Vegetarian for Life

Coach holiday cuisine

Posted by Kim on 25/05/17 in Articles, Life After Retirement, Travel

For many retired people – and indeed those who are still working – coach holidays can be a popular way to see the world and get a chance to visit exciting new places. With the logistics of travel arrangements taken care of, it's a hassle-free way to travel. Nowadays tours cover ever-more exotic places, with comfy coaches, and local experts on hand to make sure you get the most from the places you visit. Spending time with like-minded people provides companionship and gives you a chance to share your experiences.

However, while it's convenient to allow the tour operator to take care of all the arangements, it does mean that you are placing your trust in them when it comes to food – and not all tour operators offer the same options. Because you will be staying at a variety of different hotels each night, their provision will probably vary. The coach operators have less control over this, but many will do their best to ensure that your stay is as easy as possible. Almost all tour operators suggest that you tell them of your dietary preferences at the time of booking.

To make it easier to know how you may be catered for as a vegetarian or vegan we have contacted some of the most popular operators and asked about their vegetarian/vegan provision. As well as asking whether they catered for vegetarians and vegans we also asked about vegetarin cheeses, free-range eggs, and protein for vegans. Some tried their best to answer these questions. We have summarised all of the operators' responses below.

  Vegetarian option/s Vegan option/s Notes
Alfa Travel Yes Yes

Menu has 5 different vegetarian options. All soups are freshly made and vegetarian and can be made vegan. Veggie meals do need to be pre-ordered, on the day.

Cosmos Tours and Cruises No response No response  
Crusader Holidays Yes Yes

We carry very many passengers with different dietary needs. Hotels these days are very accommodating for all our special requests. We cannot say that a hotel would offer vegetarian cheese and free-range eggs on the whole – this is something that we would check out when requested.

We have carried vegans on our holidays but again we would have to check with individual hotels.

We would have to check with the chosen hotel before taking a booking to ask for the vegan offering (for inclusion of protein).

David Urquhart Travel Yes Yes

We use a variety of hotels on our holidays from small family-run hotels to larger hotels part of a group. Many of them accommodate vegan and vegetarian diets. We do our best to accommodate our customers' dietary requirements and as long as we are made aware of them at the time of booking we can generally arrange for the hotel to meet their requirements.

Door to Door Coach Holidays Yes Yes, by request

Can cater for vegetarians, can cater for vegans by request.

All dishes are cooked in vegetable oil or butter. Cheese isn't automatically vegetarian but vegetarian cheese can be provided. Eggs are not free range.

Epsom Coaches Yes No specific answer

We operate in the high end of the coach holiday group market but do not supply holidays specifically catering for vegetarians or vegans.

Our core demographic is the more mature population as is traditional for our type of holiday business.

When a booking is made with us the customer is always asked if they have any special dietary requirements and this is passed on to the hotel we are using; however we are restricted by what the individual hotel can offer.

Of course they all offer an alternative to a carnivore menu but the quality and choice would vary by establishment.

We do have plentiful requests for vegetarian menus and do not receive negative comments about what has been served.

Harry Shaw Coach Holidays Yes No specific answer As we use quite a lot of hotels we couldn’t answer all the questions but when we do have customers with dietary requirements we put the information in the hotel request section on our bookings and this then gets passed onto the hotel. If there is any problem they then contact us so we can advise the clients.
Highland Heritage Coach Tours No response No response  
Johnsons Coach Travel Yes Yes

Whilst we are not a specialist operator for vegetarians or vegans, we do find our customers can have various dietary requirements, whether that be ethical or medical i.e. vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, gluten intolerant etc.

Generally, if customers advise us of their individual needs then these are passed on to the hotel on an ad-hoc basis and the hotel then advises if they can cater accordingly. If a hotel cannot meet these needs then the customer would be advised and potential suitable alternatives discussed. Annually we work with something like 200 hotels, with each having their own policy guidelines for dietary requirements, so we cannot comment on their behalf I am afraid.

Just Go! Holidays No No

We don’t own any hotels and although most holidays that we sell are on a half-board basis, we aren’t made aware of what meals are provided by the hotels. If we have customers who have dietary requirements we pass those on to the hotels, and also suggest that the customers call the hotel directly to see if they can accommodate their needs.

Leger Holidays

No response No response  
National Holidays The majority do, but customer has to contact hotels No specific answer When we book people onto our holidays and they request vegetarian meals it is marked down as a special request to the hotel. I would say the majority of the hotels we use do cater for vegetarians but we cannot guarantee this 100%. Therefore I cannot answer your questions and you would need to contact each of the hotels individually.
Newmarket Holidays No No

Newmarket offers escorted touring holidays throughout the UK, Europe, USA, worldwide and cruising on varying board arrangements.

Whilst we are always willing to accept special dietary requests, I’m afraid that we cannot possibly be specific with regard to menu choices in the huge range of accommodation and ship options that we feature.

Shearings Holidays

Yes, but included fish* Yes, if advised in advance

We generally ask our customers if they have any dietary requirements to which we can advise the hotel of; vegan and vegetarian do come under these options. The hotels generally always have a vegetarian option (for example cheese and beetroot tart or fish* option).

As long as we can advise the hotel before customer is due to travel then they have options to cater for both vegan and vegetarian meal options.

The options may be slightly limited however; we do try to cater where possible for all dietary requirements.

*By definition, vegetarian dishes must not contain animal flesh (meat, fish or shellfish).

Related posts: Cruise holiday cuisine | Veggie airline meals

So that is what the coach companies tell us, but what do you think? Please share your thoughts on how well they are doing – and your catering experiences, good or bad – in the comments below. 


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