Vegan Trip Report- QV Mediterranean

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#1
35 Posts
Joined May 2012
I searched the boards for information on how Cunard handles vegans before our cruise, but didn't find too much detail. So, I wanted to post this thread here to help future vegans, since this is where I think people will look for info. We just returned from a 2 week Mediterranean cruise on Queen Victoria. Overall, we felt Cunard did a fantastic job and we will definitely book again!

We told Cunard in advance that we are vegans and they were helpful and enthusiastic and sent us a written confirmation of our request. When we arrived at dinner in Britannia the first night, the crew was completely surprised and seemed to scramble for a moment. That said, they took great care of us and were able to veganize all of our meals. I mention the disconnect between the booking agents and the crew only to point out that, although they weren't prepared in advance, they were still able to accommodate us. I would definitely tell Cunard in advance if you're a vegan, but they can easily handle you, anyway. Oh, and they were able to find and serve us soy ice cream for dessert the first night (and every night if we wanted it)- they are ready!

A few notes:

BREAKFAST: In the Lido buffet, you can do a vegan full English! The chefs confirmed that the beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and hash browns are cooked in oil, not butter. They have plant-based margarine out as a matter of course, so no need to ask. There is soy and rice milk for your coffee and cereal, both in the dairy-free section and in the carafes near the coffee. Halfway through our trip, in Venice, we noticed they offered soy yogurt, as well. This wasn't picked up for us- they have a small gluten-free and dairy-free section in the Lido- both of which seemed popular with guests. Note the dairy-free section isn't necessarily vegan (some things were just lactose-free) so ask if you're not sure. The soy yogurt was clearly marked vegan. Vegetarian sausage is on the room service menu and offered in Lido, but they ran out, unfortunately, do I don't know if those are vegan.

LUNCH: Most of our lunches were in port, but the Lido has many options for sea days. There are many items marked "vegetarian" but a few are also vegan-just ask. A number of the Indian curries were vegan (except things like korma, makhani, etc) and, along with the big salad/fruit bar, we ate well. They offered hummus one day, they had some bean salads on others. You can make it work. They had veggie burgers outside at the grill near the pool, but I didn't ask if they are vegan. Maybe someone else knows?

DINNER: We really love Cunard and dressing up and eating in the Britannia for dinner (we skipped it for brekkie/lunch as we felt this would be a burden on them and we'd have fewer options). I will be honest here: Cunard veganizes their meals the same way many restaurants do; they simply remove the meat/cheese, etc. This often leaves just a small, pretty plate of vegetables and a starch- and you hungry. The food was great (and the service was phenomenal), but we often snuck into the Lido after dinner to find another curry, bean dish, or something else with protein to round out our meal. If this bothers you and you're ok with the Lido, you'll find more options there. All this said, our waiters in Britannia could not have been more helpful or more attentive to our needs. In fact, the head waiter caught that we were served a small side dish of raita with our meal one night (we didn't mention it). We said it was fine, we didn't want to make a fuss. He said, "No, madam, it is NOT ok!" We didn't want to get anyone in trouble- they're busy and mistakes happen. My point is no one forgot our preferences in the two weeks (maybe except one busy chef once...) and they went out of their way to accommodate us. They couldn't have been kinder or more helpful. You will be well-cared for as a vegan.

When you request a special meal, the head waiter gives you the menu the night before so you can make your choice and prepare the chef. As a vegan, they give you the next night's menu as well as the standard vegetarian menu (same every night, but full of choices) and they indicated they could veganize anything on it. In most cases, they simply removed the non-vegan part of the meal. In a couple of cases, they slightly changed the meal. Again, it all worked out just fine and the meals were delicious and well-prepared.

OTHER NOTES: We did purchase some snacks in grocery stores on port days (nuts are a good protein supplement) for our cabin. Some stores, like one we found in Venice (Conad), had tofu, seitan, and vegan cheese. If you're really missing these items on your trip, you could grab those, too, for a cabin snack.

We found vegan restaurants (with vegan meats and cheese!) in many of our ports for lunch (Athens, Rome, Dubrovnik, Kotor). I won't detail those here, but feel free to message me. (as a side note, one of my American Airlines vegan meals had vegan cheese. It seems airlines (and maybe Cunard someday, too) are discovering the replacements slowly...).

CRUELTY-FREE: The toiletries are Penhaligons, which doesn't test on animals. None of their products on board have animal ingredients but, as a company, they do use badger hair in brushes (http://www.penhaligons.com/frequently-asked-questions). My pillow was synthetic; I believe the other bedding was, too. I obviously didn't tear anything apart to verify, but I'm sure other folks with allergies have already posted in other threads about this. I think Cunard offers down on request only? Maybe someone else can help with that.

FINAL ADVICE: Please tip well if you are a vegan! Although they were well-prepared for us and other special meals, they are going out of their way for you and it's extra work for them on an already long day. The staff on board is phenomenal and a great way to thank them for their extra efforts on your behalf is to tip them well.

Enjoy your cruise!
#2
Vale of Glamorgan
3,255 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Thank you so much for your report - I'm sure it will be very useful for others.
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#3
berkshire
1,114 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I'm delighted to hear that you were satisfied with Cunard and their ability to provide suitable 'Vegan' meals.

If you use social media please consider posting your positive feedback on Cunard's corporate Facebook page. Some weeks ago there was a negative posting from a very unhappy guest who says Cunard were unable to provide her with a Vegan diet.
#4
New Hamsphire
488 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
On my QE2 world cruise two of our grand CC group were vegan and as you stated were usually hungry after dinner until they had the portions increased in size and then they were fine. Other than that they were very happy with the service they were extended.
#5
35 Posts
Joined May 2012
Bell Boy, it's a good idea- I will share my thoughts on social media. I'm also part of a couple of vegan travel groups on Facebook and I may share my thoughts, there, too.

Lakesregion, we actually saw several people, most of whom I'm certain weren't vegan, in both restaurants, so maybe this isn't just a vegan thing! Hey, it's vacation, why not second dinner.

Last thought: I was really happy to see Cunard has a written statement in their excursion materials recommending guests do NOT use the donkeys in Santorini "for animal welfare." And I didn't really see anyone using them. Thank you, Cunard!
#6
midwest
963 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Thorough and excellently detailed report! Thank you!

Our DD and S-i-L are vegetarian and we once sailed with them on Princess (Cruise Lines). Princess are able to accommodate by removing animal flesh, but mostly relied on adding cheese as the protein (night after night).

It is good to hear more choices were available to you---as someone with a special diet--on a Cunard ship.

There are many vegetarians and vegans who wish to travel and lovely to hear how well things were handled (for you and by you).

Happy Future Sailings!
#7
16,394 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Thank you for sharing. Your prior advice to Cunard may just not have trickled down to the wait staff. But I agree, they really deserve some extra tip.
#8
San Francisco, CA
1,081 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Thank you for your detailed and helpful report.

This is exactly the type of review Cunard should be made aware of and I urge you to also send it to them. (Unfortunately, there has been no indication that they officially monitor this forum)

As a San Franciscan, a number of my friends are vegan and over recent years, I've learned more about accommodating vegan requirements in menu planning. (...and more from your review!)

Vegan options are increasingly important to today's travelers. Hopefully your comments (and additional feedback from those on both sides of the plate) will help Cunard build upon their strengths and provide even better options to a growing portion of their passengers.

...All of this is said by a dedicated carnivore who looks askance at esoteric grains and veggies.
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#9
3,466 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Syzygy2002
Bell Boy, it's a good idea- I will share my thoughts on social media. I'm also part of a couple of vegan travel groups on Facebook and I may share my thoughts, there, too.

Lakesregion, we actually saw several people, most of whom I'm certain weren't vegan, in both restaurants, so maybe this isn't just a vegan thing! Hey, it's vacation, why not second dinner.

Last thought: I was really happy to see Cunard has a written statement in their excursion materials recommending guests do NOT use the donkeys in Santorini "for animal welfare." And I didn't really see anyone using them. Thank you, Cunard!
I know Cunard used to offer swimming with dolphins as a tour. I hope they have dropped these. The dolphins may look happy but they are still captive.

David.
#10
35 Posts
Joined May 2012
Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I hope this is of some use to other vegans thinking about sailing with Cunard.

Balf, I didn't know about the dolphin swim- I, too, hope it's discontinued.

MarkBearSF, we're from the same neck of the woods (maybe not surprisingly)! I have sent in my cruise review with hopes that others offer similar feedback. I imagine Cunard won't consider any changes to their current vegan plan unless/until they receive more feedback about actually replacing meats/cheeses instead of simply removing them. If airlines are able to do it, cruise ships may, too, someday.

And it occurred to me that this won't be of interest only to vegans. I have several friends and family members who, for various health reasons, have been told to eat less or no meat (and they face the same issue vegans do at restaurants- a small plate of veggies and a starch). Although I know many people throw their diets out the window on vacation, not everyone does, and if done well, I think the replacement meats and cheeses, which are much, much better than they were in years past, would be ordered by meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike onboard.

And I'm certain if Cunard decides to do this someday, they will do it very well.
#11
Leicester, England
153 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Thank you for your helpful review. I've been struggling to find any reviews on vegan food so appreciated your post. Will do the same after our first cruise with Cunard in a couple of weeks time
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#12
Timonium, Maryland
3,943 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Thank you for posting. I'm on a low carb diet (not vegan) and I was worried about my upcoming cruise, but you can always find a good assortment of fruits and veggies in the buffet. So I'm not going to give into being on "vacation". I'm going to look at it as a "spa vacation" and stick with my lean meat and veggies.
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#13
At Sea
5,251 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by balf
I know Cunard used to offer swimming with dolphins as a tour. I hope they have dropped these. The dolphins may look happy but they are still captive. David.
In 2007 "swimming with dolphins" and "dolphin encounter" were offered on a QM2 autumn Caribbean cruise as excursions on Tortola (British Virgin Islands).

In 2016 on a very similar autumn QM2 Caribbean Cruise (also calling at Tortola) I did not see it offered (if it was and I missed it, apologies; but I didn't see it advertised once and was searching for it).

If all passengers/tourists ignore the donkeys on Santorini and the dolphins on Tortola (and other places that offer either (and more)), the human exploiters of these animals will soon give up their intolerable slavery. Can't come soon enough in my book.
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#15
RESIST USA
9,454 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by pepperrn
In 2007 "swimming with dolphins" and "dolphin encounter" were offered on a QM2 autumn Caribbean cruise as excursions on Tortola (British Virgin Islands).

In 2016 on a very similar autumn QM2 Caribbean Cruise (also calling at Tortola) I did not see it offered (if it was and I missed it, apologies; but I didn't see it advertised once and was searching for it).

If all passengers/tourists ignore the donkeys on Santorini and the dolphins on Tortola (and other places that offer either (and more)), the human exploiters of these animals will soon give up their intolerable slavery. Can't come soon enough in my book.
Amen to that!
#16
UK
231 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by pepperrn
In 2007 "swimming with dolphins" and "dolphin encounter" were offered on a QM2 autumn Caribbean cruise as excursions on Tortola (British Virgin Islands).

In 2016 on a very similar autumn QM2 Caribbean Cruise (also calling at Tortola) I did not see it offered (if it was and I missed it, apologies; but I didn't see it advertised once and was searching for it).

If all passengers/tourists ignore the donkeys on Santorini and the dolphins on Tortola (and other places that offer either (and more)), the human exploiters of these animals will soon give up their intolerable slavery. Can't come soon enough in my book.
Absolutely! As a bright spot, I think both Cunard and P&O now avoid offering tours that overtly exploit non-human animals.
#17
35 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by Teddy123
Absolutely! As a bright spot, I think both Cunard and P&O now avoid offering tours that overtly exploit non-human animals.

That's great! Tinkerbell1963, I hope you have a wonderful cruise and I look forward to reading your review!

rebeccalouiseagain, I think you'll find you'll be well taken care of. Cunard has a spa menu they offer at each meal. I don't know if these are specifically low carb but they're definitely health conscious. But, if you tell them your restrictions, I'm confident they will find ways to make it work for you. Enjoy your cruise!