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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.