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Healthy Meals while Dining on a Cruise Ship

Cruise ships vary in the extent to which their menus accommodate travelers on lowfat diets. Some have menus which clearly differentiate the lowfat choices from all of the others. Some ships have separate vegetarian menus from which to order. Even those ships that do not obviously cater to people on special diets can usually accommodate special requests. Since most of the food is prepared to order, and since there is so much food on hand, it’s not much of a problem for most people to get a menu item altered to suit their individual needs or to find an acceptable substitute. Also, cruise ships frequently serve meals buffet style, which in some ways can make it easier for many passengers to get what they want. On a buffet line, you can pick and choose items that look low in fat and piece together a great meal.



Here are some suggestions:

As always, check with your travel agent or the customer services representative for the cruise line you are con-sidering to ask for food service details. If you are really concerned about your meal options, or if you want to plan ahead, you may want to write to the cruise line and request sample menus and other meal information. Your travel agent may also be able to request this for you, or ask for it at the time you make your reserv-ations. The following information is what was avail-able from various cruise lines at the time of writing.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line:

Vegetarian lunch and dinner menus are being introduced aboard the nine-ship fleet. Currently, the Monarch of the Seas has separate vegetarian menus in place, and these will be gradually extended to the other ships. Meanwhile, menus on the other ships include meatless options, and several menu items are flagged as lowfat on each menu. The vegetarian options may include dairy and/or egg, but many can be modified, and there are many other items that are totally free of animal ingredients.

Sample vegetarian items found on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s meatless luncheon menus include melon cocktail, chilled strawberry bisque, fresh vegetables, vegetable soup, cauliflower garden salad, tropical fruit platter, sherbet, tortellini calabrese, Hawaiian croissant sandwiches, pie, and beverages.

Sample vegetarian dishes on their meatless dinner menus include spaghetti Alfredo style with julienne of fresh vegetables, grilled plum tomatoes, steamed broccoli, chilled cantaloupe soup, tempura fried broccoli and eggplant garnished with snow peas, and Oriental noodles served with a sweet and sour sauce, fresh fruit, and beverages. For further information call (800) 852-3268.



Carnival Cruise Line:

Two vegetarian options are noted on their dinner menus but not for breakfast or lunch. Special dietary requests must be made at least two weeks prior to departure. Travelers are also advised to talk to their waiter about special instructions for preparing menu items. Lowfat menu items are flagged on each menu.

Vegetarian selections included on their regular breakfast menu are juices, baked apples, dry cereal, pancakes, and French toast. Vegetarian items on their regular lunch menu include juice, cream of tomato and coconut soup, and a mixed green salad with dressing. No meatless entree option is listed — items would have to be modified and vegetable side dishes ordered.

The vegetarian dinner menu on Carnival Cruise Line includes pear nectar, cream of asparagus soup, sliced cucumber and Belgium endive in lemon dressing, vegetable brochette on pilaf rice, vegetable accompan-iments, assorted cheese, Napoleon, and beverages. For information contact Carnival Cruise Lines at Carnival Place, 3655 NW 87 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33178.

Cunard Cruise Line:

No special menus are offered to vegetarians, but this cruise line can accommodate almost any special dietary request with at least thirty days’ notice prior to depar-ture. The Golden Door Spa menu denotes items that are low in fat but not necessarily vegetarian.

Sample luncheon items include juice, spinach ravioli, fresh fruit salad, and fresh herb omelet. Sample dinner dishes include chilled apricot soup, Mexican omelet with crisp vegetables, sorbet, sautied mixed vegetables, leeks with mushrooms, and cucumber with yogurt and mint salad. For further information call (800) 223-0764.

Princess Cruise Lines:

There is no separate vegetarian menu; however, vegetarian options for lunch include fruit and vegetable juices, spring vegetables vinaigrette, chilled zucchini bisque, salad of red beans, chickpeas, and white beans on a bed of lettuce, white and green noodles with tomato sauce and basil, spinach omelet or vegetarian quesadilla with guacamole and pico de gallo sauce, banana bread, fresh fruit, etc.

Sample vegetarian items available during dinner include broiled grapefruit with rum and raisins, chilled banana and papaya soup, mushroom and barley soup, mixed green salad with dressing, vegetable pojarksy (breaded, mixed vegetable patty) with cheese sauce, spinach flan with cream sauce, assorted vegetables, fresh fruit, plus more. Call (800) 527-6200.

Celebrity Cruise Lines and Fantasy Cruises:

There is a vegetarian menu, which changes daily. Sample entrees include vegetable strudel, vegetables tempura, vegetarian casserole in puff pastry with cheese sauce, and pasta with vegetables. For further information call (800) 437-6111.

Cruise ships are notorious for offering abundant meal service nearly round-the-clock. Vegetarians should have little trouble finding delicious, lowfat options. The only problem may be resisting all the high fat offerings. Even when a vegetarian menu is available, some modifications may be needed to suit your needs.

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