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Cruise Lines Sharpen Focus on Plant-Based Dining

Princess Cruises this week became the latest cruise line to showcase new, plant-based culinary experiences—in this case a series of vegan menus that are rolling out across all 15 of the company’s ships.

The new menus, which Princess said have been added in response to surging demand for plant-based cuisine, are available in the ships’ main dining rooms. Dishes include appetizers, salads, soups, pastas, and main dishes, all prepared without the use of any animal products.

“Our dedication to delivering unforgettable culinary experiences continues to evolve with current trends, including the desire for more vegan offerings,” said Sami Kohen, vice president of food and beverage for Princess Cruises.

While many cruise ships have long offered vegan and vegetarian options on their menus, some of the latest initiatives involve more comprehensive efforts that often highlight both the nutritional and environmental benefits of eating a plant-based diet.

Research from the Good Food Institute and Circana found that dollar sales of plant-based protein alternatives in foodservice have increased in the last two years, reaching $304 million in 2022. Meanwhile, research from the Plant Based Foods Association and Datassential found that 60 percent of operators said plant-based eating was a long-term trend, versus 40 percent that said it was a short-term fad.

The new vegan menus at Princess Cruises follow the launch last month of vegan menus at Carnival Cruise Line, which debuted on two Carnival ships and are being rolled out across the company’s 24-ship fleet through the end of the year.

“Plant-based food options are a rising preference on our ships just as they are on land, and so the new dishes we’re introducing are a direct response to that shift,” said Richard Morse, senior vice president of food and beverage at Carnival.

New vegan dishes on Carnival’s menus include appetizers, entrees, and desserts, including plant-based substitutes for meat proteins such as a plant-based salmon alternative (used in a Hawaiian Salmon Poke appetizer) and vegan bacon (used in a Spaghetti Carbonara appetizer). Entrees include a Grilled Tofu Steak with honey barbecue sauce, a Hasselback potato and mixed vegetables; Baked Vegetable Au Gratin, made with mixed vegetables in a vol-au-vent (pastry shell), and sprinkled with melted plant-based cheeses; and Eggplant Cutlet a la Parmigiana with vegan mozzarella, topped with pesto and basil leaves.

The Princess Cruises menu items appear to focus on vegetable-centric dishes, as opposed to meat substitutes. The main courses, for example, include Stir-Fried Portobellos with Soy-Maple Sauce; Plant-Based Shepherd’s Pie; and Walkaway Ratatouille. Pasta dishes include Fettuccine with Walnut Sauce; Penne with Red Pepper Pesto; and Farfalle and Summer Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nuts.

Other recent announcements about plant-based dining aboard cruise ships include:

• A seven-course, plant-based tasting menu at Eden, a restaurant on Celebrity Cruises’ newest luxury cruise ship, Ascent, scheduled to launch in December. The menu includes dishes such as Golden Beet-Tomato Ceviche, Ajoblanco Panna Cotta, Roasted and Glazed Celeriac Steak, and Dry Rose Petals Masala Curry, according to a post on (Royal Caribbean is the parent of Celebrity). Diners will also be able to choose among organic and vegan wine pairings, according to the report.

• Windstar Cruises in March unveiled plans to partner with the National Health Association to create a new vegan menu on all six of its ships. The offerings are not only plant-based but also prepared without added salt, oil, and sugar, and are gluten-free, the company said.

• Silversea Cruises, an ultra-luxury division of Royal Caribbean, said its newest ship, the Silver Nova, has expanded its assortment of vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based dishes across all nine dining venues, and it plans to roll out the items across its 12-ship fleet. Silversea collaborated on the new offerings with Jean-Luc Rabanel, a French chef known for his organic and plant-based dishes at his restaurant L'Atelier in Arles.

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