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Aliyah17

Vegan or Allergy Claims

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I noted before that our main reason for deciding to do the Hurtiguten (Coastal Norway on Nordlys) cruise was their claim they have a strong commitment to providing vegan food and have a full vegan menu on board. We booked direct with Hurtigruten and received assurances that no special requests were necessary, just let the dining room staff know we are vegan when we get on board. I'm writing for other vegans searching for cruise information, so if you aren't veg/vegan, please don't feel compelled to comment.

 

First night is a buffet, and there was basically nothing for us. Everything is marked with an allergen code in the DR. The only thing we could eat was boiled potatoes and plain veg. I was aggravated right away because that told me the whole vegan premise was a lie and I was right. We ended up having to constantly go over what we would be eating for dinner with the "special menu" crew member. They told me they were not informed vegans were on board. 1) I had in writing that they were being informed, and 2) their own information doesn't indicate any need to inform because the vegan menu is part of the routine. To clarify, there was not a  vegan menu, there was a vegan option each night. So if you didn't care for that, you had to figure out what else they could do, plus they did not even have tofu or other items listed on the "menu." They did try hard to please us, but it was ridiculous some nights. Our appetizer was sometimes 2 or 3 tiny bites of something. 

 

Buffets, breakfast and lunch, had more fish/seafood than I've ever seen which is expected as they served largely traditional Norwegian food. For breakfast, luckily they had Alpro soya yogurt with which I filled a bowl topped with granola and nuts. No pastries were vegan, the only thing to put on bread was jam.

Lunch was a big buffet and we usually had one thing to eat aside from plain potatoes or salad. And sometimes even finding vegan salad dressing was a challenge. Two days in a row, our option was fried rice. The third day they had the rice out, but we found egg in it. That same day, there was a pasta listed as vegan but it had cream in it. After I had eaten some, I questioned them and they re-labelled the dish as dairy. Same with a dessert at lunch that we tried and they later removed it and labelled it as dairy. I won't die from eating milk, but some people might. One lunch, they did find us and tell us they made a nice vegan soup for us, which was good.

 

I wrote to my reservation agent twice while on board and I never heard back. We had a long sit-down with the "hotel manager" who seemed very interested in all the issues and about vegan food and possible options. But I was on holiday; it's not my job to educate him. He said he wanted to follow up with us about some of the information, but he never did. No question it made our holiday a whole lot less pleasant and we felt very deceived. 

 

 

 

 

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@Aliyah17 Thank you for your review - I am sorry to hear about your problems with vegan menu - I have seen several claiming that vegan, vegetarian or special diet menus are available on all ships - Hurtigruten goes Vegan! so it is also my immediate opinion that special diet requirements can always be met.
Apart from menu problems - do you plan to write a little about your experience with weather, clothing, Northern lights and excursions.

Edited by hallasm

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Hi, Yes, that is certainly the impression they are giving people, which is why I was so unhappy. The reason we didn't see ourselves taking any more cruises was because of the terrible time trying to eat on other cruises that promised vegan food, but this seemed different. I will say FTR, the only time I was happy with the food was on Princess from Vancouver to Anchorage. They have a HUGE Indian clientele and cater to them, so we ate some of the best Indian food I've ever had almost every day. I loved it.

 

That said, we came away pretty neutral about the cruise. The expedition staff were very sweet and helpful and we enjoyed the talks each evening. We are hikers, but most of the hikes were cancelled due to weather. We only did one, to Nordkapp and it was a great one, pretty challenging. That was also the only time I was actually cold. I am all about the gear (Arcteryx coat, Sorel boots, etc) but I didn't even need that level of protection most days. In port, it was sometimes cold, but not bitterly.

So look, it was December. There wasn't much to do in ports, we did as much walking around and seeing the towns as we could. Oftentimes, it was dark, so meh. There wasn't much to do or see for the most part. In December many excursions are not done or were cancelled. And a few were so expensive, I just couldn't bring myself to pay the stupid amount. We hiked over to the Alpine church in Tromso I think? It was dark and OK I know people love that church, but to me it was a huge nothing. And walking over the bridge to get there was really terrible, the car exhaust was just choking us. I do not recommend that.

 

Of course there is nothing to do on the ship pretty much, people were nice and friendly. We hung out with some British people. I did some knitting with the ladies 🙂  But again, it's dark, so usually you can't enjoy the scenery. We watched some Netflix stuff we had downloaded. I will say that a few of our UK pals said they wished they were leaving in Kirkenes as we were. 

Oh, we did see the Northern Lights one night, the photos came out nice with the iPhone 11, better than with the Nikon for sure. It was cold on deck at night.

 

We were in an Arctic Double on deck 6, it was a perfectly nice cabin, no problems except that to use the wifi, we had to leave our door open. Yea. The tech guy came to the cabin twice but said he couldn't make it better. Really ridiculous.  And I am a very small person, but I could barely squeeze past the foot of the bed to my side. If you are more than 110 lbs/50kg, good luck.

 

Oh, I never shop on a cruise, but the gift shop on Nordlys was very nice and I checked in port, and prices were very competitive and nothing made in China. So I did buy some gifts and a Dale sweater for me! It was good because we got one piece of paper to present for the VAT refund at Oslo airport. It was easy, there wasn't even a line.

 

In case anyone cares this is what I packed and I was pretty satisfied: pale pink skinny denims, black skinny jeans, black leggings, color block yoga-type leggings. two sweaters matching the pink denim, nice black sweater, longish black patterned silky blouse (with jeans or over leggings), blue long sweater, burgundy "sweatshirt" pullover. Ski pants, insulating vneck undershirt. Pink sneakers, Sorel boots, Rothy's ballet flats, black ankle boots; I was glad I had them all though only wore the Sorels off the ship. Wore others while in Oslo. Hat, gloves. 

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Thank you so much for the update.

16 minutes ago, Aliyah17 said:

Oftentimes, it was dark, so meh.

Yes - dark the entire day during Polar Nights...

17 minutes ago, Aliyah17 said:

It was cold on deck at night.

... and very cold on outer decks.

 

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I had to laugh at this review!  "...it was dark, so meh.  It was cold on deck at night."!!!  Really?  What did Aliyah 17 expect in Norway in December????  People really need to educate themselves about their destinations and have realistic expectations in order to select the experience they really want.  The vegan menu that hallasm linked to sounds very good.  Wasn't that available on the Nordlys?

Edited by oakridger

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I didn't say it was unexpected, did I? Of course I knew there would be very little daylight. Still, the actual timing and experiencing it are not the same. 

I was making the point that it was very cold on deck as opposed to the fact that I didn't find it cold in general. Hallasm, I'm not sure what you mean "outer decks," I meant outside of course. I was perfectly warm everywhere inside the ship.

As for the menu, I think I was extremely clear about the reality vs the PR claims.

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On 12/28/2019 at 11:20 AM, hallasm said:


@Aliyah17 Thank you for your review - I am sorry to hear about your problems with vegan menu - I have seen several claiming that vegan, vegetarian or special diet menus are available on all ships - Hurtigruten goes Vegan! so it is also my immediate opinion that special diet requirements can always be met.
Apart from menu problems - do you plan to write a little about your experience with weather, clothing, Northern lights and excursions.

 

I received the email about Hurtigruten goes Vegan some time ago and being as my good lady eats a plant based diet I have been considering taking a voyage with them. However having read the @Aliyah17 review I am not not so certain. It does say quite clearly on the link @hallasm posted the following......

 

Since February 2017, all 11 Norwegian coastal ships departing from Bergen have offered an 11-day, 3-course full vegan menu as part of our Norway's Coastal Kitchen concept.

 

This is what I clearly remembered reading previously. I wonder what has gone amiss?

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Wansbrough said:

This is what I clearly remembered reading previously. I wonder what has gone amiss?

It might very well differ from ship to ship - I think Aliyah17 was sailing Polarlys (not quite sure) - sometimes the ships or operations do not exactly know what has been communicated/promised to customers - Hurtigruten does lack a bit of professionalism when dealing with special needs however they do normally react to questions and does compensate where problems occurred.

I'll suggest you do contact booking@hurtigruten.com and ask if they do have a vegan menu. Also once booked contact the actual ship you're booked on and verily which vegan options available.

Ships can be operated differently. Currently Hurtigruten is operating 11 ships at the Coastal Route.

 

Edited by hallasm

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1 minute ago, hallasm said:

It might very well differ from ship to ship - I think Aliyah17 was sailing Polarlys (not quite sure) - sometimes the ships or operations do not exactly know what has been communicated/promised to customers - Hurtigruten does lack a bit of professionalism when dealing with special needs however they do normally react to questions and does compensate where problems occurred.

I'll suggest you do contact booking@hurtigruten.com and ask if they do have a vegan menu. Also once booked contact the actual ship you're booked on and verily which vegan options available.

Ships can be operated differently.

 

 

I think it was the Richard With, just read it on another thread.

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23 minutes ago, Wansbrough said:

I think it was the Richard With, just read it on another thread.

You're right - saw your Richard With post

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I am not vegan - but did look at what was offered on our cruise out of interest... (We were on the Kong Harald).  What I noticed was very similar to what Aliyah17 has posted... one or two items - certainly not a lot of options or variation.

 

I must say that the dining room staff was very accommodating as far as allergies/food preferences. But, it was more "one offs" - instead of a specific diet plan.  I would have felt cheated if I had booked expecting a robust menu that was not available.

 

Fran

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, franski said:

a robust menu that was not available.

This is a link to Hurtigruten vegan Manu - a three course set menu for each of the 11 days. Should be available on the 11 coastal ships.

Skærmbillede 2020-01-03 kl. 07.02.45.png

Edited by hallasm

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Hi, there's a lot to unpack here. First of all, we did book on Richard With, but there was a problem with the cabin, so we rebooked on Polarlys. The vegan claim is a company-wide policy, so which ship you're on should have no bearing on that. 

I think someone hit on precisely my p0int--there was no real consistent commitment to their claim, thus even the food specifically called out on that menu was not available. So I can guarantee if you call Hurtigruten and ask if they have a vegan menu they'll say Yes it's all amazing! But Hallasm's other point (sometimes the ships or operations do not exactly know what has been communicated/promised to customers )  is the real issue. The bottom line is they have no business making big claims and then not following through and making sure each ship is prepared. 

I looked over that menu link. I can tell you they were not able to follow it, some of those things we were served, many others not. We were actually psyched for the cheeseburger, even though that's not exactly formal dinner food, but they had no vegan cheese on board. 

And in the end, they never responded to my emails.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Aliyah17 said:

 The vegan claim is a company-wide policy, so which ship you're on should have no bearing on that. 

I think someone hit on precisely my p0int--there was no real consistent commitment to their claim, thus even the food specifically called out on that menu was not available.

 

Perhaps in the course of time we might get a few other reports back on the vegan options. I'd like to think your experience was isolated.

 

I would actually liked to have seen some photos of the dishes in the menu. The descriptions make the dishes sound really sparse.

Edited by Wansbrough

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Doing a bit of research this morning I discovered a YouTube review from October 2018. I am not sure of the link rules but if you do a search on YouTube for Vegan on Hurtigruten MS Trollfjord you should be able to find it. I know its over a year old but it tells a different story to @Aliyah17

Perhaps things have changed in the last year?

 

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27 minutes ago, Wansbrough said:

Perhaps things have changed in the last year?

Perhaps a change over time but might very well also be a different ecpierence from Trollfjord to Polarlys. Once booked check with the ship.

 

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30 minutes ago, hallasm said:

Perhaps a change over time but might very well also be a different expierence from Trollfjord to Polarlys. Once booked check with the ship.

 

I hear you but the webpage does state..

 

all

11 Norwegian coastal ships cruising from Bergen have offered an 11-day, 3-course full vegan menu as part of our Norway's Coastal Kitchen concept.

 

I would like to hear some more reviews first from people that have experienced the menu or lack of.

 

BTW. Nice blog. 👍 Enjoyed your reviews with great information.

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Posted (edited)

It's not clear to me what the issue is here. Like I said, they did not have a vegan "menu," they had a vegan option at dinner each night. The situation was absolutely misrepresented. Lunch was hit or miss. I actually looked  forward each day to my yogurt and granola breakfast, so that was nice. This is why I said non-vegans need not comment. You really have no idea what it's like to travel this way. It's insulting to ask for pictures; I have nothing to prove. I actually do have some pictures, mostly of the dishes that were mislabeled. People believe what fits their view of the world. You would like to think my experience was isolated, that says it all. But it wasn't; there were other vegans on my ship. And the chef admitted they don't always have the ingredients to make the vegan dishes on the menu. I tried to be balanced, I could have been much harsher given the situation.

Those two guys on that video are a perfect example of the problem. They were so thrilled they were being accommodated. They have been places where all they got was raw carrot? Let's just say they are not the same demographic as me, or most of you.

Can you think of a cruise ship that wouldn't be thrilled that you've asked for a kilo of boiled potatoes to fill you up? LOL. Everyone else is asking for seconds of steak or salmon; here are your potatoes! The fact that they got some really nice dishes for dinner is great; that is what was promised! The promise is useless if you have to check with your ship. What does that even mean? Do you think you are going to get the Executive Chef on the phone before you board?  I did all the checking I could, but they failed.  

Edited by Aliyah17

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Aliyah17 said:

 This is why I said non-vegans need not comment. You really have no idea what it's like to travel this way. It's very insulting to ask for pictures; I have nothing to prove to you.

 

I wasn't specifically asking YOU for photos so calm down. This is a really useful topic which people will find and hopefully get some answers, my hope is that it will attract others with additional information.

 

For the record my wife is Vegan, I have every idea what its like and that is why I am researching on her behalf like the dutiful husband I am. You seem to have missed that information on post #7

 

I suggest you change your agent.......

Edited by Wansbrough

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I didn't miss the fact that you travel with a vegan. I booked direct with Hurtigruten as I said. All irrelevant. 
It sounded like you were requesting photos from me. If you wanted to see photos, there are a ton of them on the menu that Hallasm linked to. But of course the point is that those photos didn't reflect reality. Which again...was the entire point.

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5 hours ago, Aliyah17 said:

 If you wanted to see photos, there are a ton of them on the menu that Hallasm linked to. But of course the point is that those photos didn't reflect reality. Which again...was the entire point.

 

I see lots of photos of fruit,vegetables, pancakes & a chocolate mouse. Perhaps a field of barley wouldn't have gone amiss.

 

Never had an issue with any cruise line in the last 4 years, Costa even provided a separate menu with 3 choices for each course but then I have no idea what its like..........

 

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