Friday, May 11, 2007

Vegging Out on the high seas

I recently went on my first cruise, the Carnival Elation. A friend who's a veteran of many cruises told me beforehand that cruises are basically "nonstop eat-a-thons." I was a little concerned about whether there would be a sufficient variety of vegetarian options to keep me satisfied. I needn't have worried, because they definitely put forth an effort for their vegetarian passengers. I did eat fish often, I must admit, but I could have eaten quite well if I had stuck solely to their vegetarian offerings.

The first lunch buffet on the ship included wonderful eggplant tarts and polenta with tomato sauce. Another day, there was vegetarian lasagna. You could always get a freshly prepared vegetarian pizza. I regret that I never got around to ordering the grilled-vegetable foccacia sandwich from the room-service menu -- it looked wonderful. I wish they had offered it at their deli counter.

A vegetarian entree was offered every night in the dining room, as well as at least one vegetarian appetizer. The eggplant and zucchini parmigiana I had the last night was fabulous -- fresh-tasting, elaborately put-together and not breaded, so it wasn't greasy at all. Vegetarian options other nights included a selection of Indian foods and black-bean echiladas.

They provided us with a BBQ lunch the day we were stopped at Half Moon Cay, the cruise line's private island. They didn't offer any vegetarian entrees then, unfortunately, but there were enough vegetarian salads and side dishes that I was more than satisfied.

According to the cruise line, the average weight gain on a cruise is 7 to 10 pounds, and I was firmly in that average. This was no doubt in large measure to the warm chocolate melting cake I got every night at dinner -- it's to-die-for. The first bite every night always made me bounce in happiness. For those trying to watch their weight, they specified lower-calorie options on the menu.

I do have to give a thumbs-down to the Orlando Airport, though. Their restaurant offerings are pretty paltry after you pass through security, which means their vegetarian options are even more paltry. There wasn't even a vegetarian sub on the menu at Miami Subs! My dining options were basically a boring green salad, a slice of pizza or a spinach calzone. I wasn't really in the mood for Italian, but that's what I had to have.

What about your experiences while traveling? Do you find it more difficult to find vegetarian options when you're on vacation?


At 5/24/2007 12:17 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

You ate FISH??? So you are not completely a vegetarian?

At 5/29/2007 10:40 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

That's correct. I'm mostly vegetarian, but I do eat fish sometimes. I talk about that aspect in my bio here.


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