Recently, I went on a summer vacation off the coast of Long Beach, CA to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico on a Carnival cruise ship. You’re probably thinking how did you survive as a vegan?! Luckily, there were some good vegan options and they were really accommodating! This is little guide that may help you if you’re traveling Carnival as a vegan (:
I really appreciated that Carnival even has their own guide to eating vegan on their website! Read about it here. I was on a four day cruise which probably did not have all the options outlined in the article as some of the larger cruise ships.
I heard great things about eating vegan breakfast in the dinning room, but I almost always ate the continental breakfast for something quick. There was always fruit, usually an assortment of melons and pineapple, and bagels or toast with peanut butter and jam for the spread. They had boxes of accidentally vegan dry cereal, but unfortunately, they didn’t have any plant-based milks on my cruise ship. Occasionally, I would see fried potato hash browns which were amazing (fried in vegetable shortening)! If you want something really yummy, the BlueIguana Catina serves breakfast burritos! Omit the egg and meat, opt for hash browns, and loads of veggies and guacamole!
Burritos again for lunch! They will serve beans instead of hash browns, but make sure you order the vegan beans not the refried beans. I was told that their refried beans contain animal fat/lard. Another option is pizza which is actually open 24 hrs. This usually wasn’t a lunch option for me because I am a night owl and loved getting pizza at midnight! They were kind enough to use my my own vegan cheese from home (: You can also get fries from Guy’s Burger Joint which are fried in vegetable shortening, same as the hash browns. From my research, longer cruises have Mongolian BBQ and a sushi bar that can be easily veganized which would have been delicious. I never even tried the hot buffet bar because nothing was labeled with ingredients and never looked vegan friendly.
I would always eat in the dinning room because they were most accommodating and would customize each meal to be vegan! However, when you first board the cruise ship, let dining staff know you’re vegan ASAP. I made the mistake of just showing up to dinner the first night hoping for the best, but I was told I had to pre-order my meal ahead of time. Each night, they will give you a menu for the next day and you choose your meal and they will veganize it for you! One time, I ordered a veggie lasagna, but then realized later that sometimes lasagna noodles contain egg… and I was worried!! When I showed up for dinner the next day, I was relieved. They made a veggie pasta with rice noodles–so they knew exactly what vegan meant! Though, my favorite dish was the “Featured Vegetarian” which was always Indian food. It tasted SO good and always filled me up. They always tried to make sure I had dessert too whether it was a fruit plate or a bowl of some kind of blueberry pie filling.
Bring Your Own Food
If you love dessert like I do, I would definitely bring your own as options on the cruise are limited! I brought my own vegan cheese for pizza and I would recommend bringing your own plant-based milk if you want cereal or coffee creamer. My stateroom did not have a fridge so I brought my own mini cooler. Just make sure you read their rules of which items you cannot bring on the cruise that is outlined in their FAQ.
Vegan Options in Ensenada, Mexico
I was surprised to see that were some vegan options in Ensenada, Mexico! Before the trip, I researched on Happy Cow and found a fully vegan restaurant and bakery. The restaurant was called V. Hopes and they served American style food. I would have preferred veganized authentic Mexican food, but I wanted to show my support. It was still really good, especially their boneless “wings”. Afterwards, I walked to the vegan bakery called Pistachio. They had delicious vegan cupcakes and adorable mini donuts! I’ve never seen a vegan mini doughnut before so that was really awesome.
Hopefully, this information helped if you’re a vegan who is planning on traveling with Carnival cruises. Maybe you just enjoyed hearing about my trip! Let me know what vegan options you’ve had on a cruise ship in the comments (: