The Suite Life: Everything You Need to Know About Cruise Ship Suites

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Suites are spacious accommodations in the top tier of cabins on a cruise ship. Passengers who reserve a suite enjoy unique benefits such as faster boarding, a specialized butler, or even a separate restaurant, lounge, pool, or sun deck. Some luxury lines refer to all rooms on their ships, regardless of size or amenities, as suites.

Bedroom of Ultimate Family Suite on Spectrum of the Seas cruise liner by Royal Caribbean.

What Types of Suites Are There?

A genuine suite, in theory, contains a separate bedroom and sitting area. However, cruise lines stretch the term a little with cabin categories such as “mini-suites,” “junior suites,” “sky suites,” and so on. While most cabins will have more square footage than a standard cabin, not all will have two separate rooms. (Additionally, some of these “suites” may not be eligible for the additional benefits that come with renting the most expensive cabins.)

If you’re looking for an authentic two-room cabin, thoroughly examine the descriptions; specifically, search for words that identify the number of bedrooms. For example, a “one-bedroom” suite is likely to have the bedroom separate from the rest of the suite.

Do you want to really splurge? The most opulent suites on the cruise ship have dining rooms, numerous levels, outdoor hot tubs, wet bars, workout equipment, in-room spa treatment spaces, and even grand pianos.

How many people can a suite accommodate?

Suites are typically built to sleep two people, although many contain a sofa that pulls out to accommodate a third passenger. Some suites are specifically designed for families and may accommodate four, five, six, or even more people. (For example, some Royal Caribbean top suites can sleep up to 14 people!)

When making a reservation, ask your travel agent how many people can comfortably fit in the space and whether additional passengers can be accommodated in a separate bedroom or on pullout sofas or bunks in the main sleeping area.

Are the suites all in one location on the ship?

Suites are typically located on the highest passenger decks and the front and back corners of those decks to provide suit passengers with the most incredible views. However, keep in mind that they are also the worst places for persons who get seasick. If you don’t like the motion of the water, try for a suite closer to the center.

Some ships include a keycard-access-only area containing suites and spaces reserved for suite guests, but some suites are often located outside of this area.

Is there anything extra that comes with a suite?

Suite passengers on most cruise ships receive a range of extras as part of their (higher) rates. However, these vary by line. When you book a suite, you can expect a complete set of brand-name amenities, a spacious balcony, a bathroom with a bathtub, a pillow menu, and a walk-in closet; sometimes, umbrellas or binoculars are provided for free use. In addition, fresh flowers, fresh fruit, a complimentary bottle of wine or Champagne or box of chocolates, a stocked minibar, and afternoon tea or daily canapes brought to your cabin are all possible in-cabin bonuses.

Are there any other suite perks?

Suite passengers are usually allowed to board and disembark the ship before the rest. Some ships have a separate lounge/concierge room (often with free food and drinks and access to a concierge) and a separate reception/welcome party with the ship’s officers. Reserved seating at the pool or entertainment venues, an expanded room service menu, priority dinner, excursion, and show reservations are also some of the perks you can expect.

Rather than a typical room steward, many will have access to a butler. In addition, some cruise lines include free dinners at specialty restaurants (or even a separate restaurant for suite members), drink packages, complimentary Internet minutes, spa treatments, gratuities, or free laundry/dry cleaning.

Airfare, private port visits, and private transportation to and from the ship may also be included in top-tier luxury suites.

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What exactly is the function of a concierge? And what is a concierge lounge?

Cruise ship concierges, like hotel concierges, are service members who make life simpler for suite passengers. These knowledgeable assistants will handle a variety of scheduling activities for you, such as arranging reservations for specialty restaurants, theaters, and spas, planning shore excursions or other on-land services, and dealing with billing issues. They will also assist you with any specific requests or concerns you may have and answer any questions you may have regarding the cruise.

You can call your concierge, but many ships also include concierge lounges where suite passengers can meet with dedicated personnel while relaxing and socializing. These rooms frequently offer complimentary snacks and meals available 24 hours a day, as well as comfy seats and televisions; some even have happy hours and private bars.

What exactly does a butler do?

Butlers aboard cruise ships specialize in minor personal activities that might make your life easier and/or more enjoyable. Packing and unpacking your clothes, making reservations for you in alternative restaurants, delivering canapes and full meals from the main dining room, assisting with laundry and dry cleaning, polishing shoes, drawing a bath, and arranging cocktail or dinner parties in your room are all part of this service.

On ships that do not provide concierge services to suite guests, the butler may conduct scheduling-related tasks that a concierge would ordinarily manage for you.

Are there any additional locations onboard reserved for passengers who have booked suites?

Cruise lines increasingly reserve eateries for guests staying in suites and higher-class cabins. Celebrity, for example, has established the Luminae restaurant on many of its ships for suite passengers’ exclusive use. In addition, there are several restaurants for passengers staying in the Princess and Queens Grill Suites on Cunard ships. The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line and the Yacht Club on MSC Cruises are two instances of exclusive-access suite sections with their own pools, sundecks, lounges, and even restaurants for residents.

Suite guests may also have access to unique bars, lounges, and sun terraces.

Is it okay if I have a cocktail party in my suite?

Absolutely! Why not throw a party? Your butler will be able to deliver invites, set up the bar, and order meals for your guests. They’ll even clean up afterward (which makes it much more enticing than entertaining at home).

Is it necessary to reserve a suite in advance?

Suites on most ships are generally the first category to sell out, even though they are substantially more expensive than standard cruise accommodations. This is because there are fewer of them. They’re also popular among multigenerational families that want to travel together.

If you have your heart set on a specific suite and your dates aren’t flexible, it’s better to book it as soon as bookings open. Because cruise deposits are refundable, you don’t stand to lose much by reserving a suite and deciding on a voyage later.

Your Cruise Girl

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