Monday, June 16, 2008

Alaska by Sea

Two months?! I've disappeared for two months?! Good for me. Work has been intense, then I took a much needed vacation.

I went on my first trip with my family in 12 years. We went on an Alaskan Cruise. We had a wonderful time, the cruise line, Royal Caribbean was not as accommodating as our last trip on Carnival, but there was much more vegetarian food.
You may be thinking that doesn't make sense! Carnival had a menu created for all 7 days - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - all vegan. Royal Caribbean told us they accommodated vegetarians and had Indian vegetarian food on the ship. I sent three emails inquiring and did not hear back. I was unhappy and was expecting the worse. RC's approach was to veganize the vegetarian meals. It was great that there were always two vegetarian meals on the menu every night. The annoying thing was that since they were veganizing them, my diet was left to their idea of veganism. I only got sick once.

With that said, I give you the food they served us:

Chilled Roasted Peach Soup:
It didn't taste roasted. It was more like a smoothie.

Chilled Pear Soup with Cranberries:
The cranberries were too hard to enjoy.Roasted Pepper Hummus:
I like how it looked like a bug.Pasta with marinara:
We had pasta the first night and I really enjoyed the sauce. The last night we had pasta again, but because the noodles were overcooked, I didn't enjoy it as much.
Fried Tofu:
I really wish people who don't know how to cook tofu stop serving it as if they do know how to cook it. It just makes tofu look bad. I am still trying to figure out if this dish was better or worse than the tofu on the last cruise.Eggplant without cheese:
This was one of those dishes I don't think they thought it though. I am sure they dipped the eggplant in egg before breading it. ugh. The balasmic glaze was very nice.
Indonesian Peanut:

Some Indian Dish:
The nice thing about having Indian dinners on the ship is that Indian cooking contains many spices so at least we had some flavor. They told us this dish would be good for us, but really, it had paneer cheese in it. Yuk!

One awesome thing they did was to bring us a big plate of steamed vegetables every evening. Some evenings when the meal wasn't that great I could just load up on veggies and secretly cover them with the nutritional yeast I brought.

The fresh fruit was always good. So good in fact that many people around us asked for fresh fruit with their meals!

Every dinner we ate in the main dining area. For breakfast and lunch we ate at the buffets. We learned last time and brought some of our own items:
Tofurky slices
fake cheese slices
Toffuti cream cheese
Nutritional Yeast
soy milk (though they did have some available, you just had to ask)
salad dressing
Lunch at the buffet - sandwich with fake cheese and meat and toppings from the buffet. Some of the Indian food look suspicious and they didn't know if it was made with ghee, butter or something else.
Breakfast buffet: cereal and bagel with fake cream cheese. Also a big side of fruit.
There was a cafe onboard called the SeaView and they had a great vegetarian sandwich with half an avocado and lots of sprouts.
The only way the sandwich was better was with VegenaiseOverall, they were great to us and we didn't starve. I would just recommend Carnival over Royal Caribbean to assure you're eating vegan food.

As for the trip...
We saw Hubbard and Turner Glaciers. Beautiful!
We hiked a lot:
Alaska looks a lot like Oregon.

I did find vegan food in Skagway!:
At the brewry they had a dish called the Tree Hugger. It was grilled veggies with olives on top. We enjoyed it.

I found a veggie dog at a cupcake shop in Skagway! I was so surprised I had to buy it, though I wasn't hungry. I also picked up some interesting items like pickled kelp and spruce tip syrup.

Also, we did good gambling:

Soon I hope to be posting all the food we've grilled on our new grill. Also, some popcorn recipes!


VeggieGirl said...

Welcome back to blogging!!

Ahh, the Alaskan cruise looks like it was quite fun (and delicious).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm actually going on an RC cruise to Alaska late July. I've been on one previously but it was years ago when I still ate meat. So I was curious as to how this would work.

How did you travel with your vegan fair that should remain cold? Or did you pick it up somewhere in Alaska?

supercarrot said...

wow. it all looks so tasty.

can you post this to vegantravel? this'd be a great addition to the info there.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I'm glad you survived the cruise food, even with poorly informed staff when it comes to vegan appropriate food! I always bring my own items as well, just in case. Very smart!

speedvegan said...

Yay ! You're back ! I was just thinking about you this week. The only vegan restaurant near me now has a vegan quiche on the menu. It is quite delicious. Anyway, great photos. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy all the meals. At least you had something to eat ! Glad you had a fun trip. Looking forward to more of your posts. :-)

B36Kitchen said...

I would love to go on a cruise to Alaska! It's good that you knew to bring some food with you. I have to do that all the time when I go away.

Lesley said...

I'm really glad you gave an honest assessment of the food on Royal Caribbean because I thought it would be better than Carnival. I've only been on one cruise and it was Carnival and I vowed never to do that again because the ship was jam packed with people and I just felt crowded all the time (and there were way too many kids). But the food was amazing. I just told the server to have the guys in the kitchen fix me whatever, which was mostly Indian and south Asian. I got the feeling it's what they would have cooked for themselves. Amazing meal every time.

Incidentally, I have some friends who just got back from an RC cruise for their honeymoon. They're not veg at all and they said the food was just okay (and they are not picky eaters). So I guess that's just a problem with RC. Good to know.

LK said...

It can be difficult to travel vegan, but I'm glad that cruise ships can be so accommodating! The cruise looked like lots of fun!

Amy said...

Alaska looks beautiful! I am going on a Norwegian cruise in a few months. I'm not vegan but prefer to eat vegan most of the time. We shall see how Norwegian compares!

Katy said...

Thanks for the cruise tips! We've talked about taking one, so hearing other people's experiences is always helpful.
Sounds like you had a great time!

Debyi said...

My husband & I went on an Alaskan Cruise a couple of years ago, though it was pre-vegan days. My favorite place was Skagway. We went on an awesome hike there on one of our excursions! We were on Celebrity and they had a vegetarian menu that could have been pretty easily veganized every night in the dining room. I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise!

VeganFabulous said...

I have always wanted to take a cruise to Alaska! I am so glad it is possible to survive the food!

Sam said...

Good to have you back! Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I've never understood the urge for people to go on a cruise in Alaska. The Carribean, yes. Bahamas, yes. Alaska, no. It's beautiful, but I'm sure it wasn't 90 degrees, which is what I expect on a vacation..... Glad you had a fun (if not totally vegan time)

Erin said... least they tried? Seems like a very smart move to bring your own additions to beef up their food. The hummus that looks like a bug cracks me up.

Anonymous said...

Hi- I have been checking when you were going to return to blogging. Your website has sparked my interest in becoming a vegan.

Webly said...

Thanks everyone!

Veggie Chik - do you know what ship you're sailing on?
Thanks for reminding me to talk about food storage. There were small refrigerators in the room. We asked the stateroom attended to empty it of the soda pop and candy so we could have room for our food. The fridge was not very cold at all! It was just cold enough to remain okay - good thing we didn't have dairy products!

Supercarrot - I will post it to vegantravel. I always thought they had too much cruise stuff over there so I left it alone. Thanks for reminding me.

Thanks Speedvegan!

Lesley - yeah, cruises are weird. It's not my choice way to travel, but the parents are aging and wanted to spend time with us, and this was their choice. I think finding good vegan food is difficult since I cook for myself all the time and review restaurants. I understand the chaos of a cruise ship kitchen and am thankful they had anything!

Amy - I suggest informing them before you leave for your trip. There was a lot of meat on the menu!

Debyi - Skagway was beautiful! We hiked at every port we stopped at. it looked so much like the northwest.

Sam - my parents live in Texas so the desire to escape to cool climates is great for them. I also prefer warm vacations. I am just so happy I got to spend some time in Alaska. It was so beautiful!

Erin - the hummus bug was actually my sister's. She gave it to me because she knew I would appreciate it more. Glad that you did too!

Anonymous - wow. thank you. Just wait until I show you burrito cake!

Bahamas Cruise said...

Wow! It seems you was in wonderful trip in Alaska. Usually I'm ordering for my vacation with the family Cruises thorough easy click travel.We were in Bahamas and Caribbean. I think next time we will try Alaska.