The ship has one dining room, which is located on Deck 5 and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Passengers can expect a range of international dishes that are wholesome, but not gastronomic, with the accent on hearty, filling food suitable for cold climates and active excursions.
Breakfast and lunch are self-serve buffets, with a live cooking station, and dinner is an a la carte served menu, with the exception of a couple of themed buffet evenings. Vegetarian options are available as standard at each meal and other dietary requirements such as gluten-free can be catered for, although it is best to notify the cruise line of this at the time of booking. At the first dinner, the wait staff double-check with each passenger for any dietary requirements or allergies.
Complimentary sweet and savory cookies are available around the clock from the self-serve tea, coffee and hot chocolate station situated in the Discovery Lounge on Deck 4, where there is also afternoon tea.
Albatross Dining Room (Deck 5): The ship's one dining room is located forward on Deck 5 and can accommodate all passengers at one sitting on tables for four to eight. It is a light room, with windows on three sides, and decorated in a blue and gold decor. Chairs are chained to the floor as a precaution to stop them from falling over during any rough weather and can be moved a limited distance backward and forward to sit down. As mealtimes are fairly short -- one hour for both breakfast and lunch -- the room can feel busy and packed with passengers lining up at the buffet station near the entrance and then trying to find a way back to their tables. If you want to try and skip the crowds, it is best to arrive 15 minutes or so after opening time.
Off the main dining room, on the port and starboard sides, are two smaller rooms both with seven tables for four. These are the best and quietest dining spots for anyone trying to escape the hustle and bustle.
Wait staff are friendly and efficient; quickly topping up buffet items as they start to run out and, at dinner, promptly serving meal courses and taking wine orders.
Breakfast is generally at 7 or 7:30 a.m., with the exact times dependant on the shore excursion schedule. It is buffet-style, with a good selection of pastries, breads, fresh fruit, juices, yogurt, cereals, cheese, cold cuts, oatmeal, bacon, sausages, fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, French toast and other hot items. There is also a live cooking station preparing a different item each day, such as omelets or waffles. Tea and coffee is self-serve.
Lunch is also a buffet and is usually around noon, again with times varying slightly to accommodate the shore tour program. There is an expansive salad bar with a choice of dressings, including balsamic vinaigrette or Caesar. There is also a ready-mixed salad such as chicken mayonnaise, Moroccan chickpea and carrot or Nicoise salad. A daily soup might be minestrone, or and green split pea. The three mains -- always meat, fish and vegetarian -- might include baked hake fillet with olives and cherry tomatoes, squid fritters, chicken tikka masala with Indian condiments, roast pork with Calvados cream sauce, Greek spinach and cheese pie or African vegetable peanut stew. Typical accompaniments include fries, rice and mixed vegetables. To follow there is a hot English-style dessert, such as bread and butter pudding, or apple or chocolate pudding (served with custard). There is always a cheese plate and fresh fruit, too.
Dinner is nearly always an a la carte meal served at around 7 p.m. The four-course menus feature a choice of two appetizers with one that is always suitable for vegetarians. These might include salad with scallops, mozzarella and tomatoes with a spicy dressing, warm chicken salad or avocado and melon salad. This is followed by a choice of soup, such as roasted fennel cream soup with Pernod, Hungarian goulash soup or white bean soup with cumin. Typical entrees are blackened Cajun salmon fillet with mushroom, tomato and spinach; herb-crusted roast rack of lamb with mint sauce, duchesse potatoes and ratatouille; or vegetable tempura served in a papadum basket with wasabi and soy sauce. To follow there is always a dessert, such as berry crumble or fruit meringue, plus cheese and crackers or fresh fruit. There is no "always available" menu.
On each sailing, passengers can expect a buffet dinner themed to the destination being visited. As an example, a Norwegian meal would include regional specialties including Bergen fish soup made with cod, salmon and halibut; gravlax, smoked salmon and marinated herring; baked cod fillet with lemon butter; lapskaus (Norwegian beef stew); dill chicken with leeks and potato; and a live carving station with roast leg of pork served with blackcurrant cabbage and mustard gravy. To follow there might be fruit and berry cake, ice cream and Norwegian cheeses, including the country's distinctive brown cheese. There is usually another themed buffet dinner, such as an Italian night. Weather permitting there is also an outdoor barbecue on the sun deck outside the Polar Bear Pub with soup, a range of salads, pasta, burgers, wings, fries and other accompaniments. Passengers can eat at the tables outside or in the pub.
There is no formal night or captain's dinner.
Complimentary water is served at the table during dinner and passengers can order drinks from the wine list. House red or white wine costs $6 for a glass or $22 a bottle. The list features wines from France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., ranging in price from $22 for Mateus rose to $70 for Moet et Chandon Champagne.
Passengers can bring their own wine to consume in the restaurant for a $10 corkage fee.
Tea and coffee station (Deck 5): A small selection of sweet and savory cookies is available 24/7 at the tea and coffee station in the Discovery Lounge, along with a bowl of fresh fruit that can be found on the bar. In the afternoon, there is also tea with homemade cookies, cakes and ingredients to make your own toasted sandwich.
Room Service: There is no room service; passengers are welcome to take snacks from the tea and coffee station to consume in their cabins. Similarly, if someone feels seasick or unwell, they can take food from the dining room into their cabins.