La Champagne/Dame... what do you get for your $60?

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#1
London
18 Posts
Joined May 2016
I've just booked my first ever cruise... it's with Silversea and it departs next September. I'm single and wouldn't normally wish to holiday alone but during a hugely enjoyable TA crossing with a friend on the QM2 last year, discovered the wonderful sociability of shipboard life and now have no worries about going solo. At least once during my trip, I would like to experience La Champagne/Dame and it seems from what I've read here that it's essential to make reservations on-line as soon as bookings open, 120 days before departure. I'm pretty sure that I'll meet up with a like-minded person on board so was planning to make a table reservation for two people, maybe towards the end of the 15 day cruise. So, two questions...
First, is the $60 simply a cover charge (for an enhanced menu I realise) or does it also provide superior wine pairings?
Second, I'm guessing I have to pay up front 120 days out. If I find I'm Jimmy Nae Pals , can I get my money back if I decide to cancel one or both seats during the voyage?
I've trawled about 20 pages of the board and couldn't find info about either of these issues so any advice from an experienced "Silverseaer" will be appreciated.
#2
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
When you book the restaurant you are not charged until you are on board and the charge goes to your ship board account.

I highly recommend the restaurant.

I enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant and the fact that it didn't serve many people and there was one seating so it was a leisurely meal. Service was wonderful as was the cuisine. The wine that was included worked very well. You have the option of purchasing wine but I saw no need for that. It is a very intimate restaurant and to me it is well worth the additional cost.

Keith
#3
London
18 Posts
Joined May 2016
Thanks very much for the information Keith. Can I just clarify if the wine is the same as that served in what would have been the main restaurant or is it an enhanced offering?
#4
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Twigalina, my memory is that it included better wines. Hopefully others will chime in.

Here are a few photos of food we had.

There were six courses.













More on next post. My wife and I didn't have all the same items so you'll see more then six photos.

Keith
#7
Philadelphia, PA
30 Posts
Joined May 2003
Originally posted by Twigalina
Thanks very much for the information Keith. Can I just clarify if the wine is the same as that served in what would have been the main restaurant or is it an enhanced offering?
My wife and I dined at Le Champagne last night. We are onboard the Silver Spirit. From what I could tell, the complimentary selection of wines in Le Champagne is broader than the selections readily available in the MDR. For example, they had Sauternes available for the foie gras menu items. In the MDR, they’d have to go get Sauternes for you because it looks like the only wines on hand are the sommelier selections of red and white wine for the evening. Agree with Keith that the cuisine and ambiance are well worth the supplemental charge. My only criticism of Le Champagne is that the portion sizes are too large. I was full after the second course and felt bad that I couldn’t finish each subsequent course.
#9
Tulsa OK
7,653 Posts
Joined May 2006
My only complaint with Le Champagne is that the food is so rich I am usually full by the second course. It is very delicious. The wines were not the same as in the regular restaurant as I recall.
#10
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
For me it is easy.

One of the benefits of working out on land and on the ship is the ability to enjoy the food on the ship, although for lunch we always eat a healthy lunch.

Keith
#11
London, but not in the EU (soon)
2,126 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by Twigalina
Thanks very much for the information Keith. Can I just clarify if the wine is the same as that served in what would have been the main restaurant or is it an enhanced offering?


The wine served in Le Champagne or La Dame is exactly the same as is available across the ship. Remember, you can ask for anything that is available and a conversation with one of the sommeliers should produce something to your taste.


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#12
36 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
IT seems a bit cheeky to me, asking for extra payment given what SS are already charging. Their cruises are not exactly cheap. Seabourn charges similar prices, but all dining venues are included, which is as it should be.
#13
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Joolsverne
IT seems a bit cheeky to me, asking for extra payment given what SS are already charging. Their cruises are not exactly cheap. Seabourn charges similar prices, but all dining venues are included, which is as it should be.
I understand what you are saying. The issue is that the level of service, food and ambience and intimacy is at a much higher level then the dining room. This is what makes it special and part of this is that they are serving far fewer guests. If you make it free some people will try to dine there most nights and it is weigh too small to accommodate that many people.

Keith
#14
London
3,456 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Even so Keith there should not be a charge for it.Seabourn have speciality restaurants and manage to absorb any charge that could be applied.


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#15
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Mr Luxury
Even so Keith there should not be a charge for it.Seabourn have speciality restaurants and manage to absorb any charge that could be applied.


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I never go with the argument that one line does something so that makes the other one wrong.

Should all lines include excursions in the cruise fare as at least one does.

I do think that if you can have mainly specialty restaurants and a very small dining room that you can do it without fees as long as the cruise lines set cruise fares that they believe will address the additional costs.


The way its set up today on several cruise lines to me just won't work without the fees. Maybe you can solve that by significantly raising the bar at the main dining room. Or another way is to reduce the quality and service and cuisine at the specialty restaurants.



Keith
#16
367 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
As Keith has alluded to, the purpose of the surcharge is to control the number of guests eating there as capacity is limited. It is not seriously considered as an extra source of revenue for Silversea.

Could they do it differently, as say Regent does by limiting guests to one visit per voyage for each speciality restaurant? Sure, but Silversea chooses to do it this way.
#17
Europe
375 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Its an interesting debate. We have our first SS cruise next year and I think we will certainly put on quite enough weight without paying for extra calories as well! Now - a fine dining calorie counted meal or slimmers buffet - that I would pay extra for!
#18
CA, USA
13,874 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Imo, NO luxury line should charge one penny extra for any dining venue whether it be Silversea or Crystal. If they can't find a way to accommodate everyone without an extra charge don't have the restaurant at all. It's their job to make it work, not the passenger's obligation to pay more so they can make the cruise line's life easier. The the bottom line is it's the cruise line's bottom line that is the main factor here. They make a lot more money by charging extra for what should be included.
#19
UK
6,905 Posts
Joined May 2012
Human nature being as unpredictable and illogical as it is, in a perverse way making a charge reduces complaints and a sense of disatisfaction. Those that pay are doing so voluntarily irrespective of whether they agree or not.

If you don't make a charge then many who fail to get a table (I said many .... not all) might feel aggrieved that they didn't get a table but they at least know that they didn't lose something that they had already fully paid for as everyone else, whilst others who paid the same got it.

By making a charge, it not only gives an increased budget to pay for the meal, but there is a slightly less sense of being cheated if you don't get a table than if it were free to both those that dined and those that weren't able to.

People now pay extra for better wine ... or caviar ... so I really see it as more of that. If you get my drift.
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Jeff

#20
London, but not in the EU (soon)
2,126 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
In the past a nominal charge for a fine dining experience made sense. Now we have a massive increase in the charge and a significantly reduced service. La Dame is 5 courses where Le Champagne was 7. There is no longer any choice in Kaiseki, so no tempura.


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