Dining aboard AmaKristina is a pleasant experience all around. The variety of options in the ship's two restaurants is large enough to offer something for everyone but small enough that it's not overwhelming, and menus frequently feature local dishes from ports in the Rhine region, where the ship sails. Overall, we found the food to be fresh and beautifully prepared in portions that left us feeling pleasantly full, rather than wasteful or overfed. (All dinners, regardless of location, include a breadbasket, loaded with freshly baked carbs, and a selection of butters and oils.) With a couple of minor hiccups -- a mixed-up order, plates cleared before we were finished -- service was generally excellent, despite our having several different waiters throughout the course of the voyage.
Menus denote healthy fare and locally inspired dishes. Each menu also has a list of common food allergens with number codes so you can easily inform your server; special dietary requests can best be accommodated with advance notice.
Main Restaurant (Cello Deck): The ship's main dining room is a mix of tables with river views and those with high-walled booths that make you feel like you're in your own cozy enclave. Neutral cream and brown tones are accented with pops of bright floral patterns in red, teal and gold. White tablecloths add an extra air of sophistication. Passengers sit where and with whomever they want during meals. We didn't see any tables for two, but it's possible for two passengers to sit at a table for four or six by themselves if they wish.
Breakfast and lunch in the Main Restaurant are a blend of buffet-style and waiter-service options. For breakfast, which runs for a set two-hour come-when-you-want block each morning, the buffet includes items like scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, cold-cut meats and cheeses, yogurt and nuts, cereal and a made-to-order omelet station. A variety of juices and vitamin shots (think ingredients like kale and quinoa) are available. Diners can also order from a menu, which features oatmeal, waffles with berries and cream, and a selection of egg dishes; coffee and tea can be ordered from waiters, as well.
For lunch, cruisers will find premade sandwiches, an assortment of bread, cold cuts and cheese, salad bar items, fruit and cake, as well as fare that's inspired by local dishes. On the day we visited Heidelberg, we came back onboard to a spread of German sausage, soft pretzels, roast suckling pig (which we found extremely jarring, as an entire pig sat on the buffet table), sauerkraut and roasted potatoes on the buffet. From the menu, we were able to order things like sauerbraten and kasespatzle. Those with pickier palates can choose from the always-available lunch menu: minute steak sandwiches, chicken ciabatta sandwich with tomato and mozzarella or a breaded fish burger. Lunch hours vary each day according to port stops; they're announced in the Daily Cruiser planner.
Dinner, which has one set two-hour chunk of seating that varies daily with the ship's port schedule, is entirely waiter-served. Each night, the menu includes one chef's recommendation for each course, but passengers are free to order whatever they'd like from the full menu, which includes always-available options like grilled entrecote steak, salmon fillets or chicken breast with sides of Caesar salad, coleslaw and potato wedges (or to-die-for French fries on request). The rotating menu consists of four courses: appetizer, soup, main and dessert. Standout items included a crabmeat cake appetizer with pineapple salsa; sweet corn soup with prosciutto; asparagus risotto and a grilled sweet potato with chickpeas and spinach yogurt as mains; and pistachio ice cream with poached peaches and a delightful tray of petits fours for dessert.
The Chef's Table Restaurant (Violin Deck): All passengers are guaranteed at least one chance to eat at The Chef's Table Restaurant during their sailing. (If there's room, additional visits can be booked.) Located at the aft of Violin Deck, panoramic windows provide stunning views of the ship's wake. The tiny eatery seats just 28 people at a time (at five tables for four, with one large round table for eight), so it feels intimate, and the black and metallic gold decor gives it a swanky, modern vibe. All visits to this venue are complimentary, and passengers can watch as dishes are prepared by the chef in the glass-walled kitchen. Our meal consisted of five courses, each of which incorporated a variety of dishes: a chef's welcome of lemon, pomegranate, kiwi and feta cheese in a yogurt meringue; an appetizer of salmon, scallops and shrimp with a variety of sauces, followed by watermelon ice with black pepper; Malaysian laksa soup with halibut in lobster sauce, followed by cheddar chili sorbet; aged beef brisket in whiskey sauce, rack of lamb with sweet potato and peach salsa, corn souffle with pumpkin mash and garden veggies and handmade ravioli; and warm almond Baileys cake with mandarin sorbet.
Lounge and Coffee Bar (Violin Deck): Each afternoon, a "tea time" selection of self-serve soup, finger sandwiches, cakes and other small bites (including gluten-free cookies) is available in the lounge to alleviate between-meal cravings or serve as a light lunch. Both early and late risers can snag pastries there in the mornings for one hour before and one hour after the Main Restaurant's set dining times. Self-serve tea, hot chocolate and specialty coffees can be had around the clock via the coffee bar located on the starboard side of Violin Deck at the entrance to the Lounge. Late-night snacks are available in the Lounge, as well, in conjunction with the nightly entertainment. A small alfresco dining terrace with a handful of tables and chairs is located all the way forward, just outside of the Lounge.
Room Service: Room service is only available in suites. The limited menu includes coffee, tea and Continental breakfast.