Depending on the cruise ship, you can wind up with some amazing dining options.
Carnival has done a great job of creating a familiar and fabulous experience on every ship throughout the line. You can look forward to Guy’s Burgers and a breakfast burrito from the BlueIguana Cantina every single time.
But what happens when you have dietary restrictions?
As a newly turned vegetarian, figuring out what to eat can be a battle. Here’s how I did it on Carnival Elation.
Eat Well. Travel Often
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This seems to be the easiest one for me. I usually like to go to the dining room but you could get continental breakfast delivered to your room, head to the buffet, or even go to the BlueIguana Cantina (my 2nd fave).
Lunches and Dinners
There are plenty of good options for lunch and dinner. Although, it would be nice if you could get a Beyond or Impossible Burger at Guy’s, especially while everyone else is devouring a burger around you.
Indian Vegetarian Plate
Tons of desserts to choose from.
Late night choices include 24 hour pizza and room service, the pizza really hits the spot though after a few hours of dancing or karaoke. Celebrating a Birthday? Have a cake. Again. And again. They must’ve heard me say I was celebrating my birthday all week because they really did bring me this cake 3 different times in 3 different locations. Thank you Carnival!
But what we’re really here to talk about is the Chef’s Table. First, I didn’t mean to say vegan, I meant to say vegetarian. I never fixed it even when I confirmed my reservation and I paid for this dearly. I like butter and cheese and have not sworn them off (yet), so if you are a vegetarian and want butter and cheese, DO NOT say vegan! Otherwise, I was very happy with my entire experience and would definitely do it again, but as a Vegetarian, not VEGAN. I cannot stress this enough; you’ll understand why in the photos below.
Intro: When you pre-book the Chef’s Table, it’s not really brought up again until you’re on board. Our attendants in the dining room (DR) on embarkation night, confirmed who in our party was attending and which day we were scheduled for. We received our confirmation in our room with a memo to call and confirm again. (So, you see I had several chances to fix my mistake.)
Soon after, we could see the charges on our account as well. I’m sure each meeting location is different depending on your ship but once everyone arrived, we were whisked away into the galley after a brief introduction to Eduardo, Sous Chef and Tour Guide Extraordinaire! Pictures are not allowed in the galley except directly of the food we were given but it was fun to walk behind the scenes and see them running this amazingly well-organized system that pumps out tons of food all day.
First Tastes: I wish I could tell you the actual names but without notes and a better memory, I cannot. We had 4 teasers (appetizers) in the galley. The first was an amuse bouche – let’s call it, a single interesting bite to wet the palate. Second was cheese and olives. Third was fruit and bread (sort of).
Fourth (and here is where I started to realize my mistake) a vanilla bean and bacon ice cream. I immediately felt the pain of my mistake when Eduardo said, don’t worry, we have yours right here. (I’m still laughing and crying, I sort of wanted to taste that bacon one.)
We didn’t experience our Chef’s Table until the 4th day of our cruise so by that time I knew my attendants much better and saw “I Made” from Indonesia in the galley. Hey!!! – I always greet my people wherever I see them on the boat, they always make it such a great experience for me, so I try to return the fun and love too.
Being a little more friendly with the staff adds to your experience and theirs. Cultural excerpt here but I learned that “I Made” – pronounced Ee Mah-dee is a common name. In Balinese culture, the name “Made” is often given to the second born child.
Therefore, saying “I Made” from Indonesia does not narrow it down at all. (Now, if you’re far more cultured than I am, you probably already knew that but for the rest of us, we just leveled up in cultural knowledge today and it’s a win!) Learn more about Balinese names.
Now, “the dining room proudly presents…Your dinner!”
A little jealous because everyone else received a honey butter and mine was margarine.
Spring Peas & Matcha Soup
Vegan: Grilled Tofu, roasted peppers, veil of yuzu mustard, teriyaki glaze
Everyone else: Berkshire Pork Belly, Shrimps, veil of yuzu mustard, crustacean essence
Vegan: Butternut Strudel, roasted beet & pumpkin puree
Everyone else: Olive Oil Poached Seabass, asparagus & white miso
Vegan: Eggplant Involtini, courgette, melanzane, heirloom cherry tomatoes
Everyone else: Slow Cooked Crispy Lamb, roasted beet & port jus
Vegan: Mushroom Risotto, shitake, cepes, truffle oil
Everyone else: Quail, Wild Mushrooms, and Carnaroli, parmesan, pepper threads, roasted onion jus
(and this is really the only part that made me sad because their risotto just looked so darn CREAMY!)
Vegan: Quinoa with Grilled Palm Heart, green peas fondue, plantains
Everyone else: New York Prime Strip, Crushed Green Apples, light cheese broth
Vegan Carrot Cake & Vegan Key Lime Pie
That’s a lot of food! And it was good, vegan experience and all!
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