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River Venture Dining

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
22 reviews
Editor Rating
Jamey Bergman
Cruise Critic Contributor

The ship's main dining room on the Explorer Deck on Deck 2 is known as the Compass Rose restaurant and features open, unassigned seating. While most of the tables are six-tops, the Compass Rose has a few four-tops, as well as tables for larger groups. Meals are held at set times and vary slightly depending on the day's itinerary. The food onboard consistently rates above average. It's not five-star, but breakfasts are good and many of the dishes at dinner were very tasty.

Breakfast in the Compass Rose consists of a buffet, complete with omelet station and plenty of hot and cold choices. (While hours are usually 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., continental options are available for early risers.) Buffet lunches run from noon to 2 p.m., offering a salad bar, a pasta station and both hot and cold entree choices.

Beginning at 7 p.m. and lasting two hours, Compass Rose dinners consist of a cold appetizer, soup or a hot appetizer, a choice of entree (including vegetarian) and a dessert. A typical menu might start with a small amuse bouche, followed by a chicken consomme, fish over vegetables, ending with your choice of dessert or a cheese plate (or both, if you're hungry). Lunches and dinners include unlimited beer, house wine and soft drinks; you can order premium wines from the bar. Birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated in style, with singing staff and special desserts.

At the rear of the ship, the Captain's Club on Deck 3 is an indoor/outdoor convertible space used for informal dining. The room is entirely enclosed by windows, solarium-style, and when it's warm, the roof retracts for al fresco dining. Seating about 50, the Captain's Club serves the day's light options: a soup, salad, dessert, fruit and cheese bar along with two of the three hot meals from the dining room make up the buffet. An outside space behind the Captain's Club, seating about 15, is frequently used for grilling burgers.

In some ports, the ship docks late so you can eat in town if you'd like. Cookies are usually served in the lounge in the afternoon, and a salty bar mix during happy hour. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate are available 24/7 in both the main lounge and the Captain's Club; bottled water is complimentary. While room service is not available, some rooms have a for-fee mini-bar, with drinks and snacks.

The itinerary on the ship is culinary-focused, so passengers may experience wine-pairing meals; cooking demonstrations; lunch at La Couronne in Rouen, the restaurant that inspired Julia Child’s career; a Taste of Normandy tour, and more. 

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