For McCool Travel’s 122nd travel profile, I am happy to introduce you to Mike Ragsdale, the founder of 30A. Have you heard of 30A? 30A celebrates small-town ...
The typical cruise ship dining experience means set seating times (too early or too late) in too crowded rooms. If you want a special experience, that means paying an additional charge.
Dining on Viking Star is different.
Viking Star’s largest dining area, World Cafe, is nicer than most buffet experiences with fresh and quality food appropriate for each destination along with some special features (listed below). Additional Viking Star dining options include three elegant table service restaurants (also covered below).
When entering World Cafe, you can choose from two entrances but I preferred the right side. The left side is usually busier while the right side has two special options listed below. However, you are not confined to either side and can visit both lines as many times as you want.
Diners can sit outside when the weather is pleasant. In slightly milder conditions, you can sit inside with the massive glass doors open. Viking says it has the most al fresco options at sea.
Al fresco dining is not even one of my Viking Star dining options but the following choices are. Enjoy!
Viking Star Dining Options That Will Blow Your Mind
1. Fresh Specials. On both World Cafe lines, prepared-to-order items are available in the hot food section. They may include grilled shrimp, fresh pasta, or something else. Whatever it is get it! My copyrighted routine is: place my order, go to the salad bar or load up on veggies, and return to the hot food area to pick up my order. McCool efficiency!
2. Sushi Bar. Chef Anthony told me that on a vacation to New York City he ate at Nobu every day for two weeks. He asked the sushi chef if he wanted to see the world and hired him for the Viking Star. Unfortunately I did not discover the fresh sushi until the end of the cruise—so I might book another Viking Star itinerary just for the sushi. Find the sushi bar in the cold food section on the right line of World Cafe.
3. Gelato. World Cafe has a gelato section with 10 homemade flavors. Enough said, right? Just in case that did not prompt you to immediately book a Viking Star cruise, allow me to continue. To demonstrate the popularity of the gelato area, it was the only spot on Viking Star that ever had a line. You can find the gelato in the dessert area on the right line of World Cafe. Are you starting to understand why I suggest the right line? The gelato bar always has a few consistent flavors but 6 others change every day. If you see a variety you might want, GET IT! I made the mistake of figuring I would try a flavor later, only to find it not available the rest of my cruise.
4. The Restaurant. I am a filet mignon snob and The Restaurant served one of the best I ever tasted. Here, one menu section is fixed for the entire cruise while another section changes for every port—which is basically every day. For instance, in Barcelona, my wife had paella while I had that filet; neither item was available the rest of our voyage. Reservations are suggested for dining at The Restaurant but generally there are tables available for walk-ins (like us on the first night).
5. Chef’s Table. A dining experience meant to be savored and enjoyed is offered at Chef’s Table. Each dinner offers a five course small plate and wine pairing. Even though we were in Italy, our theme was Asian with vibrant duck, crab, and lobster dishes. The Captain of the Viking Star told me this is his favorite place to eat. Reservations are strongly suggested.
6. Manfredi’s. You likely will not listen if I suggest you try to save room for dessert, nor will I tell you to skip any appetizer or entree. The desserts at Manfredi’s, though, are remarkable. I suggest you dine a little earlier than you usually would, over indulge (you will!), then stroll around the ship afterward. Maybe play a game of shuffleboard or two. Manfredi’s is super popular and you WILL require a reservation. Highly recommended items from my two visits include the calamari, swordfish, and bistecca (Florentine steak).
7. Afternoon Tea. Dress in your most elegant tea wear (or not) and enjoy an afternoon refined tea hour in the gorgeous Wintergarden lounge. Make sure you order warm scones from the wait staff, in addition to enjoying the delivered tower of treats.
8. Norwegian waffle. There is nothing wrong with spending every meal at the places already mentioned. Most people do. A hidden gem on Viking Star, though, is Mamsen’s, a small Norwegian themed counter located at the entrance to the Explorer’s Lounge. Mamsen’s is named for the Viking founder’s mother and many items here are her family recipes. One such item I tried was a scrumptious freshly made Norwegian waffle for breakfast. Customize your waffle with various toppings, including chocolate, cheese, and fruit. Yum. Mamsen’s offers Norwegian specialties that are not found elsewhere on the Viking Star.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of all Viking Star dining options. There is also a poolside grill, 24×7 room service, and coffee and muffins in the morning at the Level 1 bar. The only Viking Star dining option with an additional charge is the Kitchen Table experience.
Please also see:
Thank you to Viking Cruises for hosting me on the Romantic Mediterranean voyage in December 2015.
Which of these Viking Star dining options would you most look forward to? Or enjoyed the most?