My Honest Review of Royal Caribbeans New Menu as a Vegetarian: Vegan new menu review

In January (of 2023) I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise which happened to be one of the first cruises with their new main dining room menu. I was incredibly nervous when we got the email about the menu change because Royal Caribbean’s vegan menu was a huge part of the reason that we were going on this cruise with family because we knew I would be able to actually eat with a few options each night. So when we got the email about the menu changing we were nervous and the results definitely need to be talked about. If you are vegetarian or vegan (for the most part the vegetarian options were the vegan option too) keep reading for my honest thoughts.

I want to state before we get into the review that this is in no way sponsored. The cruise was not gifted by royal Caribbean and all of the thoughts below are completely my own and not paid for at all. I just really wanted this information out there because it would have been really helpful for me when cruise planning as someone who doesn’t eat meat!

So let’s get into this review of the vegetarian and vegan options on Royal Caribbeans new main dining menu.

My Honest Review of Royal Caribbeans New Menu as a Vegetarian: Vegan new menu review

I am breaking this review down to the most important categories in my opinion: overall taste, dietary accommodations, variety, and a bonus review of the other vegetarian and vegan options throughout the ship.

Overall taste review:

Rating: 5/10

So honestly this would have been the rating I gave for most cruise ship food. Overall cruise food definitely focuses on quantity over quality and if you are a “foodie” then cruises probably aren’t the right choice for you.

However, others that I talked with on the cruise who were not so limited to the veggie options gave a rating between 5-7 depending on their food preferences if that information helps.

I’ll admit that I might not be the best person to review the taste because I am a flavor lover and with food made in such high quantities it can’t be spiced and flavored for everyones taste and I fully understand that. However, there were basic changes that should have been made (like the pasta I and others got one night literally had a tablespoon of sauce on it. We all ended up requesting extra sauce and eating cold pasta once it came because the noodles were too dry to eat without it.) so that the food was tasty to the majority of people.

Dietary accommodations review:

Rating: 3/10

This is a harsh rating but fully justified. Is a vegetarian with a mushroom intolerance I was forced to either deal with an upset stomach after main dining or not eat with my group and get food (and miss shows) after. I talked with others on the boat that had the same issue with other additional intolerances or allergens. Only one option for your entree on main dining that doesn’t contain meat leaves no room for allergens or intolerances.

This doesn’t even begin to touch on taste preferences!

We joke that despite me not eating meat I am still the least picky eater out there. I will eat every cuisine, any veggies, love spice and all other flavors, etc. But that isn’t the case for most people. So for example if you don’t enjoy risotto you would be out of luck completely because risotto was the only option many nights for the veggie option.

Also, a big factor into this rating was what happened the one time my entree was inedible.

The “crunchy tofu tacos” (I regret not getting a picture!) were literally not edible. The tofu was undercooked and unflavored/seasoned. The shells were rock hard (after one bite I was terrified of breaking a tooth) and the “peach slices” it came with was one tiny thin peach slice.

The family I was traveling with pointed out this meal to the head waiter who apologized profusely for the meal but the back up option was literally just rice. Needless to say I went to the windjammer after to eat my 123421 salad of the trip.

While hanging out later I encountered a group that had multiple people who ordered the tacos too with the same reaction. One described it as worse than lunch room food at a school. So skip the main dining that night if you don’t eat meat!

Variety review:

Rating: 6/10

This review is a combination of the factors above but with a positive note. I really liked that royal Caribbean was shifting to themed dining nights. This gave a better variety in general to the menus and the meat eaters in the group really enjoyed the variety and changes.

This change trickled into the vegan options as well. The Mediterranean night definitely was the best for the vegan options and I really recommend attending that night for the main dining.

Other veggie options on the ship:

Rating: 7/10

I would ultimately state that the other options on the cruise were better in terms of veggie options than the main dining. The WindJammer could absolutely use better signage because there was additional vegetarian and vegan options that were not labeled that were meatless and dairy free.

The veggie quesadilla at the mini bites in the morning was hands down my favorite food I ate on the cruise. It was honestly a 10/10 and they had wonderful French toast so I recommend checking out mini bites for breakfast! My meat-eating husband also really liked mini bites breakfast so we went back there a bunch. The park cafe breakfast and lunch also were way more veggie friendly though I wish they had a vegan cream cheese option for the bagels. So many cream cheese flavors and none for vegans or anyone dairy free?

On a similar note- peanut butter and jelly packets would have been SO easy to have by the bread and bagel stations throughout the boat. Peanut butter is an awesome protein source for those of us that don’t eat meat so if anyone ever happens to read this that works at Royal Caribbean jump on this! I know nuts can be an allergen but pre-packaged and labeled peanut butter would have made the veggie options in the buffet and cafes 10x better.

Collective thoughts:

As you can tell I was far from impressed and overall was pretty disappointed that Royal Caribbean moved backwards away from a vegan menu in the main dining with multiple options. With only one option for vegans (and usually just one for vegetarian) it doesn’t account for not only allergies and intolerances that one may have with that singular option but it also removes any ability to chose food that you actually like.

Between the different food locations and the new main dining menu I would call Royal Caribbean un-friendly for vegetarians and borderline hostile for vegans.

Also- upon some further research if you have other dietary restrictions such as gluten free or allergens it also would be problematic. I would overall say that if you are looking for an all inclusive trip that either a different cruise line (though I haven’t personally tested others as a vegetarian) or an all inclusive resort.

We went to an Excellence resort in August and they had full vegetarian/vegan menus that were absolutely fantastic! I never felt limited or excluded from being able to eat good food and have options. Highly recommend checking them out if you have dietary restrictions.

Korra The Explorer

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