ms Treasures Dining
Open seating rules the day and evening aboard ms Treasures. The setup is conducive for mingling with fellow passengers over breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining room is simple and elegant, with a mix of four- and six-top tables. Breakfast is served from 7 until 9 a.m., buffet-style, with pastries, breads, fruit, juices, cereals, smoked fish, cheeses and cold cuts making up the bulk of the offerings. A hot food station changes daily and might include blintzes, oatmeal with all the fixin's and French toast. You can always get a made-to-order omelet or eggs the way you like them. For early birds or light eaters, a continental spread of pastries, cereal, juice, tea and coffee is set out in the Lido Bar from 6 to 10 a.m. daily. There is inside seating for about 20, with a few more tables outside for al fresco munching.
Lunchtime depends on the excursion schedule; you'll find out in the daily newsletter when to tuck in. For lunch, a vast buffet in the dining room is offered, sometimes with a theme -- like German comfort food -- along with an array of salads, cheeses, sandwich makings and fresh fruit. If you prefer to order from the menu, you'll always find two or three recommended dishes from the chef, along with a soup and dessert.
Draft beer is included with lunch, or you can opt for the tasty house wine instead.
Evening mealtimes vary slightly, again depending on when excursions wrap up. For instance, the evening we were treated to a private after-hours tour of the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, dinner was at 9 p.m., but in general seating was in the 7:30 - 8 p.m. range. Expect European-style service and a multicourse menu for dinner, with the exception of an al fresco barbecue on the Sun Deck one evening (weather permitting). Passengers arrive at a set time, but seating is open. A typical menu would start with an amuse bouche, followed by a choice of two soups (a wild mushroom soup was especially delicious), two salads and two or three entrees. There's one dessert each night, or you can sample the buffet of cheeses and fruit or the ice cream sundae bar. Again, complimentary draft beer or wine is poured during dinner.
Every night you can also opt for more casual dining in the Lido Bar, sometimes following a culinary theme, but more often reflecting the local cookery of the region you're visiting. There is table service, but the experience is more of a bistro than a formal restaurant.
The kitchen can accommodate special diets, including food allergies, vegetarian, gluten-free, and low salt or sugar. It's best to alert the line in advance of your cruise to assure that all necessary ingredients are on hand. The maitre d' personally sits down with all passengers with specific requests to discuss any concerns. If for some reason you don't see anything you like on the regular menu, which might feature a beef tenderloin, lamb chops or roasted duck, you can always ask for a chicken Caesar salad or even a burger.
Special foodie tastings tied into the location of the ship are a nice touch. In Cologne, for example, the chef offered freshly baked German pretzels and charcuterie along with a range of local beers to try. Coffee, tea, water, fresh fruit and something sweet are available 24 hours a day in the Lido Bar.
The service was excellent across the board. All the bartenders had a knack for remembering drink preferences, and servers were happy to bring seconds or deliver something from the buffet to your table during breakfast or lunch.
Some excursions include meals ashore. For instance, in Amsterdam, we split up into two groups for a lunch canal cruise, a tasty affair that featured delicious local cheeses, an assortment of cold meats, a Dutch veggie chopped salad, smoked salmon and freshly baked bread. A dense deep-dish apple pie with fresh whipped cream was the treat for dessert.
Room service is available, but hours and offerings are limited. Snacks like cheese and fruit plates and hot pretzels from the "Snack Attack" menu can be delivered to your cabin from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.