What are the options for vegan or vegetarian dining on a UK cruise?

11 June 2024

Modern cruise lines are constantly evolving to cater to the diverse dining needs of their passengers. Whether you're after a gluten-free, low-carb, or vegan diet, there's a good chance you'll find it in the dining halls, restaurants, and buffets onboard. Today, we delve into the vegetarian and vegan dining experience on UK cruises. We'll explore the plethora of mouth-watering plant-based and meat-free dishes that you can relish on these luxury liners.

The Rise of Vegan and Vegetarian Dining in Cruise Lines

Cruise lines are increasingly recognising the importance of providing a comprehensive range of dining options for their passengers. Acknowledging the growing trend towards plant-based and vegetarian diets, many cruise lines are revolutionising their menus to ensure that vegans and vegetarians are not left out of the culinary adventure.

From the main dining rooms to the speciality restaurants and the buffet, vegan and vegetarian options have become an integral part of the culinary scene onboard. Some cruise lines have even forged partnerships with celebrity chefs and renowned vegan specialists to offer premium vegan and vegetarian dishes.

If you thought that vegan or vegetarian dining on a cruise would be limited and boring, think again. Today, you can find entire menus dedicated to plant-based dishes that are as creative and mouth-watering as their meat counterparts.

Vegan and Vegetarian Options on Main Cruise Lines

When it comes to vegan and vegetarian dining, some cruise lines have gone the extra mile to ensure their passengers have an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Let's explore what the main cruise lines have to offer.

  • Royal Caribbean: Their main dining room offers a separate menu for vegetarians and vegans. The options include a plethora of salads, pastas, and main dishes such as stuffed peppers and vegan shepherd's pie.

  • Norwegian Cruise Line: They have a dedicated vegetarian menu available in all their main dining rooms and most speciality restaurants. Vegan options are marked clearly on the menu.

  • P&O Cruises: This UK-based cruise line offers vegetarian and vegan options in all their restaurants. Their main dining room menu changes daily and always includes vegetarian and vegan options.

  • Princess Cruises: They offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan options in their main dining room, buffet, and speciality restaurants. The menu includes dishes like vegan fajitas and vegetable curry.

Indulging in Vegan and Vegetarian Buffets

Buffet dining is a staple on most cruises, and the good news is that most buffets onboard UK cruises feature a variety of options for vegetarians and vegans. The extensive spread usually includes a salad bar, a variety of vegetables, pastas, rice dishes, and vegetarian mains. Vegan options are also available, but it's advisable to confirm with the kitchen staff as some dishes may contain dairy or eggs.

In addition to the buffet, some cruises also offer a dedicated vegetarian and vegan section. Here, you can find a variety of dishes, from vegetable stir-fry and tofu dishes to vegan pizzas and pastas. The options are both diverse and delicious, ensuring that you'll never run out of choices.

The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Dishes to Try on a UK Cruise

Cruises are known for their culinary variety, and vegetarian and vegan dishes are no exception. Here are some of the best plant-based dishes you can expect to find on a UK cruise:

  • Vegetable Paella: A classic Spanish dish made vegan-friendly. It's filled with a variety of vegetables and flavoured with saffron and other exotic spices.

  • Vegan Sushi: Made with a variety of vegetables, tofu, and even tropical fruits. It's a healthy and delicious option.

  • Vegetable Lasagna: A hearty dish made with layers of pasta, mixed vegetables, and a rich tomato sauce.

  • Vegan Burger: Made with a variety of plant-based ingredients like beans, lentils, and vegetables. It's served with vegan-friendly sides like sweet potato fries and salad.

Whether you're a seasoned vegan, a practicing vegetarian, or just someone who enjoys plant-based cuisine, UK cruises are now more ready than ever to cater to your dietary preferences. The variety and quality of vegan and vegetarian options available promise a memorable dining experience as you sail across the ocean.

Vegan and Vegetarian Speciality Restaurants on UK Cruise Lines

In addition to the traditional main dining, cruise lines are now introducing speciality restaurants that cater specifically to vegans and vegetarians. These establishments deliver a fine dining experience, with plant-based and meat-free dishes that are as gastronomically exciting as they are nutritionally balanced.

Regent Seven Seas has collaborated with plant-based chefs to offer gourmet vegan and vegetarian menus. Their dining options include dishes like wild mushroom tart with Britten hard cheese, and truffled mac n’ cheese.

Celebrity Cruises offer a 'Vegan Epicurean' package in their speciality restaurants. The package offers five-course vegan menus, including dishes like the stuffed bell pepper and the chocolate avocado tart.

On MSC Cruises, there's the Eataly Ristorante Italiano, which features a vegan menu with traditional Italian dishes. They offer dishes like vegan Caprese salad and pasta al Pomodoro.

These speciality restaurants provide a unique, upscale dining experience for vegetarians and vegans. They prove that dietary restrictions do not have to limit culinary exploration and enjoyment.

Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly Cruise Ship Activities

Beyond the dining room, there are numerous shipboard activities that accommodate vegetarians and vegans. Royal Caribbean offers vegan wine tasting events, where passengers can sample a selection of vegan-friendly wines. Cooking classes are also available, where you can learn to prepare your favourite plant-based dishes under the guidance of professional chefs.

Regent Seven Seas offers a 'Culinary Arts Kitchen' class where passengers can learn to prepare gourmet vegan dishes. For those interested in wellness, some cruise lines like MSC Cruises offer vegan-friendly spa treatments.

In conclusion, UK cruise lines are rising to the occasion when it comes to catering for vegetarians and vegans. From the main dining rooms to speciality restaurants, and even onboard activities, every aspect of the cruise experience is becoming more inclusive. Whether you're a dedicated vegan or vegetarian, or simply someone who enjoys plant-based food, a UK cruise offers a vast range of dining options that can satisfy your culinary cravings. The days of limited meat-free options on a cruise ship are long gone. Today, the choices are diverse, plentiful, and deliciously satisfying. So, pack your bags and set sail on a culinary journey of plant-based delights!

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