River Tosca's dining room is on its lowest public floor, in a well-appointed space that continues the ship's dedication to understated luxury. While the tables are set for larger groups, you can choose your own tablemates.
Both breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style at set times, usually one hour before your morning excursion departs and 30 minutes to an hour after you return. Offerings range from Western favorites like omelets and sandwiches to Egyptian-style meze (salads) and hot entrees like Nile perch.
An afternoon tea with cakes or finger sandwiches is served around 3:30 p.m. daily under the covered portion of the top deck. During one session, the chef gave cooking lessons to those who were interested in Egyptian food.
Dinner is served around 7 p.m., after a happy hour in the lounge. You're greeted by the serving staff and chef as you walk in, and you're allowed to choose your own table. While there were a few bumps in service, due to the language barrier, the waiters are friendly and eager to please. (Curiously, there were no female staff members on a recent River Tosca cruise.) They're also observant: when one waiter noticed my love for mango, he made sure I had fresh mango juice every morning.
Evening meals consist of a four-course set menu with several options, including vegetarian entrees and a "chef's choice" with recommended wines. (Unlike other Uniworld cruises, beer and wine are not included on River Tosca.) Sample dinners included asparagus soup, surf and turf, and baked Alaska. On my 12-day trip, an Egyptian buffet with specialties -- such as vine leaves, kebabs and lamb moussaka -- was served twice. One night, dinner was served upstairs under the stars for variety.
Some Uniworld veterans felt that River Tosca's food didn't live up to what you'd find on the line's European cruises. I found it a step above what you'd find in an average resort hotel and appreciated the chef's ability to introduce Egyptian flavors to unfamiliar palates. I also liked how the ship worked to accommodate individual tastes. If nothing on the menu appeals to you, you can always order steak or chicken with fries -- and ice cream for dessert.
For those who miss meals, there aren't too many options. Coffee, tea and bottled water are available 24/7 from a serving station near the lobby, and the rooms have mini-bars. While room service isn't advertised, the staff made sure that those suffering from "mummy tummy" had broth or food delivered to their cabins.
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