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CDNPolar

Vegan Diet on Viking Ocean? (Or River)

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Hello fellow Cruise lovers!

 

We have always loved our food and loved the food on Viking.

 

We have for health reasons decided to become Vegan. Actually we are whole food plant based - which for clarification is beyond Vegan in as much as we don't use or eat any kind of processed oils either. This includes coconut, olive, or any other oil.

 

Now if we have to compromise, we will eat food that is sautéed in oil or a small amount of oil, but prefer no processed oil of any kind if possible.

 

We have a Viking River Cruise and another Ocean Cruise booked in the next two years.

 

The big question is, are we going to enjoy an innovative vegan menu on board (with some choice) or are we relegated to steamed veggies and salad while on board?

 

Can anyone speak with any experience on this matter?

 

Thank you.

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Hello fellow Cruise lovers!

 

We have always loved our food and loved the food on Viking.

 

We have for health reasons decided to become Vegan. Actually we are whole food plant based - which for clarification is beyond Vegan in as much as we don't use or eat any kind of processed oils either. This includes coconut, olive, or any other oil.

 

Now if we have to compromise, we will eat food that is sautéed in oil or a small amount of oil, but prefer no processed oil of any kind if possible.

 

We have a Viking River Cruise and another Ocean Cruise booked in the next two years.

 

The big question is, are we going to enjoy an innovative vegan menu on board (with some choice) or are we relegated to steamed veggies and salad while on board?

 

Can anyone speak with any experience on this matter?

 

Thank you.

 

Perhaps a conversation with Viking will give you a clearer idea of what can be done to accommodate your diet. Contact them at tellus@vikingcruises.com.

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Please keep us posted if you contact them and find out anything. I follow the same food choices as you. I have read that you can request a vegetarian diet if you do it in advance, but not sure about vegan. We sail in december

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Please keep us posted if you contact them and find out anything. I follow the same food choices as you. I have read that you can request a vegetarian diet if you do it in advance, but not sure about vegan. We sail in december

 

From the Viking website FAQ:

 

C

In most cases we can. Every meal has vegetarian options and our chefs will make reasonable efforts to accommodate requests. Guests requiring special diets (low salt, diabetic, gluten-free and low cholesterol) should alert us 90 days prior to departure and remind the Maître d’ when on board.

 

 

 

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Please keep us posted if you contact them and find out anything. I follow the same food choices as you. I have read that you can request a vegetarian diet if you do it in advance, but not sure about vegan. We sail in december

 

Hello,

 

We are so far out from our next cruise that we are not going to contact yet, but my investigation so far has uncovered the following information:

 

  • River Cruises have only the one dining venue and Vegan may be tough for them, however Vegetarian may be ok.
  • Ocean Cruises have multiple dining venues so the opportunity for diversity is greater.
  • Viking do NOT have a Vegan option, but they DO have a Vegetarian option
  • The correct department to contact to start the process AT LEAST 90 DAYS IN ADVANCE is the Reservations department.
  • You should immediately on embarking the ship approach the restaurant manager and the Chef to discuss food options.

I would like to encourage ALL Vegans and Vegetarians to approach Viking about food choices and options under these categories as it would seem through my research that Viking is behind a lot of other cruise lines when it comes to Vegan / Vegetarian diets.

 

 

I get it that we are a minority and I get that we have limited options and pick restaurants on land carefully to meet our requirements.

 

 

I do however feel that a considerable portion of my cruise fare dollar goes to what we hope to be amazing food and choices, but as a Vegan (that is following this diet for very specific health reasons and not because I am an animal activist) I hope that I am not left with raw salad, steamed veggies, rice, and bread for the entire cruise.

 

 

We are actually not Vegan if you want to put a label to it - we are "Whole Food Plant Based" which is a very specific segment of Veganism. More and more Doctors are prescribing this diet for common illnesses and chronic conditions.

 

 

We love cruising and we LOVE VIKING but we may have to change our cruise line and or not take cruises in the future if there is not some kind of assurance that we are able to get some variety and imagination in our food.

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Fwiw, on our river cruise in April 2016, they did (at least according to the vegan) a great job. We happened to be sitting beside her once or twice and noticed she was getting different food and lots of attention. Spoke with her at some point and she said they had been easy to deal with and had gone out of their way to accommodate. Seems like she may have had an allergy also.

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Fwiw, on our river cruise in April 2016, they did (at least according to the vegan) a great job. We happened to be sitting beside her once or twice and noticed she was getting different food and lots of attention. Spoke with her at some point and she said they had been easy to deal with and had gone out of their way to accommodate. Seems like she may have had an allergy also.

 

This is good news - thank you for sharing.

 

Since posting originally I discovered that one of our friends that has sailed with Viking - both River and Ocean - many times is a vegetarian and she has always found Viking to be very accommodating. She feels that the range of vegetarian options are enough that we can ask for the dairy products to be left out...

 

I have also discovered - since Veganism is new to us - that it is not best to call yourself Vegan depending on who you are talking to. Vegan carries some unknowns and some falsehoods with some people.

 

In fact we are not Vegan, we are Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) which is similar to Vegan but it has additional considerations that most Vegans do not follow. We find that most people have no understanding of what WFPB is therefore it is just easier to say Vegan.

 

I think that what we will do is the following:

 

Within a minimum 90 day window from sailing we will notify that we are Vegetarian slash Vegan. We will indicate that we are looking for a Vegetarian menu but would want any options minus the dairy products or eggs. This will be the start. Once boarding the ship we will immediately ask to speak to the Chef to clarify our dietary needs.

 

I think that this is all we can ask for at this stage.

 

Vegans and Vegetarians - please keep approaching Viking River and Ocean and asking for diet accommodation. This is the only way that we will keep the discussion going.

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CNDPolar, thanks very much for this very helpful information.

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Every night when we went to the Restaurant the manager (at the check in desk) had a stack of papers with names and stateroom numbers with specific dietary requirements on them. She gave the individual requirements to the person who was seating everyone, and I don't know what happened from there...if they gave it to the server or if the passenger gave it to the server...but they were there.

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One of those slips was mine, so I can tell you that the slip contains not only what I am allergic to but also what my dinner choices are for that meal. Tomorrow night's menu is either given to you at dinner for the next day or delivered to your cabin to be returned by 10am. The kitchen will make me an allergen free version of the items I have chosen. When the head waiter gives the slip to the host, the host then gives it your waiter who will handle things from there. If I am dining in Manfredi's the next night; I get a Manfredi's menu and if I am at the Chef's Table, I will let them know when I make the reservation of my allergies (and repeat it again when I arrive).

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I too am looking forward to seeing your answers :) I am also plant based. I wish we could bring them some cashew cheese, salad dressing sauce recipes and nutritional yeast, cashews with us for them to prepare it :)

 

Alana

 

 

Hello fellow Cruise lovers!

 

We have always loved our food and loved the food on Viking.

 

We have for health reasons decided to become Vegan. Actually we are whole food plant based - which for clarification is beyond Vegan in as much as we don't use or eat any kind of processed oils either. This includes coconut, olive, or any other oil.

 

Now if we have to compromise, we will eat food that is sautéed in oil or a small amount of oil, but prefer no processed oil of any kind if possible.

 

We have a Viking River Cruise and another Ocean Cruise booked in the next two years.

 

The big question is, are we going to enjoy an innovative vegan menu on board (with some choice) or are we relegated to steamed veggies and salad while on board?

 

Can anyone speak with any experience on this matter?

 

Thank you.

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Within a minimum 90 day window from sailing we will notify that we are Vegetarian slash Vegan. We will indicate that we are looking for a Vegetarian menu but would want any options minus the dairy products or eggs. This will be the start. Once boarding the ship we will immediately ask to speak to the Chef to clarify our dietary needs.

 

As someone who is a pescatarian (but doesn't eat shellfish), I would advise that you notify the ship with your actual dietary restrictions when you contact them 90 days out. If there are "unusual" ingredients or menu items that would enhance your onboard eating (like the cashew cheese and nutritional yeast mentioned by the last poster) that would give the ship time to possibly arrange for some onboard or to let you know what can and cannot be done. And would give you insight into what packaged food products you might wish to bring onboard. If you say "I'm a vegan" then get on the ship and say "but I actually don't eat X, Y and Z," it will be harder for the ship to accommodate, and you will be dissatisfied.

 

(Also, FWIW, two lines currently going above and beyond for vegans with their regular onboard offerings are Oceania and SeaDream Yacht Club -- worth a look for future cruises.)

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(Also, FWIW, two lines currently going above and beyond for vegans with their regular onboard offerings are Oceania and SeaDream Yacht Club -- worth a look for future cruises.)

 

 

Nice to know that these lines are going above and beyond... I just hope that Viking will "come to the table" so to speak because we just really don't enjoy the bigger ships.

 

The information shared here so far makes me hopeful that I will have moderate success at eating well while on the cruise, but the initial response I got from Viking directly was "We don't accommodate Vegan diet." I suppose that is the official response and obviously on an individual basis, they seem to work with passengers. I think that the advice of one of the posters here about informing Viking of specific ingredients that are desired or restricted is a great way to move the conversation forward and not be disappointed once on the ship.

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Traveled with my vegan daughter on a river cruise in 2014. Her food was amazing! I am a vegetarian and was very well fed from the regular menu, but many times I would rather have had what she was given. At the end of the cruise we were able to meet the cook responsible for those amazing dishes and were surprised to find out he'd never cooked vegan before!

 

Sandi

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Sandi - thank you for this post. Would you please confirm if this was Viking River? Also what Cruise did you go on? Also how did she prepare for this - advise Viking in advance and then talk to the chef on board?

 

It is interesting to read others comments because when I contact Viking the official response is: "We do not have Vegan choices."

 

Thank you Sandi.

 

Traveled with my vegan daughter on a river cruise in 2014. Her food was amazing! I am a vegetarian and was very well fed from the regular menu, but many times I would rather have had what she was given. At the end of the cruise we were able to meet the cook responsible for those amazing dishes and were surprised to find out he'd never cooked vegan before!

 

Sandi

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We were on Vikings Tulips and Windmills river cruise. We signed up for the cruise less than 2 months in advance and made our requests at that time. She had to clarify with the person in charge of the dining room what being vegan meant when we first arrived. We had to purchase our own nut milk in Amsterdam to keep in our room for coffee.

I'm trying to find out if lactose free milk or nut milks will be available on the Viking Star for our March 2018 cruise. If not, I guess I'll be grocery shopping in Venice...

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We were on Vikings Tulips and Windmills river cruise. We signed up for the cruise less than 2 months in advance and made our requests at that time. She had to clarify with the person in charge of the dining room what being vegan meant when we first arrived. We had to purchase our own nut milk in Amsterdam to keep in our room for coffee.

I'm trying to find out if lactose free milk or nut milks will be available on the Viking Star for our March 2018 cruise. If not, I guess I'll be grocery shopping in Venice...

 

I already said this to Sandi in another thread and I am l repeating it here because I know that she is not the only one who wants an answer to the question (and not because I don't think she heard me the first time I said it). Contact Viking at tellus@vikingcruises.com (with name, phone and booking number) and they will help you to find the right department to solve your problem.

 

Anyone with dietary issues should contact Viking at least 90 days in advance of sailing (especially if they involve special foods that might not be part of the normal stores). Talking with your booking agent doesn't always do the trick, so make sure that you contact Viking personally to confirm that your needs have been noted. I like e-mailing them at the address I just gave but you can also call them. 1-866-984-5464

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Sandi - thank you for this post. Would you please confirm if this was Viking River? Also what Cruise did you go on? Also how did she prepare for this - advise Viking in advance and then talk to the chef on board?

 

It is interesting to read others comments because when I contact Viking the official response is: "We do not have Vegan choices."

 

Thank you Sandi.

 

Unfortunately, you talked to the wrong person. You have to go higher up the food chain. Use the address I just gave and they will help you. I have contacted them for help in the past and I am sure that they will put you in contact with the right department to get the help you need.

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Unfortunately, you talked to the wrong person. You have to go higher up the food chain. Use the address I just gave and they will help you. I have contacted them for help in the past and I am sure that they will put you in contact with the right department to get the help you need.

 

Thank you. We have lots of time before our next Viking cruise and we have a River first then an Ocean. Because we have been on Ocean we know that there are options for us without even asking when it comes to the buffet - we will still ask - but on River it is a bit more concerning. It is interesting because I have had several responses - we don't do Vegan - we don't do Vegetarian - all the way to we will do whatever you need....

 

I will take and record the number and email address you have provided and call 90 days before. I fully understand that some products - if we must have them - we might have to bring on board ourselves.

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I've followed this with interest and OP, please share how your travels go. As for the 'we don't cater for vegans' is an unfortunate reply I have had from other cruise lines as well - just a generic customer support reply as there normally isn't a vegan menu available. But chefs have always managed to make us separate dishes - Princess were phenomenal. Oceania Cruises seem to have the best vegan menu there is, with over 250 dishes on a rotating 14day menu. I could not believe what they served me on a recent visit (gonna be blogging about it next) Though, if you're wholefoods plantbased many of those Oceania options might not suit you.

Otherwise as Nordic person myself and having travelled in the region I should add that if general restaurants are allergen aware I would expect a cruise line of Viking's standing to be on the ball. They may not carry, or order in, items like cashew cheese or nooch but you should be able to take some of these items with you onboard. We usually take some non-dairy cheese or vegan deli-meats and keep them in the minibar as ships usually offer non-dairy milks only.

 

Keep us posted!

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Hello fellow Cruise lovers!

 

We have always loved our food and loved the food on Viking.

 

We have for health reasons decided to become Vegan. Actually we are whole food plant based - which for clarification is beyond Vegan in as much as we don't use or eat any kind of processed oils either. This includes coconut, olive, or any other oil.

 

Now if we have to compromise, we will eat food that is sautéed in oil or a small amount of oil, but prefer no processed oil of any kind if possible.

 

We have a Viking River Cruise and another Ocean Cruise booked in the next two years.

 

The big question is, are we going to enjoy an innovative vegan menu on board (with some choice) or are we relegated to steamed veggies and salad while on board?

 

Can anyone speak with any experience on this matter?

 

Thank you.

 

I am vegan and my husband and I took a Viking Rhine River cruise in May this year. It was AMAZING because they would go out of their way to work with me and my dietary preferences! The maitre d' would bring the next day's menus to my table every evening and if I saw something that looked interesting, we would figure out how to make it vegan or I would make a suggestion and they would work with my suggestions. It was THE BEST cruise we've ever taken and have already booked an ocean cruise with them! Can not wait!

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Posted (edited)

It is now Aug 2019, we just cancelled our Viking Cruise for Dec. We too are plant base no oil. We were first told that they had options which they do not. We were told to speak to the chef when we’re got aboard. I explained that on the last Viking Cruise the chef was offended that I even asked for a vegan menu. I had nothing to eat on the last cruise and grew afraid to even ask any food questions. I soon discovered that the chefs were not educated in their field. After much quizzing and calling they finally sent me an email to say we can not accommodate vegans at all because there are only 950 passenger. We had difficulty getting our money back as we paid in full for Dec. Very sad as almost all the other cruise lines as of Aug 4, 2019 have vegan menu and buffet. It took 6 months to finally get the truth from Viking. 

Edited by Arrachme
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1 hour ago, Arrachme said:

It is now Aug 2019, we just cancelled our Viking Cruise for Dec. We too are plant base no oil. We were first told that they had options which they do not. We were told to speak to the chef when we’re got aboard. I explained that on the last Viking Cruise the chef was offended that I even asked for a vegan menu. I had nothing to eat on the last cruise and grew afraid to even ask any food questions. I soon discovered that the chefs were not educated in their field. After much quizzing and calling they finally sent me an email to say we can not accommodate vegans at all because there are only 950 passenger. We had difficulty getting our money back as we paid in full for Dec. Very sad as almost all the other cruise lines as of Aug 4, 2019 have vegan menu and buffet. It took 6 months to finally get the truth from Viking. 

Sorry you had to cancel your cruise but at least Viking was willing to admit they could not accommodate you before you boarded ... saved some expensive disappointment onboard.  After your first experience with Viking (which is absolutely contrary to any experience I have had or even heard of) I'm surprised you would undertake the planning of another trip with them ... just wondering.  I'm not sure it is fair to assume that the chefs "are not educated in their field" is really a fair statement.  Food trends are constantly changing and I'm not sure it is reasonable for us to assume that they will always be up on everything.

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Hello, we are WFPB diet.  I posted above.  We have just completed our 4th cruise on Viking and we have 3 more booked.  We cruise Viking both River and Ocean.

 

WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) is not a simple diet for any chef to prepare.  Vegan food is more and more mainstream all the time but if you ask any Chef no matter how professional or how well trained to cook for you without using any oil, that is going to be in my opinion more than they can accommodate easily.

 

When we decided to go WFPB we clearly realized that we are a tiny tiny portion of the population and that we would have challenges when travelling.

 

Let me tell you however about OUR experience with Viking and diet.

 

First - call Viking and don't ask, but tell them what your dietary needs are.  If they tell you they DON'T do vegan or WFPB, that is fine, just ask them to include in the passenger manifest the dietary needs that you request.  State your needs and ask them to repeat them back.

 

When on board, talk to the Chef and the Maitre d' about your dietary restrictions.  

 

Our experience on a River Cruise last November with Chef Pedro is that he prided himself on creating Vegan options for us every day.  He also agreed to limit the oil and only for sautéing and no added oil.  Each day the Maitre d' came to us and explained the menus and what was available for us to be modified and if we did not like that option that they would create options for us.  They actually were very proud of what they served us every day and we were with 6 others on this cruise and all our travel companions said:  "I wish we said we were Vegan because I like your option over the menu." !!!   Haha.

 

On an Ocean cruise that we just completed - 15 days around Japan - one of the managers in the dining room approached us and knew us by name on the first day by our passport pictures.  Yes, Viking have a "Dietary Manager" on the Ocean ships now.  He talked to us at length and ensured that we were pleased with our choices everyday.

 

I will say that when you call in to Viking they have some work and training to do with their reservation centre.  But when you are on the ship we have only experienced the desire to accommodate us in every and any way.   I am sorry that you had the experience that you did.

 

Again - please don't take offence to this statement - but WFPB is in my opinion more to ask than you should expect.  Every commercial recipe out there has some component of fat or oil in it.  Think of how you have had to adjust at home and going to restaurants.  WFPB is not readily available and will be years before it is that common.  

 

Understanding that you may have adopted WFPB diet for serious or chronic health problems ( I eat this way because I am diabetic) you may have to be more open to eating slightly off the side of that diet for the length of your trip.  Again - no offence.  But if you are not willing to bend your rules to travel, I would say that you will have a hard time finding compliant food anywhere in the world.  There are Vegan cruises, but Vegan is NOT WFPB.  In fact Vegan's use more oil and fat than many diets.

 

I will end by saying that Viking have impressed us with the way they have treated our dietary needs.  This is why we continue to cruise and book more cruises.  

 

 

 

 

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