All onboard breakfasts, lunches, dinners in the main restaurant, as well as afternoon tea, snacks, tea, coffee, outdoor BBQs and one degustation meal at the Panorama Bistro, are included in the cruise fare. Pre-selected wines, beer and nonalcoholic drinks are complimentary at dinner; soft drinks and soda are free at lunch. Other beverages can be purchased from the bar.
On the lower deck, the Tapestry Dining Room welcomes passengers with a wine display at the doorway and the freedom to choose your own table. Options include small tables for up to four people, round or long tables for six people next to the windows and a line of tables down the middle that could be joined together to accommodate as many as 20.
Self-serve buffet breakfast (from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.), lunch (usually from noon) and waiter-served dinners (from 7 p.m.) are held in this restaurant. From 6 a.m. and in between meals, passengers can help themselves to croissants, muffins, pastries, fruit, tea and coffee in the main lounge. A light lunch, such as sandwiches and salads, can also be found here from noon.
Breakfast consists of freshly baked breads and pastries, fruit, yogurt, cereals, bircher muesli, smoked salmon, bacon (separated into soft or crispy), sausages, baked beans, hash browns, pancakes, vegetables, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, cooked-to-order poached eggs and omelettes, as well as a cheese platter and sparkling wine.
Lunch and dinner in the main restaurant offer a wide selection of meat (including a daily carvery), seafood, salads, soups, pastas, vegetarian options, cheeses, cakes and ice cream. Passengers can eat as much or as little as they like. Lunch is a self-serve buffet, but dinner sees waitstaff bring out each starter, entree, dessert and drinks. An alternative light lunch is offered in the Panorama Lounge or (weather permitting) at the Sky Bistro's grill on the top deck. Francophiles, be warned, the food is more American than French.
To savor the taste of other regional specialties, head to the Panorama Bistro, the alternative dining venue. An area of the upstairs lounge is sectioned off at night for an intimate dinner for a small number of passengers. With seating limited to five or six tables, bookings are essential for this degustation-style experience.
The fixed tasting menu, accompanied by complimentary wines, includes a goat cheese creme brulee, guinea fowl terrine, roast saddle of lamb with olive crust and a poppy seed and apricot cake. On our sailing -- the first of the ship's maiden season -- the dishes were hit and miss, with some left half-eaten. Improvements can be expected as the culinary team fine-tunes this new concept.