Dining a la carte
Dismiss any notions of batch cooking or limited choice. An evening meal on a luxury vessel will be a beautifully crafted a la carte menu, cooked just has you like it. Whether you like your steak well done or aren't a fan of a particular side, you can be confident that your particular preferences will be catered to.
Plenty of choice
A small ship doesn't mean a lack of choice. The newest additions to the Regent fleet, Seven Seas Grandeur and Splendor, each have 7 restaurants to cater for their 700 or so guests, whilst Silversea's newest ships Silver Moon and Dawn offer 8 dining venues apiece for fewer than 600 guests. Speciality restaurants include everything from vegan menus to American style grill houses, Mediterranean favourites to pan-Asian delights, whilst the 'main' restaurant will usually delight you with more traditional fare.
Table for two?
Do you prefer a table for two? Or perhaps you'd like the option of dining with friends onboard? It's likely that you'll want a little of both which is why you'll find a skilled maître d' who'll be able to accommodate your preference no matter what you fancy that particular evening.
Al fresco dining
Perhaps a little counter-intuitively, with a small ship comes more space. A luxury ship's reduction in guest numbers isn't accompanied by a corresponding shrinkage of ship size but rather a vessel that could accommodate thousands instead caters to hundreds. The knock-on effect is that there is more space per passenger which translates into plenty of deck space available for al fresco dining. Breakfast or lunch overlooking the aft is common, and often poolside venues are converted into laidback evening eateries, ideal for a late sailaway.
Ask the Executive Head Chef of Seabourn Encore what his favourite food is on board and he'll tell you it's the overnight oats, fresh fruit and yoghurts available at The Patio every morning, a wise choice for someone who's onboard for 4 months at a time! Whether it's the 'Raw Food' menu on the tiny 112-guest SeaDream vessels or Oceania's choice of plant-based dishes, you'll enjoy plenty of healthy options. The only difficulty is in having the willpower to choose them!
'Buffet' can be bandied around like a dirty word, yet when done well, with plenty of freshly prepared choices and not a queue in sight, a breakfast or lunch buffet can be a joy to behold. Destination themed, everchanging specials and impressive carving stations mean you'll be spoilt for choice.
Discovering the local cuisine adds a wonderful dimension of understanding to a cruise. Menus are designed to reflect the area you're visiting whilst innovative programmes, such as Seabourn's chance to shop with the chef or Regent's hands on cooking lessons allow you to get a deeper understanding. Most notable is Silversea's S.A.L.T., or Sea And Land Taste programme available on Silver Moon and Dawn which offers dedicated shore excursions, a S.A.L.T. Bar, hands-on demos and cooking lessons, as well as the S.A.L.T. Kitchen, a restaurant that changes recipes and flavours with every single port you visit.