“All Aboard! A Vegan Family On A Carnival Cruise”

For spring break this year our family decided to take a cruise. Normally we sail away on the Disney Cruise, but we booked our vacation last minute & Disney did not have availability. The 5 night cruise aboard the “Carnival Inspiration” was one of the few ships that we were able to find an available cabin, so we booked it!

Minutes later I was surfing the web, trying to find any information about Vegan dining on this ship, or any Carnival ship. But information was hard to find. I came across a few comments here & there, but nothing too helpful. I did read that is important to let your server know of any dietary restrictions during the first evening on board.

My husband and I explained our Vegan diet to the server as soon as she greeted us. She explained that we would be working with a “special diet hostess’ during the week, and we should find plenty to eat. This was music to our ears. Our dinner that first night was a simple gluten free penne with marinara sauce, and I must say, it was excellent. I don’t usually enjoy gluten free pasta, but this was a good one. During our meal the “special diet hostess” came by and pre-ordered our dinner for the next evening. This is what we would do each night. For dessert our only option was a fruit platter, but we were assured that we would have better desserts throughout the week. Cookies & cakes were mentioned….

The next evening we were told that our dinner “pre-order” had been accidentally deleted and all they were able to make for us were grilled vegetables & rice or the same pasta as the night before. My husband and I chose the vegetables & the kids ordered the pasta. We all enjoyed our food. Unfortunately, the fruit platter was still the only “dessert” we were offered again. The kids were not happy. We were told that homemade cookies would be made for us tomorrow…..

For breakfast each morning we stuck to toast with jam, cereal and fruit. Soymilk was always available. Lunch each afternoon was a treat! There is a noodle station where rice noodles & vegetables are made to order. The chef uses chicken stock to stir fry, so he had us bring him a cup of water to cook with each time. The kids LOVED this, and so did my husband and I! Best Vegan food on the ship, no joke! Aside from the noodle station, there is a large salad bar & a grilled panini station. It would have been nice if they offered a vegan entree’ along the buffet line, but we still found plenty to eat.

Our third dinner on the ship was a delicious vegetable fried rice! How were the cookies you ask? Non existent. We had fruit again. This time it was cooked berries in a sugared sauce. Good, but still fruit. Thank goodness I brought my own cookies for the kids. Poor things were on vacation and they couldn’t get one decent dessert! I was seriously going to offer my Vegan baking expertise to the kitchen staff and teach them how to whip something up, but my husband thought that was tacky.

The 4th evening we did not make it on the ship in time for dinner in the dining room (too busy discovering ancient Mayan ruins), so we grabbed some veggie sushi & a grilled veggie panini at the buffet. Quite good actually.

Our last dinner on the ship were vegan stuffed peppers, and we all enjoyed them. Bananas were our dessert. Surprise, surprise.

Overall we had a great time. I feel that Carnival has the right idea, offering a “special diet hostess” to work with guests, but I do think they are dropping the ball when it comes to dessert. Vegan cakes & cookies are not difficult to make, and if Carnival Cruise Line put a little more effort into catering to vegan guests, they would get 2 thumbs up by “The Vegan Mom” instead of one.

13 responses

  1. Hmmm…I’m not sure whether to call that a hit or miss. For some reason vegan deserts seem to be completely off the menu. We’ve been wanting to go on a cruise for a while, but hesitate due to the inconvenience. I suppose if we just keep going, and keep asking for more-that’s when great things start to happen.

  2. Sounds like a great trip overall – so glad you were able to get away! Thanks for sharing your experience, hopefully more of this type of feedback and businesses will start getting the message.

  3. I am a vegan who just booked a carnival cruise. We opted to sign up to eat any time of the evening, not the early or late dining plan, which means that we will not always have the same server. I am trying really hard to be not-fussy and breezy so I don’t make my omnivore husband feel bad, but do you think I would stand a better chance of getting good food if I committed to a set time and always had the same waiter? I am wondering if I made a bad decision… Thanks for your tips!!

  4. I’m not sure if having a different server & dining time will make your Vegan meals harder to come by. But it might. Make sure to stop by the main dining room to speak with the “Special Dining Host” as soon as you board. Good Luck!!!!! Stop by the noodle station for lunch each day!!

  5. Thank you so much for your information! I was considering a cruise with Carnival but hesitated because I was not sure if vegan food would be feasible. If I do go, I am packing some Uncle Eddie’s Cookies for sure!

  6. I’m so glad we found your blog! I’m a vegan with a fussy stomach and I was wondering how much food I was going to have to bring along. Did they have gluten free buns or bread? I’m happy with a sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce and some aioli if I can get it. Most everything else you named sounds GREAT.

  7. I’m not sure about gluten free buns at the buffets… but your special dining hostess will hook you up with plenty of food in the dining room!! You may want to call directly to find out more details.

  8. I was googling around for vegan options on cruises and found not only this page, but also this quote on the Carnival forums:
    “My husband is vegetarian, so on the first night, we always talk to our head waiter and ask about vegetarian dishes. Hubby is Indian, so he asked if the (mostly) Indian chefs would fix him Indian food all week. He said that the dinners he got on the Valor were almost as good as his mom’s cooking back home!

    Talk to your head waiter. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised by the food they will create for you.”

    As my wife and I *LOVE* Indian food, I am hoping this will be an option for us (despite the boat we’re going on not having a Tandoor station like some other Carnival ships).

  9. Hi! I’ve been meaning to thank you for this post for a couple of months now! …THANK YOU! I was looking for a cruise to take my mom on, but I wasn’t sure if there would be many vegan options available. I stumbled on this post, and I was sold! I booked it, and my mom and I went on the Carnival Splendor back in mid-april. We had a really great time together, and managed to be fully satisfied with vegan AND gluten free eats! You’ve inspired me to write about my own experience too! (coming soon 🙂


  10. I ran across your article while searching for vegan option on Carnival. We are sailing on January 30, 2016 and I was curious if they would accommodate us in the main dining room. Maybe Carnival is better able to accommodate requests like this. Crossing my fingers!

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