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Ukigirl

Chefs Table, is it worth the price?

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Will be on Majesty in November and since there’s limited dining options, thinking of purchasing Chefs Table.  It’s currently $84 (plus gratuities) per person, four courses with wine pairings.  We aren’t the biggest foodies but sure do enjoy a great meal and wine. Guess I’m asking if it’s worth it?

 

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We were approached by someone on the ship during our cruise to go to the chef's table and offered a discount. I believe it was buy one and second was half off, so you could wait till you get on board and see if you can get a deal. I found it to be a wonderful experience and loved it but whether or not it is worth it is very subjective to every person.

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There are so many variables that come into play, that your question is a difficult one to give a definitive answer to.  Food is so subjective, that the only way to find out if it's worth it, is to experience it for yourself. My wife and I have done three chef's table dinners on three different lines and only one of them was memorable. The one that we enjoyed and remember the most also was the first one we attended. As a side note, that dinner was also right after the Chef's Table dining concept was first launched. The Head Chef was in attendance to explain all the courses, along with the Sommelier to explain the wine choices. The number of wait staff was almost equal to the number of guests at the table. That dining experience was worth every penny we spent on it. Unfortunately, the following two experiences didn't come close to matching our first Chefs Table, so we no longer indulge. That doesn't mean you won't have an awesome experience, but there's only one way to actually know. Go for it! Even if it isn't spectacular, it's an experience you won't have elsewhere.

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The one and only time we've done it so far was on our recent Radiance cruise. We waited till we got onboard to book and ended up w/ a substantial discount. If you go, I'd recommend waiting to book, and asking upfront for a discount. Unlikely they'll offer one.  Our experience was fabulous - it was held in a private room, unlike other ships I've heard about that cordon off a section of the MDR. The chef and sommelier spent a good deal of time explaining the selections, and food/wine/service was first rate. We are considering doing it again on some of our upcoming cruises, hoping to repeat our wonderful first experience!

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I would ask to see the wine list before I purchased Chef's Table.  I've read some recent reports that the quality of wine has been declining.

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7 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

I would ask to see the wine list before I purchased Chef's Table.  I've read some recent reports that the quality of wine has been declining.

I have heard that too Bob. Luckily I don't know much about wine so I could not tell you if it was good or bad wine let alone cheap or expensive. I would imagine if you are a wine lover you will not be getting the best bottles at the chef's table.

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15 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

I would ask to see the wine list before I purchased Chef's Table.  I've read some recent reports that the quality of wine has been declining.

Agree , we are really into wine and doubt the quality is that good . We did have excellent wine on our one and only dinner with the captain, food also was excellent.

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8 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

I have heard that too Bob. Luckily I don't know much about wine so I could not tell you if it was good or bad wine let alone cheap or expensive. I would imagine if you are a wine lover you will not be getting the best bottles at the chef's table.

 

The quality of the wine has a very large effect on the "worth it" equation for us.

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I have a good friend of mine who has a incredible wine cellar in his home and knows his wine so much he could do blind tastings and tell you the type of wine, the vineyard, and the grapes that were used. Very impressive. I wish I knew more about wine.

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I'd recommend but I'm disappointed to hear Bob's comment.  When we went on Allure years ago we had several from or group join us plus some random other cruisers who booked, we all had a good time.

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I would agree it was a good time, but that was largely due to the personalities of the people at the table! I was disappointed that the first 3 courses came out with similar tasting white wines. The main course was a filet and had a fabulous cabernet which I loved! In fact, you could see all of my wine glasses lined up full of white wine, with my red glass empty, lol! I enjoyed our evening on the Allure but having done land-side degustation menus, I don't think it is comparable. (*For those who have been to Orlando, it's not in the same league as Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian.) So if you go in with the expectation of having a nice meal, but not a spectacular one, you will enjoy it.

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FWIW I haven't done a chef's table on a cruise, but from poring over videos and photos of RC chef's tables, I'll agree the wines are nothing special, you see them in the supermarket. We are going to wait and see how we feel and if they offer a deal onboard, perhaps go for the novelty factor of a special menu, getting dressed up and conversing with ten other cruisers from who knows where.

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We tried it on Vision last year and had a great time. A lot of that had to do with we all knew each other so the discussions were lively

 

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We too were disappointed by the quality of wines offered at Chef's Table, i.e. $10/bottle at your local grocery store. I opted instead for cocktails from the Diamond menu.

 

We would not recommend Chef's Table on Allure. It's on the 2nd floor of the Diamond Club and VERY noisy. Difficult to hear conversations. We enjoyed Chef's Table on Jewel last NYE. Festive, everyone dressed up, great conversations, and the space near the Safari Club was tucked away and private. Made for a memorable evening. Chef's Table on Enchantment was BOGO during a recent July 2019 sailing.

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I've done it several times and my usual response to this question is yes, however the tablemates make or brake this... food is subjective but usually great, look at it as paying for the experience not for expensive wine etc. But who your sitting with will create either a quick meal with no real conversation,  or your gonna literally close down the dining room with a group of people that you'll remember and talk with for years to come. It never seems to be a middle ground.  

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We've done lots of Chef's Tables on many different ships, I would make the following observations:

 

- Do not pay full price - they will always offer discounts and you should ask upfront. If they say no the first time ask again a few days later.

- If you are doing it to experience food better than speciality restaurants - and definitely better than MDR - it's worth it. If you have done 'real' chef's tables onland, it isn't quite the same experience. The Chef works to a script and with a menu dictated by the company - but it's still several notches above the MDR menu

-If you're doing it for the wine they will match wines well to complement the dishes, but don't expect great wine. 

- I would take a look at where it's located. Radiance class has the best locations, with a dedicated dining room. Vision class have a strange area built into the MDR but at least it's a separate room. On Explorer they had a section of Chops curtained off - not good and wouldn't do it again and wouldn't like the tables in Coastal Kitchen/upstairs in Diamond lounge on some of the Oasis class. If you're paying extra for a Chef's table experience it shouldn't be in a section of another room IMHO

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22 minutes ago, Bobal said:

We've done lots of Chef's Tables on many different ships, I would make the following observations:

 

- Do not pay full price - they will always offer discounts and you should ask upfront. If they say no the first time ask again a few days later.

- If you are doing it to experience food better than speciality restaurants - and definitely better than MDR - it's worth it. If you have done 'real' chef's tables onland, it isn't quite the same experience. The Chef works to a script and with a menu dictated by the company - but it's still several notches above the MDR menu

-If you're doing it for the wine they will match wines well to complement the dishes, but don't expect great wine. 

- I would take a look at where it's located. Radiance class has the best locations, with a dedicated dining room. Vision class have a strange area built into the MDR but at least it's a separate room. On Explorer they had a section of Chops curtained off - not good and wouldn't do it again and wouldn't like the tables in Coastal Kitchen/upstairs in Diamond lounge on some of the Oasis class. If you're paying extra for a Chef's table experience it shouldn't be in a section of another room IMHO

A true chef's table would be in the kitchen.

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 The wine quality has  definitely gone down over the years.  I would suggest anyone who is considering chef’s table to check out both the menu and the specific wines  offered and determine if the event is something that you would enjoy. 

 

M

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We’ve done it on Liberty and Serenade.  Liberty was on the landing of the dining room and got very noisy at times.  However the wine, food and company was excellent.  On the Serenade it was a separate room and quiet.  The company was also more quiet, wine was cheaper, food was great.  We will do it when we cruise for a birthday or anniversary but not every cruise.  All in all we think it’s worth it.  For $180 for a couple on land it would be a reasonable price for the food and wine and makes for us a nice evening “out”.  It does take almost 3 hours so will be a full evening.

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6 minutes ago, cruiselvr04 said:

What is the best discount anyone has been offered on board?

 

We got it for $45 pp once. 

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Thanks for all the suggestions, wine quality is a big deal.  Think I’ll wait and see if there are any deals onboard, if not then MDR or Windjammer since it’s only a 5 night. On a side note,  my hubby was so excited because our marina shop was offering a discount on their wine for end of the season, he bought 4 bottles @ $6 a bottle.  I’m not a wine snob but one glass last night and omg, worst headache ever.  FYI, Lindemans Shiraz 🤢

 

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We did Chefs Table in April on Majesty and it was great!  They do it in a separate private dining room with a table for 10.  The food and wine were delicious but it was just as much about the experience.  The chef came out for each course to introduce the dish and answer questions.  Then he would say “I’m off to make your next course!”   The sommelier was also very good and provided lots of info about the wines.  It was nearly 3 hours for the whole experience and it was a very enjoyable and lovely evening.  I’m glad we did it on a small ship.  I will find the menu and post a picture.  

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