In general, food in the restaurants is of a good standard with enough choice to ensure passengers don't get bored. We found waiting staff to be slick and professional.
Magellan has two classic dining rooms, the Waldorf and the Kensington. They offer the classic cruise experience of open seating at breakfast and lunch and traditional first and second sitting for dinner. This means passengers sit with the same table companions and have the same waiting staff. The menus are the same in both restaurants and food is well presented.
True to cruise tradition, afternoon tea and late-night snacks are also featured.
Those who require a special diet -- gluten free, lactose free, low cholesterol, low fat, low salt and vegetarian -- will be catered for provided a few weeks' notice is given before sailing. However, as far as vegetarian meals go, there are enough options on the menus without pre-booking to keep most veggies happy. Pre-packed kosher meals are possible on request and on booking.
Passengers have the option of purchasing the all-inclusive drinks package that costs £17 per person per day and includes house wine, draught beer, cocktails and soft drinks by the glass.
Waldorf Restaurant (Amundsen Deck 8 Aft): This traditionally styled dining room seats 514. Decor is a melange of rich creams and browns with white table linen. The room is spread over one level with mainly circular tables seating six or eight. Passengers can request a table for two if they wish.
At breakfast, as in the Kensington, there is an omelette station and waiter service for kippers and poached eggs. Everything else is self-service and consists of the usual breakfast suspects -- cereal, yoghurt, bacon, sausages, baked beans, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes and scrambled eggs. Breakfast in the Waldorf is from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Salads and desserts are self-service, but waiters serve main courses which might include two soup choices, pastas, beef or fish dishes. Lunch is from noon to 1:30 p.m.
For dinner, passengers can expect to find soups on the menu -- perhaps cream of tomato soup with garlic croutons, or chicken consomme. All of the soups are very good indeed. Vegetarian choices for appetizers may include an onion and goat cheese tart or stir-fried vegetables with tofu, while for mains there are a variety of fish dishes -- think lemon sole Meniere and North Atlantic black halibut fillet. Meat-eaters can opt for roast beef tenderloin with Madeira wine sauce or honey-glazed gammon ham with prune sauce. Most of the dessert choices are as sweet and calorific as they should be -- chocolate fudge cake with whisky sauce for instance -- or, for the less gluttonous, there are lots of different ice creams to choose from as well as fresh fruit and a variety of cheeses.
The main dining rooms are much more peaceful places to enjoy lunch than the Raffles Bistro, particularly on sea days.
There are two sittings for dinner: the first is 5:45 p.m. while late sitting is 8:15 p.m.
Kensington Restaurant (Amundsen Deck 8 Forward): Very similar in style to the Waldorf although smaller, the Kensington seats 344 people. Decor is in varying shades of green with white table linen. As in the Waldorf, most tables are circular and seat six or eight, but there are also a few square tables with cream banquette type leather seating, which hold a maximum of four people. Breakfast in the Kensington Restaurant is from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The Kensington is open for lunch on sea days only from noon to 1:30 p.m. Dinner sittings are 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Raffles Buffet Bistro (Columbus Deck 10): For those who prefer their dining to be more casual, the dining rooms are complemented by the more informal light and cheerful Raffles Buffet Bistro. While holding 230 cruisers inside, tables spill out onto the deck by the Lido bar so -- weather permitting -- you can get your meal from the Bistro and take it outside for an alfresco dining experience. There is seating for 210 outdoors.
Tea and coffee stations in Raffles Buffet Bistro are open 24 hours a day. Tables are not pre-set with cutlery and passengers have to go to the stations to obtain their own beverages. However, staff are always on hand to help the less able. A section of the Bistro is given over to a Pizzeria, open daily from noon to 6 p.m. It offers a choice of two pizzas which vary every day -- one is always a vegetarian option while the other could be ham and pineapple, chicken, or beef.
The 'Early Bird' breakfast is from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. -- handy for those with early shore excursions -- while the regular breakfast is from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The stations here improve traffic flow and there are fewer long queues than at many other cruise ship buffets. Breakfast choices include porridge, cereal, bacon, sausage, eggs and so on, as well as cold meats, cheeses and fruits.
The Bistro is always packed for lunch, particularly on sea days. Lunch choices in the Bistro usually include one or two soups, an interesting variety of salads -- for instance seafood salad, celery and apple salad, spinach and orange salad -- while main courses offer meat-based or vegetarian pasta, fish and chips, roast beef and around four or five desserts. Lunch is from noon to 2 p.m.
Afternoon tea from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. is always popular with passengers. Rather strangely, perhaps, it offers a selection of salads, as well as the more usual afternoon tea offerings -- scones, cream and jam, neat little sandwiches and a warm pudding. Bread and butter pudding seemed to be the favourite, with a separate offering of vanilla sauce for those who want an extra sweet treat.
As is the case with lunch, many passengers opted for the Bistro for dinner. Choices include hearty meat dishes such as roast beef and gravy, fettuccini with chicken, pork with apple sauce and various vegetarian choices. Puddings at dinner included chocolate mousse, fruit crumbles, banana flambe and separate containers with custard, sweet sauces and ice cream. Dinner is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Grill (Columbus Deck 10): Open from noon to 2 p.m., this venue is outside so opening times are dependent on weather conditions. It has a limited lunch selection, ideal for sunbathers who feel peckish but don't want to leave their loungers. Hot dogs, burgers, chips, salad and a couple of desserts are available here.
Room Service: There is no complimentary room service. The menu includes Caesar salad (£8), soup of the day (£3.50), baguette with Swiss cheese and salad (£6.95), beef burger (£12.95), homemade cake (£5.95) and tea or coffee (£1.80). Room service is available 24 hours.
Continental breakfast via a door-hung card is available in your cabin free of charge from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and choices include cornflakes, Special K, breads and pastries, fruit juices, fruit, yogurt and hot beverages.
There are no specialty restaurants onboard Magellan, so all meals are included in the cost. However, 'Surf and Turf' (lobster and steak) is available on a few evenings during each cruise at a supplement of £22. This needs to be pre-ordered in the Waldorf or Kensington restaurants during lunch.