How to be Vegan Onboard a Cruise Ship

As vegans we have been on four cruises. We have sailed with a few different cruise lines, and have come up with some tips and tricks for vegans travelling via cruise lines. We wish we would have had someone to give us this advice before our trips.


How do you know if someone is vegan? Don't worry, they'll tell you. Yeah, yeah, yeah, heard that one before, but seriously, don't be shy. You've got to let people know you're vegan so they can cater to you.

To avoid disappointment it is best to tell everyone you are vegan.

Tell your travel agent (If you are using one) at the time of booking so they can add it to your booking. Otherwise, call or email the cruise line you are travelling with and tell them you are vegan and hope they can accommodate you. You can call the airline you're flying with as well if you like. They won't have a vegan meal waiting if you don't request one since veganism isn't that mainstream yet.

Assuming the cruise line has got the message, when you arrive on the ship, you should have a letter in your stateroom telling you to talk with the head chef as soon as you can. The sooner you talk to the chef the better your first meal will be. They won't have anything prepared for you even though you let them know prior to the cruise but they'll whip something up for you. Each night you'll have to pre-book the next night's dinner. This has been our experience on 3 different cruise lines.

They aren't as creative on board as you would think they would be, so come prepared with a few ideas for dinners you would like to have. This will ensure that you get exactly what you want for dinner. Lots of people, even professional chefs apparently, have no idea what there is to eat without meat, cheese, eggs, etc. That being said, some chefs are really creative and come up with stuff that you would never think of. It's been fun to eat some meals thought up by a non vegan chefs that are veganising their usual cuisine.

This is an example of one of our dinners:
Tofu Stir fry
Mushroom Starter
Apple Pie with Sorbet
Another tip is to tell your room cleaners that you are vegan. They like to leave chocolates on your pillows when they clean your room. By informing them that you don't eat dairy, they will leave dark chocolates on your pillow instead. You should also bring your own vegan toiletries. If you run out they most likely won't have vegan stuff on the ship.

When eating in the buffet you can ask for the chef to give you a tour of the buffet and tell you what's vegan. Also, you can just ask the cooks at each station what is in each dish and sometimes there are labels telling you the ingredients. Some things are obviously vegan such as fruit and vegetables. There are also stations that cook food for you to order (Sushi bar, Pasta and pizza usually), and you can make special requests like a no cheese pizza with tons of veggies.
No Cheese Pizza
Basically, what it all boils down to is that you have to be open and tell people you're vegan, explain what vegan means if necessary, give people an idea of what you are looking for and be willing to try the chef's experiments.