Some of the biggest changes aboard the new super ship are centered around dining. You'll find a new chef's station, plus plenty of regional and fresh choices purchased locally to stock the buffet. On the top deck, there's a dedicated area for cooking classes as well as panoramic and alfresco dining for lunch and dinner. Uniworld has always been known for excellent dining, and this ship is no different.
What you wouldn't have seen before is the new brasserie area that sits behind the bar. Formerly, that space was an extension of the lounge, but now it is used for all-day snacks and a more casual a la carte dinner area. Of course, all drinks and meals are included on Uniworld voyages with the exception of a few premium liquors and wines.
Vegetarians and vegans are well cared for, among other dietary requirements. This begins from the first meal of the cruise where servers note any dietary requests into a database with your photo so that everyone's needs are met during the rest of the cruise. During the remodel, infrequently used areas near the dining room were transitioned into more storage for the crew, which is essential for offering more variety on the menu.
Le Grand Fromage (Deck 1): This is the main dining room and where passengers enjoy all meals from breakfast to dinner. You'll find a continuation of the Art Deco styling of the main lounge here with brass and hardwood accents. The look is elegant but welcoming and bright with large windows on both sides.
A mix of booth, two-top and roundtable seating make it easy to find space for dining groups large and small. The space is being better utilized now that the buffet has been moved from up against the wall to the center of the dining room, which relieves any congestion.
Breakfast is served buffet-style with everything from eggs to sauteed vegetables and the oh-so-famous French cheese board and selection of breads. Lunch offers more options, including the choice to dine from an equally sumptuous buffet with a carving station or to head upstairs to La Belle Etoile for lighter fare. Both seem equally popular, although there are more options in the main dining room.
By sunset, the experience is a tad more formal with most passengers choosing to dress for dinner (often jacket, but no tie). The a la carte menu includes plenty of regional favorites but always offers a roster of staple favorites, like poached salmon and grilled steak. Service is impeccable with the international staff, mostly hailing from Eastern Europe, going out of their way to use passenger names and remember personal preferences.
Each day, a different selection of regional, complimentary wines are served. Open seating is the norm, although passengers are encouraged to arrive when dinner opens so that there is enough time for them to enjoy the full experience before any evening entertainment or excursions.
Outside of the main dining room, there is a small coffee and tea station that is open at all hours for passengers to enjoy.
La Cave du Vin (Deck 2): This specialty dining venue comes with a surcharge, but the set menu is a step above the already solid cuisine in the main restaurant. Expert wine pairings are what makes this communal table in a private dining room so special. It is worth the experience at least once during a sailing, although it is without windows. This is a relatively new feature with only the S.S. Joie de Vivre offering a similar venue, although it is slightly different because it offers a cooking demonstration. Aboard this ship, it is exclusively a food and wine pairing dinner, which ranges between 155 and 195 euros (about $200 to $250) per person.
La Brasserie (Deck 3): New to the ship is a French-style brasserie that serves an a la carte menu at dinner; it takes its decor inspiration from the Bouillon Pigalle brasserie in Paris. During the day, light refreshments are always available. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a faster, more leisurely dinner.
Le Cafe du Soleil (Soleil Deck): On the Soleil Deck, this new panoramic dining venue serves a beautifully presented salad bar with a variety of fresh greens, hand-picked tomatoes, every imaginable salad topping and the famous northeastern French flatbread known as tarte flambee made to order. Grilled meats and soup are also part of this popular lunchtime experience. At night, it transforms into La Belle Etoile with a cocktail menu for passengers to enjoy facing the sunset.
Room Service: Room service is included for all cabins at any time of day.