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BuddyR

Chef’s Market Discoveries

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Has anyone recently been on a Chef’s Market Discoveries excursion through Celebrity, particularly the one in Cozumel?  I am considering the excursion this fall on the Equinox because my husband and I are foodies, we’ve been to Cozumel many times, and have some onboard credit to spend.  The excursion is expensive, and I would appreciate your thoughts, especially concerning the dinner back onboard.

 

Thanks, 

Laura

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21 minutes ago, BuddyR said:

Has anyone recently been on a Chef’s Market Discoveries excursion through Celebrity, particularly the one in Cozumel?  I am considering the excursion this fall on the Equinox because my husband and I are foodies, we’ve been to Cozumel many times, and have some onboard credit to spend.  The excursion is expensive, and I would appreciate your thoughts, especially concerning the dinner back onboard.

 

Thanks, 

Laura

We’ve done this once. Not Cozumel, not Equinox. Eclipse I believe, in St Martin. The dinner was very fine. Downsides: 1) the 10-12 of us who had the experience together were not seated together in the Tuscany for dinner. Two random tables of six. I had hoped for more group time. 2) The food served at the dinner was not locally sourced. And the fine print does say that, but for me it made it into more of an observational rather than a participatory experience. Upsides: a fun day, good dinner, good interaction with the senior chef. If I had OBC begging for a home, I would do this again. 

Stan

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We did the Cozumel Chef's Market Tour in January and had a great time. Here is a review from my live thread - the link will take you to the start of the tour. We also did the St Maarten Chef's Market Tour and loved that one as well. Comfortable vans are provided and the guides are top notch. The authenticity of the market in Cozumel made it very interesting and what's not to love about chocolate and tequila? The lunch was delicious and the dinner presented by the Chef that evening was amazing - it was great to talk with him and ask questions throughout the day.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the review of the Cozumel Chef's Market Discovery Tour.  We are booked for our November cruise. We did it in St. Marten and really enjoyed it.  The ones we had booed in St. Lucia and Jamaica were both cancelled. 

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

Thanks for the review of the Cozumel Chef's Market Discovery Tour.  We are booked for our November cruise. We did it in St. Marten and really enjoyed it.  The ones we had booed in St. Lucia and Jamaica were both cancelled. 

I think we will continue to do them. Now that we have done 2 different ports, we can see that they are quite different experiences and we enjoy meeting different chefs and being able to ask them questions. It is a very enjoyable way to explore the culture of the area and to learn about Celebrity's culinary program. We don't do many tours on Carib cruises, so this is our splurge. 🙂

Edited by vtcruising

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We did this tour in March and it was fabulous. The chef from the ship who accompanied us was actually from Cozumel so that was great. There were about 16-20 people on the tour and we were on a nice van/shuttle bus with air conditioning. At the local market you can purchase snacks/empanadas but be aware the excursion includes a lunch at a local restaurant (we were served a variety of soft tacos). There were several other tourist stops i.e. tequila and chocolate factories. That evening on the ship we had a lovely group dinner that the chef prepared for us. We were stuffed! I wish they would offer this type of excursion in every port. 

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1 minute ago, OceanCruise said:

We did this tour in March and it was fabulous. The chef from the ship who accompanied us was actually from Cozumel so that was great. There were about 16-20 people on the tour and we were on a nice van/shuttle bus with air conditioning. At the local market you can purchase snacks/empanadas but be aware the excursion includes a lunch at a local restaurant (we were served a variety of soft tacos). There were several other tourist stops i.e. tequila and chocolate factories. That evening on the ship we had a lovely group dinner that the chef prepared for us. We were stuffed! I wish they would offer this type of excursion in every port. 

We shared the 3 empanadas in the market with another couple - we weren't going to at first because of lunch, but OMG, they were made to order and soooo good. 🙂   The chef we had brought out about 6 courses that night - I had to leave before I burst! So delicious! A lovely day....

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Thanks to all who have responded so far.  I'm getting excited about this experience.  We rarely do ship tours, but this one appeals to me.  The "live" Edge review was especially helpful.  Our cruise is November 30, so I have a while to wait!

 

Laura

 

 

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Posted (edited)

We are doing this one in Cozumel in August and will definitely report back. 

The details about the shipboard dinner are a little fuzzy I think on purpose. From a previous Chefs Table dinner, we were told they are quite restricted on locally sourcing food because the ship operates under US health regulations.

 

because of that different ports might handle the food sourcing differently.

As far as I can tell, the St Maarten trip is still truncated from the storm

Edited by cangelmd

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4 minutes ago, cangelmd said:

We are doing this one in Cozumel in August and will definitely report back. 

The details about the shipboard dinner are a little fuzzy I think on purpose. From a previous Chefs Table dinner, we were told they are quite restricted on locally sourcing food because the ship operates under US health regulations.

 

because of that different ports might handle the food sourcing differently.

As far as I can tell, the St Maarten trip is still truncated from the storm

The Chef explained the local food purchasing to us on the tour. My understanding was that they have approved vendors to buy food from in ports (not sure if it is every port). Those vendors meet the health regulations. In Cozumel, we went to a market and saw lots of fresh fish, but the amazing fresh grouper that the Chef cooked for us for dinner that night was from an approved vendor in Cozumel. He purchased some other things locally for the dinner as well, but I can't remember all the details (maybe the avocados and chocolate).

 

In St Maarten, the Chef showed us how to choose fish, vegetables, fruits, etc. in the market. On our way back to the ship, he said he would have one of his people go pick up some ingredients for the dinner that night. I assume that it was the same deal - they purchased some items from a local approved vendor. He also served a wonderful fresh local fish.

 

Next time I will drink less wine and get more details. 😉

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The chef explained he could not purchase meat or fish in the market because that was not an approved vendor. However, he was able to buy some produce that was incorporated into the meal. Whatever else was used in dinner was obtained through Celebrity approved vendors but not arranged on the tour. Dinner was about 6 courses of various Mexican style cuisine and it was all very good. For each course the chef came out to the table to explain it. We were at the opposite end of the long table and it was difficult to hear him as the main dining room section we were in was loud.

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I have thought of another question...Was the wine served at dinner included and paired with each course or was the wine ordered separately from the drink package?

 

Laura

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2 hours ago, vtcruising said:

The Chef explained the local food purchasing to us on the tour. My understanding was that they have approved vendors to buy food from in ports (not sure if it is every port). Those vendors meet the health regulations. In Cozumel, we went to a market and saw lots of fresh fish, but the amazing fresh grouper that the Chef cooked for us for dinner that night was from an approved vendor in Cozumel. He purchased some other things locally for the dinner as well, but I can't remember all the details (maybe the avocados and chocolate).

 

In St Maarten, the Chef showed us how to choose fish, vegetables, fruits, etc. in the market. On our way back to the ship, he said he would have one of his people go pick up some ingredients for the dinner that night. I assume that it was the same deal - they purchased some items from a local approved vendor. He also served a wonderful fresh local fish.

 

Next time I will drink less wine and get more details. 😉

Yes the rules are a bit convoluted, but do go a long way to keep passengers safe. The executive chef led the galley tour for our Chefs Table dinner and his discussion was fascinating, because the logistics of procuring the food, and adhering to the US rules is a big part of his job. Fascinating in a nerdy kind of way.

 We are looking forward to this tour, partly to see what the staff can do with local ingredients.

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42 minutes ago, BuddyR said:

I have thought of another question...Was the wine served at dinner included and paired with each course or was the wine ordered separately from the drink package?

 

Laura

There was champagne or sparkling wine offered at the big table in Cafe al Bacio (our meeting spot) - Chef Krystos opened more bottles if people wanted another glass.  A complimentary red and white (likely a Cab and a Chard) were offered with the dinner. We could use our wine package and to get something different, if we wished. I think we were happy with what was poured, if I remember correctly - the glasses were never empty. 🙂

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Posted (edited)

For a food-centric excursion in Cozumel I strongly recommend booking the food tour with Cozumel Chef rather than opting for something through the cruise ship. Have done this tour twice; recently during my Edge cruise and several years ago and both experiences were fantastic. A small group (was about 6 people both times I did it) are taken on a guided tour to about six different restaurants off the beaten path (i.e. non touristy areas). The price of the tour covers all the food/beverage at each stop as well as the guide and transportation from restaurant to restaurant. The guide takes care of ordering the best item(s) at each venue - so is totally hassle free way to experience some super interesting, delicious, authentic venues. Both times I had outstanding guides, the tour was run perfectly and in addition to amazing food (quality and quantity) was so much fun. While not cheap ($80 per/person), is a good value and much less $$$ than the ship's food tours. 

 

https://www.cozumelchef.com/services/foodtourscozumel/

Edited by Gonzo70

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1 hour ago, Gonzo70 said:

For a food-centric excursion in Cozumel I strongly recommend booking the food tour with Cozumel Chef rather than opting for something through the cruise ship. Have done this tour twice; recently during my Edge cruise and several years ago and both experiences were fantastic. A small group (was about 6 people both times I did it) are taken on a guided tour to about six different restaurants off the beaten path (i.e. non touristy areas). The price of the tour covers all the food/beverage at each stop as well as the guide and transportation from restaurant to restaurant. The guide takes care of ordering the best item(s) at each venue - so is totally hassle free way to experience some super interesting, delicious, authentic venues. Both times I had outstanding guides, the tour was run perfectly and in addition to amazing food (quality and quantity) was so much fun. While not cheap ($80 per/person), is a good value and much less $$$ than the ship's food tours. 

 

https://www.cozumelchef.com/services/foodtourscozumel/

I looked at that company, and it did look like an interesting tour. We had OBC to use, and not a lot else of interest to spend it on.

The OP should at least consider Cozumel Chef...

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Posted (edited)

For a cheaper culinary experience in Cozumel, I highly recommend lunch at Pescaderia San Carlos. Great food, very reasonable prices. You'll need to take a taxi since Celebrity docks at an inconvenient port in Cozumel (plus it's about a half mile in from the main shopping street). 

 

If you've seen the Mighty Cruise Ships episode with MSC Divina, it's the place where the captain went for lunch.

 

PS if you Google it and see the Yelp entry, ignore the claim that it's closed. It isn't.

Edited by MisterBill99

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We had booked a similar excursion for our Edge sailing this past April in St Maarten but unfortunately was canceled several months ahead of time for some reason.  It looked like it would have been a good time!

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