Food: Let’s veg out.

With new and ex­panded menus cater­ing for vege­tar­i­ans and even ve­g­ans, cruise lines are work­ing hard to broaden their culi­nary ap­peal. Ber­nadette Chua re­ports.

Cruise Passenger - - PUBLISHER’S LETTER -

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 you’re as likely to find haloumi nuggets and Por­to­bello mush­room burg­ers on the menu. If you’ve de­cided to put steak in the ground, here are some of the best cruise lines for non-meat eaters.

CELEBRITY CRUISES

Known for its healthy spa pack­ages and spe­cialised eat­ing plans, it’s no sur­prise Celebrity Cruises has ded­i­cated veg­e­tar­ian menus with at least one vegan op­tion for each course. The buf­fet has pizza and a pasta bar as well as a made-to-or­der veg­etable stir-fry. Try the veg­etable ko­rma or spinach and ri­cotta ravi­oli. The line is of­fer­ing a spe­cial Pa­cific cruise with vegan din­ing, de­part­ing Syd­ney in Oc­to­ber.

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, in­clud­ing del­i­ca­cies such as as­para­gus, car­rot and zuc­chini tart baked in cheese cus­tard and served with a three-grain pi­laf of lentil, bar­ley and wild rice. In June, the cruise line will host a cruise for Vegan Food Plan­ners to Canada and Alaska. The Vegan Va­ca­tion at Sea is also of­fered by other lines such as Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.

SIL­VERSEA

Whether you’re veg­e­tar­ian, vegan, kosher or gluten-free, the line ac­com­mo­dates ev­ery­one. Guests with spe­cial di­ets just need to give the line 60 days’ no­tice of their di­etary re­quire­ments. For ve­g­ans, Sil­versea also has raw-food op­tions. Most of the din­ing ar­eas on 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 on board.

OCEA­NIA CRUISES

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.

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 burg­ers 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.

COSTA CRUISES

If you’re sail­ing in the Mediter­ranean with Costa, the line has op­tions for vegan, glutenfree and di­a­betic guests. The line im­proved its vegan and veg­e­tar­ian op­tions in 2015 and guests can now en­joy dishes from Miche­lin­starred chef Bruno Bar­bieri (pic­tured) – think spinach flan, con­fit cherry toma­toes, salsa verde and thinly sliced sesame bread. From last year, vege­tar­i­ans can even in­dulge in a 12-course de­gus­ta­tion menu from the fa­mous chef in the main din­ing room.

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