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Concierge Service on Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream
First class service from the viewpoint of a real cheap-skate!
From the start, I need to make it clear: I admit that I am a cheap-skate, a skin flint even a tight wad when it come to spending money on travel and vacations. We just bought a Toyota Prius this year so we can drive across country on a fraction of the gas used by most cars. Now I drive slow (when I can) and have achieved up to 85 miles per gallon!
In the past nine years of travel with Jennifer (my lovely wife of 15 years this month) she has gotten very, very good at finding some of the most incredible deals on flights, hotel stays, entertainment and even cruises. Two of our 12 Disney cruises cost less than $800 and one of those was for four people for four nights and included two hotel stays, a rental car and flights from Kansas City to Orlando PLUS we got to see the space shuttle launch!
Do not get me wrong, we do enjoy the finer things in life but have always been short of justification for the extra expense. This past cruise on the Disney Dream has changed both our minds! When we get right down to it, the extra expenses on this cruise were nowhere near as much as we thought.
To begin with, there are a number of expenses that we have paid in the past using our shipboard account that are included in the whole concierge service bundle. For example, we normally purchase the middle package for Internet access. This $40 fee on the four night cruise is included with the concierge package, and that is just the beginning!
Within the concierge area of the ship is a special lounge for the exclusive use of those passengers staying in the concierge cabins. From 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM the lounge is open and staffed continuously. There is always a buffet spread that is changed by topic five times a day and features some treats that cannot be found anywhere else in the ship.
There is also a limitless supply of bottled water to take with you on deck, on excursions or just back to your cabin. This is not limited to water, either. There are cans of soda that are always cooled and perpetual ice tea, apple juice and orange juice.
One of my favorite things in the past has been special coffees at Cove Cafe but the concierge lounge has its own machine that can make coffee, espressos, latte and more at the push of button that is free for your use all day long! Based on my past purchase history at Cove Cafe, this could easily be worth another $100 on my own account!
The largest expense that was eliminated completely for our trip was the drink bill. Twice a night, the concierge lounge features a happy hour. Any drinks that are on display are available for no additional charge during these two times and a bartender can serve many mixed drinks upon request. We estimate we would have spent between $100 and $200 if we had to pay everything by the glass.
Another space above the lounge is the concierge sun deck that is a private space reserved for the exclusive use of concierge passengers. This sun deck is well stocked with sunscreen, ice cold face towels, a mister and a plethora if seating for lounging in the sun or shade.
Back in the lounge there is a staff that is dedicated to every other need you may have. Anything you might have waited in line for down at customer services, this staff can manage in a fraction of the time. There is no line and you can be seated while longer tasks are resolved or they will offer to bring results to your room or make other arrangements that are convenient to your schedule. Personally, my justification here is the tremendous time saved never standing in line at the guest services desk on deck 3 midship.
The Disney Dream is a large ship, there are a lot of people. In the concierge lounge, I found that it was a much more intimate environment and it was very easy to visit with fellow guests in a quiet and peaceful setting. Whether it is to exchange "inside information" or just "shooting the breeze" we met many people and forged new friendships. It really brought the experience of such a large ship down to more of an extended family time. For me, this is always a highlight of travel.
Ultimately, I do not seeing us go the concierge route every time we cruise, but I did confess that we should travel this way on our next east/west Caribbean Fantasy cruise in a couple years. We hope to book it on the Magic in January. Whoo-boy... Here we go again!
In the end, we calculate that we only spent a couple hundred dollars more than we would have on our deck 2 stateroom that we usually occupy. Once we take in to account the room that is nearly twice the size and includes a veranda and all the extra services that cannot be valued with a dollar amount, the trip was well worth the extra expense. Whether for a special occasion or not we both highly recommend trying it out once and be sure to take full advantage of every perk available!
Recommendations for Cruise Ships
Date taken: 2012 11 15 15:05 Thursday
Daily Navigator/Iwa Published Schedule