“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.

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The “Vegan Mom’s” Review of “Great Wolf Lodge” Resort & WaterPark

Back in the summer of 2005, my family stumbled upon a brand new resort in Williamsburg Virginia, called “The Great Wolf Lodge”. As we walked through the spacious lobby, mesmerized by the realistic wolves that surrounded us, we had no idea what we would encounter as the 4 of us made our way to the back of the hotel. When we came to a large window, which looked over a humungous indoor water park, I think all of our jaws dropped open. It’s a pretty amazing site for a first timer. The kids went wild, and needless to say, we cancelled our reservation at some “other” hotel, and quickly booked a “Wolf Den” room at The Great Wolf Lodge. We had a blast that week, and immediately began a new family, summer tradition!


Fast forward to the Summer of 2010, and our 5th stay at The Great Wolf Lodge (we skipped 2006 after our daughter was born). We are are still loving our waterpark resort…. but things are a little more tricky now! This is our 2nd year as a “Vegan Family” and Great Wolf Lodge is not exactly known for their “Veganism”.

The resort offers one sit down restaurant, and a couple counter service restaurants. Believe it or not, the food service by the pool was the most “Vegan Friendly”!! The menu offered veggie summer rolls, filled with fresh raw veggies, wrapped in rice paper. VERY YUMMY & highly recommended! They also served a wonderful fruit salad and they “specially” made the kids lettuce & tomato sandwiches. A pretty nice lunch, I must say!


The kids were also able to buy rainbow ice “Dippin Dots” from a machine. I was thankful for this, because there is not any sorbet in the ice-cream counter.

The main restaurant serves a Buffet every night, and lets just say that it is not a Vegan’s dream dinner!!! Lots of meat & egg noodles!! They do however have a salad bar and baked potato station. We informed the chefs about our “dietary restrictions”, I hate referring to our Vegan diet as restrictive, but when talking to people in the food service industry, that is how they view it. Thankfully, the chefs were absolutely wonderful, and they prepared us a delicious family style plate of sauteed veggies. We were very appreciative of their hospitality!


Outside of the waterpark is a small shop which sells ice-cream, fudge, coffee, candy, cereals, fruit and such. They do offer soy milk and Vegan popcorn. And each morning we would enjoy cereal & bananas for breakfast.

There is a  partially Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant in Williamsburg called “Food For Thought” and I would highly recommend dining there. They make a Vegan version of Pad Thai that is amazing!!

Over all, The Great Wolf Lodge is an amazing family vacation destination!! My children love it, and over the years we have made countless wonderful memories there! This is not a true “Vegan Friendly” resort, and you will have to think outside of the box when staying there. Thankfully, the rooms include a fridge, so stock it up if possible!

I won’t lie, I LOVE GWL, and we will continue to visit each summer, but I REALLY WISH that they would offer more options to their Vegan guests. They are considered a “Green” resort, which is very impressive! But what is more “Green” than “Veganism”??



Top 15 Vegan Family Road Trip “Cooler Essentials”

Well, we are officially into summer, and that means family road trip time for many of us! Summer Road Trips are a memorable part of childhood, and even with all of the dirty restroom stops, fighting in the backseat and hearing “are we there yet” 567 times…. I would not miss our annual automobile voyage for the world!

Most families stop at fast food restaurants a few times a day, while on long car trips. But unless your kids LOVE a McDonald’s ice-burg garden salad, there is not much for Vegan kids to eat. I recommend packing a large cooler, filled with tasty & healthy food that your family will enjoy.

Keep in mind that kids get hungry when they are bored….. or at least they think they are hungry! So pack a lot, you don’t want to run out of food when kids are involved & you are in an enclosed space! 😉

Here are my TOP 15 Cooler Essentials~

1. Some type of non-dairy milk. Rice, Soy, Almond, Hemp, whatever you like. It will come in handy for cereal, coffee, tea… etc.

2. A few “healthy” Vegan cereals. Kids & grown-ups enjoy a nice bowl of cereal at any time of day.

3. At least 1 loaf of Wheat/Whole Grain bread. You can eat it plain or create a sandwich.

4. Nut Butter (unless allergies)

5. Fruit spread

6. Mock deli meat (my kids love Tofurky)

7. Lots of fruit!! Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, etc…. make sure it’s washed & ready to eat!

8. Veggie Sticks. Take the extra time and prepare lots of variety. Slice carrots, celery, sweet peppers, broccoli & cauliflower! They can dunk them in the nut butter, or bring some vegan dip.

9. Healthy crackers!

10. Soy yogurt (or applesauce, if they are not yogurt fans)

11. Whole Grain Taco Shells. Seriously! Kids love them, and they can fill them with beans, veggies, or eat them plain.

12. Container filled with black beans or garbanzo beans. Sooo healthy!!

13. Nuts! Peanuts, almonds, cashews….. (unless allergies)

14. Drinks!! No soda for this family, so I recommend lots of water!! Juice boxes are good too!

15. Last but not least, something SWEET! Vegan cookies, a little candy, popcorn…. you get the idea. Your kids deserve a little reward for sitting in the car for so long!

Don’t forget to stock up on paper goods, forks, knives, spoons, paper towels, etc….. eco friendly ones, of course!

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