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Old January 6th, 2009, 04:14 AM
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Default Concierge and butler

I have booked a Penthouse for our next cruise and I'm planning to take as much advantage as possible from the benefits with it.

Any suggestions on how to use the concierge and butler the best way?

The concierge: I know that he/she can help out with things like restaurant reservations, tendertickets and shore excursions but I don't need the concierge to help me with that. It's easier to call the restaurant reservation number from the cabin than to ask the concierge for help, there is no tendering on our cruise and if we will do any shore excursions they will be booked before we gets to the ship. What else can the concierge do for us which will make the cruise extra good?

Shall we tip the concierge even if he/she doesn't help us with anything?
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Old January 6th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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I think you may find making reservation using the concierge will be of great value. Call the reservation desk and hear sorry we a booked. Call the concierge and you have a table. They can even make a res. in the main dining room avoiding any chance of a wait. Without a doubt the greastest value of the concierge is ablity to allow you to eat where and when you want without having to plan days in advance.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Thank you shoreguy. I understand that it's good to use the concierge if the restaurant is full but my experience is that that doesn't happen very often, we have never had a problem to get a table except for in Le Bistro on the Wind and that's a very small restaurant if I remember right.

To use the concierge for making a reservation in the main dining room was a very good idea.

You seems to know a lots about the benefits, what do you think about check-in and embarkation? Will we have access to VIP check-in and if yes, what's good with using that except for that the lines are short? (We are planning to be early at the terminal so there will probably be no lines in the Latitudes check-in either)

The thing with the check-in and embarkation is that I haven't told my girlfriend that I have booked a Penthouse and my plan is to keep that for myself until we gets to the cabin, is that possible? If we check-in at a Latitudes desk, will they send us to a VIP-area and ruin my surprise?
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Old January 6th, 2009, 01:50 PM
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I am not sure what port you are sailing from but there will be a separate VIP waiting area. After you check in you will go to that area and the conierge will meet you and have your sail and sign cards. You will be escorted onboard before they start general boarding or Latitudes.

In order to get your cards your surprise may be exposed. Nothing better then a tall tale to cover that. Tell her you met shoreguy online and he was able to get you on the VIP list. Not everyone on the VIP list is in a penthouse. Best idea I can come up with.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:09 AM
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I guess it's good to get the suprise at check-in too!

Will our cabin be ready when we board? (I know that most passengers have to wait a long time before they can get their cabin if they get on the ship early) If the cabin isn't ready, it's good not to save the surprise until we get to the cabin because we can then have lunch at Cagney's while we are waiting!

We are sailing from Southampton.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Your room may or may not be ready depending on how early the passengers before you got out of the penthouse. On the Jade last summer it was ready on the Gem it was not. In any case a butler will escort you to your cabin and if it is not ready you can still drop off your carry ons and go have lunch at Cagneys.

VIP check in at Southampton is to the far right after you clear security



To the right of that the concierge will be stationed with your keycard and welcome aboard letter.



You will be directed to seating on the far right of the waiting area before being escorted onboard past all the passengers standing in line thinking they will be first onboard.



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Old January 7th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Thank you shoreguy.

Maybe I will change my plan and let her now earlier, may when we get to the terminal or even on our plane to London. It sounds like it can be nice to use the VIP check-in.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhag
Thank you shoreguy.

Maybe I will change my plan and let her now earlier, may when we get to the terminal or even on our plane to London. It sounds like it can be nice to use the VIP check-in.
Even if you check in in the Latitudes line they will send you to the concierge to get you keycard
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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I will probably let her know earlier!

If I decide not to tell her before we get to the cabin, maybe I can write a note and hand it it over at check-in? (I can write: DON'T SEND US TO THE VIP-AREA, IT'S A SURPRISE!, would that work?)
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:55 PM
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I would just go with the flow. Check in at the Latitudes line (if it is not too long) and be as shocked and confused as your girlfriend when they send you to the concierge to get keycards.

"they must have me confused with some important person"

Have fun no matter what it will be a great day.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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erik the concierge will help with birthdays etc and restaraunts are nice because you get the time and table you want. if we are in the windows on the spirit we want to be sitting at a window etc. also if you want to see things that you would normaly not get into then he can help
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Old January 7th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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erik keep in mind they might misunderstand you in line but if you email the ship coordinator and explain what you want done they will prewarn the concierge and you can game plan something, like cruisemates got you into the vip area maybe?
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Old January 8th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Thank you Eric.

To be able to choose our table is very good and not something I have been thinking about.

Which kind of places can the concierge get us into? I guess that many of the restricted areas are restricted for security reasons and they can't let any passengers in there.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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we got galley tours,and bridge tours . for security we could not get into the engine room.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 02:48 AM
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That was very interesting and something I will ask about.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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I don't mean to burst your bubble but we sailed out of the Port of Miami on the Pearl and VIP check in for Penthouse guests had been "Eliminated"! Much to our disappointment, we had to wait in tremendous long lines w/ all other passengers! Royal Car. was nothing like this. Also, our concierge was very polite but of no service to us other than one night when we called him after the reservation hotline told us they couldn't get us in till 8:45. We called him and he got us in at 8pm. Other than that, there wasn't anything much he helped us with. He did check with us each day to see if we needed anything but was always in a rush and on and off the phone. We did tip him since we received what seemed like a tip envelope the last day. I felt our butler was much more helpful than the concierge.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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gigi you need to ask them to make the res for u .the phone lines is terrible did u have a mini-suite?
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Old January 17th, 2009, 02:05 PM
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We had a Penthouse Suite! It wasn't a problem too many times to call the reservation number as long as you made your decision the morning of. Our Concierge was very polite, he just seemed too busy to help many times so I didn't bother him. Every time I saw him he was in a hurry or on the phone or just about to take a phone call. Maybe there were very needy people on our ship but we weren't those people.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 12:45 AM
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we love the concierge but they have had many new ones the last few months (butlers getting promoted and experienced ones going home) our concierge on The Spirit was brand new in May and he replaced the female concierge who was heading back home to Australia,I forget his name but he was overwhelmed on his first cruise. Anshuman on the Dawn is the best in the fleet.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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I don't really care if the VIP check in for penthouses is eliminated, we will be there early enough to avoid the lines so that's no problem.

If the broschure still mention priority embarkation, they have to give us some kind of priority! If they don't, we can show the broschure and they will give us something to keep us happy, maybe a bottle of wine?
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Old January 18th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhag
I don't really care if the VIP check in for penthouses is eliminated, we will be there early enough to avoid the lines so that's no problem.

If the broschure still mention priority embarkation, they have to give us some kind of priority! If they don't, we can show the broschure and they will give us something to keep us happy, maybe a bottle of wine?
I think the issue in Miami and also Barcelona is if you arrive at the wrong time everyone has to first clear security in the same line and it can be long. Once inside at every port there is a separate line for VIP checkin. I have waited in a line that ran ouside the door in Miami for security.

If you arrive after they have boarded the VIP passengers you will not find a waiting area since once you get checked in you will board like everyone else.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 06:27 PM
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We arrived at the Port of Miami at about 1:30 and there was no VIP check in. I asked about it and was told it was eliminated...maybe that was just a fluke that day since the ship was late getting to the port. Our butler told us the ship was not docked until 10am. We didn't make an issue of it and just stood in the lines along with everyone else. There are four lines: 1st - Security; 2nd - Check in; 3rd - Get your stateroom keys; 4th - boarding the ship. The check in line was the most time consuming.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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I was told that concierge service was eliminated on NCL with 2.0 for minisuites. VIP checkin was also listed as a 'perk'. Is this still available?
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Old January 18th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Britt21
I was told that concierge service was eliminated on NCL with 2.0 for minisuites. VIP checkin was also listed as a 'perk'. Is this still available?
My other family members had 3 Mini Suites and the Concierge was not available for them. Also, there was no VIP check in but as I stated before maybe that is not always the case. Hopefully, it was a rare situation due to the Pearl's late arrival at the port. Maybe we were on a run of bad luck that week.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 08:27 PM
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mini suites get a "concierge hot line" this hot line is not very good. if you want concierge level service then you need to get that level (penthouse and above)
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Old January 19th, 2009, 01:08 AM
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I have to come back about the tipping, how much shall I tip?

In Sweden we never have to tip for anything so I'm not used to it, therefore I'm not sure how much to give! People working with service in Sweden, for example waitresses, have a salary based on that they won't get any tip so here we only tip them if they do something extra good.

I know that it's not the same in the US so when I'm there I always tip, I probably give too much because I don't want to risk to undertip!

If we don't ask the butler or concierge to do anything extra for us, how much shall we tip them for each day? Anytime I ask for something extra, I will tip a few dollars, but how much for the rest they do?
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Old January 19th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Eric 1000s of views on tipping the butler and concierge on the internet. There is no one answer that works for everyone. One thing for certain they are not included in the auto service charge since they are used by a select few.

The amount in my view is dependent on usage. Better to tip once at the end of the cruise then try and find "a few dollars" everytime you request something.

If you never use the consierge which will be hard if you a good one who is proactive and reaches out to you. You really don't have to tip but $20 thank you for being there at the end would be nice. In my case I have tipped the concierge between $50-$150 for 10 day+ cruises. The $150 was a one time event when Alex was the consierge and was truely exception.

The butler I would recommend ~$10 per day if you don't use him/her much. Perhaps $50 as a minimum In my case it usually runs $100-$200 and I eat maybe 2 or 3 breakfasts in the penthouse. They will come by everyday and bring treats and make sure there is nothing else you need including DVDs, all room service, laundry etc.

It is remarkable the range of answers to this question. Some tipping nothing some tipping as much as $600 for the butler. Some posted $10 per person per day some $6. Some $10 per meal served over a base tip. There is no right answer but I think you will know what is right at the end of the cruise and you review the services provided. Keep in mind most of their income is from the tips that we provide.

I am sure others will have different views.

Enjoy
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Thanks shoreguy, I think that your answer was very useful.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:58 PM
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We had Penthouse 9500 on the Jewel for our last cruise. Before I left I said "what in the world am I going to do with a concierge and butler?" Well let me tell you, I used these guys...a LOT.

First, as soon as we walked into the cruise terminal they asked if we had a suite. They whisked us into the small room and we got all our document stuff out of the way.

We met Alex our concierge who took us to the special waiting area. He was very funny and charming throughout the entire cruise. We contacted him while in Cozumel (from our suite cell phone) and had him arrange for parasailing. Within 5 minutes we were headed back to the dock to parasail. He made buku arrangements for us regarding dinner. I even called him the last day and asked if we could view the garden villa's. No problem he said and arranged the whole thing. We tipped him well.

Maurice, our butler was a Godsend. The first night there isn't room service but we were pooped and didn't want to go to dinner. I called him up and he said it wasn't a problem to get a couple BLT's and chips. Half and hour later, we had dinner in our room. We asked his advice on dining, had numerous reservations made...this guy was BUSY too, but never too busy for us. We tipped him well, too.

Even our stateroom attendants (best in the world) Lenore and Ross couldn't do enough for us. This is called SERVICE. NCL does it great.

Mary

PS: That was my 13th or 14th cruise but my first suite.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:40 AM
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Thank you Mary.

I liked what you wrote about the Garden villa, I guess it's possible to have a look there if one or both aren't booked. I'm interesting in the Courtyard area too and I guess that it shouldn't be a problem to arrange with the concierge to visit that either.
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