As a first-time cruiser I was slightly apprehensive about the availability of plant-based meals onboard P&O Cruises Ship Azura. However it’s great that mindsets are changing and companies are now identifying that this is, in fact, a big audience and in recent years restaurants and food chains in general are becoming more accommodating of the need for adding plant-based options to their menus. It definitely seems a lot easier to eat out as a vegan these days which is very refreshing, and this was certainly the case onboard Azura.
If you haven’t been on a cruise before like me prior to this trip, what’s the first impression of a cruise that pops into your head? …I laugh at myself now but I honestly thought they were catered toward OAP’s and retired folk. However going on the cruise really opened my eyes to how much of an incredible holiday experience this is for all ages! If you want to learn more as a whole about our cruise holiday as a young family I have given as much of in depth overview here: 10 Must Know Tips When Cruising With A Toddler. Anyway, let’s talk food and get back to the amazing plant-based options available on P&O Azura!
Vegan Breakfast Options Onboard P&O Cruises Ship Azura
Let’s start with the King of meals, breakfast. We spent breakfast everyday at the main buffet restaurant because we loved to sit by the huge floor to ceiling glass windows admiring the stunning sea views or watching the world go by at each port we visited. The buffet restaurant was perfect for us: it was relaxed with a toddler and it had everything we needed.
The buffet spread is phenomenal. They think of everything! For the sake of this article, I am only going to focus on the vegan options though. Olive and I are fruit lovers and we were in our element. What I love is they have two different ways of offering the fruit, either in grab and go bowls all chopped and mixed up, or as nicely organised slices in their different categories. Everyday I enjoyed pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe melon, honeydew melon, mango, the list goes on! They always served a hot breakfast with a vegan (and several vegetarian) option. I would always have cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and then try their vegan option such as vegan hash browns, vegan fried bread. Aside from this, they have a huge selection on bread, toast, spreads, cereals, juices.
I don’t know about you, but since becoming a Mum, I definitely drink a lot more coffee at times, so naturally I will have a coffee with my breakfast most days. On that note, I need to share a positive and a slightly negative. The positive is that the staff couldn’t have been more helpful when we requested plant-based milk. The negative however is that at home we only ever use oat milk which in my opinion is best with coffee, in particular the Oat Barista which is the best for hot drinks, and especially coffee. The only plant-based milk onboard was almond milk. Okay so let’s give them a bit of slack and know that we are at sea most the time visiting islands, so perhaps this was all the crew could stock up on or it maybe holds a better shelf life but my coffee is certainly my daily fix and hopefully this is something that can be addressed when they can stock again and look to provide a variety of plant-based milk options, in particular Barista oat milk 😉 Small pleasures that make a big difference to a tired mum!
Vegan Lunch Options Onboard P&O Cruises Ship Azura
We often ate lunch off the ship in the new destination we were exploring. However, the times we were on the ship we ate lunch back in the buffet restaurant as for us it was just easier and relaxed as a family and they had so many options to please not just us but also our often fussy toddler 🙂
My favourite lunch option was the vegan chickpea and falafel wraps, and I know Olive will vouch for that too. I also loved the vegan curries they made onboard, especially the Chickpea and Roasted Vegetable Masala with Steamed Rice and Puris – they were absolutely delicious and had so much flavour. In fact, I have never actually met a vegan who doesn’t enjoy plant-based curries.
Vegan Dinner Options Onboard P&O Cruises Ship Azura
For dinner, we tried two specialty restaurants which were fantastic (see both headings below). With specialty restaurants, the food is at an extra cost and not included in Full Board, but totally worth it for a change of scenery from the buffet or a la carte service restaurant.
On other evenings we ate at the a la carte restaurant, which is included on the cruise Full Board Dining. They always offered a vegan option for starter, main and dessert, which made it easy for me to order (see photos at the bottom of this article for the types of vegan meals we enjoyed at the a la carte restaurant).
The Glass House Speciality Dining
Our favourite of the two was The Glass House. It’s a special venue onboard Ship Azura because it is headed up by award-winning wine expert and P&O Cruises Food Hero, Olly Smith. I was really impressed with the wine choice, the pairing choices chosen by our wonderful waiter and the beautiful ambience of the restaurant. The chef couldn’t do enough to make sure we had the perfect vegan three-course dinner.
Please note, if you are vegan and planning to try this speciality restaurant you must give them 24 hours notice so that the chef can prepare the vegan options, this was fine as we had already pre-booked our sitting prior to the cruise, however we did try to walk in another evening as we loved it so much and weren’t able to. However if you are vegetarian of on a flexitarian journey this won’t be an issue.
For starter we enjoyed a plate of bruschetta, and also beetroot crisps with three different hummus dips. Olive absolutely loved this so the waiter’s were kind to bring out a second serving for Olive (after all when a young child decided they like something healthy that isn’t just pizza and chips I am all for giving them as much as they want!). The staff on P&O Azura were on that exact wavelength – another example of how the crew on P&O Azura are so understanding with families making parent life so much easier. I have written more about this here: 10 Must Know Tips When Cruising With A Toddler.
We absolutely loved our entire meal and wine pairings at The Glass House, but especially the desserts. Vegan desserts onboard P&O Cruises Azura are the absolute best! Even if you are not vegan, you MUST give these a try – so full of flavour and so rich and tasty!
The Beach House Speciality Dining
This is a very relaxed, fun and informal Mexican restaurant. It is the perfect choice for eating out as a family with its hearty dishes and comfort-food favourites.
When we arrived at The Beach House the waiter kindly sat us with a view of the chefs cooking, which Olive loved. They also told us Olive was welcome to spread out and play around the area of our table if she wanted to (as we were sat away from other guests) which made it feel so much more relaxed taking a toddler to a restaurant.
We felt so full after the starter and main we didn’t try a dessert but they looked really delicious!
On both Black Tie evenings we were kindly sent canapés to our cabin. This was garlic edamame bean puree with chives on toasted ciabatta. It complimented our champagne well and it was lovely to enjoy on the balcony before heading to dinner.
12 Vegan Dishes Served On P&O Cruises Azura
Below are a few other vegan dishes I thoroughly enjoyed while onboard the Azura: