What Is The Food Like on a Viking River Cruise?

What is the food like on a Viking river cruise? For both Mr B and I, we loved the food on Viking. On our first river cruise with Viking on the Danube back in 2022, we adored meal times and our time on Beyla was no different.

After getting on board before our first dinner, we were already eating! As on arrival there were light snacks available in the lounge so with our ‘obligatory’ glass of champagne, we enjoyed mini Reuben sandwiches, individual pasta salads and the most delicious custard tart (it was so nice I went back for a second piece!).


The most important meal of the day some say, and I do think that is the case when on a river cruise as you need the energy for the morning exploration (my excuse for having a big breakfast!).

I love starting the day with an iced coffee and after my first day when Filip asked me if I wanted whipped cream with it, of course I said yes. Every day after that he remembered my morning coffee order without me even having to ask.

Of course, there are a variety of drinks you can enjoy, black coffee, latte, cappuccino, English breakfast tea, herbal tea and not forgetting juices, always cranberry for me. And if you fancy it there is always sparkling wine available for breakfast, a very nice touch I thought.

Breakfast can be ordered à la carte or you can enjoy the buffet, or you can have options from both, which we often did.

My favourite, and recommended à la carte orders were the smoked salmon benedict. With the perfectly poached eggs, smooth hollandaise and generous amount of smoked salmon, there is a reason this is my all time favourite breakfast and Viking did it very well.

When I had my sweet tooth in the morning or after my ‘first course’ and I fancied a ‘breakfast dessert’ (any excuse when on holiday!), I would order something sweet. The pancakes were very good, lovely and fluffy. You can opt for plain, banana, blueberry or chocolate. I had both the plain and the chocolate, and chocolate lovers will be pleased to know the chocolate chips are dark chocolate.

Mr B and I also enjoyed the French toast, you can have this with or without bacon. It had a nice crust on the outside with a soft middle, drizzled with maple syrup, absolutely delicious!

Now on our previous sailing, I opted to order from the menu every day, however, I decided to have a look at the buffet this time around and as someone who isn’t normally a fan of buffets, I was very happy. I actually found myself having a mixture of buffet to start, then ordering from à la carte most days. The buffet is what I would describe as small, but mighty with the emphasis being on quality.

There was a selection of cereals, fruits and yoghurt, I loved the pre-prepared small portions. I enjoyed the natural yogurt which was really creamy and I topped mine with honey.

The continental selection also impressed me, with a variety of continental meats, cheese and individual portions of freshly carved smoked salmon.

There are a selection of fresh breads and pastries, I really enjoyed the bagels which I had with scrambled eggs and salmon one morning.

Now onto the hot options, there was always mushrooms, scrambled eggs (which were deliciously creamy) beans . . .  two varieties of bacon and sausage, and the potato option varied each day. Of course, the most popular station was the egg station where chef would whip you up a fresh omelette or fried eggs. Both were very good, there is no egg he could not prepare perfectly!


We enjoyed lovely relaxing lunches onboard Beyla. My lunch drink of choice was usually an Aperol Spritz, always so refreshing, and Milos made such a good Aperol.

The lunch menu has a section which is available every day. This section doesn’t change and offers a mixed green salad, Chefs Nicoise salad, cheeseburger, vegetarian burger, hot dog, chocolate mousse and fruit cup.

The rest of the menu changed daily and offered a lovely variety.

Every day there was a different soup on the menu from ‘Cream of broccoli’ to seasonal ‘Cream of white asparagus’. One soup Mr B and I both enjoyed was the ‘Red pepper and coconut’. It was creamy with coconut, but had a generous amount of chilli which gave it a great kick of heat.

There was always a different salad to opt for, these varied from Tuna Tataki Poke Bowl, to Farmer’s salad to Asian coleslaw salad.

I enjoyed a few of the pasta dishes at lunch time which I remembered very much enjoying on our previous sailing. These pasta dishes did also not disappoint me, from the Rigatoni alle melanzane, Spaghetti alla carbonara to the Pappardelle al ragu.

Other lunch dishes which appeared on the menu ranged from Fish and chips, Pulled BBQ pork sandwich to Grilled salmon fillet spinach with parsley potatoes, lemon butter.

Ones in particular that Mr B and I enjoyed were the Cuban sandwich which had roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese and gherkins on a toasted French baguette. Also, the BBQ baby back ribs, sweet potato fries and coleslaw – the meat fell off the bone – and the Pinsa Romana prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, arugula, parmesan shavings, pesto – a lighter take on a pizza.

Mr B and I both tried to resist dessert at lunch times (which was easier said than done!). We always wanted to ensure we could enjoy three courses at dinner. Desserts on the lunch menu ranged from Peach melba, Apricot tart and Chocolate brownie to Melon ice cream, Banana split and Coconut ice cream.


Like the lunch menu, the dinner menu offered a selection of ‘always available’ dishes. These were Caesar salad, Angus rib-eye steak, Poached Norwegian salmon, Roast Chicken supreme. Crème Brulee, Cheese selection, Seasonal fruit platter, ice cream or sorbet.

Each day the dinner menu offered starter, main and dessert which were regional specialities. We enjoyed quite a few different dishes from this section as for Mr B and I it was an opportunity to try some dishes that we had not even heard of before.

Two of the regional starters which we both ordered and absolutely loved were the Würzfleisch, which is a gratinated cheese and pork casserole. It was a very tasty and rich starter.

Another of our favourites was the Beef tartar which was served with truffle sour cream and toast. We are both fans of beef tartar and this was well seasoned and very flavourful. Mr B also enjoyed the Saxonian Barley soup one evening.

Some of the regional main dishes on the menu were Flusszander (pike perch fillet), Reibekuchen, which is a German potato rosti served with zucchini spaghetti and sour cream, and one of Mr B’s favourite was the Herb-crusted pork tenderloin.

There are two desserts which stand out for me on this holiday as winning desserts and they were the regional specialities, Almond cake which had layers of peanut, caramel and chocolate.

And the ‘Luke warm creamy pudding cake’. Now I didn’t order this dessert to start with, honestly, the name of it just didn’t get me excited about it so I ordered something else. Well luckily for me Mr B did order this and as soon as I tried it I had food envy! But remembering I was on Viking, I simply asked our lovely waiter if I could order that too and without hesitation I was told, ‘of course’, and I was soon devouring this unique dessert. It was thick, creamy and absolutely delicious!

As well as the always available section and the regional specialities, the main menu also offers two other starters, two mains and a dessert, all of which changed daily.

Some of the starters on offer during our cruise were a Red pepper tartlet, Meli Melo salad, Tom Kha Gai, Thai chicken soup, Farmers Pecorino market salad and Cream of pumpkin soup.

Main course ranged from Braised lamb shoulder roast, Potato & chanterelle strudel and a seafood dish I rated highly, Seared sea bass fillet with a lemon, caper and parsley sauce. The fish was cooked perfectly and the sauce was full of flavour, but also delicate as to not overpower the fish.

The standout main course for both Mr B and I was the Roast Chateaubriand which was served with a bearnaise sauce and gratin potato. I asked for mine rare and that is just how it came, it was so very tender and the rich buttery sauce made this a wonderfully delicious and indulgent main dish.

I always made sure I had room for dessert and as well as enjoying some excellent desserts from the regional specialities, I also thoroughly enjoyed the New York cheesecake.

And the chocolate fondant which was decadent and so good, perfect for any chocoholic like me!

One dinner onboard was ‘German night’ where we were greeted with decorated tables with lovely platters of meats, cheese and breads already adorning the table. German specialities were available from the buffet and Mr B and I both enjoyed the roasted pork, schnitzel and spaetzle, a German take on egg noodles.

And more . . .

Mr B and I are massive foodies (as I’m sure you may be able to tell). And it wasn’t at just meal times Viking kept us extremely happy. A few nights before dinner in the lounge, we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and canapes which were brought around for guests to enjoy. A few dainty canapes before dinner sure does get the appetite going.

One day whilst we were sailing we enjoyed a cooking demonstration by the Chef. It was held in the lounge and Chef showed us how to make quarkkeulchen, a thick sweet pancake made with mashed potato from the Saxon region of Germany near the Elbe river. What I thought was great about this demonstration was at the beginning, each guest was given an individual portion of the pancakes to try whilst watching the demonstration, along with a copy of the recipe.

When we saw on our Viking Daily that afternoon tea was going to be served as we sailed the Elbe, Mr B and I knew we needed to have a small lunch so we could indulge. Miniature finger sandwiches were served with a selection of sweet treats which, of course, included the afternoon tea essential, freshly baked scones, which were delicious. Served alongside was loose leaf English breakfast tea. Mr B and I also enjoyed ours with a glass of champagne, just as we do when we enjoy afternoon tea back in England.

For such a small ship with less than 100 passengers on board you really can’t help but be impressed with the amount of choices on offer at meal times. Additional to that, the flexibility they offer too. Once I asked for a main as a starter, but a small portion, which wasn’t an issue at all. Once I ordered two desserts (couldn’t resist!), again, not a problem. And most importantly for Mr B and I, the quality of the food on board, the love and care is clear to see, especially when we got the opportunity to speak with Chef Galin, who lovingly spoke about the local dishes and using seasonal ingredients.

Want to know about the ship we enjoyed our sailing on? Have a look at my blog post all about the beautiful Viking Beyla . . .

Sailing the Elbe River with Viking

Read about our itinerary sailing the river Elbe with Viking on my below blog post . . .

Elegant Elbe Itinerary on Viking

Read all about the drinks package on Viking to see what is included . . .

Drinks Package on Viking



1 Comment

  1. Lisa Mayne June 5, 2024 / 10:06 pm

    Great description of food. We are planning our first Viking River cruise and we’re wondering about the food. Thanks so much!!

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