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Royal Caribbean - Chef's Table

Chef's Table is a bit of a staple on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, described by the cruise line as "as VIP and intimate as it can be," it is a perfect splurge for foodies on a cruise vacation. The Chef's Table is available on select sailings for an upcharge, and is not included in any specialty dining packages.  The fee  includes the wine pairings which are premium bottles you wouldn't be able to order with a Deluxe Beverage Package either.  The Chef's Table only holds up to 8 (or 10?) diners each evening, so it is quite the exclusive affair.  On the Freedom Class ships, the Chef's Table is a special level in the Main Dining Room, but on other class ships it can be located in different places (for example, in a back room in Chop's Grille.)

"Welcome to Chef’s Table, the most exclusive and elevated dining experience on our fleet. Join an intimate group of fellow foodies on a private epicurean journey led by the ship’s Chef de Cuisine. You’ll sit down to a white tablecloth dinner spotlighting five exquisite courses that range from scallop carpaccio with yuzu vinaigrette, to grilled filet mignon served with truffle potato puree — each expertly paired with the perfect wine to highlight every flavor on the menu." - Royal Caribbean's own description of the experience

To begin the evening, you are invited to a lounge on the ship for a welcome cocktail.  Ours was sparkling and we had some time to enjoy the beverage and meet our dining companions for the experience.  Once everyone is acquainted, you are escorted to your exclusive table. We were sailing on Liberty of the Seas, so our table was at the back of the Main Dining Room on a separate level, with lovely views of the main floor below.  The tablescape is beautiful and elegantly set up for the meal ahead.

My biggest issue with Chef's Table is that it is the same menu on all the ships, so it’s not really the “chef's” thing.  But you are guided by the chef throughout the meal and a sommelier for the wine pairings. They still enjoyed coming out and telling us all about the foods and wine pairings, even if the menu wasn't their particular creation, you could still sense their passion for the whole experience.  I've done it twice now, so clearly I thought it was good enough to do again! 

The experience is a five course meal with wine pairings throughout, so prepare for a long meal ahead.  They certainly don't rush you, and it is a meal to be savored and enjoyed.  I don't eat shellfish and they were able to accommodate me without issue, so you can certainly still dine here with dietary restrictions, just be sure to let them know in advance. 

If five courses didn't sound like quite enough, they kick off the meal with some delightful bread.  It was warm and fluffy, a good sign for the meal ahead. 

Bread to kick off the meal

The first course is light and fresh, and honestly quite beautiful to look at, scallop carpaccio.  While I don't eat scallop (I had beef instead) the table quickly agreed that this was an incredible way to start the meal. The second course was a slow roasted tomato soup that takes hours to prepare and is poured tableside.  While it might not look like much, the depths of flavor in this dish really wowed me.  I was a huge fan (and recommend saving some of that wonderful bread to dip in, mmm!)  The soup was also paired with one of my favorite wines that I first discovered at Walt Disney World, a Conundrum white blend.

Scallop carpaccio, served with yuzu vinaigrette and crispy quinoa

Smoked tomato soup, sprinkled with garlic focaccia croutons and parmesan

Soup poured tableside

One of my favorite white wines - paired with Tomato Soup

The meal continued with a third course of lobster salad.  While lobster might feel fancy, the scallop first course was a bigger hit (not that this was bad, but the other dish was just so good!)  The fourth course was another dish from the sea, a roasted branzino.  Branzino is not my favorite fish, but this was lovely and I loved how the wine pairing brought a different flavor profile to the dish. 

Maine lobster salad, flavored with pineapple, cilantro, and vanilla dressing

Roasted branzino paired with grilled vegetables and lemon confit

The fifth course of the evening was the grilled filet mignon, which is supposed to be a higher quality than what you'd get at RCCL's signature steakhouse, Chop's Grille.  This was a beautiful piece of meat and cooked to perfection for us. We had it paired with a Caymus Vineyards cabernet sauvignon and the wine blew us away.  Definitely will be on our radar for special occasions! 

Grilled Filet Mignon with truffle potato puree, asparagus and bordelaise sauce, I believe paired with the Caymus wine which was a special treat for tonight as it isn't on the normal menu

If you're keeping count, we have already had five courses, dessert is actually the sixth! I'm obsessed with this dessert.  "The World" is a beautiful chocolate sphere filled with surprises.  Hot caramel sauce is poured tableside to make the hard shell magically disappear and reveal what's inside. 

The World -Blending peanut butter ganache, Valrhona chocolate mousse, and salted caramel gelato
after they pour the warm sauce on top! not as pretty, but so delicious! :) 

After our several hour meal, we had full bellies and new friends!  We had such a great experience here.  While I won't do this on every Royal Caribbean cruise since the menu is the same and there's still more for me to explore, I will definitely be doing it again in the future.  Have you been to the Chef's Table?  Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Maci Schau

Maci is an avid foodie and loves trying out new restaurants and seasonal food offerings in the parks.  You can email Maci at


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