- One of cruising's top enrichment choices
- Traditional, British-style ship with country house ambience
- Excursions included in the price
- £10m refit in 2012 added 32 balconies and new lounge
- Editor's Picks: Best Cruises for U.K. Seniors
All meals take place in the main Swan Restaurant or the Veranda, an informal, buffet-style cafe. In the Swan Restaurant on the Main Deck, the majority of tables seat six to eight, with a few tables for two and four. The best tables are those near the port and starboard windows. The maitre d' asks if you would like to join others, start a new table or dine alone, so the arrangement is ideal for solo travelers. You may arrive at any time between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. for dinner, though most will be seated by a little after 8 p.m.
The dining room's decor is formal with oriental carpets, medium-dark paneling, lampshade wall sconces and matching lampshade chandeliers. Breakfast (served from 7:30 to 9 a.m.) and lunch (12:30 to 2 p.m.) include both menu and buffet items, while dinner is ordered solely from a menu. A Filipino crew provides generally prompt service. The food is typical English fare like one would find in a good restaurant, and the most creative dishes are the soups and meat dishes. Many menus are designed to reflect the area in which the ship is cruising, and a lot of ingredients are sourced locally on each cruise. Appetizers tend to be very small, and salads lack variety. Desserts are tasty, and the cheese and biscuit selections, which arrive on a trolley, are outstanding. At dinner, men are required to wear jackets and ties. At breakfast, there is a quiet table for those who would rather remain silent while partaking in their first meal of the day.
The Veranda on Bridge Deck's starboard side is a light-filled space with about 20 tables that seat from two to 10 people, matched with wicker chairs and banquettes. The refit included new ceilings, softer LED lighting, a new wood-effect floor (blue carpet in some areas), refurbished serving areas and new coffee machines. The Veranda is often very full, though the stewards do their best to reset the tables in a timely manner. In good weather, additional seating is available just aft at teak tables around the pool. This area has been extended in the refit, with sheltered seating under a contemporary, sail-like canopy that creates permanent shade and makes outdoor dining more inviting on hotter days. Most passengers look for inviting tables to join, rather than sitting alone.
Four buffet stations ease the queues, and the main entrees are the same as what appears on the dinner menu in the dining room. Breakfast offers eggs to order and both American- and British-style bacon. Fresh fruit is varied and abundant, and the cheese selection changes daily. The lunchtime buffet has a decent range of ever-changing salad fixings, fresh pasta and internationally themed hot entrees, such as Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian and French. Afternoon tea is a daily offering and served in the Swan Restaurant. Some passengers eat all their meals at the Veranda, due to its cheerful atmosphere, informality and casual attire. However, Swan's British passengers rarely come to dinner in jeans, shorts or without collared shirts.
Room service is available from a limited menu, consisting mostly of burgers.
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