Cruising the locks and canals aboard any of the Gota Kanal Steamship Company vessels is saturated in the Swedish culture, which includes traditional Swedish cuisine. The highlight of each day aboard the Diana, for example; was breakfast, lunch and dinner. A common element to Scandinavian dining is fish prepared in many ways including pickled, fried, baked, poached, and certain menus include specially prepared raw fish. Onboard the Diana we enjoyed a fixed menu, however; for those with special dietary requirements and made arrangements in advance, vegetarian entrées were available. Seating was assigned during lunch and dinner, yet for breakfast, which is buffet-style, passengers could sit wherever they wish. A classic tradition is the ringing of the dinner bell. The waiter or maitre d’ will walk the decks ringing a bell or gong to announce that it’s time for dinner. Some of the characteristic sounds onboard during lunch and dinner is the click-clacking of the dumb-waiter delivering the prepared meals from the galley below. Dining aboard the Diana was a first-class experience with crisp white table linens, fine tableware, and the wait-staff are dressed in white jackets with black and gold epaulets and gold buttons. Fine spirits, cognac and wine, were also available for an additional cost to enhance the dining experience. There was the occasional beef or poultry entrée, however; the majority of cuisine was fresh local fish. The Chef in the galley, one deck below, prepared each entree with artistic flare and included fresh cooked vegetables, potatoes and the perfect accompaniments for each main dish. The dinning room itself aboard these Gota Kanal vessels, has an intimate, friendly and classy ambiance, yet without exception, passengers will enjoy a delightful social experience, a highlight of this special Swedish journey.
The crew aboard the Diana were genuinely proud to serve each passenger. In Stockholm, at the conclusion of our cruise or journey across Sweden on this historic and charming vessel, with the red carpet rolled out just past the gangway, the entire crew of the Diana stood in line to shake our hands and hug us as if we were family. At the very beginning of the journey when we embarked on the Diana in Gothenborg, as I stepped aboard for the first time, I felt like we were about to experience something special, and upon disembarkation in Stockholm my premonition was clear and accurate. I think my fellow travelers also experienced a camaraderie unique to this journey, where the rich heritage and culture of Sweden came alive aboard the Diana. The Gota Kanal Steamship Company, and the crew of the Diana indeed offered somewhat of a time-travel experience reminiscent of a simpler era. It was clear that the folks who live in the small towns along the canal passage saw the Diana as a gleaming and proud representation of their rich culture and heritage, and consequently, our fellow passengers clearly experienced that sense of exclusivity and pride of participating in the journey.
Check out our photo albums from our Gota Kanal Journey: