The decor of the main dining room is simple and comfortably contemporary, but what really wows are the floor-to-ceiling windows that envelop the space in its outside environment. Fresh flowers are set on white linens (fresh fruit as a centerpiece at breakfast), and the pace of dining is relaxed and efficiently managed, though the staff is not overly attentive.
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Meals in the main dining room are served open-seating at set times (which can vary slightly, depending on the itinerary). Breakfast (typically 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) is from a large, circular buffet area in the center of the room that includes oatmeal with toppings, yogurt, cheeses and meats. There's also an omelet station, or you can order pancakes, French toast or eggs cooked to your taste from your waiter. Lunch (noon to 2 p.m.) includes a soup and salad bar enhanced by such treats as pate, which are often based on culinary traditions from the day's destination. Again, you also have a choice of ordering from a menu with a featured entree, pastas or sandwiches.
Dinner (typically at 7 p.m.) features a full menu with four hot or cold starters (you can order one or more) and three entrees (usually a fish, meat and vegetarian option). In addition to sweet desserts, there's a daily cheese plate reflecting local selections (Gouda, Bavarian blue, etc.). Always-available choices include grilled salmon, charbroiled New York-cut steak and Caesar salad.
The dining room is configured with tables for four, six, eight and one for 10. Five tables can be separated by a few inches for those wanting dinner for two (though not with that much privacy).
The Aquavit Terrace offers a more casual alternative and is the preferred place to be at lunchtime (noon to 2 p.m.) on a sunny day.
Expanding on a concept introduced on Viking Prestige in 2011, a precursor to Viking's Longship design, the space connects the ship's main lounge to a conservatory-style room with a glass ceiling and sides that open, leading to a small, truly alfresco dining area comprised of nine tables on the ship's bow. Glass windbreaks block some breezes, and heaters warm things up on chillier days. There are also three tables and a couple of comfy patio-style wicker couches in the glassed-in space for those who want views without breezes.
The Aquavit menu is a streamlined buffet of salads, hot soup and a couple of entree choices, such as carved meats or curried chicken sandwiches at lunch. For dinner (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.), you can choose from items like Caesar salad, burgers (cooked on a gas grill) and pastas.
If you want privacy, there are take-out containers you can use to bring your meal up to the top sun deck to eat at the bar in the lounge or even on your cabin balcony. There is no room service, but the maitre d can assist with bringing food to the room in special circumstances. Restricted diets can also be accommodated to some degree.
Red and white house wine, beer and soft drinks are complimentary at lunch and dinner. You can also purchase a recommended wine each day, including local varietals like Riesling by the bottle or glass.
As a quick breakfast alternative, coffee and pastries are available in the ship's lounge. Two coffee and tea stations in the upper atrium are also open 24/7 and have self-service machines that can produce lattes and cappuccinos, with mini-pastries offered in the morning and cookies in the afternoon.
Viking Embla Ship Stats
- Launched: 2012
- Decks: 4
- Passengers: 190