P&O Cruise, Iberia

15th January 2017

I had my first experience on a cruise over Christmas, whilst I was not entirely worried about starving to death (chips and salad are pretty much guaranteed everywhere) I did have some trepidation about what I would be offered.

Turns out I was kinda right, I was for the most part pleasantly surprised, although pretty much what I ate for the 12 days was 80% composed of potato (that’s not me complaining!), I did have one really, really disappointing meal but only because I had had such high hopes for it.

I informed P&O before my trip that I was vegan but you do have to put some effort in once on board to make sure you order ahead. There were several restaurants on board (some included in the price of the cruise some not) which would require ordering at least 24 hours in advance. In addition, there was a buffet which was also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We had several days at shore, so obviously there was opportunity to seek out vegan establishments there. However, I didn’t get super hung up on that and only went for locations that happened to be in the area we ended up in.

I have covered every day of the cruise below, where there appears to be a meal missing assume I had something I’d already had or have spared you looking at a million mish mosh photos of buffet cuisine.

Day 1 – at sea

We boarded around lunchtime so we hit the buffet. Imagine my excitement at seeing something labelled vegan! Alas, I did not see any other dishes labelled vegan here, although there were vegetarian options every day.

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{ Obviously I had the margarine as it was labelled vegan 🙂 }

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{ First of many amazing sunsets }

Dinner was slightly deflating as obviously, I was not able to order my food 24 hours in advance yet. The restaurant (either Saffron or Cinnamon their layout was both exactly the same) managed to pull together some melon for starter and roasted veg for main (let the potato feast begin!).

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Day 2 – at sea

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Hit the buffet for breakfast and lunch.

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{ Quinoa falafel and dahl at the buffet }

Dinner at Saffron/Cinnamon I was really excited about as I’d pre booked from the designated vegan menu which had 3/4 options for starters and mains.

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{ selection of vegetable futomaki vegetable rolls }

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{ braised mushroom steamed pudding with umami gravy }

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{ baklava }

Day 3 – at sea

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{ veggie breakfast option at Saffron/Cinnamon complete with vegetarian bacon }

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{ per order for lunch at Saffron/Cinnamon smoked tofu and Vietnamese vegetable spring rolls with random rice accompaniment }

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{ Baked sweet beetroot and candied walnut risotto }

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{ Another sunset and another dinner at the buffet }

Day 4 – at sea

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{ Pre ordered lunch at Saffron/Cinnamon – selection of middle eastern dips, crisp breads and crudites }

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{ Roasted cauliflower tikka, artichoke fritters and garlic dahl – that dahl was Da Bomb }

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{ Baklava }

Day 5 – Lanzarote

First port!

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{ But before we go on shore we must eat 😉 }

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{ Locals }

Luckily there was a small vegan cafe not far from where we were exploring, they had several dishes on offer so I went for a mixed box which for some reason was served up in Tupperware. I guess it’s reusable but can’t imagine it’s very cost effective for them?

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{ El Veganito del Charco – white bean stew with seitan, pizza with a grilled aubergine base and a black rice salad }

Day 6 – Santa Cruz

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{ Puerto de la Cruz }

And so we get to the disappointment. We booked in for a meal at the Epicurean which is the fancier of the restaurants on board, bear in mind I notified them three days in advance rather than the obligatory 24 hours which I felt was plenty of time to come up with something decent. I have to say I found it a bit odd when they asked me to chose what I wanted from the menu and they would veganise it for me, I would have expected them to rather talk to the chef and let me know what could be offered, but I conceded and crossed my fingers.

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{ Brioche bun which i was told was vegan, but now I’m not so sure as it was also served to the other diners }

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{ Frozen gazpacho lollipop amuse bouche }

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{ Celeriac soup }

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{ This looks semi-fancy but was basically just fried mushrooms and peas… }

I was then offered another palate cleanser which was pretty cool and looked like a lipstick, however as it was jelly I queried it and it turns out it was not suitable for me. In its place, I was offered one strawberry, sliced and presented on a small slate. I could not bring myself to take a photo of it.

For dessert I had requested a veganised jaffa cake pudding, which they told me after everyone else had been served dessert could not be veganised. I was served some strawberries with coulis. No photo. This was an additional cost not included in cruise price, bear in mind I also paid the same price as everyone else and they had steak, lobster, crepe Suzette. Rant over.

Day 7 – La Palma

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Managed to visit an independent health shop Hierba Buena whilst I was here.

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{ Buffet lunch with a Salami sandwich (courtesy of Hierba Buena) }

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{ Maple roasted parsnip, lentil and carrot pate }

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{ Black turtle bean chilli mole with taco shell – the chimichurri dressing on those potatoes was SO good }

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{ Chocolate and beetroot cake  – I had this every time we ate here 🙂 }

Day 8 – Madeira

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{ Resident cat at Fort Sao Jose }

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{ View from cable car }

First day onshore and by total accident ended up at a restaurant with several accidentally vegan vegetarian dishes.

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{ Santa Maria soya bolognese }

Day 9 – at sea

 

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{ Mixed vegetable pakoras with mint and coconut chutney }

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{Oak marinated silken tofu in Chinese black bean sauce with crispy rice noodles }

Day 9 – Christmas Day! At Sea

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{ Pitta with panisse frites, falafel and sweet chilli dip }

Day 10 – Lisbon

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Came across a small Christmas market in the town centre and what should happen to leap out at me but the word ‘VEGAN’. I was so on it. This little pie was amazing I should have got more to take back to the ship. It was filled with mushrooms and leeks and the pastry was perfection.

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{ Confraria de Empada }

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{ Natur Ice mango sorbet }

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{ Back on board lunch was from the grill by one of the pools, their veggie burger was vegan (it was basically potato…) }

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{ Curry night at the buffet that day 🙂 }

Day 11 – at sea. With Costa and a book. No new food experiences to speak of.

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Day 12 – at sea

Last day and after having eased off the full breakfast I had one for the road. I started going for lighter option of cereal with soya milk, fresh fruit or buying avocados on shore and having that with toast.

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{ Saffron/Cinnamon grilled mushroom with asparagus and black truffle }

Best meal of the trip was our last dinner at Atul Kochhar Indian restaurant Sindhu.

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{ Poppadom with chutney – mango, pomegranate, lime and chilli }

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{ Aloo bhundi with coconut chutney }

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{ Potato cakes }

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{ Vegetable curry of the day, dahl and rice – these came in addition to the food we actually ordered! }

So my actual order is at the top on the left a veganised vegetarian Atul’s signature plate with chickpea, mushroom and okra curries. Way too full for dessert!

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2 Responses to “P&O Cruise, Iberia”

  1. Sanna Vegancruiser Says:

    OMG!

    Vbites vegan bacon, veggie sausages and even Vbites salami? Vegan spread? I am in heaven. This puts Royal Caribbean, MSC and even sister brand Princess to shame. They did nice meals but no such breakfast items or dairy-free spread. The only reason we had some was because I took a tub with me and stored it in our minibar with home-brought VBites slices.

    Do you mind if I share your post on my blog? I need to get onboard P&O. Recently seen photos of tempeh and seitan served on Britannia.

    BTW, any vegan recommendations in Lisbon? We’re going to be there in August with Thomson?

    Sanna

  2. mitsu Says:

    Sure you’re welcome to share 🙂

    Go Britannia!

    Hope you had a good time in Lisbon. x

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