Concierge Class. Which airline has that? What – our Flight Detective travelling by sea? Days of travel versus hours? What is the world coming to?
Friends of mine invited me to join them on a Mediterranean Cruise and not just any cruise either. This was an Atlantis cruise on Celebrity Equinox. While this was to be my first cruise, I had been on an ocean liner before. In 2008 I made a quick dash across the Atlantic from New York to Southampton on Queen Elizabeth 2 of the Cunard Line on one of her last transatlantic crossings. That formal voyage on a ship built in the 1960s was a far cry from what I experienced in August 2016 on Celebrity Equinox.
Celebrity Equinox is a Solstice-class cruise ship with a capacity of 2,850 passengers and this review will focus on Concierge Class. I will be writing two more posts about my Atlantis cruise this week.
Concierge Class is the second highest class on Celebrity Cruises before the suites. The staterooms are as follows in order from lowest to highest – Interior, Ocean View, Deluxe Balcony, Concierge Class and Aqua Class. Above that are the suites – Sky Suite, Celebrity Suite, Royal Suite and Penthouse Suite. Concierge Class offers some extra amenities over the other classes. The one that caught my eye was daily delivery of afternoon canapés and I had visions of inviting my friends to my stateroom for canapés before continuing the evening.
On arrival at the cruise terminal porters immediately approach your vehicle – a stretch pink limousine in our case – to take your luggage. The porter provides a baggage tag and you put your name and stateroom number on it. That’s the last time you see it until you’re on board. It’s very alien to someone who travels by air regularly, but it is so refreshing not to have to take bags to a check in desk!
Concierge Class offers priority boarding and as my friends were travelling in Deluxe Balcony staterooms I joined the normal line with them. Happily we were early enough to avoid a queue and sailed right through. We reached a staff member who enquired, “Concierge Class?” and I replied in the affirmative. She directed me past the large queue in front of the desks and I paused to ask if my friends could accompany me. The answer was yes! My friends are veteran cruisers and they estimated we saved at least half an hour of queuing due to this so that was a great start to the trip. The formalities didn’t take long and shortly I had my SeaPass card and boarded the boat. I swiped a complimentary glass of Champagne from a hovering waiter and proceeded to my stateroom.
Stateroom 1176 on Deck 10
You receive welcome Champagne and fruit in Concierge Class and that was the first thing I saw when I entered. The Champagne glasses were incredibly dirty and I did not use them. Dominating the space is the enormous and exceptionally comfortable bed.
The bed features Celebrity eXhale™ bedding and I would buy it if I could – it was that comfortable! Concierge class guests have access to a pillow menu but I did not take advantage of that, which was an error. The pillows are too soft for my liking but this was not a problem due to the long days and nights I was awake on board.
Storage is excellent! Luggage fits underneath the bed keeping it out of sight and out of mind. There is a wardrobe, two cabinets above the bed, a set of drawers in the unit under the television and various other nooks and crannies where you can place your belongings. It is quite well designed!
The mini bar was well stocked however I only availed of one can of Pringles due to the high price of the items.
For your valuables there is a safe in the cabin which is similar to that provided in hotels. My wallet, iPad and headphones lived here throughout the cruise as I had no use for them most of the time.
My favourite place was the balcony! Sitting outside and watching the world go by is something wonderfully relaxing. My stateroom on the QE2 crossing the Atlantic had two portholes – a balcony is much more exciting! Concierge class staterooms have a foot rest included with the balcony furniture which Deluxe Balcony staterooms do not have.
The stateroom is your sanctuary on board and I loved it!
The bathroom in the stateroom has ample storage for all your products. You are provided with shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion. It was supposed to also have cotton balls and cotton swabs but I never found them. The toilet uses a vacuum flush which is quite similar to what you find on board an aircraft.
The shower had a Hansgrohe® massaging shower head according to the literature but I found nothing special about it. It was a shower and the water pressure was fine. Shower heads don’t excite me.
The bathroom is always kept very clean which is excellent.
Concierge class features an expanded room service menu and as a lover of room service this was fine by me!
I decided to order the chicken skewers and the burger accompanied with lemonade on one of the nights. Ordering is easy by phone and you can also order through your smart TV. My order never arrived and I had to follow up with them, something that happened on more than one occasion with room service.
Concierge class cabins also feature Daily Delectable Delights which is the afternoon canapés delivery. This is much more frugal than I had expected.
The canapés are almost always different (there was some duplication) and consistent in that there were four and they were small. No inviting the friends to my cabin to share them then!
Room Service Breakfast
Breakfast could be ordered for delivery each day and I only ever ate breakfast in my stateroom except the final day. The menu is expanded in Concierge Class and what I enjoyed was the fact you could order literally everything and they would never question you. I usually had two or three smoothies, coffee, danish, hash browns and one or two other things. The quality was decent however in my somewhat hungover state I neglected to take a single picture of the epic spreads I was feasting on.
Delivery of breakfast was always very prompt and that was appreciated.
There is a tireless attendant who is assigned to your stateroom. This person makes your bed, turns down your bed each night, delivers the canapés and is generally on hand to cater to your every need. My steward had a junior working with him who was assigned the bathroom cleaning. Service was excellent. I mentioned I preferred bananas to apples so I was kept supplied with bananas throughout.
One day I had no canapés and was told they were “finished” (they’d been delivered and taken away uneaten) and I expressed my disappointment along with the fact I enjoyed the canapés. Some were duly found and brought to me which was very nice. My name was remembered immediately and I was always greeted when walking down the corridors. All of those little things made the interactions quite pleasant.
Concierge Class is very good with Celebrity Cruises. The cabins are exactly the same size as deluxe balcony cabins. The tangible benefits are the priority embarkation, daily canapés, expanded room service and breakfast menu plus the foot rest on the balcony. You are also on a higher deck which means you are closer to the pool and on an Atlantis cruise that means closer to the main dance floor. The price difference was US$400 between the lowest Deluxe Balcony stateroom and the lowest Concierge Class stateroom. While that sounds steep it was and only $US100 difference between the highest Deluxe Balcony stateroom and lowest Concierge Class stateroom which I thought was quite reasonable considering the benefits. I would recommend Concierge Class with Celebrity Cruises and I would not hesitate to do it again.
Keep an eye out for my next reports on what an Atlantis cruise is and what happens on one! If you have any comments, please leave them below. Thanks for reading!