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Getaway Photo Review - Food Focus - Specialty Dining - Chef's Table - Viva Vino

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Megacruiser, I appreciate your honesty regarding my solo group questions, most wouldn't have bothered. Your review is fabulous, I'm boarding for memorial day week. I'm a ship person like you another appreciation. Debbie

 

Sent from my KFJWI using Forums mobile app

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Megacruiser,

Your review has given me a good idea of what to expect on my upcoming first cruise on NCL and has enhanced my anticipation.

Your review of the QM2 has brought back wonderful memories of my time on her and made me realize that once was not enough.

Now I'm off to read your Queen Elizabeth review.

The time and effort you have devoted to your in-depth reviews is most appreciated.

I hope you are sailing again soon, because no matter what line you choose, I look forward to your thoughts and they could very well open my mind to expanding my horizons to a new (to me) cruise line.

Regards,

Marion

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I am enjoying your review, especially your detailed assessment of the food and drink.

 

Do you use legacy glass as well as modern lenses? I have a Fuji XE-1 and tend to use older manual lenses and my kit lens goes underutilized.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write this.

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Chefs%20Table%20Menu-0001_zpsfz57cni0.jpg

 

 

I have only once before attended a Chef’s Table event at sea and that was on Oasis of the Seas. Whilst I enjoyed the whole ceremony and process of the occasion, the food did not quite live up to expectations. Royal Caribbean offer the Chef’s Table every night. The Executive Chef is not present; oversight of the food preparation and presentation to the guests is delegated to an underling. The cost was $85 and this included wine-pairings with each course. To say that the wine-pour was frugal is an understatement; and no top-ups were offered. (I have heard others say that wine flowed freely on other ships, but having just experienced Quantum’s Chef’s Table, I can confirm that meagre wine-measures are still noticeably in place.)

 

When I sailed on Epic last year I didn’t attend the Chef’s Table because I had purchased both the UDP and UBP; and no adjustment to the cost is made in lieu of either of these packages. Since I had paid for specialty dining every night and could drink wines I enjoyed from the drinks package, this seemed a little unfair and made the $99 charge seem rather expensive. This time I bought the Viva Vino Wine Package and paid for Specialty Dining for each restaurant I visited. My two nights at Ocean Blue, which is not included in the UDP, meant paying as I went along worked out less expensive on this occasion. However if you don’t intend to do Chef’s Table or Ocean Blue, I highly recommend the Ultimate Dining Package as a real bargain; especially if you book the Illusionarium, which is free of charge with the UDP on the first night of the cruise only.

 

The Chef’s Table invitation is delivered to your cabin, inviting you to the Haven Lounge at 6pm where you meet your dining companions; the key-access door is left open to ease arrival. I have to say I really liked the decor in the Haven; some people might say it’s a bit glitzy, but I particularly liked the use of lighting to create ambience. Champagne is offered whilst some preliminary chit-chat slowly initiates and the anticipation of what lies ahead intensifies. The Executive Chef arrives at about 6.30 and after a brief introduction we are invited to have a group photograph taken by one of the ship’s photographers. We also had individual photos taken with the Chef at the dining table. As you leave you are presented with a large signed copy of the menu in a folder with the two photos taken earlier.

 

We were then led past the Haven Restaurant to the private area located behind some artwork where the Chef’s Table is located surrounded by an extensive wine collection. I had read good things about NCL’s Chef’s Table. Not only did this prove to be the gastronomic highlight of the cruise, there was a real festive feel to the whole occasion. All of those present were undoubtedly pampered like VIPs, with truly generous hospitality; and the amiable Executive Chef enhanced the atmosphere, proving to be the consummate-host for the entire evening. The unobtrusive serving-staff kept glasses discreetly topped-up whilst guests chatted with one another. Every time you returned to your glass it was mysteriously still full... No doubt about it, the conversation certainly flowed as the alcohol quickly counteracted any initial inhibitions. My fellow passengers were a great bunch and never once did the repartee falter.

 

I am not going to describe each dish in detail but everything was virtually faultless. The various dishes worked well together. The only dish that for me was not exceptional was the Short Crust Tartlet; nothing wrong with the execution, is just didn’t excite me. I will mention that the Veal Chop was not only delicious and very tender, but it was huge. No way could I eat it all and not for the lack of desire.

 

When it came to desserts, there were two on the menu but you weren’t asked which you wanted. Seems they gave one of each to the couples; presumably with the intention that they could swap or share. Anyone else took pot luck. I got the Dome which I enjoyed but I did like the sound and look of the Chocoholic’s Delight; which my neighbour was lucky enough to have, and a special little birthday cake.

 

Afterwards we were invited to repair to the lounge for coffee and liqueurs; an offer I would not normally pass on, no matter how much wine I had coiffed... However I wanted to see the Firework Display which only takes place once per cruise, so I declined.

 

My overall rating of the Chef’s Table was far, far higher than my previous Oasis experience, or for that matter my more recent Quantum one. I do wonder whether NCL operate it as a kind of PR exercise more so than a pure money-making event. When you consider that the Executive Chef spends the whole evening with the guests; the cost and quality of the ingredients; the preparation and careful cooking of the food, which is to a very high standard; the generosity with never-ending wine top-ups, then liqueurs etc to follow for those who want them; I do wonder if all the expense and manpower involved makes the evening a big earner for them. Especially when numbers are limited to 12 to 14 passengers per cruise... Just a thought...

 

 

Door jammed open for arrivals...

Chefs%20Table%20Haven%20entrance-7913_zpsepv5fjp3.jpg

 

 

Passage to rendezvous, Haven Lounge...

Chefs%20Table%20Haven%202%20entrance-7914_zpss5fmfpdb.jpg

 

 

Concierge...

Chefs%20Table%20Haven%20concierge-7915_zpsa7440drv.jpg

 

 

Haven Pool seen from lounge...

Chefs%20Table%20Pool-7917_zpsje8w7rcv.jpg

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Chefs%20Table%20edit%20menu-_zpsh0aiig27.jpg

 

Spherical Mango - a heavenly taste-bud tantaliser...

Chefs%20Table%20Mano%20sphere-_zps6cizvtxc.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20Mango-_zpsrbyt4hfv.jpg

 

 

 

Tuna Tartare - vibrant fresh tasting...

Chefs%20Table%20tuna%202-_zpstb3hark3.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%2023%20tuna%2023-7939_zpskxciwpvs.jpg[/font][/size][/color]

Edited by Help@

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Asparagus Cream Soup with Cauliflower Flan - delightful combination...

Chefs%20Table%20soup%20asparagus%20cauliflower-_zpsil7t077f.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20soup%20asp%20cauli-7946_zpsq1kosmvv.jpg

 

 

Short Crust Tartlet - strong Goat's Cheese needed extra Chutney to cut through it...

Chefs%20Table%20tartlet%20goat%20cheese-_zpsqqickwwm.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20tartlet-_zps0hvnrqvs.jpg

 

 

Granite – palate cleanser at just the right time...

Chefs%20Table%20granita-_zpsshrzsqms.jpg

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The food is gorgeous, so well crafted. Your pictures are amazing, keep them coming I am hanging on every new sight and description.

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Sea Bass – really superbly cooked...

Chefs%20Table%20sea%20bass-7008_zpssy5v0lc8.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20sea%20bass%202-_zpstxzbfdok.jpg

 

 

 

Veal Chop – very tender but huge...

Chefs%20Table%20veal%20chop-_zpsuacrfugs.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20veal%20chop%202-_zpsttnwh4mk.jpg

 

Edited by megacruiser

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Chefs%20Table%20ex%20chef-7932_zpsryysfweo.jpg

 

 

 

Cheese Platter – ideal accompaniments...

Chefs%20Table%20cheese-7013_zpst1z0jkhh.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20cheese%202-_zps0sq6kw8r.jpg

 

 

 

Yoghurt Mousse Dome - Hobson's Choice for me...

Chefs%20Table%20dessert%20dome-7016_zpskxjaej2d.jpg

 

 

Chefs%20Table%20dome%203-_zpsq36re4lg.jpg

 

 

 

Chocohilic's Delight and Birthday Cake for my neighbour - looks scrumptious...

Chefs%20Table%20choc%20bday%20cake-7969_zps0d2ibtrl.jpg

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Well I don't know where the time has gone. It's now 1.30am, so I will post the Fireworks tomorrow. Thanks to all those who are following or have expressed an interest.

 

Cheers!

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Cage keeper, you beat me to my ?? Megacruiser, you've sold me on trying the chef's table. Thought it would be all couples. Thanks again for this fabulous review. Debbie

 

 

Sent from my KFJWI using Forums mobile app

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Hello wibeachbum, sghetrick, LilLeebird and nellietoo,

 

Many thanks for following and taking the time to comment.

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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All I can say right now is this is a wonderful review, awesome pictures and I can't wait until I get my chance to be on this ship!!!:D

 

Thanks for your positive fedback.

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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Wow!!!!! I don't know what you do for a living, but I hope it involves writing. Best review I have ever read, just like many others have said before me. I sail on the Getaway tomorrow, 2/28 and although I am a seasoned cruiser with 40+ cruises under my belt, I can't tell you how helpful this review has been. It always helps so much to read a particular ship's review. If you add the benefit of your writing style and the pictures, it's almost like you already know the ship before you sail it. I now know exactly what wine we'll be drinking and where we'll be dining! Thank you again!:):):):)

 

Thanks for your enthusiasm. Glad my review has helped. However I hope you haven't chosen wine based on what I have said as I am not an authority on wine and just giving an opinion...

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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Greetings

 

Just booked Getaway for 16 May. Very happy to find such a well written review. Great work.

 

Good Sailing

Tom

 

Your feedback is truly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time.

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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Greetings

 

Just booked Getaway for 16 May. Very happy to find such a well written review. Great work.

 

Good Sailing

Tom

 

Many thanks for the kind compliment. Really appreciated.

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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I love your photos. I have to ask what time were you taking the photos since everywhere looks deserted! You must have gotten up very early.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the review.

 

Early morning; or mid morning on port days, are the best times to avoid crowds.

 

Many thanks again for keeping following and liking my photos... :)

 

Cheers

megacruiser

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Luv your post. Am excited to read more. Your pics are outstanding. Please continue with all the details (really liked the menu pic). Thanks so much for posting.

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