Eating Vegan on a Cruise Ship (or Any Special Diet)


Posts may be sponsored. Post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you make a purchase using my link.

Justin and I are both vegans who recently went on a Caribbean cruise on board the Emerald Princess. Before we left, we weren’t too sure how good the vegan food was going to taste on board. We’d read varying reviews posted online that ranged from excellent to poor across various cruise lines. While I can’t speak for any other cruise companies, let me tell you: the vegan food on board the Princess cruise ship was excellent! If you’re vegan (or have other dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free dining), fear not – there will be food for you to eat on board and you will be very well taken care of! Eating vegan on a cruise ship is easy!

Fruit plate offered nightly in the dining room

Before You Leave

It’s very important to fill out the appropriate forms online before you leave for your trip. That way, the cruise ship staff will be able to prepare for your special dietary needs. They’ll be able to stock up on all of the tofu and egg-less pasta before you step foot on the ship! With Princess, you will navigate to your Cruise Personalizer where all of your trip information is stored online. You will be able to write in any special requests that you have when it comes to your diet. We received an email confirmation that the request had been received well in advance of our trip. If for some reason you are unable to do this, I’m sure that if you speak to the Head Waiter of our dining room that they will still be able to accommodate your needs as best as they can.

Vegan Burritos for Lunch

When You Arrive

On the first evening of your cruise when you are ready for dinner, speak to the Head Waiter of the dining room and inform him of your dietary request. For us, we spoke to Andrew, the Head Waiter of the Michaelangelo Dining Room on board the Emerald Princess and told him that we both consumed a vegan diet. This was no problem at all, and he always helped us with a smile on his face! For the first night, you can choose something from the menu and they will alter it to make it vegan. From that point on, we were shown the next evening’s menu in advance and we could order something from the menu for the next evening. That way, we could pretty much order whatever we wanted and they would prepare it for us! Many times, we would choose something from the menu that we liked and they would make it vegan for us by removing the dairy or eggs. Sometimes, we took different elements from what was being served and made an entirely new dish. And sometimes, we ordered something completely different, like a tofu stir fry that didn’t appear anywhere on the menu, but he assured us the chef could make it. No matter what, we were always accommodated and had no worries that we would go hungry!

Eating at the Buffet


We wondered if eating at the buffet might be a struggle. Needless to say, we always found lots of vegetarian and vegan options. For breakfast, there were always fresh bread and bagels with margarine, peanut butter, or jam; roasted potatoes or hash browns; cereals (you could request soy milk); rice with vegetables; and always lots of fresh fruit. Every day, we were able to fill up on lots of breakfast foods before we went out for our daily tours around the islands.

For lunch, it was even easier to eat as a vegan on board. There was a huge salad bar with tons of different vegetables and toppings, with a few different salad dressings available. We loved the balsamic vinaigrette, but there were a few other ones to choose from as well that didn’t have any dairy in them. We found that the best options for eating lunch at the buffet were to scope out the daily offerings at Cafe Caribe, the other buffet that served more international cuisine. On the Asian-themed food days, there would be lots of stir-fried noodles and rice, spring rolls, and even veggie sushi! We were always able to find something to our taste.

When the ship wasn’t in port during lunch time hours, the dining room would open up. This would operate similarly to how the dining room ran in the evening. You would inform the Head Waiter of your dietary request, and they would try their best to accommodate you. We only ate lunch in the dining room once, but they did offer to show us menus in advance so we could choose our meals ahead of time.

If you are eating a gluten-free diet or you have an allergy, it may be slightly more difficult for you to eat in the buffet. It would be best if you spoke to someone in charge at the buffet so they could assist you in choosing the right foods.

International Cafe


For all of you coffee-lovers out there (like me!), you can get your soy coffee beverages at the International Cafe! Just ask for soy milk in place of regular milk, and you’re good to go. There are several different varieties of lattes and iced coffee beverages where you can make them vegan. Another good idea is to purchase a coffee card for $31 – you get 15 stamps on the card, and you can use the card on future cruises if you don’t use all of the stamps in time. It’s a pretty good deal to get a fancy coffee drink for approximately $2 each (I love the Americanos!). Plus, for the duration of the cruise, you get unlimited brewed coffee when you show your coffee card, which tastes a whole lot better than the syrup-based coffee from the buffet!

Unfortunately, Princess sorely lacks in the department of vegan desserts. I have seen sugar-free desserts, gluten-free desserts, but no vegan desserts! C’mon, Princess! Let’s have at least one vegan dessert offering on board at the International Cafe or in the Main Dining Room! Vegan desserts often end up tasting just as good as ones filled with dairy and eggs, plus it might make the health-conscious passenger indulge a little bit! Fortunately, we did enjoy lots of fresh, fruity sorbets each night with our dinner, which was actually quite good after eating a heavier meal!

Our Meals

Here’s what we got to eat as our main courses each night on board the Emerald Princess! Let the drooling commence!

Day 1 (Fort Lauderdale, FL):
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (which we had almost every night!)
Pasta with tomato sauce, broccoli, olives and capers
Day 2: (Nassau, Bahamas):
Black Bean Soup
Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Vegetable Stir Fry with Grilled Tofu
Pineapple sorbet and mixed berries
Day 3 (At Sea):
White Bean and Vegetable Ragout
Justin’s pasta with tomato sauce
Lauren’s Stir Fried Vegetables with Steamed Rice
Day 4 (St. Thomas):
Vegetarian Sushi Appetizer
Green Salad
Beans in Tomato Sauce
Apple Cider Sorbet and Mixed Berries
Day 5 (Dominica):
Pesto Pasta
Vegetable Tempura with Rice
Day 6 (Grenada):
Prickly pear, pineapple and chili flakes!
Another green salad!
Vegan Pad Thai


Day 7 (Bonaire):
Pearl barley and leek soup with garlic crostini
Penne all’ Arribbiatta (Justin’s dinner)
Whole wheat pasta, Swiss chard, potatoes and Napa cabbage tossed with a garlic and sage sauce
Day 8 (Aruba):
Mushroom Soup
Green Salad with Asparagus
Day 9 (At Sea):
Green Salads
Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu and Rice Noodles
Day 10 (At Sea):
Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry
Eggplant Fritters with Tomato Rice

Vegan Cruises

If you are really into Veganism and want to enjoy a vegan cruise holiday, there is a Vegan Cruise out there that sails once a year, hosted by Holistic Holiday At Sea! This year’s already sailed back in March, but stay tuned for next year – it looks like a great time and you definitely wouldn’t have to worry about vegan food at all!

31 Responses

  1. elizabeth norgren
    | Reply

    i am a a recent transfer into veganism and i am going on the cruise “Princess Ruby” to alaska and i am very nervous about being able to get the right nutrition on this cruise. any tips you have that would be helpful for traveling? and if i contacted the cruise line just like you did do you think i would be able to do the same dietary request even though it’s a different ship? i need all the help i can get lol

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Elizabeth, don’t worry at all! I’ve sailed on a bunch of Princess ships, including the Ruby last year to California. Just talk to the staff when you arrive like I suggested, and mention it on the first dinner, and you’ll be good to go! I’m always so impressed with the cruise staff when helping someone following a special diet. Have fun!

  2. ron
    | Reply

    The answer is defiantly NO !!!
    We just got back from a 28 night cruise on the Emerald Princess that was like being in prison.
    At first I thought the plumbing was OK but that too went down hill.
    In short the food, and not just for us but many said it was the worst, to the TP was just terrible !!!
    The wate staff, who were very attentive were embarrass by the poor food quality.
    If there was a Capt. on board you wouldn’t know it by ever seeing him.
    On good cruises we have been on, we saw the Capt. daily inspecting every thing he is responsible for, the whole ship and every one on board.
    Though we are elite static on Princess, they will never see my face again.
    They even caused cancelations of ppls excursions because of road closures on Maui known years in advance.
    During the voyage many staff members lied to us but the mate die was the worst.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Sorry to hear you had a bad cruise! I think you need to take your grievances up with customer service and not in the comments of my blog. I’m not affiliated with Princess in any way. Thanks!

  3. Karen Johnson
    | Reply

    Just contacted princess cruises and was told they did not cater for vegans gutted as I have booked for February.
    Asked what vegan wines they had not helpful said did not have any shocking.
    Went previously on P&O cruise they were amazing over and beyond choices and sweets galore and vegan spread

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      They 100% cater to vegans! I’ve sailed on numerous sailings with Princess as a vegan, no problem. As for wines, you’ll have to track down a Princess wine menu ahead of time if possible and do a little research on

      I’ve seen recent photos from the Crown Princess with buffet items labeled vegan, so it also depends on the ship. You’ll have no problem having vegan food prepared for you though. Perhaps the person on the phone wasn’t familiar.

  4. Jessica
    | Reply

    Glad to hear that Princess had good vegan options. I’m vegan and sailed on Royal Caribbean in 2016 and the food was awful. They attempted to offer vegan options in the dining room, but the food was neither fresh or inventive. Lots of stir frys, but the sauces were very salty and tasted like bottled sweet & sour. And the desserts were terrible (sugar free, gluten free, dairy free “cake”). We’ll have to try Princess for our next one!

  5. Paul
    | Reply

    Thank you for this post. My girlfriend prefers to eat vegan as well. We are planning our first cruise together for next year, and dining has been one of the big concerns. We’ll be taking the Coral Princess in Alaska, so knowing that Princess Cruise Lines can accommodate seemingly very well makes us both significantly less anxious about dining while on the ship!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Princess is incredibly accommodating! You’re going to have a great time and eat so much great food. Have fun!

  6. Ryan
    | Reply

    thankyou for this! I am not vegan, but gluten free, and have almost no dairy. I recently learned about factory farming, so I will only be having seafood as a meat option while I go on a cruise next week. this is SO new to me and I was freaking out since I can’t eat gluten and can barely tolerate dairy as it is. I appreciate this! It gave me some great ideas. :)

  7. Franca
    | Reply

    The food looks quite nice and it’s good to know that even on a cruise like this one you can get some vegan food. I’ve never been on a cruise, I might be more willing to try it now :)

  8. WorldWideVegetarian
    | Reply

    Wow! I am so glad they were so accomadating on this cruise line. Makes me want to take a cruise, just for the food!


    • Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
      | Reply

      It was very yummy! :)

  9. veganinbrighton
    | Reply

    How great that they fed you guys so well, that’s awesome! I love how many options include tofu (my fave!) and both the sushi and apple cider sorbet from day 4 look wonderful.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I loved the tofu stir fry so much! And the pad Thai! It was so good. The sushi was a nice little treat and there was a different type of sorbet to eat every night! We were spoiled!

  10. Mary {The World Is A Book}
    | Reply

    What a great selection of cruise food. One of our favorite things about cruising is the food and I’m glad you were able to eat well. I’ve always love the variety of food on Princess. Now, you’re inspiring me to start looking at cruises :)

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Oooh I hope you book a cruise, that would be amazing! While we love seeing all of the destinations and visiting the places…having such fantastic food is awesome!!

  11. Bronwyn Joy
    | Reply

    Sounds (and looks) like you were very well catered for. One of the big things that makes travel a whole stack easier for me is just eating what’s put in front of me whether I like it or not. I always feel for those with special requirements, but it’s good to see some companies stepping up to the mark.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      They definitely accommodated us without a second thought, from the start everything was amazing – such great service, we were thoroughly impressed!

  12. Ashley Hubbard
    | Reply

    Okay, I’m not vegan (by a long shot) but this food looks amazing! Great photos as well! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you!!

  13. Adelina | Pack Me To
    | Reply

    I’m impressed with your ability to stick to your vegan diet while on the road. Everything looks really fresh and healthy on the boat though. Fruit for dessert is always good in my books. Especially when you’re in the Caribbean.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      For me, I was raised vegetarian and have been vegan for 4-5 years now, so it comes as second nature! I don’t even think twice about it anymore, plus I don’t digest dairy very well so it is for the best that I don’t eat it! The fruit was yummmm!

  14. Margherita Ragg
    | Reply

    Really surprising! I always thought vegan food would be hyper boring, but that looked super yummy! Shame for the dessert, but looks like the lovely fruit made up for that!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      It was so delicious! We hope that Princess includes a vegan dessert sometime. but the fresh fruit was such a treat!

  15. frankaboutcroatia
    | Reply

    It pays off to be a vegan! At the end you could choose what you wanted to eat, and you could create your own menu. This is like having a private chef at home :). Food looks amazing.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      It really was like having a private chef – as much as I love to cook, it was a rude awakening coming home and having to do all of our own cooking…and our own dishes! Yuck!

  16. Meggie Kay
    | Reply

    The food looks amazing. I’ll be going on my first cruise later this year (most likely) and I like to avoid dairy and lactose as much as possible. Never really considered actually changing the meal or what was offered to accommodate that since it’s not something I’m too strict about. But now I’m thinking I will.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      You may want to put in a request because from my experiences, almost everything seems to have dairy in it! Either they add cheese to everything, or it is in a creamy sauce…if you put in a request, they’ll be able to alter the meal to take the dairy out of it for you, or you can request something different if you’d like – they are super accommodating! Have fun on your cruise!!!

  17. BavarianSojourn
    | Reply

    Apart from the lack of desserts, the choice is really surprising in a good way! :)

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      And even then, it was probably a good thing we stayed away from all of the desserts anyway as I didn’t end up gaining any weight on board :) We did enjoy lots of fruit and sorbet! Maybe they will introduce some sort of vegan pastry at some point!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.