There is one dining room on board Coral Expeditions I where all meals are taken. It is an attractive space at the rear of Deck C and furnished with both round and square tables for four and six diners. The tables are dressed with white tablecloths and napery at dinnertime.
The dining room includes a bar at the rear and a sitting area with sofas and lounge chairs on the port side.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in the dining room, along with the occasional brunch. A hearty brunch, which replaces both breakfast and lunch, will be served on at least one day during a seven-night cruise. Meals are a mixture of buffet and a la carte.
Breakfasts are a mixture of continental buffet and made-to-order meals. The buffet always features breads, pastries, cheeses, cereals and smoked salmon, yoghurts and fruit. Made-to-order dishes may include bacon and eggs, fresh figs with mascarpone on French toast or Moroccan eggs with chorizo.
Lunch is also buffet style and always features a variety of delicious salads and at least one and often two hot dishes. These may include seafood paella, fish and chips, Mexican enchiladas, roast chicken or a barbecue spread of steak, fish and even wallaby sausages.
Dinner is a la carte on most evenings with the occasional buffet. A la carte dinners feature a choice of two entrees, two mains and one dessert. Entrees may include calamari and fennel salad in a crab bisque, milk-braised pork belly, creamy potato and leek soup or roast Ballantine of quail, sweet potato and cress salad. Two of the best main meals we ordered were confit duck with marmalade-glazed beetroot, honey sesame carrots and snow peas, and the Portuguese chicken with field mushrooms, sauteed greens and sweet confit garlic. Desserts included the delicious apple fritters with cinnamon sugar and whisky butterscotch and a Bailey's and mandarin panna cotta with berry coulis. On one of the evenings, a cheese platter will be served instead of a sweet dessert. The cheese platter comprises Australian selections complemented by fruit, nuts and condiments.
Passengers on our recent cruise had nothing but praise for the food, the presentation and the quantity. We thought the food was very good and was never disappointed with any dish we ordered. The chef and one assistant do a wonderful job, working in a rather small galley. To help with catering, passengers are asked to select their dinner choices at lunchtime. Dinner menus are handed around to guests as they are eating lunch. If you change your mind by the time dinner comes around, it's certainly okay to order the alternative dish!
You can help yourself in between meals to all-day tea, coffee and biscuits from a tea station in the dining room. There is also an espresso coffee machine at the bar that will automatically turn out a cappuccino, long black or latte and -- with a bit of practice -- you can make yourself a fairly good brew just how you like it. Note: There is no room service.