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Eating on early generation riverships was somewhat basic; choices were few.
No more! Multiple dining venues, gourmet cuisine, and fine wines are now the norm.


Do you think everyone who travels is a "foodie" at heart?

I admit it! I travel a lot. I am a “foodie,” and proud of it! I truly think, in varying degrees, that everyone who travels is a “foodie!” As we travel and are introduced to new countries and different cultures throughout the world, food becomes such an integral part of our overall enjoyment of that travel. I also believe there is a big difference between “eating” and “dining.”  On the fly, we eat (and love) In-and-Out Burgers, but in general, when we dine it is in a fine (not stuffy) restaurant with tablecloths, candles, lovely cutlery, and wonderful food and wines. The distinction between eating and dining is definitely NOT about being a food snob! It is more about the preparation, the presentation and personable service that supports any good meal whether on shore or aboard a river ship.

That's why we thought a spotlight on the wide variety of fine dining venues aboard today's river ships would be a great idea. Some people still think that there is just one restaurant choice when eating aboard a river ship — like in a cafeteria or buffet-style setting, that does not offer much choice in food or drink. Well, generally speaking, that USED to be true a number of years ago, but not any more by a long shot. Over the past 5 years or so, due to customer demands, river cruise lines worldwide have steadily been developing and delivering a wider variety of dining venues aboard newer ships. Most lines can also accommodate those with food sensitivities and those who are vegetarian or even vegan. They also began to employ well-known haute cuisine executive chefs to develop gourmet menus and expert sommaliers to create unique fine wine and beer selections.

Currently, in 2017, we are seeing some of the very best results from their efforts to deliver fine cuisine, wines, and venues to their discerning, well-traveled guests. And, even with all of the enhanced emphasis on improving the dining experience, one thing that has not changed is the fact that on board your river ship, you can dine casually, without the need for formal attire.

There are quite a few very nice new innovations from a number of our favorite river cruise brands such as Scenic, AmaWaterways, and the newest river cruise line, Crystal, that we would like to tell you about in this article.

Scenic° Culinaire aboard Bordeaux and Rhone itineraries.

In France, Scenic has introduced "Scenic Culinaire." Observing that French cuisine is world-famous, Glen Maroney, the owner of Scenic has created an exclusive culinary experience for their Bordeaux and Rhone River cruises. This unique venue allows all guests to participate in a series of onboard cooking classes taught by local experts. The program uses the finest locally-sourced ingredients and is designed to absolutely immerse you in the delights of French gastronomy. Classes will introduce guests to regional recipes and feature individual cooking stations as well as a cheese and wine cellar. Daily classes are limited to only 10 participants, so make sure we register you for one or more when you book your Scenic river cruise!

Not taking a Bordeaux or Rhone river cruise? Don't worry! Diverse and delicious gourmet meals and fine wines highlight every Scenic river cruise in Europe, not just those in France. While on board, each guest can enjoy everything from a gastronomic extravaganza at Table La Rive, to a casual, low-key handmade pizza at the River Cafe. Scenic caters to every style of dining. You’ll go crazy over Portobello’s, an intimate 32-seat Italian specialty room that will dazzle you from the moment you sit down to that last espresso of the evening. Scenic sources fresh foods from regional suppliers, hand pick and train their chefs, and offer each guest four unique dining venues plus white-gloved Butler 24-hour room service.

Crystal's award winning cuisine is now on the rivers.
For those who have enjoyed an ocean cruise on Crystal, you already know about the award-winning cuisine you can enjoy at Prego, The Silk Road with their Nobu-trained chefs and wonderful fresh sushi bar. From my perspective, the best meal my wife and I ever had on an ocean cruise was at Crystal’s Italian restaurant, Prego. With the recent launch of Crystal River Cruises, we’re seeing a level of quality and service that will surely raise the bar for dining by which all other river cruise lines will soon be judged.

When you book on one of their new “river yachts,” the Mozart, or the soon to be launched Mahler (May 2017) and Bach (June 2017), Crystal will introduce you to their very innovative “Farm-to-Table” dining venues featuring their award winning six-star cuisine. On each Crystal river ship you can choose between the Waterside Restaurant with open seating to the decadent wine dinners in The Vintage Room (12 guests only per evening) hosted by wine makers and regional chefs, or a relaxing afternoon tea at Palm Court. Each ship will offer four unique dining venues plus, 24-hour room service for your enjoyment.

But, just when you think that Crystal has hit all the “sweet spots,” they innovated yet again on their river ships. How about enjoying a gourmet meal at a Michelin Star restaurant during your cruise? No problem! Crystal will take you there when you sail on one of their luxurious river ships. That’s right. Included in your price will be a gastronomic dining experience at one of nine Michelin rated restaurants along your route. Needless to say this type of experience is very, very rare and to keep it as intimate and unique as possible, there will never be more than sixteen Crystal guests at any one restaurant.

Crystal river yachts only sail on the Rhine and Danube Rivers doing very innovative 10-15 night cruises that pay special attention to the destination with multiple overnight stays that allow you to truly explore the ports.  Because Crystal river yachts hold far fewer guests, they will fill quickly, so don't wait.  For Crystal Society Members, all of your ocean benifits will apply to their river yachts, so please reach out soon to one of our Crystal River Cruise experts.

AmaWaterways, a true river ship innovator.
Best known for their innovations in river cruise ship design including connecting staterooms and staterooms for more than two guests, AmaWaterways is also widely acclaimed for their innovative, award-winning and exclusive La Chaine des Rotisseurs dining experience onboard all AmaWaterways river ships.

AmaWaterways may do the best job of all river cruise lines in ensuring an authentic, local or regional dining experience with freshly sourced ingredients paired with some of the best, hand-selected regional wines offered up from any cruise line, and it's all included in your price.

While on board any AmaWaterways ship, you'll enjoy multiple dining venues with the crowning jewel being their intimate Chef’s Table Restaurant, seating only 28 lucky guests per evening. In this beautifully decorated venue, your private chef prepares a special, multi-course meal right in front of you. Each unique dish on this delectable tasting menu is sublimely paired with the perfect regional wine to compliment each course. A truly remarkable experience and included in your fare.

What about fine dining while onshore during your cruise?
Premier helps take care of that, too! Did you know that when you book with Premier, we provide each guest with our "Premier Thoughts" on many of the cities you'll visit. "Thoughts" contains a list of local restaurants that our staff and guests have enjoyed over the years (Going on a Danube cruise? You'll simply fall in love with one of my personal favorites — Rezkakas in Budapest.). Thoughts also includes an overview of very special sightseeing suggestions and hints to help you enjoy and immerse yourself even more deeply into your destination. No other agency or cruise line provides anything like our "Premier Thoughts."

Start planning your culinary exploration on a river cruise vacation.
We hope you've enjoyed this brief glimpse into some of the innovative dining changes that are happening with many river cruise lines. And, remember... unlike on an ocean cruise... EVERYTHING we’ve talked about is INCLUDED in your price when you sail on a river cruise, even those hand-selected wines and beers.

No matter which itinerary you select, we know that the incredible destinations, new friends you'll meet, and the new cuisines and wines you'll experience aboard a river cruise will open up your "foodie" world even further with new tastes to savor, new appreciation for the unique cultures and their food that abound in our world and, of course, the ever-lasting memories of your river cruise vacation.

We look forward to helping you find and plan not only the perfect cruise that fits all of your wishes, desires, and needs — but one that will satisfy all of your culinary tastebuds, too! If you have any questions or are ready to book, please give us a call at 1-855-255-1200, or drop us an email at

Have time? Learn more about AmaWaterways, Scenic° and Crystal...


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