Recently, Mum and I embarked on a cruise across the South Pacific with the Princess cruise line. In the initial planning stages of this holiday I had big concerns surrounding catering: Will they have vegan options? Will they know what vegan means?
I am sure it was these same concerns that has led you to this article.
To my surprise, I found catering quite impressive. I indulged in 3, sometimes 8 course meals in their any-time dining area, the ‘Regency’. Each night, the head chef and dietary manager Adrian, met with me to plan my meals for the following day.
As this planning was regularly based around ‘veganising’ (altering animal or vegetarian based meals to make them vegan) their daily menus, some days were better than others. On some days when their wasn’t a single item on their pre-prepared menu that could be veganised I would have to opt for curry or pasta. I had curry and pasta plenty. None the less, I felt well looked after as I knew on occasions the chefs were doing the best they could with the ingredients on board, and the already pre-prepared aspects of the vegetarian food. At other times when it was suggested risotto wasn’t possible because it required butter… (not true) that may have been a controversial statement. Desserts were ‘chefs choice’.
Below is my documented food diary of all the vegan meals I ate on board the ‘Sun Princess’ ship on my South Pacific adventure. Whenever you see a star * after a meal this indicates the dish was exceptional and highly recommended. You will also notice I hardly ever eat breakfast, this is because I absolutely love sleeping in and could not miss out on this hobby while on holidays!
Day 1 – Cruising
Lunch– As we organised a late afternoon check in, I had eaten before boarding the ship.
Dinner– As it was my first night a meal had not been planned the night before to cater me. Although I had specified I was vegan upon booking the cruise this does not help. All dietary planning is arranged on board with the dietary manager whom I met the next day at dinner. My Impromptu dinner was a tomato sauce and vegetable pasta, with honey dew sorbet and fresh fruit.
Day 2 – Cruising
Lunch– I am still yet to meet the dietary planner so I had another tomato pasta. *Panics in vegan*
Dinner– Tonight I met Adrian, the ‘Sun Princess’ dietary manager and head chef. He wanted to make sure I had an excellent meal as he could tell I was beginning to worry after being served not one, but two meals of plain pasta thus far. Tonight I had entree’s of grapefruit and kiwi salad, and fresh garden salad. Main course was spiced vegetables with cous cous*. Adrian also prepared me a curry ‘sampler’, as a taste for what’s to come. Dessert was a blueberry cobbler* with crumble and a pink grapefruit sorbet.
Day 3 – Cruising
Lunch– Classic garden salad entree, fried rice with vegetables for my main and a chocolate mousse for dessert.
Dinner– My entree was a spicy bean soup with fried tofu* and cherry tomato and avocado salad. My main was a Korma curry with pappadums, and dessert was watermelon sorbet. Sorbet is always available, regardless of whether it is pre-ordered. Their is a different fruit-inspired flavour available each night.
Day 4 – Isle of Pines, New Calendonia
Breakfast– I could not sleep in today it was our first port and I was too excited! As the ‘Regency’ any-time diner does not serve pre-arranged dietary meals for breakfast, we opted for the ‘Horizon’ Buffet. I found tomato, baked beans, pineapple, wedges, and salad. Fruit and garden vegetables are always available for a salad. On port days, my Mum and I tried to have big meals for breakfast as their aren’t always vast options on the islands and the dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.
Lunch– Out of the ship at New Caledonia’s Isle of Pines I found a fruit cup and fresh coconut water. These set us back $2 and $3 Australian respectively.
Dinner– Entree was a peach bellini soup with prosseco (fancy terms for an alcoholic fruit juice) and a pine nut salad. My main course was a tomato and garlic sauce pasta and dessert was a black forest cherry cake.
Day 5 – Mystery Island, Vanuatu
Breakfast– Buffet at ‘Horizon Court’. It seems I failed to take a photograph as I was so excited for head off and explore.
Lunch– No lunch is provided by the dietary teams at sit down dining areas on shore days. The Buffet court is open instead.
Dinner– My entree was a vegetable hot pot soup and garden salad. My main course was a butternut squash veggie burger with fries, and dessert was a rice pudding* and pina colada sorbet.
Day 6 – Cruising
Lunch– Garden salad, vegetable pasta, and chocolate cake.
Dinner- Todays menu had a Thai influence which was delightful. I had two entrees, rice paper rolls with ginger sauce and a chilled Thai watermelon soup. My main course was seared tofu and vegetables and dessert a brownie chocolate cake with papaya sorbet and vanilla mousse. The 3 desserts was due to an ordering mistake, but I successfully attempted to eat them all anyway.
Day 7 – Dravuni Island, Fiji
Breakfast– Buffet at ‘Horizon Court’. I apologise my food diary entry is most definitely half eaten here. From memory, I had found baked potatoes, baked beans, salad, grapefruit grilled tomato and sunflower seeds.
Lunch– $5 Coconut on the mainland.
Dinner– An entree of pumpkin curry ginger soup* and chilled leek and potato soup. Main course was polenta and roast vegetables, and dessert a chocolate mousse.
Day 8 – Suva, Fiji
Breakfast– Buffet at ‘Horizon Court’. Ladies and gentleman, this was a great buffet day! Teriyaki tofu, hash browns,grilled tomato, potatoes and fruit were consumed.
Lunch– Suva did not have the best weather today so we didn’t stay out for long. As we got back on the boat sooner than expected we also ate at the buffet for lunch. (Reminder pre-arranged dietary lunches aren’t provided on port days). At the buffet I enjoyed guacamole salsa and chips, olives, salad, wedges, pasta and rice.
Dinner– Entree was a papaya juice soup, main course was potato curry and dessert a vanilla mousse.
Day 9 – Savu Savu, Fiji
Breakfast– Buffet at ‘Horizon Court’. We had a tight schedule and seeing as lunch was included as a part of an off shore excursion I ate very little for breakfast. A couple pieces of tofu, fruit, wedges and tomato.
Lunch– Lunch was supposed to be served at our paid zipping excursion (arranged by the cruise) but they did not offer vegan. I asked for a plain salad with fruit to be created but it was eaten by someone else after coming back from an activity. I ate a small meal at the ‘Horizon’ Buffet once we were back on the ship and ate an early dinner. Snack meal of guac chips and salsa, potatoes, fruit and salad.
Dinner– My entree was a garden salad and blueberry juice. For my main course I was quite peckish and requested two of the roast vegetable mains (they were also small serves) and had a banana-coconut sorbet and chocolate cake for dessert. I also opted for some late night buffet snacks too which I’ve also pictured here!
Day 10 – Loutoka, Fiji
Breakfast– Buffet at ‘Horizon’ Court. Baked beans, hash-browns, tomatoes, a kiwi fruit and pear.
Lunch– Buffet again! Roast potatoes, rice, cous cous, tomato pasta and salsa n chips.
Dinner– A cauliflower ginger curry soup and lentil vegetable soup for entree, a vegetable curry with rice and pappadums as main course and an apple cider sorbet for dessert. (I requested only one scoop because I was full!)
Day 11 – Cruising
Lunch– I had a buffet snack of chips, salsa and guacamole before heading to the regency dining room for a dish of seared tofu and noodles.
Dinner– For Dinner, I had an entree of lentil soup and a main course of tomato pasta. I had been told on arrival that they had misjudged my meal which could not be made vegan and stated their wasn’t enough time to make anything else.
Day 12 – Lifou, New Caledonia
Breakfast– Buffet at Horizon Court. Potatoes, tomato and fruit. Please note their were always fruit and plain salad vegetables at the buffet I just didn’t find eating plain salad all that appealing so my buffet meals were at times, quite scarce.
Dinner– Buffet at Horizon Court. The night before, we had troubles arranging a meal that could be veganised with the pre-prepared menu. I did not want to have plain pasta or curry again as substitute so we did not book a meal. At least the snorkelling that day made up for it!
Day 13 – Cruising
Lunch– I had a delicious pecan and apple salad* and a fruit salad with toasted coconut and walnut*.
Dinner– A cauliflower soup for entree, another curry for my main course and a strawberry champagne sorbet*.
Day 14 – Cruising
Lunch– A mushroom soup, with garden salad & sesame seeds as entree, and a main course of baked potato with spinach and mushroom.
Dinner– Asparagus soup entree, vegetables and rice main course with a pine and orange sorbet for dessert.
The End! 😉
Thanks for checking out my food diary! Don’t forget to follow my Instagram for updates as to when I post my next article on vegan travel. Happy Travels!