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M&PGermany

Goodbye Champagne Nicholas Feuillatte

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sananda, I hear what you are saying.  But, the simple fact is that there is a need for Seabourn to watch their bottom line.  I'm sure it is a balancing act.  Less expensive but still palatable (to most) champagne is what works for them.  Just like selling suites as many as 80 at a time to a discount TA is also part of their business model.  And, they are part of the Carnival Line and need to pull their weight in terms of profitability , or at least not be a drag on that number.  

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Still NF on Sojourn.

Currently docked in Juneau and dozens of cases of both NF and Montaudon are being loaded from the dock. 

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both NF and Montaudon are being loaded from the dock

 

Lucky you.  I think they are both great, along with Jacquart, Roederer (one letter away from being the GOAT "f") and Monopole.  I even enjoyed the sparkling wine on Windstar and Viking.  When I am on such trips, it all tastes great to me.

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On 6/19/2019 at 8:05 PM, 2SailingNomads said:

I had a discussion w/ a senior SB executive a few years ago about the champagne and he told me the problem is finding a good supplier who can reliably provide enough product at a price point that works.  

 

This is exactly the issue.  Not just price point (which many here have focused on) but also supply (which fewer have).

 

In production supply and price are often tied together (for a quality product, scarcity will drive price) and for establishments (whether a cruise line or an airline, hotel brand, or chain restaurant) that need to be able to maintain a consistent and widely distributed supply chain of a product, both have to be considered. 

 

I have a wine industry friend who in his former life was an investment banker working in the global beverage segment who, several years ago in regard to a related question, helped me understand more about how the major players work (including why some great wines with decent production volumes only make it out of their native regions in tiny quantities and why there are some surprisingly good private label wines available in supermarkets or other third-party brands if you know where to look).

 

The reality is that there are maybe a dozen champagne producers that have all of the required factors: high production numbers, global distribution (in order to get the product into Seabourn’s supply chain), and a reasonable wholesale price point.  

 

I find it humorous that some here want to compare the “quality” of a wine with the supermarket price point.  I went to a day-long champagne education session (humorously titled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Veuve Clicquot”) a few years ago where one of the subsections broke down the top producers by spend.  Something crazy (like over 50%) of the price of a bottle of Veuve is marketing/advertising cost.  So you aren’t paying more for a higher quality product... you are paying more to have the perception that it’s higher quality marketed to you.  (For my own sake, we’ll leave La Grande Dame out of this... I have a soft spot for the old gal!)  

 

We did a blind tasting of the top products alongside some of the regional small production producers where everyone ranked them.  Later in the day we did a non-blind tasting.  Not too surprisingly, people’s ratings in the non-blind were influenced a bit by what they perceived they should think of some of the prestige brands.

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On 6/11/2019 at 5:03 AM, janerlve said:

NV Montaudon Brut is one of the cheapest champagnes you can buy. Same champagne been served on Celebrity. Not a step up from Nicholas Feuillatte IMO.

 

Agree. Montaudon is the cheap Champagne they tout at Total Wine, with inflated prices b/c you get it 20% off regularly as it is their supposed ‘winery direct’ wines.   Definitely not a step up at all IMHO.  Not happy & certainly not impressed. 

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I just feel we have to put things in perspective, sure both are simple basic champagnes but it is what you get with all inclusive, if we want extra quality alcohol we have to pay extra for it. I understand that some cruisers feel that standards may have dropped over the years, which may be true but one thing is certain prices are definitely much lower, I do not feel we can have everything.

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rl787 your perspective is refreshing. When you look around at the amount of free pour champagne left lying around after certain events it doesn't make economic sense to have a very expensive Champagne. Having done various Champagne tastings I find it interesting the various palates that we encountered from other tasters in the room.

 

We can get a basic Moet Chandon here in Perth and I prefer the taste of other less well known and cheaper Champagnes. I have tried Montaudon and I remember it as less acidic than NF and I am good with that. 

 

When we want a more refined champagne we are happy to pay for it...isn't that what OBC is for.😎

 

Julie

 

 

 

 

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Silversea serves Monopole blue top, which we found far more drinkable than SB Nicholas Feuillatte...drank one bottle of NF and that was enough for me. We enjoyed Monopole every day on SS!

 

Hopefully Montaudon is a step up over NF.

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Sananda,

 

Seabourn IS a luxury product and wins major awards at the top level perennially. Which means it is perceived at least on a par across the board and overall superior to its competition. That approach to discussion regarding your suggestion that Seabourn is somehow not “luxury” is sensible and rational, don’t you think?

 

About hidden gems, chefs finding complementary (note spelling here), and local wines, recall that the complimentary wines are generally appealing enough to the vast majority of passengers. That said, the premium wine list which might suit your tastes - and that of others - is very reasonably priced especially when you get up to 25% discount for Club members and packages, and you can always purchase your own selections ashore and have the wine served to you without a corkage charge. This compares favorably with other i.e. confirmed luxury brands such as Cunard Queens Grill, in my experience.

 

So on this basis, Seabourn markets itself as a luxury experience and commends itself very well indeed.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

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Maybe we could do away all these threads about the quality of the wine by eliminating just one word from Seabourn's marketing...."fine." Everyone's definition of what a fine wine is may be different so by just saying wine is included no one will have an unrealistic expectation.

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I think we also have to bear in mind, and it has been referred to in postings above, that a cruise line operates differently than a land based restaurant. Obviously it needs provisions including wine for sea days on end, and it has to ensure a consistent supply of whatever many/most/all its 200/300/400/500 passengers might expect to drink from the wine list daily. That means e.g. a chef nipping out for a dozen bottles of anything anytime he/she prepares a meal would not work.

 

And to reiterate, Seabourn’s premium wine list is excellent value, and it delivers us a range of delectable wines all the time. That’s fine wine for a luxury cruise line product in my book.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

 

 

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I agree, Markham. But my point is consistency of supply is not the problem. The problem is what people expect when they hear "fine" wine. For some it's anything that doesn't come in a box. For others it has to be a premier cry French Bordeaux. So do away with the adjective and no one can complain if SB just advertises "wine included."

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On 7/3/2019 at 9:42 AM, wripro said:

Maybe we could do away all these threads about the quality of the wine by eliminating just one word from Seabourn's marketing...."fine."

Agreed.  Also, if they would drop "ultra" in front of luxury.   The ultra days are long gone.  And if it were not for the crew, luxury would be an exaggeration.

 

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13 hours ago, saminina said:

Agreed.  Also, if they would drop "ultra" in front of luxury.   The ultra days are long gone.  And if it were not for the crew, luxury would be an exaggeration.

 

Luxury is relative. When mass market lines offer luxury cruises surely Seabourn becomes ultra luxury.

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The “ultra” reference wripro introduces makes sense to me since mass market lines are very different environments from what you find on Seabourn. Some might disagree and stay put there and that is fine for them. Royal Caribbean, MSC and Celebrity, a couple of which have cross membership in their loyalty clubs and a “luxury” class are what they may be talking about. But none of that would make a difference to me; Seabourn Club, and what it represents, is exclusive to Seabourn, just as the product is. Wannabees: now you know.

 

Why bring this up? Let’s talk about only one element of Seabourn’s product, Champagne, with or without complimentary on demand caviar service. Could it be that even Nicky Fooey tastes better on Seabourn than it does anywhere else? If so, then you can appreciate the point. It’s all about Seabourn. Ultra. Then there is everything else on Seabourn starting with the biggest difference to me- the empowered, well trained, outgoing and often spontaneous staff. And engaged and always visible officers. Ultra.

 

I won’t get back to Seabourn until November and I will be looking forward to the new Montaudon Champagne. I bet when I am on board, maybe at sail-away or in the Observation Bar, it will taste terrific, and better than it might elsewhere!

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

 

 

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I like your attitude markham---always upbeat, always grateful for what you enjoy onboard.  I can tell you are a glass half full person and that has served you well in life.  

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Well said SLSD.  I totally agree.

Keep posting Markham, you are a refreshing voice on the Message Board!

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On 7/7/2019 at 12:53 AM, saminina said:

Agreed.  Also, if they would drop "ultra" in front of luxury.   The ultra days are long gone.  And if it were not for the crew, luxury would be an exaggeration.

 

We've taken more than 40 cruises since 1983 with half being on Seabourn (including 3 last year to 2 booked for this year). We've never been on a more ultra - luxury cruise line than SB and we always have an "ultra" "fine" time. 🙂

 

Reminds me of the story about a family moving into a new town.  They met an elderly gentleman sitting at the edge of town and asked him:  "Is this town fun and friendly".  "What are the people like in the town where you're coming from"? replied the elderly gentleman.  "They are fun, friendly and everyone has a good time." replied the family.  "This town is fun, friendly and everyone has a good time.", the elderly gentleman spoke. 

     Then another family came upon the same elderly gentleman and asked: "We're thinking of moving to this town. What are the people like?".  The elderly gentleman asked: "What are the people like in the town where you're coming from"?.  The prospective couple replied: "Everyone is nasty and unfriendly.  And the champagne stinks!".  "Well", replied he elderly gentleman: "In this town, everyone is nasty and unfriendly.  And the champagne really stinks here."

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Truly, I am happy for you and everyone that is living the dream of being on an ultra luxury line.   I think SB is the best value proposition afloat.  Relative to the product they offered ten years, it's a nice upscale line.    The crew puts it to the luxury level.

Just my opinion and I think it's still allowed.

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saminia, I think I know where you're coming from, really.  It makes sense when comparing SB today to yesteryear when they had the small ships or even their first yacht.   Everything use to be better like Pan Am transatlantic first class flights was so much better than anything today.  Even business class is barely better than coach use to be.

 

 

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1 hour ago, raphael360 said:

Even business class is barely better than coach use to be.

 

Wow, raphael360, are you serious ? 

Or is Business Class that bad in the U.S.A.?

We usually fly Qantas, Qatar or Singapore air and they have full-flat seats in Business for international flights.

Qantas even have full-flat seats on some of their longer domestic flights in Oz.

1/ Qatar 787 + 2/  Qatar. 777 . 3/ LATAM 787 (My photo from 2014) Business class seats

35CF4560-40DE-43F2-80CC-48436A0F6502.jpeg

891A1568-D4D1-4D42-BC51-5EF4E09C8952.jpeg

FEBA3822-E16D-4EDC-AB6B-A8AB474648EA.jpeg

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Yes I found that comment odd too. Economy on airlines is now pretty terrible. I think business class and first class on all the airlines I fly has improved a lot over where it was 10-20 years ago by a large margin. Business class has lie-flat seats, never had those back then, a sort of plusher leather seat which reclined an extra 30 degrees perhaps, now many airlines have individual pods where you're isolated from the passengers around you, full of amenities, massive screens. First Class has become insane with individual cubicles which turn into complete beds. 

I remember flying BA and Virgin and others back in the last 80s, early 90s; you got a wider, plusher seat but you were still sitting in rows next to each other and when someone reclined it was harder to get out and go to the toilet. Now I get on board and get in my pod and have 2x the amount of space we did back then. 

That said, economy has gone ever down in price and the multiple of one economy seat you pay to fly business has increased a lot. But I think you're getting a great product for your money. 

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Posted (edited)

I am serious.  Business class in the US is just SO bad. I’ve been Flying business class (USA) for the past 10 years or so. Except for early boarding and the free Smirnoff vodka,  I often wonder why I fly at all.  I can’t remember the last business class flight where I was served a meal.  Don’t get me wrong there are a few NY to LA flights with lie flat seats but nothing out of FL.

 

Attached is a picture of American Airlines business class seats right off of their website. Let the good times roll. 

B75A9BD7-A5B9-4F4E-BA05-40A908DFF1C8.jpeg

Edited by raphael360
Sic

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Posted (edited)

And here is AAs economy seats, again right from their website. 

715D069B-D46C-4E78-9CA9-7C9DB2F062CB.jpeg

Edited by raphael360
Sic

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