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Cruise Connection: Holistic Holiday at Sea theme cruise

Cruise Well

Holistic Holiday at Sea offers a healthy way to cruise the Caribbean.

By Margot Bigg

I’ve always wanted to take a cruise. But because I’ve been a vegetarian or vegan since I was a small child, the idea of spending a week or more at sea subsisting on salad and bread held me back. Then I found out about Holistic Holiday at Sea and its annual vegan Caribbean cruise and decided it was time to take my first oceangoing vacation.

Good Eats

The theme cruise, which first set sail in 2004, places a strong emphasis on the health benefits of veganism, with a packed daily schedule of workshops and social events that start at the crack of dawn and go well into the night. This year, some 1,500 cruisers from as far away as South Africa and Japan descended on Miami to board MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina. Though many were already hardcore health foodies, a few were there to learn more about the plant-based lifestyle or simply take a weeklong detox from meat.

As a longtime vegan, I wasn’t planning to give anything up, but I did hope that a week away from easy supermarket access would at least help me get my sugar cravings under control. And it did.

The first few meals tasted very healthy — in a carob instead of chocolate kind of way. As someone who typically loads up everything remotely savory with a tongue-destroying amount of hot sauce, my taste buds stubbornly refused to register much flavor. While each five-course meal left me satisfied, it wasn’t the kind of food I’d use to entice my meat-eating friends to come to the other side.

“The food gets better as the week progresses,” a veteran Holistic cruiser assured me. And right she was. Though the menus always looked good, with offerings such as eggplant parmesan with sunflower cheese and Caribbean coconut cream pie, it was later in the week, when items such as vegan Stroganoff and chocolate cake started showing up on the menu, that I really got into the gourmand…

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Photo: ©Lumi Images/Alamy Stock Photo

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