The airy dining room’s décor echoes that of the rest of the ship with bright jewel tones. A central horseshoe-shaped buffet station divides the room. On either side are a mix of tables for two to eight, plus cushy banquets for four.
Portions are on the petite side – but you can always order more. The dinner menu has daily chef’s recommendations and a “Healthy Choice” suggestion. There are three entrees, nightly, including a vegetarian option, plus three appetizers, two soups and three desserts, and a cheese plate. Always available: salmon, steak and chicken, and Caesar salad.
Offerings on some nights take a cue from the ship’s locale. On our Rhine cruise, German dishes included zweibelrostbratten (pot roast) and semmelknoedel (a bread dumpling).
Waiters are generous with the wine, returning, unbidden to refill glasses. Featured red and white wines nightly tend toward local vintages. If you don’t like what’s offered, they’ll cheerfully offer an alternative.
Lunch in the dining room can be a major affair, starting with a trio of small-plate appetizers (deviled eggs, trout mousse, asparagus and beef salad, for instance) and a breadbasket harboring baked delights. Salads can be ordered as an appetizer or main dish. A couple of soups are offered and there’s always a sandwich of the day. Main dishes tend toward heartier fare, like pork tenderloin saltimbocca. Vegetarian options are highlighted on a separate menu page. And for dessert: three options and a cheese plate.
An extensive breakfast menu runs from the usual made-to-order omelets, to waffles with whipped cream. A posted special of the day can help you narrow the options. New to the menu are daily breakfast bowls, whose ingredients might leave steak-and-egg lovers scratching their heads. Take the Asia quinoa bowl, which contains tofu, eggs, avocado, coconut milk, plum sauce, green onions and roasted seaweed. The bowls are displayed on the Wellness Bar at the rear of the dining room along with other healthy breakfast fare like fresh and dried fruits, nuts, yogurt and dry cereal.
Tables in a section of the Lounge at the front of the ship seat 24 passengers. Surrounded on three sides by windows, it’s a bright, cheerful space where a bistro lunch is served. Sandwich and salad selections change daily. There’s always a vegetarian option like Vietnamese Pho, and a rich dessert (double chocolate cake with cherry ragout and whipped cream anyone?). Always available are hamburgers, fries, pizza and potato salad.
Tip: This area is a great vantage point from which to experience a lock passage.
Pastries are served here for early and late risers who miss breakfast in the dining room.
All-day tapas are served in the Lounge (except at mealtimes). On the menu: grilled eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini; olive tapenade; Parma ham, humus and more.
The Lounge is also the venue for afternoon tea, with classic fare like crustless salmon and cucumber sandwiches, scones, brownie bites, and, of course, tea.
At 10:30 each night, servers pass a savory snack.
The ship’s specialty restaurant at the rear of the ship on Deck 3 accommodates 32, and features a six-course tasting menu (plus a palate-cleansing sorbet) with wine pairings.
The menu changes annually, but remains the same on each cruise in a given year. Reservations are required. Go hungry and watch the staff meticulously prepare the plates in the glass-walled kitchen. The menu on our cruise: heirloom tomato carpaccio and eggplant caviar; beet root marinated salmon; lemon grass soup; skin-grilled salmon with citrus sauce, celery mash and beluga lentil ragout; tenderloin of beef with sweet potato, broccoli, artichoke and green peas; and a glorious ending of lemon pie with yogurt ice cream and fresh berries.