Vegan cruise food – trying Royal Caribbean’s new vegan menu
Vegan cruise food has come a long way! And Royal Caribbean is leading the pack with their new vegan menu.
In the fall of 2019, we took a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean and we tried as much as we could from their new vegan menus in the main dining room. There were some hits and some misses. Now that the cruise lines are operating again, we thought it was a good time to show you some of the food we had and what we thought.
Here's the video of that trip and down below I'll share more details about the food.
Does Royal Caribbean have vegan food?
Yes, they absolutely do!
We've been on 3 or 4 Royal Caribbean cruises together now and we had no trouble getting vegan food.
Now you will have to manage your expectations. Are there massive tables full of different vegan desserts like they have for everyone else? No. But you can get good vegan food, including dessert. But you will have to take some steps to make that happen.
Where can you get vegan food on a Royal Caribbean ship?
There's definitely a method to having the best vegan experience on a Royal Caribbean ship. Here's what we do.
The first day is always the sketchiest. No one knows what to do or where to go. But this is also the day that you meet the people that will take care of you for the rest of the cruise.
We usually have breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer and dinner in the main dining room.
Head there for lunch when you first get on the ship. Find an area that you like to sit in. You will want to try to sit in that section every day. The same staff usually works each section at the same times each day.
That first day, let them know you are vegan (and any other restrictions you might have.) They can get someone that will show you everything on the buffet that is vegan. Or, there are people that work each section of the buffet. You can ask them and they will tell you or find out for you.
Yes, they have plant milks on the ship! (See a big ol' cup of it in the background of the photo below.) Ask your server what they have and they will go get it. That first day, they might have to go to another level to find it. But if you sit in their section every day, they will stock your favorite for you close by.
At breakfast, they always have oatmeal and it has been vegan, made with water, every time we've cruised. There will be lots of toppings you can use to dress it up like walnuts, cranberries, and brown sugar.
If you enjoy curries, make sure to ask about them that first day. If they know they have someone on board interested in dairy-free curries, they will make some that way. They're almost always vegetarian already. Here's one they made us special that first afternoon on the ship.
A lot of the breads are vegan. They always have peanut butter but sometimes you need to ask for it. Hummus and pita are regularly on the bar. There will be plenty of salad fixins.
Lunch in Main Dining
Days at sea, they open the main dining room for lunch since EVERYBODY is on board. You can just show up there and they will figure out a vegan meal for you. But, you can also arrange that meal in advance with your head waiter in main dining for dinner.
We never made prior arrangements because we didn't plan to eat our lunch in main dining. The options were still nice. Keep in mind that this will be a multiple course experience similar to dinner just not quite as much food. This is the meal they made us without planning ahead:
Other restaurants on board
You can find vegan bits and pieces at some of the restaurants on board as well. Johnny Rockets has vegan burgers. And the pizza at Sorrento's can be vegan if you omit the cheese. Vitality usually has some options. Wander around, check the menus, and ask the staff. They're happy to help!
We usually don't bother with the specialty restaurants because they cost extra and you have to make reservations. But we did eat in one another trip and it was fine but no better than main dining. Your mileage may vary.
If you're going on an excursion, be sure to ask for vegan meals if they are included. And bring something as a backup in case it doesn't happen.
For ports, check Happy Cow for vegan options. We've had some delicious foods at port.
If you need more ideas for finding vegan food in unfamiliar places, check out our vegan travel guide.
On this cruise, we went to Coco Cay. In one area, they had burgers. We were able to get vegan burgers, grilled veggie salad, and fruit.
In another area, they had a taco bar that had vegan options.
How do you get Royal Caribbean's vegan menu?
This cruise in 2019 was our first experience with the new vegan menus that Royal Caribbean rolled out in the main dining room. In the past, we would tell the head server that we're vegan at dinner that first night. They would ask what we liked and come up with something. Then each night, the server would come over at the end of dinner to see what we wanted for the next night.
Now, it works just like it does for everyone else in main dining. At the end of the meal, the server brings over a vegan menu and you choose what you want from that. They still make some .. interesting choices, especially for dessert. (Royal Caribbean, call me if you need help with that!) But all in all it's a pretty tasty experience.
Our Royal Caribbean vegan menu review: we would absolutely order everything we tried below again.
Here are a few of the menus we had during this cruise.
We got an off-menu dessert this night but I can't remember why.
Everything pictured was tasty even if it didn't necessarily photograph well. It felt a bit more like we were getting the "cruise food experience" than before, even though we had no trouble getting vegan food.
What about vegan AND gluten-free? Yes, they can do that! One of our party is both and if that day's menu didn't work for her they made her something else.
Have you eaten vegan on a Royal Caribbean cruise? How was it? What about on another cruise line? We'd love to hear your experiences!
About the Author
vegan. full-time traveler. rv dweller. food lover. cow petter.