One of the best parts of travel by ship: we bring our restaurants with us. That’s not because local dining at destinations is unsafe. Indeed, ships visit places that have restaurants known all over the planet.
Still, those with special dietary needs have priorities that extend beyond the promise or reputation of a dining venue, regardless of where it is. Michelin stars? Meaningless for travelers cruising as a vegetarian until confirmed: they have vegetarian options.
Meet The Executive Chef
Commonly recommended first afternoon on the ship activity: Check your assigned seat in the dining room to see where that is. Better recommendation: meet the chef first. It may take some work to talk to the ship’s Executive Chef on embarkation day. Everyone seems busy. But this is also the time when dining room management looks at the new batch of passengers that came aboard the same day as you did, checking special dietary requests. At this point you are one person on a list. Put a face to that name.
Check Reliable Sources
It seems that the more restrictive/important/life-threatening a special dietary need may be, the more attention we pay to whatever the malady is. Being a vegetarian is not a top tier special need in the eyes of most people. Rather, it’s the easy thing to say when your real concern is that you hate fish. It seems more polite. Forget that. This is not the time to be polite. This is the time to be direct and explain why you are a vegetarian, in detail. For our purposes, the reason is irrelevant.
Network For The Real Situation
A Google search for “Vegetarian AND Princess Cruises” reveals a lot of great information. While informative, a lot of data does not guarantee delicious vegetarian meals every night. Still, copies of menus can be found online rather easily. How easy? Request those a week before travel and ask “How long is the menu cycle?”. The answer to that question will tell you how often menus repeat. That will be good to know if the cruise line menus to support a 14-day cycle and you are on a 7-day sailing. You will not have those many choices.
Preference Or Need?
If your vegetarian status hinges on a dislike of meat or fish and the cruise line you sail does not have very much diversity, take another look at meat or fish items. Wait, what did I say? Well, not the meat or fish items per se but what comes along with them. The other items served with meat or fish might very well be something to try.
All of this assumes some sort of actual vegetarian need but maybe you just think it makes you sound fashionable. Hey, we’re playing cruise dining here not nuclear warheads. Enjoy your coolness. No harm will come to you for skipping burgers.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com