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Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Cruise Cuisine Makes a Splash

Food is a passion for many people, and a cruise presents an array of opportunities to dine on some of the finest cuisine in the world.

As more cruisers dine vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, cruise ship menu offerings have been expanding at a steady pace to meet the demand. Holland America Line is embracing these options and creating menus that cater specifically to the needs and desires of guests.

The culinary team is excited to see the growing interest for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on all ships. We’re continuing to add more emphasis to these diets and guests can expect to see new and increased selections come fall on new menu rotations, as well as clearer identification of these selective and health-oriented dining options.

“We are working with our gluten-free suppliers who are providing a noticeable increase in the number and variety of ingredients offered that we can integrate onto our menus,” said Steve Kirsch, Holland America Line’s director of culinary operations. “Both our culinary and service teams are constantly training to increase their overall knowledge and expertise so they are better able to assist, educate and cater to guests.”

All guests are welcome to contact Holland America Line’s Ship Services Department prior to cruising, or have their travel agent do so, to request special dietary needs. Ship staff are happy to meet guests with gluten sensitivities at the beginning of the cruise to discuss the adjustments to standard menu items so that they can enjoy dining without worry. Some of the gluten-free options available upon request are bread, waffles, muffins, hot dog and hamburger buns, pasta and pre-made desserts. For guests who want to sample gluten-free, the Italian station in the Lido currently offers gluten-free pasta and sauces on a daily basis – there’s no need to prerequest these items.

“Cruising offers the perfect venue for guests who are more traditional eaters to sample different options such as vegetarian and vegan dishes, and we are sure they will be pleasantly surprised at the breadth of flavors,” said Kirsch.

Frisess Salad with Pomegranate Dressing, top, and Oven-baked stuffed eggplant.

Frisess Salad with Pomegranate Dressing, top, and Oven-baked stuffed eggplant.

Master Chef Rudi Sodamin designed an exclusive 22-dish vegetarian and vegan menu that highlights vegetables and other naturally healthy ingredients. The alternative menu includes a full range of appetizers, salads, soups and main entrées, and is available upon request at no extra cost for lunch and dinner in the main dining room.

Some vegetarian dishes include Asparagus, Carrot and Zucchini Tart; Strawberry and Bocconcini Bruschetta, Spicy Lentil and Garbanzo Salad, Baked Vegetable Lasagna, Vegetable and Bean Chili, Spinach Curry and Baked Cheese Polenta with Mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts.

Vegan options include Vietnamese Vegetable Spring Rolls, Vegetable Jambalaya, Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Kebobs, Sweet and Sour Vegetable Tempura, Asian Noodle Soup, Spicy Lentil and Garbanzo Salad, and Pad Thai Noodles.

In addition to the vegetarian-only menu, 30 vegetarian dishes are on the the main dining room menu. These offerings also are featured as a second vegetarian option in the casual Lido buffet during lunch. Additionally, every dinner menu offers guests the option of one appetizer, one soup or salad, and at least one vegetarian entrée each evening, increasing the total number of vegetarian options on board to more than 50 delectable dishes.

Some of the vegetarian selections on the main dining room menu include Apple, Pear and Cucumber Salad; Corn and Zucchini Pancakes served with Southwest-style cous cous salad, Asparagus and Zucchini Torte with wild rice and sun-dried tomato coulees, Ribbon Zucchini Risotto finished with a roasted red pepper rouille, Carrot and Parmesan Risotto topped with a lemony arugula salad and crispy carrot ribbons and Oven-Baked Eggplant Parmigiana layered with Provolone cheese and baked in the oven, served with spaghetti tossed in marinara sauce. The Pinnacle Grill also features vegetarian options, with baked stuffed eggplant, mushroom ravioli and pumpkin risotto.

If you are interested in speaking to Ship Services about gluten-free options, call 800-541-1576 (U.S. and Canada) or email

And remember, you don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy all of these exceptional dishes!

  • 808Momof3

    I am so excited to read this!! I only hope some of these options are available on our Aug/Sept cruise!

  • Malee HEARIN

    Hurrah! My husband has celiac sprue and must be gluten free. We sail on Veendam May 1. Good to know he’ll have lots to eat.

  • Julie

    Malee, be sure to reach out to Special Services before you sail. Have a great time and enjoy the delicious food!

  • Brenda

    Delighted to read this. Have been on board Oosterdam 4 days but haven’t yet seen these options. Perhaps they will appear on the menu shortly.

  • Julie

    Brenda, don’t forget to request the vegetarian menu. It’s by request only. Enjoy!

  • Britt Dougall

    We just returned from cruising Alaska on the Statendam. We had to order our food 24 hours in advance & many dishes served were materially different from the menu description. The most egregious example was Pad Thai lacking all the vegetables listed & the tofu. Disappointing.

  • Kevin Whelan

    I’m really curious about this. We’re planning a cruise for next summer and our daughter has Celiac. I’m curious how seriously this is taken and how well it is communicated to all of the staff.

    – kw

  • Latania

    Going on a cruise on the Zuderdam on November 7, 2014. I hope that the food described above is on the menu. I am looking for to tasting the stuff baked egg plant

  • Alicia

    I will be sailing on the Westerdam for 18 nights. Hope the staff is well informed about the vegan options!

  • Julie

    Alicia, be sure to ask your waiter for the vegetarian menu in the dining room. This is in addition to the selections on the main menu. You’ll have plenty of delicious dishes to choose from! Bon Appetit!

  • Lisa

    Glad to hear there are many vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. My problem is that I am vegan, soy AND gluten free. We are headed to Australia/New Zealand on the Noordam for 35 days…am I going to starve to death?

  • Julie

    Lisa, please be sure to communicate with before you leave so the ship is ready for you. You will be just fine!

  • Lisa

    Thanks Julie! I did send them an email and also faxed an additional letter to them(in addition to the Gluten free questionnaire email they sent me), explaining my situation. I included my phone number, but have yet to hear anything. Will I neccessarily get a response?

  • Julie

    Lisa, if you don’t hear before your cruise please call them to make sure they received everything. It takes a few days to respond due to the volume of emails. Have a great time!

  • Jan Caldera

    I really need the stuffed eggplant served in the Pinnacle restaurant on the Nieuw Amsterdam last week. It was the best thing ever!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!

  • Cheryll Bickham

    I have Celiac and also am allergic to Cassein found in cow’s milk products. In addition I can’t tolerate soy. Pineapple and Mango can send me to the ER as well.
    Will Holland America be able to accommodate these special dietary needs?

  • Julie

    Cheryll, we do accommodate special dietary needs and offer a vegan menu. However, you would need to speak with reservations to be certain all of your needs can be met. Please call 1‐877‐932‐4259.

  • Julia

    Gluten free/ dairy free ( except goat cheese!)/ SOY free food needed!
    Definitely can not have flax seeds, and Soy milk, soy, tofu, either! I could end up in ER with soy products, soybean oil, soya lecithin, etc.

    Need Almond milk, coconut milk, goat cheese, flax free bread, unripened bananas.
    Plain Coconut yogurt, coconut ” ice cream, ” etc.

    Last year, some of the GF bread had flax seeds!
    What to do? Please, help!

    Tulin Mangir
    Sent from my iPad

  • Julia

    I marked my choices the night before. They did a pretty good job, in general. It depends on your dining room steward. He took it seriously, and made it happen!
    There is more of an awareness of dietary and medical restrictions, compared to previous years.

  • Julie

    Hi Tulin, if you are cruising with us, please call ship services prior to cruising so we can get all of this information in your booking. The ship can do the best they can to prepare for your visit if they know your restrictions.

  • Lynne

    We are sailing in January. We are vegan, but see that there are many vegetarian meals we can enjoy. We would like to know if almond milk would be available.

  • Julie

    Please reach out to special services to talk to them about getting this onboard for you.

  • Bryana

    This is awesome! Keep it up!!

  • Marcia

    Hello We are vegetarian (mostly VEGAN) but also do not eat FLOUR or SUGAR or fake sugars including no stevia, no agave, no honey, etc. Is it possible to get accommodated? Also is any of the food ORGANIC, and/or can we pay extra for it? Thank you. Thinking of cruising the Nieuw Amsterdam March 10-17, 2018

  • Julie

    Hi Marcia, we do feature a full vegetarian/vegan menu onboard upon request. And we can certainly try to work with you to accommodate your other requirements. Please call Ships Services to see how much can be done: 1–800–541–1576

  • Bea

    Surely hope I can have my low carb no sugar diet. I called but I cannot find anywhere in my document that I have this special diet.

  • Julie

    Bea, please call ship services. They can assist with your special diet: 1–800–541–1576.

  • Randi

    Glad to read this! Will be cruising on the Eurodam soon. Do you need to request the vegan/vegetarian menu ahead of time (I.e before sailing) or just when you get to the dining room for each meal?

  • Julie

    Randi, there is a vegetarian entree on the main menu each night that you do not have to request. For the separate menu, visit the dining room when you get onboard and ask them. They will present you with the menu so you can make your selection. They might need advanced notice depending on what you select. Please don’t hesitate to contact ship services before you cruise so they can place a note in your booking. 1–800–541–1576

  • Laurel

    I am on a whole food plant based, no added salt, oil and sugar, diet. If I go off this diet due to lack of adequate menu choices, I get sick. I cook my own food at home and my recipes I use are all plant based and delicious. It is really possible to ditch the standard american diet and still enjoy food much more now.
    I hope HAL offers quality, organic plant based choices on their menus and I will remember to request my needs before cruising again.

  • Julie

    Please contact ship services in advance of your cruise and they can work with you on your diet.

  • Kalsi narendra s

    Excited to learn veg meals are available.
    Boarding on 28th July Y3C (stateroom 6076) from Vancouver. Me nd my my wife both are veg. Hope to get veg meals on board during our stay. Thanks

  • Hope

    So I am crushing for 14 days may 2019 on Holland America. I am dairy, egg and gluten free due to bad allergies. I try to eat plain meats, veggies and fruit. Will they be able to accommodate me if I notify in advance? Also others who have cruised with these allergies what was your experiences?

  • Julie

    Hi Hope, we can certainly accommodate your needs. Please contact ship services as soon as possible for assistance: 800–541–1576

  • JITENDRA Kothari

    We’re about to book cabins on The Oosterdam sailing from FLL on the 9th of Feb.2018..Being Hindu Vegetarians, it’s critical that we will have typical Hindu Vegetarian dishes served. The entire plan kinda depends on that.Plz attend to this and provide specific details, not just “you will be fine”…Thank you

  • Julie

    Hello! Please contact ship services to talk about your exact needs: 1–800–541–1576

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