Dining on Viking Buri is kept simple, with two places to grab breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily. Food can be described as "local fusion" and is paired with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner. Passengers enjoy both familiar tastes and regional dishes; the same goes for the wine. Fun fact: The chef sources ingredients from an organic herb garden on the sun deck.
Unlike most oceangoing cruise ships, there are no seating assignments. There is, however, one set dining time for each meal. The daily program will list when breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served, and passengers can arrive and sit where they like. Breakfast hours are consistent, but lunch and dinner can fluctuate based on tour times. Dietary requirements (gluten-free and diabetic, for example) can be accommodated to an extent once onboard, but it's always a good idea to let the maitre d' know of any allergies or meal requests in advance.
The Restaurant (Middle Deck): Located directly below the Viking Lounge, The Restaurant is the riverboat's main dining room and place to go for a proper sit-down meal. The majority of tables are round and sit six to eight people. There also are a handful of long, farmhouse-style tables that seat up to 10.
Breakfast is served from 7 to 9:30 a.m. A pop-up buffet is set up in the center of the room; passengers can grab to-go items such as fruits, pastries and smoked salmon plates, as well as made-to-order omelets with a side, such as sausage or bacon-wrapped dates. Servers make the rounds to take drink orders and special food requests.
Lunch, which typically begins between noon and 1 p.m., offers the same style buffet. Salads, sandwiches and fancy desserts are pre-made, while a hot station prepares everything from pasta to soup. A small menu also is available.
Dinner is served around 7 p.m. Every night, the menu highlights chef's recommendations -- usually local delicacies -- and special meals are prepared for the first and last nights of the cruise. Diners select an appetizer, main course and dessert (occasionally an extra, light course such as a cheese plate), but aren't obligated to follow the guidelines. For example, someone can order an additional appetizer or select a starter as their main course. The menu also includes one red and one white wine, pre-selected to pair with the chef's recommendation, though you're not confined to those two. On our South of France itinerary, we continuously went for a dry rose.
Entrees were pretty consistent, and generally included one meat dish (beef or poultry), one seafood dish and a vegetarian option. The appetizers, on the other hand, surprised us. While you could always opt for a soup or salad, some nights presented more adventurous options, such as frog legs (literally, half a frog drenched in cream sauce). Desserts were simple, and plentiful. There was almost always an option for chocolate lovers, while flavored sorbet, ice cream and some kind of cake or souffle also were available on the reg.
Aquavit Terrace (Upper Deck): Early risers can enjoy a sit-down breakfast with the sunrise at the Aquavit Terrace, from 6 to 10:30 a.m. It's a more casual option than The Restaurant, and serves a smaller, more basic selection of dishes, buffet-style. A small menu of made-to-order items such as scrambled eggs and breakfast meats also are available.
Lunch is typically served between noon and 12:30 p.m. and includes sandwiches, grilled-to-order items such as burgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob and other sides. Dinner is served around 7 to 7:15 p.m. and carries on with comfort foods straight from the grill. We should mention here that this is probably the best place to go if you want to sit at a two top.
If you're looking for quick snacks, there are two coffee stations on the upper deck that serve regular and specialty coffee -- such as cappuccinos, macchiatos and even hot chocolate -- around the clock, as well as cookies, macaroons and other treats during the day. At breakfast (6 to 11 a.m.), pastries, Danishes, muffins and orange juice are available and perfect for those who either want a quick light bite or don't have time to sit down and eat. The stations are located just outside the Viking Lounge entrances.
Room service is not offered on Viking Longships.