My wife and I are booked in a Grand Suite on the Explorer for the May 23 cruise to Bermuda. My sister and cousin will also be on board, each in their own D1 stateroom. We're using our suite as the gathering place and hangout area so we can all have a quiet place for talking, relaxing, a leisurly drink, etc.
I want to start making reservations for shore excursions & Portofinos for the four of us. I asked my TA about this and she said that I should not do anything now - just tell the concierge what I want soon after boarding, and he'll take care of everything.
As we're paying a sizable premium for the GS, I want to enjoy the perks of having a concierge - never had such a luxury before! However, I feel anxious about the risk of having excursions / Portofinos sold out by waiting until we board.
I'm sure many of you have had this level of service on prior cruises. Can you tell me how you handled this?
Also, will I have any difficulty getting the concierge to make reservations for my two other family members, because they're not in a GS?
Thanks in advance for your always informative responses.
Strictly speaking, the concierge is only supposed to do things for those actually in the suites. After all, the concierge has many suites to cover and they can't be doing things for those who didn't pay for the privilege. Do it for one and you end up doing it for all. However, some will help you. It depends on the concierge.
For instance, the concierge has a list of those authorized to use the concierge lounge. They don't have to let you bring guests in. Some allow it and some don't. It can depend on how crowded it is. Since the Explorer doesn't have a diamond lounge, the concierge lounge also has to accommodate diamond and diamond-plus members. There is no way to predict what the case will be for your cruise.
So - I suggest you do the reservations now and then there will be no question.
I should clarify that if you go to the concierge and ask for a table for four at Chops, that will be fine. Everyone going to dinner doesn't need to be in a suite for the concierge to make the reservation. I wasn't thinking too clearly this morning.
However, earlier booking is better since you get more choices. The concierge can't guarantee you'll get a table for the time and day you want it.
If you're in a GS the concierge will email you a week before your cruise. You can let him / her know your concerns then, or after you board the ship. He will get you as many ice show tickets as you need, and he'll be able to arrange a table for you and your other family member at Chops or Portofino's. Prior to my cruise I was checking on line to make reservations for Portofino's for Valentines Day, it said that no tables were available. I got a table for 4 with no problem on the first day of that cruise. Don't worry about a thing...they are going to serve you well.
Despite Sonny's reassurance (but remember, he's a D+ CA member and is probably on a first name basis with most of the RCI crews), I was sobered by Nikkipie's difficulty in trying to get a table for her June cruise which is later than mine. Plus, I got pangs of guilt in thinking about asking a concierge to provide services to non-qualifyng passengers.
So, I did the right thing and made my Portofinos reservations online last night. I had no problem at all - got the date and time of my first request!
I'm also polling the rest of our group to see what excursions each prefers. I'll make those online, too.
You're right Dave - by doing this now, there are no questions remaining... except one:
I made the Portofinos reservation for the 3rd night of a 5 night cruise. I thought I previously read on this forum that the formal night is the 4th night of a 5 night cruise.
Please tell me that I didn't screw up and book the restaurant on the formal night...
Johnboy, you did the right thing by making the restaurant reservation online. There's no down side to that, and it wasn't worth expending any more emotional energy on wondering if the Concierge can make reservations for you.
On a 5 night cruise, there is just one formal night, which normally takes place the second night you're on the ship. Here is Royal Caribbean's list of number of formal/casual nights aboard, depending on the length of your cruise.
The same is true for shore excursions. Why wait and worry about it if you can book in advance? Being in a suite puts you on a "priority" wait list for sold out shore excursions, but since they're usually refundable outside of 24 hours prior to the start of the excursions, why wait?
Ha ha! I actually was thinking about one of those storage box thingys that you tie onto your roof. Thought that was the ultimate solution until I wondered what I would do with it while the car was parked at Cape Liberty for 5 days? It wouldn't fit in the car, but if I left it on the roof and with my luck, someone would undoubtedly steal it.
Think they'd let me bring it on board if I put a luggage tag on it? After all, a GS is pretty big...