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) - You really need to work with your head waiter in the main dining room to have special meals prepared for you at dinner time, even if it means simply adjusting the next evening’s vegetarian offerings to be vegan-friendly – this is really the key to having great plant-based meals on board.

The chefs are creating thousands of meals for thousands of people each day, so they really need advanced notice and additional time for special food preparations. People are likely to be nicer and more helpful to, well, nice people!

I made sure to contact the cruise ahead of our trip to tell them about our dietary restrictions and they said they would be happy to accommodate us.

While they DID have a vegetarian menu each night at dinner, we didn't do dairy, so it didn't really work.

Eating as a vegan on a cruise ship is much easier when you work with the same head waiter each night, so I recommend selecting a traditional seating option or asking to sit in the same head waiter’s section each night if you have selected the flexible option.

- Generally, soy milk is available on ships if you ask for it.

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I recommend submitting your request and having your travel agent add it to your reservation, but most cruise lines will tell you that speaking to the head waiters in the main dining room once onboard is really the most important step for passengers with special dietary requirements (which for now, still includes us!

- Each cruise line and ship is very different in terms of accommodations, entertainment, itineraries, rates, and general atmosphere.

Furthermore, on-board dining experiences can drastically differ from ship to ship and line to line.

For flexible dining, you can head to the main dining room when you would like to eat and wait for a table, not unlike going out to a local restaurant on a Friday evening.

Generally wait times are short, if at all, but reservations can also be made within this option as well.

Assume that vegetables are prepared with butter, but find a crew member and you will most likely score a plain serving made-to-order just for you.- When in doubt, head for the fresh fruit buffet and salad bar.

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