While dining is not silver service by any means on National Geographic Quest, the quality of food served is as good if not better than the many other cruise ships we've been on. The emphasis is on moderate, healthy portions of tasty, expertly prepared dishes without undue fanfare and pomp. Ingredients frequently reflect locally sourced produce while the wine list comprises quality U.S. West Coast varieties mainly and is reasonably priced.
Outside of mealtimes there is no room service as such, so bar snacks like nuts, dried fruit and kumara chips are served in the lounge or you can grab fresh baked (healthy) cookies from the 24-hour coffee/tea station around the corner along with double-filtered water and sodas. The coffee machines (there are two) are the big push-button grinder and brewer types which dispense all the fancy concoctions from espresso to latte to cappuccino.
Dining Room (Deck 3): Again, simplicity and practicality define the operation of the dining room. The location at the stern affords wraparound 270-degree views for most diners. Meals are a combination of buffet and plated. Lunches and breakfast are typically buffet with a carvery and dessert bar, while dinners are more traditional seated and plated with table service.
For breakfast, expect to find scrambled eggs, baked beans, lean bacon, proper cereals, lots of fruits, yogurts and muesli. Orders are taken for poached or special eggs. Lunches include colorful salads and a few hot choices, like chicken or fish.
Each day there are three or four hot, main meal choices for dinner covering fish, red meat, poultry and a vegetarian option. In the morning, cruisers are asked to choose their evening meal so the chef can prepare with minimal waste -- a process widely endorsed by passengers.
One of the features of dining aboard Lindblad vessels is that the naturalists will rotate themselves among the tables over the course of the trip, allowing passengers to benefit from their personal knowledge and conversation on the destination and related topics.