Vegetarian Options When Cruising: The Complete Guide

By: Rebecca Forte

Cruising vegetarians, do not fear! There is  more for you to eat than just bread and salad. The world’s cuisine is available to you! Cruise lines are becoming increasingly accommodating and inviting to vegetarian passengers.

In fact, Vegetarianism has become so ubiquitous that Royal Caribbean, and Costa Cruises do not even denote it as a special dietary need. They guarantee that every meal will have at least one specially designed vegetarian option designated on the menu. To see why, just look to this press release from Costa, where they note the importance of vegetarian options in our current gastronomical climate:

No matter whether they are chosen as a real lifestyle, to try new tastes, or just to feel lighter, vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more and more popular. That’s why Costa’s Corporate Chefs have created menus specifically for those who prefer a diet based mainly on foods derived from plants, and that for Vegans also excludes dairy products and eggs. (1)

Some Cruise lines have even gone above and beyond in their service of vegetarians. Disney has a separate vegetarian section in the buffet area. SeaDream has incorporated a “Raw Foods” selection into their cuisine. Holland and Celebrity both have entirely vegetarian menus for varied tastes. Holland sees this full vegetarian menu as a pivotal amenity for optimal comfort. One must simply look at the fantastic dishes on their menu to see this sentiment:

The savory collection of dishes on the new vegetarian-only menu include Portobello Mushroom and Chipotle Quesadillas, Vietnamese Vegetable Spring Rolls, Curried Vegetable Empanadas, Spicy Lentil and Garbanzo Salad, Sweet and Sour Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Jambalaya, Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Kebobs, and Baked Cheese Polenta with Mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts.(2)

Whether you will be cruising on a mainstream line, luxury cruise, or river cruise, I want you to feel comfortable in knowing that you will be will fed. With this goal in mind I created a guide to vegetarianism on each cruise line. In the guide you will find out whether you need to notify the cruise line ahead of time, and how to contact the line if so. I also collected sample menus from many of the lines, giving you a complete picture of the amazing cuisine that will be available to you. Bon appetit!

Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Disney, Holland, MSC, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, SeaDream, Crystal, Viking, Azamara, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Hapag Lloyd, Windstar, Star Clippers, Uniworld, Avalon, AmaWaterways

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Carnival

Contact Information: specialneeds@carnival.com or 1-800-929-6400

Sample Menu

“Carnival Cruise Line can provide our guests with the following special dietary needs: Vegetarian, Low-Cholesterol, Low-Fat, Low-Carbohydrates, Low-Sugar, Gluten Free, Indian Vegetarian, and Kosher. For Indian Vegetarian and Kosher meals, two weeks advance notice prior to your cruise is required. Any special dietary and food requests can be accommodated in our main dining rooms only.” (3)

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Try “The Taste Bar” on Carnival’s ships for fresh and creative options.

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Celebrity

Contact Information: special_needs@celebrity.com or 1-866-592-7225

Sample Menu

“Celebrity Cruises is happy to accommodate many different kinds of dietary needs in our Main Restaurant to enhance your cruise vacation. Once you have booked your cruise, send your special dietary request to special_needs@celebrity.com or call 1-866-592-7225.

We offer a separate 7-day Vegetarian Menu, in addition to vegetarian dishes on the standard Main Restaurant menu which are designated by a leaf icon.” (4)

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Costa

Contact Information: 1-800-462-6782

Sample Menu

“No matter whether they are chosen as a real lifestyle, to try new tastes or just to feel lighter, vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more and more popular. That’s why Costa’s Corporate Chefs have created menus specifically for those who prefer a diet based mainly on foods derived from plants, and that for Vegans also excludes dairy products and eggs.” (5)

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Cunard

Contact Information: 0843-374 -0000

Sample Menu

“All ships can cater for the following diets: Vegetarian, Pescetarian fish, Low /no fat, Low salt /no salt, Lactose intolerant /dairy free, Gluten /wheat free /celiac, Low cholesterol, Diabetic, Kosher, Vegan, Indian Vegetarian. Should you require any of the above diets please call our Customer Contact Centre on 0843 374 0000 (Calls cost 3p per minute plus your telephone company’s network access charge) prior to sailing.” (6)

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Disney

Contact Information: Email or call (407) 939-3463

Sample Menu Dream/Fantasy

Sample Menu Magic/Wonder

“Disney Cruise Line offers gluten-free, vegetarian, no sugar added, dairy-free and lighter offerings on all of our table-service restaurant menus.” (7)


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Disney also has special designated tables at the buffet. This is the Paleo table- the OPPOSITE of vegetarian. There is a vegetarian table as well though!

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Holland

Contact Information: N/A

Sample Menu

“By offering a complete vegetarian-only menu and the largest vegetarian selection at sea, we are ensuring that all guests can take part in an exceptional dining experience while cruising with Holland America Line,” said Richard meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs. (8)

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MSC

Contact Information: N/A

Sample Menu

“We believe everyone’s special on an MSC cruise ship, which is why we provide tailored menus and solutions to meet everyone’s dining requirements.Vegetarian Menus of delicious specialities, are freshly prepared to the gourmet standards for which MSC is renowned.”  (9)

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One of the best vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on MSC is the Pizza! Every bite is worth it!________________________________________________________________________________________

Norwegian

Contact Information: customerservice@ncl.com

“On board our ships, we offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that feature low-calorie, haute cuisine dishes. Our top-rated chefs also prepare vegetarian entrees (nutrition information provided) and sugar-free and fat-free desserts. Gluten-free, lactose-free, sodium-free, and dairy-free diets can also be catered for and must be requested at least 30 days before your cruise (Kosher 2 months).” (10)

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Princess

Contact Information: 1-800-774-6237

Sample Menu


“Princess is happy to meet your request for low-sodium, low-fat, low-sugar and vegetarian diets. Visit Cruise Personalizer® to indicate your dietary preferences.

You or your travel consultant must advise Princess in writing of any special diet, allergies or medical needs. Requests must be received no later than 35 days prior to departure for cruises to Alaska, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama Canal and Coastal Getaways.  For all other cruises, requests must be received no later than 65 days prior to departure.  Once onboard, please check with the Maitre D' to confirm your request.” (11)

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Princess cooks all of their food fresh with fresh baked breaks, sauces made from scratch, and homemade ice cream. ________________________________________________________________________________________

Royal Caribbean

Contact Information: N/A

Sample Menu

“Vegetarian Meals (including Indian-style vegetarian) are available on all menus in the Dining Room and Windjammer Cafe every day. Guests do not need to make a special request for these meals. ” (12)


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Royal Caribbean’s Coastal Kitchen is great spot for Mediterranean inspired vegetarian options.

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Regent Seven Seas

Contact Information: torsscops@rssc.com

Sample Menu


Regent consistently has vegetarian options in the Compass Rose restaurant. “As the flagship restaurant aboard each of Regent’s ships, the wonderfully expansive Compass Rose serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and features an exceptional variety of European-inspired Continental cuisine, as well as flavorful vegetarian and nutritious Canyon Ranch SpaClub® specialties.”  (13)

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Here is a chocolate dessert from Compass Rose because vegetarians like desserts too!

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Seabourn

Contact Information: N/A

Sample Menu

“For guests who prefer a meatless diet, the new menus now offer a separate section featuring vegetarian starters and entrée options. Several examples of these dishes include Vegetable and Potato Gnocchi Risotto, Spring Vegetable Paella, and Warm Baked Thyme Onion & Gruyere Tart.”  (14)

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Silversea

Contact Information: specialservices@silversea

Sample Menu

“Please email specialservices@silversea.com in advance of you cruise.

Whether your goal is better health or weight control, delicious CruiseLite dining menu options are offered as part of Silversea’s Wellness Programme to complement the roster of fitness activities and seminars that are the hallmark of prestige travel. A wide assortment of vitamin-booster juice blends, low-fat yoghurt smoothies and energiser drinks are available during breakfast. Vegetarian, vegan and low-carb selections are offered at every meal. And in the evening, alternate entrée options include mouthwatering dishes that are lower in fat, calories, sodium and cholesterol. Most dietary restrictions and other special requests can be accommodated with advance notice.”  (15)

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SeaDream Yacht Club

Contact Information: Email the  SeaDream special needs form to info@seadream.com


SeaDream will accommodate vegetarians. Fill out the attached special needs form to submit before your cruise.

In addition, “SeaDream Yacht Club introduces the first of its kind at sea, a “Raw Food” menu option. A once-radical form of vegetarianism called the “raw foods” or “living foods” movement is creeping into mainstream. Aboard the luxurious twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II, gourmet raw food is now offered in addition to the regular menu.”  (16)

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Crystal Cruises

Contact Information: onboardgstsvcs@crystalcruises.com 

Sample Menu

If you require a special diet, including any food allergies, or need specific food items during your cruise, we ask that you please submit your written dietary requests to our Onboard Guest Services Department by fax: 310-785-3975 or email: onboardgstsvcs@crystalcruises.com at least 90 days (3 months) prior to sailing

“Lighter Fare options including low-sodium, low-cholesterol, low-carb selections and vegetarian dishes are also included on every menu.”  (17)

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Viking Cruises

Contact Information: 877-668-4546 or email VikingGuestServices@vikingcruises.com

Sample Menu from a Travel Blogger

Viking Recipes

“Every meal has vegetarian options on the menu, and our chefs are able to prepare low-salt or gluten-free cuisine. Guests requiring special diets such as diabetic or low-cholesterol meals must alert Viking Cruises one month prior to departure and inform the Maitre d’ when on board. The chefs will make reasonable efforts to accommodate these requests.”  (18)


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Click on the “recipes” link to get the recipe for this gorgeous Autumn Panzanella Salad!

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Azamara Cruises

Contact Information: Form to email to Special_Needs@AzamaraClubCruises.com.

Sample Menu

“Guests must notify us of any dietary requirements at time of booking. If you have any special dietary needs, Azamara Club Cruises can accommodate the following special dietary needs onboard: food allergies, gluten free, vegetarian, diabetic, low-fat, low-sodium, and low-cholesterol. Other special diets such as Kosher and lactose-free meals may be available upon advanced request.”  (19)

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Oceania Cruises

Contact Information: 305-514-2300

Sample Menu

Sample Kosher Menu

Oceania provides, “Vegetarian, Kosher and special diets upon request.” (20)

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Paul Gauguin

Contact Information: 800-848-6172


“Well being and vegetarian selections are available on both ships.” (21)

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Hapag Lloyd

Contact Information: salesteam@hl-cruises.com

“If you suffer from allergies or have special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance so that we can pass this information onto the relevant people.”  (22)

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Windstar

Contact Information: N/A

“Special meals are available including low-cholesterol, vegetarian, low/no sodium and fat-free meals, as well as sugar-free and fat-free desserts. Kosher meals are not available.” (23)

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Star Clippers

Contact Information:  info@starclippers.com or 305-442-0550

“Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with plenty of vegetarian choices at each course. Dinner also has a vegetarian option.

In the personal details form provided at the time of booking note if you are vegan or gluten free. Once onboard the ship the chef will sit down and discuss options.”  (24)

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Be sure to enjoy some of the tasty fresh produce available on the Star Clipper!

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Uniworld River Cruises

Contact Information:  info@uniworld.com or 800-257-2407

Sample Menu


“Kindly inform us in advance if you have specific dietary requests (e.g., low-fat, low-calorie, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian, etc.). We have a “Traveling Lite” menu for guests seeking more health-conscious options, as well as light lunches, vegetarian options, and generous buffets that offer something for everyone. We will do our very best to accommodate your needs given the resources available to us.” (25)

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Avalon River Cruises

Contact Information:  N/A

Sample Menu

Avalon provides “daily choices of regional recipes, Western dishes, and vegetarian options.” (26)

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AmaWaterways

Contact Information:  N/A

Sample Menu from a Travel Blogger


“All meals are skillfully prepared by European chefs and consist of Continental cuisine

made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Breakfast is buffet-style with selections available from the menu as well. Lunch is also buffet-style with salads, soups and a selection of hot buffet items, hot entrees and desserts. Dinner is a multi-course meal with a choice of delicious entrees, including a vegetarian option.” (27)