Safari Explorer Dining
All meals are served in the cozy, informal dining room, which is backlit with picture windows and features a mirrored wall. Dining is relaxed and casual; you sit where you want, at tables for four to six people, mixing it up at each meal. Mealtimes vary depending on the day's activities, but generally speaking, a continental breakfast for early risers is served at 6:30 a.m., a full plated breakfast at 8, lunch at 12:30 p.m. and dinner at 7. Dinner -- there's one seating only -- is preceded by a cocktail hour in the adjacent lounge, with a fruity libation of the day and a variety of hot and cold appetizers.
Meals are prepared by the resident master chef with fresh, locally grown, farm- or ocean-to-table ingredients. There's always a choice of a fresh seafood or meat entree at dinner, and if you can't decide, you can specify a half-portion of each. Fish options might include pan-seared grouper, blackened mahi mahi or macadamia nut-encrusted marlin steak. Meat choices could be braised short ribs, herb-encrusted pork loin or marinated lamb chops in cucumber-yogurt sauce. Side dishes are equally tasty, with such choices as papaya gazpacho, Mediterranean-style grilled zucchini with red peppers, roasted purple sweet potatoes, or arugula and corn salad with lime vinaigrette.
Breakfasts are hearty, hot and heavy on the carbs (easily justified since you'll be so active). Start with fresh papaya juice, followed by chicken basil sausage with a tomato parmesan scramble. Bacon, sausage, toast, oatmeal, fruit and pastries are always on offer, as well. Lunch might be fish-fried rice with curried vegetables, turkey sandwiches on focaccia bread or a roasted chicken salad wrap with tomatoes and goat cheese. When planned excursions stretch into lunchtime, the staff prepares boxed lunches of sandwiches or wraps.
At all meals, service is excellent; the waitstaff address you by name, quickly learn your preferences and are happy to substitute items or even entire dishes, if possible. (You can specify any special dietary needs or restrictions, such as vegetarian or low-cholesterol, when you book the trip.) Fine wines are served gratis nightly, or you can buy super-premium options from the ship's wine library.
There is no in-cabin service, but there's always something set out to nibble on in the salon -- pastries and fruit for early risers, cheese and crackers during the day, appetizers and desserts in the evenings. Tea and coffee are always on offer, and the open bar -- stocked with top-shelf wine and liquor -- is available 24/7.