For graduation my father and stepmomma took me and my boyfriend Ben on a cruise to Bermuda. We had never been cruisin’ before , and were not quite sure what to expect (especially because Ben has motion sickness…). I get along with my fam and they love my boyfriend as much (if not more) than I do, so I wasn’t so worried about having a good time (as long as said motion sickness was kept at bay). What I was worried about, however, was being vegan on the high seas. While veganism (and other forms of health conciousness) is becoming more and more popular, I was pretty nervous about being stranded in the ocean with nothing to eat but white carbs and sugar. Not that I don’t occasionally enjoy both of those, but if I ate them for seven days straight I would probably sprout another head and start breathing fire. Living in Fairfield County, CT, where vegetarianism and ecofriendly eating are as fashionable as Botox and a midlife crisis Porsche, it isn’t very hard for me to find acceptable sustenance, especially because I love to cook. Add the fact that I work in a vegetarian take-out restaurant that is 90% vegan, and well, I basically live in a wonderland of quinoa, kale and tofu.
Since we were looking for a cruise line that wasn’t a total booze cruise yet wasn’t completely swarming with kiddies, we chose Celebrity Cruises. There were lots of families, groups of friends of all ages and cute old couples celebrating their 50th anniversaries. There was, however, one extremely obnoxious group of 40-something men with beer guts reliving their drunken college days and reenacting Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” by the pool at 10 am. As I had never been on a cruise before, I was mildly concerned the ship would be a total cheesefest. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how classy everything was, from the designing to the activities and events. Lots of jazz, a fancy spa (with vegan friendly snacks) and a casino where I won 100 dollars in the slot machines. There was even nicely framed art in the bathroom stalls. Two thumbs up from me.
Oh, right, and the food. My family is still raving about the elaborate four course meals they enjoyed every night in the fancy dining room, and it turns out the chef offered a special veg menu I could order off of, which I was able to do a day in advance. It was a wonderful effort on their part, although sometimes my meals consisted of some sort of saucy rice, and often I would order a meal off the menu in advance and the next evening be presented with something completely different. However, whatever they plopped down in front of me was usually pretty tasty and aside from the veganism, I am really not picky. I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous, but working in the vegan food industry I get a ton of non-meat eaters who are also complete snobs, and an absolute nightmare to deal with ( ” Well I don’t eat meat, dairy, nuts, sugar, gluten, soy, or anything brown, orange or beige” ). Not me sir, I’m pretty easily pleased, and I understood that the kitchen staff (who was wonderful, by the way) was doing the best they could feeding 2,000 people at a time. If you’re vegan and considering cruising, I would definitely suggest Celebrity, although I advise you to eat in the dining room or spa as opposed to the buffet, where eats aren’t labeled very well.
A side note: while veganism on a boat was cinchy, veganism in Bermuda? Not so much. Travel to Bermuda for the gorgeous pink sand beaches and quaint island feel, but unless you’re staying in a resort or on a ship, don’t expect to find much in vegan fare other than a salad, which they will charge you 20 bucks for. We ate on the boat and explored the island between meals.
So, vegan on a boat was a success, and Ben only got sea sick once. This was partially my fault, as I made him do yoga for his first time (yes! yoga on a boat) at 8 AM on the floor of a rocking hull. It resulted in him running to the bathroom mid-breakfast. Woopsies. I was also surprised about how enjoyable our room was, as we were squeezing four adults in one room, resulting in me renaming the cruise line Celibacy Cruise….but whatever, that was our own attempt at frugality, and it ended up being quite cozy. Of course, I had to try my best to abstain from all thoughts about how terrible our floating paradise is for the environment…