AIDA Cruises announced it will soon open a new restaurant offering a full vegan menu aboard three of its ships, following growing demand from cruisers looking for freshly-made, plant-based meals. The line, which caters to the German market, already provided vegan options at other dining venues and specialty restaurants.
New Restaurant to Open on Three Ships
Starting on June 24, 2023, cruisers aboard three AIDA ships will be able to dine at a new a la carte, vegan restaurant called Soulkitchen, where they can indulge in sustainable dishes made from fresh and primarily plant-based ingredients. The venue will open on the 3,900-guest AIDAnova, the 3,286-guest AIDAperla, and the 3,300-guest AIDAprima.
The new venue will be open for breakfast and dinner, offering a three-course dinner menu featuring vegan and plant-based meat and seafood alternatives like coconut lemongrass soup, almond barley risotto with sautéed herb apples, and crème brûlée. Vegan breakfast items can be paired with a variety of organic juices.
“We are proud to create another trendy offering with Soulkitchen and are also responding to the increased demand from our guests. With our modern and sustainable concept, we not only want to promote healthy eating, but also create a special experience,” said Rene Thiersch, AIDA Cruises’ Senior Manager of Culinary Operations.
Thiersch is Soulkitchen’s co-creator and project manager, and he is a former executive chef of the ships. He said the opening of the venue is a special moment for him.
“We were able to implement the conversion and re-design on board smoothly during ongoing operations thanks to the good planning preparation and the well-coordinated crew,” he said.
A show kitchen in the middle of the eatery will enable guests to watch chefs preparing their meals, and there will be opportunities for instruction as well, during cooking classes and workshops that Soulkitchen will offer. Additionally, seminars at the new venue will introduce guests to oils, essences, herbs, and aromatic spices.
New Venue Expands Earlier Offerings on AIDA Ships
AIDA Cruises, in 2022, rolled out vegan menu options in a la carte and specialty venues, including vegan appetizers, main dishes such as plant-based steaks and burgers, and desserts. It also added vegan breakfast items at that time, creating its own plant-based specialty items like vegan creams and spreads made onboard.
The line expanded those offerings in March 2023, when it added 15 vegan dishes to the Market Restaurant buffets onboard AIDAcosma, AIDAperla, AIDAprima and AIDAnova. Vegan dishes are identified with a green sign. AIDA Cruises has not disclosed whether Soulkitchen will be added to other vessels in the line’s 13-ship fleet.
Vegan Choices A Growing Trend in Cruising
AIDA Cruises, one of Carnival Corporation’s brands, is not alone in catering to the growing numbers of cruise vacationers who eat plant-based foods. Virtually every major cruise line has vegan offerings on its ships’ menus, at both main dining rooms and specialty venues, and at the buffets.
Since 2019, Carnival Cruise Line has offered a vegan burger choice at the popular Guy’s Burger Joint, a free venue onboard every Carnival Cruise Line ship. Royal Caribbean ships have vegan choices in their main dining rooms every night, while Cunard offers a vegan-only nightly menu with dishes such as Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff with Pilaf Rice, and Vegan Pizza.
Smaller cruise lines also are getting onboard the vegan bandwagon. Windstar Cruises this month is rolling out a vegan menu on all six of its ships. Entree options and smoothies on the vegan menu were created in partnership with the National Health Association.