Viking Eir
The Viking Eir docked in Basel (photo by Freddy Sherman)

A large portion of the time spent on a cruise, river or ocean, is spent eating. Good food is essential and I found a lot of it on my recent Rhine river cruise with Viking. It was seriously wonderful to wake up each morning and wander down to the dining room for breakfast. Then we would normally do a morning excursion to check out whatever city we were visiting that day. We would return to the ship in time for lunch and then set out on another afternoon adventure before returning to the Eir again for dinner.

Cream of broccoli soup
Cream of broccoli soup (photo by Freddy Sherman)

How Meals are Served

The video shows a typical lunch experience aboard the ship. You’ll see the open seating in the dining room, you sit where you want, with who you want. There are also always a few empty tables should you decide you want some private time by yourself or with your travel companion.

As with most meals, you have both a buffet and a selection of items available from the menu. There are a few local specialties, specific to the area where the ship is sailing. You also have changing starters, entrees and desserts. These are always joined by a constant listing of always available selections. For example for dinner, this was always a steak entree, a chicken entree and a vegetarian or pasta option.

Food and specific beer and specific wine are all-you-can-eat / drink during the meal services. There’s a house red and white wine available (on our cruise they were excellent, mainly German wines). There’s also a full bar open all day and most of the night and anything can be ordered a la carte. Viking also offers something called the Silver Spirits beverage plan which gets you unlimited beer and wine (and any drinks up to $15 each) and soft drinks all day.

A view of Holland from the dining room (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

The Food

The food on the river cruise was excellent with local specialties served with each meal, each day. It wasn’t perfect, with some items like the cheeseburgers and the ribs suffering a bit in translation. These details and the overall quality of the food and wine are what separates the different cruise companies and their pricing. Other companies offer a bit better culinary experience and finer wines for more money.

Aside from the meals, there was a coffee station with fancy espressos and capuccinos available all day and night. They featured some delicious cookies there as well. Rooms have bottled water refreshed each day and a small refrigerator so you can bring back local food from your adventures.

Roast beef sandwich
One lunch featured a roast beef sandwich (photo by Freddy Sherman)

The Cruise

I did a Viking river cruise called the Rhine Gateway which took me down the Rhine River. It started in Basel, Switzerland and ended, eight days later, in Amsterdam. We made stops in Germany, France and The Netherlands along the way. Three meals a day are included in your Viking cruise fare (with the exception of the first and last days).

Dining room
The dining room is prepared for a meal (photo by Freddy Sherman)
Smoked salmon (photo by Freddy Sherman)

Read more of Freddy Sherman’s take on travel on his Go World Travel Blog. You can also follow more of his adventures at, on his luxuryfred Instagram feed and on his YouTube channel.

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