Royal Caribbean: The Finer Things
In the world of cruising, family and budget friendly usually come to mind when thinking of Royal Caribbean cruises, not the finer things. I want to share with you two experiences I recently had on the Vision of the Seas that were quite grand events and elevated my perception of service and epicurean significance.
Lafite Wine Tasting
When reserving the tasting, I did not realize it was Lafite and assumed it was the usual tasting offered on board most ships. It was not! Royal Caribbean has exclusively partnered with Domaines Baron de Rothschild Lafite and this program presents the history and details of these exquisite wines of the region of Bordeaux. Chateau Lafite is a wine estate in France owned by members of the Rothschild family. It is renowned as one of the most famous wine properties in the Medoc. Producing primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, some Lafite Rothschild vintages are the most expensive wines worldwide for purchase.
We had a small group and an excellent sommelier. As is usual in tastings, everyone is quiet at the beginning but are much more chatty as the wine continues flowing! The sommelier is key. Ours was very knowledgeable, but also a lot of fun! I really enjoy wines and informative tastings, but I do not take them too seriously. I want to learn and have a good time. Since the wines are primarily reds, we started the tasting with the one white wine and moved up to the fuller bodied reds and ended with a classic dessert wine. The wines tasted are below. I loved the Bordeaux Blanc which is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and the Medoc red which was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They were all interesting to taste. The wines flowed very freely and we were sent home with a beautiful folder packed with information regarding Lafite and the wines we tasted. This is a perfect afternoon endeavor on a day at sea as long as you have time for a nap at the pool before dinner!
Traveling Gals Tip: Aspire to Diamond status in Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society. This frequent cruiser program has amazing perks that are probably the best at sea.
I often opt out of dining in the specialty restaurants on board ships because of my plant based diet. The chef ends up preparing the same meal I would be served in the main dining room. Since the concierge of the Diamond Lounge treated us and the other gals (and the man in our family, Harold!) really wanted to dine at Chops, I agreed. I am very happy I did!
From the moment we entered the well-appointed Chops dining room and were seated at our comfortable, private booth, the service and attention to detail far surpassed that of the main dining room. I decided to take this opportunity to splurge a bit and stared with the Crispy Goat Cheese salad followed by Crusted Tuna with roasted asparagus. The food was wonderful and leaps and bounds better than the food served in the main dining room. The Crispy Goat Cheese salad was my cuisine highlight of the week. I now understand why so many people we meet who like sailing Royal Caribbean choose to only dine in the specialty restaurants regardless of cost. Chops Grille was $35 per person on this cruise. The other gals indulged in steaks and a to-die-for warm chocolate dessert. In my relaxed state, I could not resist a few bites. It was completely worth it!
I have not yet had the occasion to sail on Quantum class ships, but know several people who have. They have reported the finer things are even more abundant and easily accessible despite the massive size of the ships. I can’t wait to find out!