When you book the cruise you are asked about dietary requirements, as P&O cater for every type of diet, with a dedicated diet chef on board, who prepares everything from scratch for each passenger. This is pretty impressive as on this cruise diet chef Ezle was catering for 80 passengers on his own, on first and second sitting.
A Head Waiter, in my case Shilish, looks after you the entire cruise and each evening gives you both the lunch and dinner menus for the following day, alongwith the vegetarian menu (there are a couple of vegetarian menus rotated throughout the cruise). You can choose or adapt dishes from any of the menus and in some instances I just made up a dish and Ezle kindly made it for me.
Breakfasts on board are easy, there is a wide choice of fresh and dried fruits, cereals, bread rolls, toast and they also carry soya yogurts onboard for those that want them. Satya looking after us in our cabin liased with Ezle, who made to order mushrooms and tomatoes as a hot breakfast option for me, on many mornings. I am not a big eater at lunchtime because I like to be hungry for my dinner, but lunches can also be organised with Shilish to eat in the restaurant or you can ask any of the staff, what lunch options available in the buffet are vegan. I did sometimes have a baked potato with ratatouille and salad for lunch or vegetarian paella and many a time I could not resist good old french fries and made chip butties.
We also wanted to dine in the alternative Italian dining venue Sorrento, so after perusing the menus, Satya had a word with the Restaurant Manager there and they organised a vegan menu for me on two occasions.
I have included photos of some of the starters and main courses I had throughout the cruise, which show the variety and selection available.
Tofu fish fingers & chips
Harissa couscous aubergine caviar palm hearts
Cabbage cannelloni with mint pea puree
Potato & aubergine timbale with rasaman sauce
Spicy tofu stir fry
Smoky butterbean cassoulet
Aubergine croquettes with guacamole
Polenta cakes with tomato sauce
Chargrilled courgettes with cannellini bean houmous
I also had many different soups like chilled potato, gazpacho, sweet potato all made specially, some lovely starter salads and sometimes melon, if I felt like something light. I am not a big dessert fan and chef would have been happy to make me anything if possible, but even so I still managed caramelised pineapple, poached fruits, Swedish Glace ice-cream or sorbet.
Many of the vegetarian menu dishes I have had many times, but Ezle's versions were some of the best and his interpretation of dishes I asked for off the main menus, like the tofu fish and chips were absolutely spot on.
I met Ezle just before we came home, it was only his second cruise as diet chef and I was his first vegan passenger, so he did a stunning job. He obviously has a good knowledge of what a vegan diet is and I was very impressed and look forward to cruising with P&O again as a vegan dietary passenger.