How To Eat Well As A Vegan On A Cruise And Not Get Fat As A Whale

Well I just got back from a cruise a few days ago if the 3 of you (my readers) were wondering why I haven’t been blogging.

We took a 9 day Mexican Riviera cruise on Carnival which left from San Pedro, CA and returned there. On the way we stopped at Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Puerta Vallarta and Manzanillo. Before we left, I was worried about the ability to eat a good and varied vegan diet on a cruise, but returning I found that I had put on 3 pounds in those 9 days.

So if you’re wondering how to eat well as a vegan on a cruise then the answer is a resounding yes.

I’ve only been on this one cruise as a vegan. Actually it’s the only cruise I’ve been on at all but I think the info I’ll share will be applicable on other cruises as well from what I’ve heard as they seem to be set up pretty similarly.

To be safe I contacted Carnival via email before we left, actually a few weeks before we left just to let them know that the 3 of us would be vegans on the cruise. I wanted to give them the chance to make any accommodations they might need if they weren’t prepared for that kind of a diet. This is what I wrote: “Hi there,

I was taking a look at your menus on the Spirit and noticed that you offer at least one vegetarian option at each meal. This is great, but many of these options include cheese, eggs or dairy.

I am vegan which means I don’t eat dairy, cheese or eggs either. Will there be options available at each meal for my diet? Can you tell me how I might be accommodated if that is not the case?

The reply back was somewhat weak I felt and left me a little worried. This is the response I got: “Good afternoon Jason ,
Hope that you are doing well, you will need to work very closely with our wait staff and they will help you with the food selection and preparation.n Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

The grammar has been untouched – if you’re wondering about that weird “n” before the last sentence.

Anyway, I knew that there were lots of buffets available on cruise lines and that I was bound to be able to enjoy toast and jam, cereals (hopefully with soy milk), oatmeal, fruits and salads. I figured that would be good enough if worst came to worst.

We had early seating for dinner and so as it turned out, I was able to reach out to the head hostess who was a wonderful woman named Romona from Romania. She was wonderfully caring and helpful.

At each sit down meal which was usually just dinner, but on sea days also included lunches, they had a vegetarian option. Romona was happy to have the kitchen make us anything that we wanted within reason, but the vegetarian options sounded so yummy that we just had them tweaked for the vegan diet.

Here are some of the meals we enjoyed at our sit down dinners and lunches. Vegan Indian curries, stuffed green pepper, vegan lasagna, chilled fruit soups made with soy milk, pasta primavera, grilled tofu and veggies and on and on.

Breakfasts were easy. You can order in room dining and can choose cereals with soy milk, toast, fruit, hash browns from the vegan options – interestingly enough they didn’t offer oatmeal for in room dining. If you went to the buffet you had similar choices and the oatmeal too. For me that is tons. I’m generally not a big breakfast eater.

Lunches, if they weren’t sit down lunch in the main dining room were varied as well with choices for in room dining of some vegan option sandwiches like PB&J or vegetable sandwiches with salad and chips or you could go up to the buffet too. The buffet had the option of veggie burgers and french fries (a weakness of mine :() as well as an assortment of hot dishes like stir fried vegetables a huge salad bar and hot or cold sandwiches made to order. As well as tons of fruits available.

I’m not a huge eater and food is available 24 hours a day for in room service or from one buffet and you have a wide variety of choices from around 6am to 1am each day.

That’s how I put on 3 pounds in 9 days as a vegan on a cruise… I just ate too much because there was sooo much available. I’m also not a big eater. I’ll eat maybe 2 good meals a day with a healthy snack, so when I’m eating 3 solid meals a day and snacking throughout the day you can imagine what’s going to happen.

Plus all the liquid calories which I keep telling my good readers not to be drinking. Anyway, it was a holiday šŸ˜‰

Interesting stat though. I’ve written before about how many vegans there are in the world, and if you remember that blog post, it seems that in America there appears to be 3% of the population self identifying as vegan.

There were 2,600 cruisers on this cruise and I asked Romona how many vegans there were and she said that our party of 3 were the only ones. Weird. I’ve written before about why no vegans in the supermarket, so as much as I’m encouraged by the polls that suggest 3% or more of us are vegan my own experience leaves me a bit skeptical.

Now in fairness, maybe cruising isn’t a popular vacation choice of vegans, or perhaps I was the only outspoken vegan identifying myself as such. It is possible to eat well as a vegan on a cruise without having to draw attention to that fact. As mentioned, lots of rolls, bread, salads, veggie hamburgers, cereals etc.

Nevertheless, I found it interesting that out of all the cruisers who chose to have sit down dinners we were the only vegans identifying as such.


So if you want to go on a cruise as a vegan, be proud of your diet and lifestyle and if you are respectful and work earnestly with the employees on the cruise they will be more than happy to help. Bon voyage!

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