Among the truest statements ever uttered is, “You will never, ever go hungry on a cruise ship.” And with so many free options available, it’s not unusual for passengers to completely eschew venues like specialty restaurants which offer, for a fee, dining experiences that are a bit more unique. But even the many people who decide to sample the fare at the steakhouses or Italian restaurants featured on most modern luxury liners miss out on one of the best, most exclusive dining opportunities available to cruise ship passengers: The Chef’s Table. While not every ship or line offers them, those that do promise the kind of premium dining experience that foodies love. Why should you give The Chef’s Table a try on your next cruise? Glad you asked!
1. It’s a unique experience
While a vast majority of cruisers are likely going to eat at a specialty restaurant during their vacation, the same is not true of the Chef’s Table. Generally speaking, ships which offer these culinary events only have one per sailing, and each is an intimate event with a very, very limited number of guests. As such, it is not only a sought-after dining experience, but also one that a small minority of cruisers will partake in.
2. It’s a culinary adventure
The Chef’s Table is not for picky eaters. For foodies and those with an adventurous palette, they offer a delightful array of taste sensations. We’ve seen everything from red cabbage tarts to avocado cheesecake make their way onto menus. And while some lines have a “pre-set” menu, many times offerings are based on what fresh ingredients are available – and the chef’s whims!
3. Did we mention the wine?
Rare is a Chef’s Table experience that doesn’t include wine pairings with the various courses. Better still, the price is generally factored into the cost of the meal.
4. The perks
Usually, Chef’s Table experiences start off with a tour of the galley, a place few cruisers get the opportunity to see! Often, they will also include a free group photo, a personalized copy of that evening’s menu, and sometimes even a little entertainment! During one recent meal, we were treated to an up-close and personal magic show… and still couldn’t figure out how the heck he pulled off those tricks!
5. It’s worth every penny
Yes, you’re going to pay more for a Chef’s Table meal than you would in a specialty restaurant. However, they still tend to be less expensive than most similar meals would be on dry land, especially when the cost of wine is factored in. For example, on Carnival ships, The Chef’s Table usually runs between $75 and $95 per person. Try having a multi-course fine dining experience — with wine pairings — in a normal upscale restaurant at that price!