The cruise fare covers all meals, afternoon tea and snacks. Amadeus Queen has one main dining room, the Panorama Restaurant, which is located forward on the Strauss Deck and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. An early-riser continental breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea and late-night snack are served in the Panorama Lounge on the Mozart Deck. Aside from breakfast, meals are served at one sitting and complimentary wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee are served with lunch and dinner. (Note: On some packages, wine is not included so check at the time of booking.)
The standard of cuisine is of a very high quality, with a varied choice of well-presented dishes at every mealtime -- including a five-course dinner each night. The galley team includes an onboard baker, who produces fresh bread and pastries daily. Menus combine regional specialties from the destinations visited during the cruise, familiar favorites and an always available option of simpler fare. Wait staff are friendly and efficient and always happy to help if, for example, passengers prefer two appetizers instead of an entree or want to try different desserts to share. Vegetarian options are available at all meals and special diets can be catered for. However, it is best to request this at the time of booking and then talk to the restaurant manager once onboard.
Amadeus differs from most other river cruise lines as it doesn't operate an open-seating policy, where passengers can choose where they want to sit and with whom. At the beginning of the cruise, passengers are allocated a table -- or number of tables in the case of groups -- where they sit for the duration of the vacation. Passengers will always be seated with fellow English speakers. In theory, passengers can ask to switch tables but this could prove a bit awkward when they bump into their previous tablemates. Tables for two are also available for couples that prefer to sit alone.
Although this arrangement is not the norm, we had a convivial bunch of dining companions and generally only sat with them at dinner -- usually taking breakfast at different times and opting to have the light lunch while they headed for the main dining room. Also, a positive aspect of fixed seating is passengers have the same pair of wait staff so they quickly get to know likes and dislikes and will recommend dishes or wines to suit.
Panorama Restaurant (Deck 2): The main restaurant is on the Strauss Deck and can seat all passengers at one sitting on tables for two, four, six and eight. It has large windows down both sides so passengers don't miss any passing views during mealtimes. It is decorated in light, cream tones and has dividing screens down the center and two raised areas at the far end, which help to break up the room. The main buffet is situated at the opposite end of the dining room to the entrance, rather than dominating the middle of the room and, again, this provides the feel of a regular restaurant on land. Tables are attractively laid out, with white tablecloths and folded linen napkins that match the cream upholstered chairs. A nice touch is a small seating area near the entrance where passengers can wait for their fellow dining companions.
Buffet breakfast is generally served from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. (sometimes earlier depending on excursions). The buffet features a range of cereals, fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, croissants, pastries, cold cuts, cheese, bacon, sausages, hash browns, baked beans, scrambled eggs plus bread and rolls baked on the ship. Each day features a special hot buffet item, such as pancakes. Cooked-to-order items are available from the kitchen and are served at the table. These include oatmeal, pancakes, fried eggs, scrambled eggs and omelets served plain or with a choice of ham, cheese, mushrooms and bell peppers. Tea and coffee is served to the table.
Lunch is generally served at 12:30 or 1 p.m., again with flexible timing depending on the excursion schedule. It is a mix of buffet items and dishes that can be ordered from the menu. Each day the buffet has a soup, such as Dutch green pea or chicken noodle, and a hot sandwich, such as a Reuben or a "farmer" sandwich made with egg, mustard mayonnaise, bacon, ham, onions and cheese. Specialty salads might include carrot and raisin, chicken and pineapple or seafood, alongside the usual range of fresh salad ingredients. The menu also features a daily meat, fish and vegetarian main course, ordered from the wait staff. These might be beef stew, fried barramundi or vegetable spring rolls. There is also an always available choice of chicken salad. Desserts include vanilla rice pudding, apple crumble or tiramisu. Complimentary white or red wine, beer and soft drinks are served throughout lunch, if applicable to the package booked, and complimentary water, tea and coffee are available for all passengers. Each cruise will feature a special buffet-only lunch, showcasing dishes such as a whole roast suckling pig.
An a la carte dinner is served at a set time each night, generally 7 p.m., and there is a bit of flexibility if passengers want to come down a half-hour or so later (although most are very punctual!). The food is consistently good and menus always consist of five courses if you include cheese. Of course, passengers can opt to choose as few or as many courses as they like.
At the evening meal, passengers can expect specialties from the destinations being visited alongside international fare. The choice of two appetizers might include goat cheese panna cotta or Caesar salad followed by a choice of a cream soup or broth, such as Dutch cheese soup or oxtail consomme with root vegetables. Typical main courses are orange and soy-marinated pork medallions with creamy polenta; duck breast and leg confit with red cabbage spring roll and sauteed vegetable cubes, fried sea bream with risotto or Thai vegetable curry. To follow, desserts include chocolate lava cake, a pear poached in red wine or tiramisu. There is always fresh fruit and a cheese plate available in addition to, or instead of, dessert. Dinner also includes the always available dishes of mixed garden greens, chicken breast and ice cream.
The seven-course weekly gala dinner is a lavish affair and typically might feature marinated octopus, duck consomme with a spinach pancake, lobster medallion and sea scallop, apple sherbet/sorbet, filet steak, ginger mousse and a selection of cheese. It is a set menu; however, a vegetarian option is also available.
Complimentary wines -- usually regional -- are served with lunch and dinner (some passengers have to pay depending on the package booked). They are of good quality and varied and the watchful wait staff keep everyone topped up. There is a different choice of red and white wine with each meal, which might include a French merlot and Italian pinot grigio. Passengers can also opt to pay for other wines from a very comprehensive list that includes wine by the glass, from 4.50 euros, to bottles of Austrian, German, Italian, French, Hungarian, Romanian and Californian wines ranging from 17 euros for a Romanian chardonnay or pinot noir to 69 euros for a bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne.
A pirate's night, which is held on some cruises, is a really fun evening. Passengers and crew members dress up and there is a rowdy welcome in the dining room, which looks as if it has been ransacked with chairs on the floor and cutlery and glasses in an untidy pile on the tables. Dishes on the menu have names such as red parrot or jolly roger soup, Captain Jack Sparrow's mixed grill, the sea monster fish course and a dessert of chocolate cannon balls.
Panorama Lounge (Deck 3): A continental-style breakfast of juice, croissants and pastries is available in the lounge on the Mozart Deck, usually from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., before the main dining room opens for breakfast. A light lunch is available in the lounge during the times that the main restaurant is open for lunch. This will typically include a soup, selection of sandwiches, salads and desserts. Each day, afternoon tea is served in the lounge, which is generally from 4:30 to 5 p.m., with times sometimes altered to fit in with returning excursions. Served against a backdrop of classical and easy-listening tunes played by one of the onboard musicians, the tea includes a choice of savory items, such as turkey and salad sandwiches, and selection of individual cakes. Late-night snacks are also served in the Panorama Lounge at around 10:30 p.m. These are typically small hot items such as deep-fried mushrooms with tartare sauce, bruschetta and Black Forest ham, or chicken nuggets with a sweet and sour sauce.
Amadeus Club (Deck 3): Complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate is available 24/7 from a self-serve machine in the ship's aft lounge.
Sun Deck (Deck 4): On sunny days, the ship's sun deck is used as an alfresco dining area, with food served from tables set up near the wheelhouse. It is generally used for pre-lunch snacks, usually once or twice per cruise, which are themed to the area, such as sausages, pretzels and beer while sailing through Germany.
Bellevue Restaurant (Deck 3); 28 euros: On selected cruises, passengers celebrating special occasions or those who would simply like a change, can book a "Highlight Dinner" as an alternative to dining in the Panorama Restaurant. Served in a specially laid-out area forward in the Panorama Lounge, these meals can be reserved at reception for a surcharge of 28 euros per person.
A typical menu might be an appetizer of croquettes of brown shrimp served on watercress with a balsamic dressing, red lentil soup with cumin and chili, margarita sorbet, roasted Angus tenderloin on chili potato mash with pak choi and teriyaki sauce, and crepes suzette. The menu is the same for each week, as generally passengers will only opt for the special dinner once during a seven-night cruise. The meal is accompanied by the same complimentary wines being served in the main restaurant. Alternatively, there are recommended wine pairings for the dinner, available at extra charge.
There is no room service.