How to dine as a vegan on Holland America Line cruises.
Worried about maintaining your vegan diet on a cruise ship? It’s easy to eat vegan food while cruising around the world. If you follow a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diet, or have any other kinds of food allergies or restrictions, you don’t need to worry about going hungry on a cruise ship. I’ve sailed on multiple cruises on several cruise lines as a vegan and I’ve never gone hungry. While the two of us have sailed on exclusively vegan cruises, we’re happy to report that Holland America Line offers a great variety of veggie meals on their cruises.
When Justin and I boarded Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam for the first time, I was curious about the vegan meals that we’d have the opportunity to eat. I’m happy to report that Holland America dining options are very adaptable to a veg lifestyle, and it’s one of the best cruises for vegans. In this Holland America vegan dining guide, I’m going to show you exactly what we ate over our 7 day Norway cruise on Nieuw Statendam (which sailed to Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, and Flam).
Holland America Vegan in the Main Dining Room
In the main dining room, there is a separate vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free menu. On the first night, we ordered off this menu without any difficulty. We simply mentioned that we were vegan to our server, and he reappeared with this wonderful menu. I was delighted to discover that the menu is primarily vegan and all vegetarian. There are enough hot appetizers, cold appetizers, soups, salads, and main courses that you can eat something different each night. I took these photos of the Holland America vegan menu so you can take a look.
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We were delighted to see that Holland America menus extended beyond the traditional one offered each night to a special vegan one. While Justin and I didn’t dine in the main dining room enough times to sample everything, we can highly recommend every dish that we tried. Under the cold appetizers, we ate the Quinoa & Cashew Nut Salad, the Vegetable Spring Roll, and the Asian Crispy Noodle Salad.
We tried all of the three vegan / vegetarian soups at one point in time or another on the cruise. The soups on the menu are: Asian Noodle Soup (my personal fav!), Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and Pasta Fagioli. We always ordered soup instead of salad for some reason (probably because it was a little chilly out some days), but the salads looked really yummy, too.
As for the entrees, Justin and I ordered the following dishes: Grilled Portabella Mushroom with Zucchini Spaghetti, Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry, Tempeh and Vegetable Kabob, and the Curried Cauliflower Steak.
Be sure to take a peek at the regular main dining room menu, too. There are sometimes vegetarian dishes on it that also happen to be vegan. On one occasion, I ordered a Tofu Curry from the regular Holland America menu and it was super tasty.
For dessert in the main dining room, it will always be some form of sorbet or fruit. On one evening, the sorbet arrived in a little dish with a fancy wafer cookie in it. On another occasion, the sorbet came in a fancy dish with some berries in the middle. The plating and presentation of each meal was the best that I’d seen on any cruise ship.
Holland America Dining Options: Specialty Restaurants
Thinking about dining at one of the specialty restaurants on Nieuw Statendam? There are a few options for specialty dining on this HAL cruise:
- Canaletto – Italian restaurant
- Pinnacle Grill – Steakhouse
- Tamarind – Asian restaurant
- Nama Sushi – Japanese restaurant
- Rudi’s Sel de Mer – French brasserie
We found that the best specialty restaurant for vegan food was Canaletto, the Italian restaurant. There were a few vegetarian dishes that they easily adapted into vegan dishes by removing some ingredients like milk and cheese. To start, we ordered an endive salad with avocado and various greens. For the entree, we ate a tomato risotto topped with grilled vegetables. And it wasn’t a surprise that we ordered another sorbet dish for dessert, but it was very refreshing and yummy.
Vegan Dining at the Lido Market
The Lido Market is a major upgrade to the buffet that you’ll see on most cruise ships. While there are a few grab-n-go items, most of the stations at the Lido Market prepare the food fresh before your eyes. By preparing the meals in small batches, you’ll receive the freshest food and made just the way you like it. I also love that this avoids cross contamination of ingredients and foods from other passengers. I’m sure it also cuts down on illnesses aboard the cruise ship, too!
One of our favorite stations at the Lido Market was the salad station. There’s a large variety of various vegetables, toppings and dressings. Simply ask for the ingredients that you prefer, and a staff member will whip up a salad exactly to your liking in a huge salad bowl for you. Justin and I ate big salads every day for lunch, which were nutritious and delicious!
Another station that I visited daily at the Lido Market was the one serving Asian food. There was always some sort of rice or noodle stir fry with just vegetables in it. Passengers have the option of adding a protein, but I kept mine simply vegetarian without the meat. There were also veggie sushi rolls, too. If you don’t see any out on display, just ask for the vegetarian sushi. Sometimes the veggie rolls had tofu and a vegetable, and sometimes they only had vegetables inside them. In the evening, there’s an even better stir fry area where you can get a made-to-order stir fry dish. You can choose from a few different sauces, vegetables, noodles, and even add tofu.
Of course, there’s always a place with potatoes or French fries, various kinds of bread, fresh fruit, and more. Sometimes the best Holland America vegan food was right there at the Lido Market for lunch and dinner. We only dined once at Lido Market for breakfast, opting to order room service breakfast each day (more on that below!). The only thing that wasn’t available on the room service menu were the hash brown potatoes that you could order at the Lido Market.
Vegan Pizza and Fast Food on Nieuw Statendam
There are a few Holland America vegan fast food options on Nieuw Statendam that we really enjoyed, including a pizzeria, a burger joint, and a gelato spot. These are all near the pool in the middle of the cruise ship.
Vegan Pizza at New York Pizza
First, New York Pizza became our second home on the cruise ship, I swear. We were constantly ordering freshly made pizzas just to our liking. To order a vegan pizza, ask for no cheese and then add as many veggies as you’d like. It’s easy to make your own pizza. You’ll get a little buzzer and the pizza will be ready in 5-10 minutes. In the morning, New York Pizza has an assortment of bagels. You can choose peanut butter or jam as a topping.
To order a vegan pizza, ask for no cheese and then add as many veggies as you’d like. It’s easy to make your own pizza. You’ll get a little buzzer and the pizza will be ready in 5-10 minutes. In the morning, New York Pizza has an assortment of bagels. You can choose peanut butter or jam as a topping.
Vegan Options at the Dive-In
Another dining option mid-ship right by the pool is the Dive-In. This is where you’ll find classic American food like burgers and fries. Again, everything is made to order. You’ll order your burger or hot dog at the front, take a buzzer, and receive your food soon. There’s always a veggie burger on the menu that changes every day. Holland America vegan burger options include a mushroom burger, a brown rice based burger, bean burgers, and more. Be sure to order a side of fries, too.
Lastly, right beside the Dive In, there’s an authentic gelato place. Gelato does come at an extra cost, but it is only a small amount and it’s definitely worth it. There was only one vegan gelato option on the menu, which was a banana gelato. Oh my goodness, it was so yummy! I highly recommend that you order a scoop…or two…or three. For Holland America vegan dessert selections, it’s mostly sorbet and fruit, so it’s nice to have an option that tastes a little more like ice cream.
Room Service Breakfast on Nieuw Statendam
Justin and I ordered room service for breakfast every day on the Nieuw Statendam. We often dined on our balcony or had breakfast in bed. Holland America vegan breakfast options for room service include: bagels with peanut butter or jam, toast, fresh fruit, veggie sausages, banana, orange juice, coffee and tea. It was a great way to start the day without having to leave the cabin. Having breakfast out on the balcony was one of our most memorable meals. There’s nothing better than dining with a view!
Coffee Shops on Nieuw Statendam
In addition to several bars and other venues with espresso machines, there are two main coffee shops on Nieuw Statendam: the Grand Dutch Cafe and the Exploration Central & Cafe at the Crow’s Nest. At the Grand Dutch Cafe, you can find hot beverages like an Americano, latte, or cappuccino. There’s always soy milk for your coffee, too. The Grand Dutch Cafe is decorated and styled like a traditional Dutch cafe, as a nod to HAL’s Dutch heritage. There are some Dutch-themed snacks (unfortunately, these are not vegan) and you can also order beer here, too. For fans of the coffee on board, you can bring home your own bag of roasted coffee beans!
At the cafe up at the Crow’s Nest, you’ll find some iced beverages in addition to the hot ones. I loved ordering iced soy lattes, which is a great Holland America vegan coffee option on board. There are some wonderful views with a large seating area from the Crow’s Nest. It’s a very relaxing and quiet environment to spend on board, from morning to evening.
As you can see, Holland America vegan options are plentiful and you won’t have any problem finding delicious plant-based meals. There are so many vegan and vegetarian meals on the cruise ship everywhere you go. You’ll find Holland America food that’s vegan in the main dining room, the Lido Market, fast food options and coffee bars. We were very impressed with the quality of each meal as everything tasted very delicious. If you’re searching for vegan friendly cruise lines, don’t hesitate to book your holiday with Holland America Line. It’s one of the best cruises for vegans, hands down.
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