From breakfast to dinner and in-between, dining on a river cruise vacation is typically a much anticipated, relaxing experience. Many cruise operators have spent much effort to upgrade their dining offerings to give their travelers a truly wonderful experience.
Dining on river cruises is included in your river cruise price. This includes breakfast, lunch & dinner, select snacks, select drinks, and even the occasional off-ship meal that is associated with a shore excursion that prevents you from enjoying a meal onboard.
For breakfast, most cruise operators offer a buffet style breakfast – typically with a menu for those not wanting to explore the buffet. This is usually served early enough to allow time to prepare for your day’s port excursion, and is a window of time, typically over two hours – like from 7-9 am. Many cruises also offer an early-bird continental breakfast option for those early risers looking for coffee and a danish. Often the breakfast buffet will include many traditional American offerings, but also look for some local specialties as well.
Lunches also can be buffet or plated, but there is always a variety. Some operators offer a plated choice and a salad bar to please your palate.
Dinner is a more formal affair on most river cruise ships. Not formal as in tuxedo, but formal as in smart casual, relaxing, take your time, sit down plated multi-course meal. Enjoy a nice selection of appetizers, main courses, sides, and desserts – all with amazing service from your servers. Sometimes themed dinners or special dinner options will be available.
The river cruise chefs will typically tempt your taste buds with amazing selections of dishes using local produce, and often organically sources foods. You will get to experience your destination – not just on excursions, but in some of the dining options onboard that your local chef carefully prepares.
You may be wondering about drinks during your meals. Most cruise lines now offer complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks with your lunches and dinners. You can of course order other drinks from the bar at an extra cost. Complimentary water is also typically provided in your cabin, replenished daily. There are also self-serve tea and coffee usually available all the time.
Most river ship dining rooms are open seating, offering a mix of tables from 2 to 8 or even more. This gives you the opportunity for intimate meals or a chance to mix with fellow cruisers to enjoy a meal together.