Food is one of the main reasons why CroisiEurope fares are less than many competitors; nevertheless, meals are of a consistently good standard. Lunch and dinner menus are set and there are no a la carte offerings, meaning the line can keep a close eye on food budgets and cut down on wastage.
Breakfast is a self-serve buffet, with eggs available to order, and lunch and dinner are waiter-served. Memorably, lunchtimes and dinnertimes are heralded by crew members beating African drums.
Despite the fixed menu set up, any dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, gluten-free and other food intolerances, can be catered for. However, passengers should advise of any restrictions at the time of booking rather than when on the ship. Due to the nature of the destination and cruise, African Dream stocks up with supplies at the beginning of the sailing and cannot pick up anything additional once the voyage is underway. Passengers can expect a tasty range of regional and international dishes, often with a French influence. Sometimes the vegetarian option comprises the dish served to other passengers with the meat or fish element missing!
The team of wait staff were always smiling, cheerful and helpful. One day we asked if we could break with the norm and eat lunch at one of the alfresco tables beside the dining room and they were happy to oblige and moved the table settings outside.
There is no self-serve tea and coffee station; however, passengers can order beverages at any time during the day. Although the bar opens before breakfast for tea, coffee and juices, any crew members who are up and about will happily get passengers a drink before this time.
Restaurant (Upper Deck): African Dream's one restaurant is located aft on the Upper Deck. Depending on the number of passengers, the dining room is configured with two tables to seat the maximum capacity of 16 or one long communal table, if the ship is not completely full. It is a very light venue, with large panoramic windows on three sides so you don't miss any passing views -- or wildlife -- during mealtimes. There is one buffet station for breakfast and the table -- or tables -- are laid out with crisp linen and sparkling glassware.
Breakfast times vary depending on the excursion schedule and will typically last from 45 minutes to one hour. The earliest breakfast begins at 6 a.m. and the latest 7 a.m. It includes pastries and breads -- all freshly cooked onboard -- along with fresh fruit, juices, yogurt, cereals, cheeses and cold cuts. Sometimes there are additional specialty items, such as African-style beef sausages. Any-style eggs are made to order and tea and coffee is served to the table.
Lunch is usually around 12:30 p.m., again with times varying slightly to accommodate the tour program. Reflecting the line's French heritage, this is often the largest meal of the day with four courses, including a cheese plate, and is a leisurely affair with passengers lingering to chat over coffee and tea, served to the table afterward.
Lunch might be an appetizer of vegetable quiche with yogurt sauce, an entree of tilapia fish served with a salsa sauce, rice with chopped vegetables and ratatouille, followed by cheese and then chocolate mousse.
Dinner usually begins at 7:30 p.m., and a typical three-course menu is Greek salad, beef filet with masala butter, sweet potatoes and green beans, with date and caramel cake served with custard for dessert, followed by coffee and tea. The meal on the final evening includes an additional cheese course.
The menus were imaginative and well presented, and accompanied by a choice of quality South African wines (red, white and rose), with a different red wine -- merlot, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz -- featured at each dinner.
Room Service: There is no room service.