know that you can do something similar on Carnival. I've been on Carnival a few times. I know that they have delis and pizzerias on most of the ships. I'm pretty sure that they can make you a cheeseless pizza to order.


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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:09 pm 
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Haha! I love that the "special needs" department handles these things....we vegans do have special needs. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:48 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
I went on a Holland America cruise in 1997. It was tough.

You have to keep your eyes open. (Custom "vegetarian" stir-fry, made right in front of me, with butter (?), worcestershire sauce (?) and meat (!).)

The dining staff was as accommodating as they could be. The head waiter made a special purchase of soy milk for us at some port or other. But it's not very vegan-friendly.

Then, again, maybe it's changed since then.


ugh! i hope holland america has gotten better since then. i saw a menu for one of the restaurants on the cruise and they had tempeh and seitan on the menu, so that will be good if i get desperate, but i do not want to pay for dinner every night when i already paid a ton of money. their website makes it sound like they will be really accomodating

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:38 pm 
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I've been on Royal Carribean, Princess, and Carnival Cruises. I was able to get by on all three, but Carnival was by far the best for a vegan. I was referred to the head of the dining room by my server on the first night. Every night, they'd find me and decide if the next day's dinner would be OK or if I needed a custom meal. It was usually pretty yummy. For lunch, there's always a lot of salads and fruit and sushi and stuff to choose from.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:56 am 
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The only way I can get my husband to travel (internationally) is on a cruise. As a vegan I've cruised on Royal Caribbean and Princess multiple times. Royal Caribbean was always extremely accommodating, Princess so-so. Same story as the others...we talked to the Maitre'd and he would send over the head waiter each night to confirm out dinner arrangements for the next evening. Our meals were usually good; not great but not inedible either. One night RC even baked us a vegan cake! Princess' desserts were usually just a bowl of sorbet (but damn, was it good!).

On our last cruise, we skipped the dinning room for dinner altogether and ate only at the buffet. There was a really nice sushi chef who made avocado rolls just for us. There were also many other options on the buffet but we found it irritating to have to ask someone for each dish, "Is this vegan?" Most people were very knowledgeable and those that weren't were always happy to find someone who actually knew.

For breakfast we could eat oatmeal, cereal, hashbrowns, TOTS, miso soup (OMG, they had this amazing miso soup spread where you could fill your bowl with different things like tofu, seaweed, carrots, mushrooms, etc), toast with peanut butter & jam, bagels, etc. They had no problem getting soymilk for us but we had to ask for it. Sometimes I'd get an extra glass, bring it to my room and store it in the fridge so I could have some soymilk later in the day. I actually made my own iced coffees and it was wonderful (you'll have to bring your own cups because they don't have any large enough for this)!

For lunch there were veggie burgers (which on Royal Caribbean they had to run to Johnny Rockets to get vegan ones for us), fries, huge salads (I generally fork-whipped together my own dressing with balsamic, olive oil & dijon mustard), sometimes a Mexican spread (with chips, guac, pico, vegetarian refried beans, etc.), many Indian dishes (about 50% of it was vegan), some veggie stirfrys, etc.

I don't know for sure on Carnival but I'd feel pretty confident saying you won't go hungry and you'll probably be able to find some pretty decent food. Although not a lot of desserts. I usually bake some cookies & bars and then when our party wanted to have a late night tea/coffee or what not we'd have something sweet to nibble on when everyone else was eating what they got from the cafes.

Also, I'd recommend bringing some bars, nuts, dried fruit to take along with you on your excursions (you usually can't take fresh food like an apple or sandwich on/off ship).

I hope you have a great time! We love Cozymel. We usually bypass the ship's excursions, rent a scooter and drive around the island (it's not that big). Then we found a terrific place to snorkel/eat/sunbathe/relax. There are also some ruins you could visit if that's your thing (you'd definitely be able to fit it all in). If you want some more info on this PM me.

Edit: Wow, I didn't realize this had turned into a novel. Sorry!

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:15 am 
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Great Garbanzo, thanks!! All of that made me feel much better! Sounds like I will not starve. I'm also gonna PM you....have some questions about skipping excursions.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:37 am 
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I wasn't vegan then, but I just wanted to say I went on a Carnival New Orleans-to-Cozumel cruise and had a blasty blast. I don't remember the food besides 24/7 ice cream and being served lobster for the first time and hating it. So if you get shiitake food just take consolation that maybe the omni food isn't much better.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:39 pm 
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Wow, Greatgarbanzo, that was some awesome information! That will be very helpful for me. Thank you for your novel!


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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:05 pm 
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I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise as a vegan, and as said above their policy is to not serve vegan meals. However, I talked to the waiter assigned to my table, and after that, every single night he talked to the chef about how the vegetarian meal/s could be made vegan. He didn't know the word vegan so I just said no x y and z, and he totally took care of me. And every day he remembered to put aside a plate of fruit for me so I'd have something to eat during dessert. He was THE BEST. For Royal Caribbean, that was the only way to get taken care of, bc of their policy. But cruise ships always have ridiculous buffet spreads in the non-fancy dining room too, and i would just ask people what was in stuff that looked promising, and there was more than enough vegan stuff. And it was amaaaazing.

Have fun!

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 Post subject: Re: Eating vegan on a Carnival cruise?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:27 pm 
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I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise vegan and I HIGHLY recommend bringing recipes of foods that you would want using simple ingredients and also bringing along an aseptic carton of soy/almond/rice/whatever milk with you. For example, I would give them recipes of pancakes and chocolate cakes (because I realllly love desert and don't think a vacation is good unless I eat desert) using common ingredients...like applesauce or smushed banana or cornstarch mixed with water for eggs, soymilk instead of dairy milk, etc.

I ate pretty well on the cruise..I had pancakes, waffles, cereal, oatmeal, potatoe dishes for breakfast. Lunch was usually a challenge, but I believe I had veggie burgers and fries, veggie sandwiches, etc. Dinner was usually good, I had a tofu based asian dish one night (they bought tofu on one of the islands special for me), an indian dish or two (which was really good because apparently the chef was Indian), grilled portabellos with baked potatoes encrusted in sea salt and steamed veggies one night, stuff like that...I think I had a pasta dish the first night before the chef got acclimated to me being vegan. On the second night and for the rest of my trip, I had a slice of chocolate cake with fruit for desert..that really made it for me. Otherwise I would have been sad watching everybody eating cake or sweets and I only had a plate of fruit every night haha...


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