The ship offers only the Main Deck dining room for its restaurant, serving a buffet breakfast, plus lunch and dinner daily. The restaurant seats up to 178 passengers (the entire ship's guest capacity), serving a fine menu of French cuisine and a few locally inspired dishes, paired with Spanish wines to suit the Andalusian context. Passengers are alerted to the times meals begin, each one coordinated around the day's shore excursion schedule.
The chef and restaurant staff are efficient and helpful, and reliably accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free and other dietary restrictions; passengers can relay their specific dietary needs upon booking. Onboard, each meal's menu is posted in advance, and passengers are able to request alternatives to any dishes or ingredients. Dishes are a sophisticated and filling mix of proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates, with three courses served for every lunch and dinner (though a cheese course is sometimes added) with paired white, rose or red wines. Gala dinners are more involved, serving several more courses than usual.
Breakfast is a buffet of standard European-style items, including fruit, cheeses, cold cuts, yogurt, eggs made to order, breads and pastries, and standard beverages.
Lunch is generally served following morning shore excursions. It is a three-course, lighter meal often featuring salad or soup to start, and a filling entree followed by dessert. Entrees may include a filet mignon with a sweet-and-sour sauce, with duchess potatoes and French beans; or perhaps a sauteed sole with stuffed agnoletti, spinach with garlic cream sauce; or wiener schnitzel with vegetables. Lunchtime dessert may be a simple strawberry cake, pineapple brochette or apple strudel.
Dinner is the most indulgent meal. Apart from the gala meal, dinner includes three courses finely prepared with French flair. Appetizers served may include a pate en croute, smoked salmon with horseradish sauce, or smoked ham. They would be followed with dinner entrees such as stuffed chicken with spaetzle, duck filet braised in pinot noir served with browned potatoes and brussel sprouts, or a blanquette of veal with rice pilaf and carrots. Dinnertime dessert may include a selection of cheese, baked Alaska, raspberry cake or ginger biscuits.
An unfortunate downside to cruising among such a mix of international travelers are stark language barriers. So in order to link passengers with others who share a common language, CroisiEurope assigns passengers to tables upon their first meal, varying in size from four to eight place settings. While the logic is reasonable, a full week of breaking bread three times a day with the same people can leave one feeling short of conversation. Plus it does not take into account multilingual passengers. It is possible to arrange for a table for two, but tables and seating are limited so that should be done upon booking your cruise. (CroisiEurope might be wise to consider labeling different tables according to language, allowing passengers to change seats and therefore dine with different people at each meal.)
Note: Room service is not available on this vessel.
CroisiEurope La Belle de Cadix Ship Stats
- Crew: 30
- Launched: 2005; refurbished in 2010
- Decks: 3
- Passengers: 176
- Registry: Belgium