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VaJoeCool

Is a Sky Suite worth the premium over AquaClass?

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We just returned from our latest cruise and we decided to experience the Suite life on the Equinox. Over the past 15 years, we have progressed up the Celebrity food chain from inside cabin to balcony cabin to Concierge Class to Aqua Class. We have been Aqua Class for the past several cruises and feel the price premium is well worth it for the added amenities, especially Blu dining.

 

We originally booked our 10-day Equinox cruise in an Aqua Class A2 cabin, but decided to spend the additional $3,000 to upgrade and try a Sky Suite SV cabin. So what did we get for the $300/day premium? A spacious cabin, a butler, in-room dining, Michael's Club, Luminae, and front-of-the-line disembarkation.

 

Our butler introduced himself soon after our luggage arrived at our cabin. He did not offer any services per se, but did say that he was at our service if we needed anything. I had done a little advance research about what to expect from a butler on Celebrity, so I asked him to help us unpack. He responded with a reluctant look, but pitched right in. I found it very helpful, my wife did not because she prefers to do her own.

 

We asked our butler if he set up a table for our in-room dining and he told us no; he would set up the food on the coffee table. I remarked it would be very difficult to eat off a low coffee table, but he never pointed out that the table could be raised to dining height, which I discovered later on my own. I asked if he served meals in courses or all at once and he replied "all at once." Suddenly, this much hyped in-room dining experience was losing its appeal. We only ate 1 meal (breakfast) in our room; on the balcony where the table is much larger than the coffee table. Later in the cruise, we learned that our butler was responsible for a total of 14 suites, which might explain his lack of enthusiasm and low profile.

 

We found Michael's Club to be a quiet refuge from the noisy bars for a pre-dinner cocktail, except on the nights where a pianist performed. On those nights, we found the piano to be much too loud for the small venue and retreated to the Captain's Club cocktail reception in the Sky Observation Lounge open to Elite and above members. Getting a drink in Michael's Club took patience as there was only one crew member to make drinks, serve drinks and serve canapés. I commented to the Michael's Club Conciege that the person was doing a great job, however; it seemed she needed more help.

 

We found Luminae to be exceptional in terms of food quality, and service; although no better than Blu. Luminae was much quieter than Blu, which can get quite loud when it is full. Luminae was never more than 1/2 full. As Suite guests, we also had access to Blu and dined there the majority of the time because we knew the concierge and the wait staff from previous cruises.

 

At the end of the cruise, we disembarked as soon as the luggage was transferred to the terminal. Suite guests' luggage is the first off the ship so there was no waiting and no crowd at the taxi stand.

 

We loved the spaciousness of our suite cabin plus access to MC and Luminae. While we do not regret spending the additional $300/day premium for a Sky Suite, we aren't likely to do so again and will be returning to Aqua Class.

 

Welcome hearing from others about their Suite experience and whether or not it was worth the price premium over Aqua Class

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I much prefer traveling in suites now that Celebrity has enhanced the perks so much, but will only do so if the price is a reasonable difference above and beyond lower categories ($300 per/day would be too high IMHO). My strategy is I generally initially book an Oceanview; so far the past few cruises have had substantial price drops where I have later upgraded. Often I am able to upgrade to a Balcony or Concierge Class for little-to-no extra money at some point before final payment, and upgrade to a suite at a decent price (the exact amount has varied, but has generally been for around $150/day) at some point after final payment date. If on a future cruise prices don't drop and I end up in an Oceanview or Balcony I'd miss the suite life, but manage just fine. Fortunately this strategy has worked out very well and have done mainly suites of late.

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The decision to transition to the suite life is a very subjective one and is based on the perceived value of the services being offered.

 

First sailing on -X- was in 2001 and we have see significant changes since then, resulting in a different cruising experience - I am not judging if it is better or worse, just different. We have sailed in concierage class, aqua class, and suites. The experience in each has been different and sometimes not consistent. Over the past several years we felt some of the changes made have impacted negatively on our enjoyment, and caused us to re-evaluate what we enjoyed and what was irritating. We chose to return to suites, specifically sky suites, to see if that mitigated some of the irritants. It did. So much so that we have 3 more cruises booked.

 

What someone takes away from the experience determines the value received. I for one missed Michaels Club; I spent many evenings in MC prior to it being turned into the private venue, and enjoyed the peace and solitude as the space was significantly under utilized, and I was able to access top shelf spirits (this was before the proliferation of the packages) quite easily. I was able to sit and read and enjoy a nice drink. Now, it is nice to walk in for a before dinner cocktail and after several visits have the drink delivered to you without being asked. As opposed to the scrum which occurs at some other venues.

 

As to the value of the butler; we are not ones to monopolize the butlers time. Yes we have been "scolded" in the past for not using "him" to his potential - they really want to do things for you. Our last cruise was very port intensive and we had breakfast in our room almost every morning - being delivered at 6 am. Every thing was laid out on the table ready to go rather than the tray just being plopped on the table and left to be sorted by us.

 

Returning from shore I would stop in MC's and pick up a beer or two to enjoy on the balcony; after the second day a little note was left that the fridge was now stocked with my "beer" no need to pick it up - a wonderful gesture.

 

For us, at the present time, the additional cost of a sky suite is well worth it; being in a suite has enhanced our enjoyment, bringing it back to what its was in previous years.

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VaJoeCool - Thank you for your thoughtful review of your Sky Suite experience. We agree that the value of a butler is questionable as a "perk". We did find however, that in our case on the Silhouette, the MC conceirge was so useless and inaccessible, we did utilize our butler to do some things that we would have normally asked of the MC concierge (dining reservations, etc.). We never tried the in-room dining as we enjoyed our meals in Luminae immensely.

We absolutely loved our corner sky suite, and that alone was worth a great deal to us. Michael's Club was certainly an added bonus when you factor in the free cocktails, etc. and access to the cooler even when not staffed. We have never tried Blu due to the reported crowding and noise. We have suites booked for the next three cruises (so spoiled now) but have always been curious about Aqua Class and would like to know what it is that would make you go back to book AC again.

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We had an entirely different experience. The first time was before the “Suite Life.” We had a great butler. He appeared every time we needed him, sometimes even before we called.

We had breakfast in our suite everyday but the rest of the meals we dined in on of the restaurants. (No one should see me before my first cup of coffee.)

Since the “Suite Life,” each trip, Micheal’s Club was great. We never had a problem and always received personal service. Since there were so few people, and the same ones every night, the bartenders came to know our tastes and even made custom drinks for us to try. Needless to say, we rarely used any other bar besides Michael’s.

Same with Luminae. It was marvelous. The service was spot on. The sommelier was amazing.

Some things I would keep in mind is setting expectations. Embarkment day is crazy. Asking for special services those days could take a bit more time for them to do. Even in the Royal Suite, when we asked to switch out our champagne with wine, our butler looked at us politely and stated he will do it as soon as he could.

FYI. Don’t think that the top suites are the only ones who get the attention and the best staff. Our butler in our first Sky Suite was far better than any of the others.

 

 

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This is a very helpful thread to those of us who've been frequent AQ cruisers with thoughts of trying a suite. Thanks much to the OP and to those thoughtful enough to relate their experiences as well.

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The extra cost of suites has risen dramatically since the introduction of Luminae. I presume that you spent approx 2X for the Sky Suite compared to Aqua class. Before the introduction of Luminae the price difference was much smaller. If one only cruises once per year the extra cost might be justified, but if one can sail twice as many days per year in AQ I personally would do that !!!

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The extra cost of suites has risen dramatically since the introduction of Luminae. I presume that you spent approx 2X for the Sky Suite compared to Aqua class. Before the introduction of Luminae the price difference was much smaller. If one only cruises once per year the extra cost might be justified, but if one can sail twice as many days per year in AQ I personally would do that !!!

 

So very true. I went back and checked the cost of our S2 in 2014 (before perks) and it was about half of what our cost was this past September (with all 4 perks) its a good thing the perks are "free":rolleyes:. Also, our C1 this past Feb (Mardi Gras) was less than half of the S2 and there was a "premium" built into the C1 as it was the Mardi Gras cruise.

 

At the present time we travel 3 timers per year for approx. 4 weeks at a time. Our children live outside the country so we visit them each once per year and they visit us once per year. We incorporate a cruise into one of those trips; and we also do the tourist thing and travel and sightsee; however, we find we can travel at a cost per day no greater than the cost of an aqua or concierage room, and in some places significantly lower per day without compromising.

 

We realize at some point in time the kids will return to Canada and then we will probably revert to concierage or aqua to do as you say - travel for twice as many days at the same cost.

 

It is a blessing to be able to have the flexibility.

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We love AQ. We tried a Sky Suite before Luminae and Michaels Club were included. We had a terrible Butler. Told us on day 1 that he was new to the ship and didn’t know where anything was located. We asked him to make a dinner reservationand by the time he got around to it he told us the restaurant was completely booked. He did deliver the afternoon tea. The only other time we saw him was the day we disembarked because he was hanging around waiting for a tip. We went back to AQ cabins. We do have a Sky Suite booked for 2018 so I am hoping for a better experience.

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We had an entirely different experience. The first time was before the “Suite Life.” We had a great butler. He appeared every time we needed him, sometimes even before we called.

We had breakfast in our suite everyday but the rest of the meals we dined in on of the restaurants. (No one should see me before my first cup of coffee.)

Since the “Suite Life,” each trip, Micheal’s Club was great. We never had a problem and always received personal service. Since there were so few people, and the same ones every night, the bartenders came to know our tastes and even made custom drinks for us to try. Needless to say, we rarely used any other bar besides Michael’s.

Same with Luminae. It was marvelous. The service was spot on. The sommelier was amazing.

Some things I would keep in mind is setting expectations. Embarkment day is crazy. Asking for special services those days could take a bit more time for them to do. Even in the Royal Suite, when we asked to switch out our champagne with wine, our butler looked at us politely and stated he will do it as soon as he could.

FYI. Don’t think that the top suites are the only ones who get the attention and the best staff. Our butler in our first Sky Suite was far better than any of the others.

 

 

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This has only been our experience in Sky Suites as well. We'll be in our first higher end suite next week (a Signature Suite on Reflection), so it will be interesting to see if we notice a difference in the level of service. We've had excellent service in Sky Suites, so I don't know how it could be even better.

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Thanks to all for a very informative discussion. Wife and I have been discussing this very issue for future Celebrity cruise booking. We are Diamond Plus on RCL and have tended to book Junior Suites for the extra space. However, we are thinking that Celebrity better fits our cruise style now that we are not cruising with the kids as much.

 

Gonzo70 - When you are able to switch to a suite after final payment, do you receive the CC points for the Sky Suite or for the room level you had when you made your final payment? TIA

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Our cost was much less than $300 per day. Once you include the 4 perks (tips, OBC, internet and premium beverage pkg) it brings it closer. But to each their own. I ❤️ being spoiled.

 

 

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Our cost was much less than $300 per day. Once you include the 4 perks (tips, OBC, internet and premium beverage pkg) it brings it closer. But to each their own. I ❤️ being spoiled.

 

 

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Totally agree. I am cruising solo in a SS in Feb. 2018 for seven nights. This cruise was booked well over a year ago. When I did the math, the difference between an AQ2 and the SS was just under $400. For that amount, I will take the pampering.

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Gonzo70 - When you are able to switch to a suite after final payment, do you receive the CC points for the Sky Suite or for the room level you had when you made your final payment? TIA

 

You do receive the Captian's Club points for the suite if you upgrade after final payment.

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Our cost was much less than $300 per day. Once you include the 4 perks (tips, OBC, internet and premium beverage pkg) it brings it closer. But to each their own. I ❤️ being spoiled.

 

 

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Just to be clear, the $300/day cost difference that I cited between the Aqua Class cabin and the Sky Suite was the true net difference because the Aqua Class cabin price included all four perks (unlimited internet, premium drink package, prepaid gratuities, and OBC).

 

I <3 being spoiled also.:D

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Just to be clear, the $300/day cost difference that I cited between the Aqua Class cabin and the Sky Suite was the true net difference because the Aqua Class cabin price included all four perks (unlimited internet, premium drink package, prepaid gratuities, and OBC).

 

I <3 being spoiled also.:D

 

That is a pretty steep price difference. On my upcoming cruise I had booked a regular balcony (not Aqua or Concierge for $2,000 per/person with 2-perks (15 Night South American cruise). Soon after final payment I upgraded to a Sky Suite guarantee for $3,049 per person with no perks. A few weeks after that they started offering Sky Suite Guarantees for $3,049 but with all 4 perks (Go Best package) and they agreed to bump me up to that. So price difference of just $69 per/person per/night from a regular balcony to a Sky Suite AND on top of that received Go Best perks instead of just pre-paid gratuities and classic beverage package.

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We have only sailed on Celebrity Sky Suites ( 3 Times and 2 more booked). We enjoy the larger room. Luminae is wonderful. Have only been in Michaels Club a few times. Seems dark and dismal. Never busy. I enjoy getting a pitcher of iced tea in my room daily. Butlers have been hit or miss. Last cruise he was just so so.

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Great thread. Very helpful. We debate this question each cruise. The upcoming sailing we could have done a suite --and then weren't sure we wanted to give up the $ for Luminae when we have enjoyed the premium package/specialty restaurants every day. The "packages" have changed so we shall see. On our last sailing we considered AQ and Blu. We enjoy the aft views or on the bump.

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This has only been our experience in Sky Suites as well. We'll be in our first higher end suite next week (a Signature Suite on Reflection), so it will be interesting to see if we notice a difference in the level of service. We've had excellent service in Sky Suites, so I don't know how it could be even better.

 

You will be sharing your Butler with the Reflction Suite and all the other Signature Suites. Your service will depend on the demands of the Reflection Suite. The Butlers are required to service too many Suites. Our last Butler had 11 Suites including a very demanding Penthouse on tw decks. He gave us as much attention as he could, we were in a Royal Suite, but we suffered because of the Penthouse and their continuous demands.

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Just out of curiosity since I’ve never sailed with a butler before, what are demands people make to butlers?

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As others have mentioned, the "value" of the additional amenities offered in the Suite is a very subjective. We found the experience can differ vastly depending on quality of the butler, MC concierge, experience in Luminae, etc. We had two very distinct experiences this year sailing in suites.

 

In January, we were on the Solstice out of Sydney for a 10 day Australia/NZ cruise in a Royal Suite. The only reason we sailed in a Royal was a smoking upgrade deal they offered us two weeks prior to sailing. Our butler, Ashwin, was excellent as was our server in Luminae (Rakesh) and the food in Luminae was exceptional. The MC concierge was (in our opinion) poor, a British gent by the name of John. We availed ourselves a few meals in specialty dining since it was part of our Royal amenities, but honestly preferred Luminae and ate there most of the time. MC was very busy on this sailing, especially at tea time.

 

In July, we did a week on the Equinox out of Miami in an S2 (aft corner Sky Suite.) We really enjoyed the location and don't need all the space in a Royal Suite (although I do miss double sinks ;) ) Our Butler, although very busy with other high need passengers, was very good and attentive (Alex.) We lucked out and Rakesh was again our server in Luminae. Although his service was great, this overall experience in the restaurant was unimpressive. Food took a long time, often came out incorrectly prepared or cold and overall the staff just wasn't in their groove. The MC concierge, however, was a gem (Jolee from Belgium and I think I spelled that wrong.) Even though we were only in a Sky suite, she was quick to ensure our cruise was going well and took care of a couple of issues my son & his girlfriend encountered (they sailed in a Sky suite as well.) Overall, MC was empty on this sailing. However, we do know this was a high roller cruise, so many "private" areas were cordoned to cater to the gamblers making MC obsolete.

 

Both cruises had areas where the Suite life shined, and others where it was lacking. YMMV.

 

Happy cruising to all!

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We totally enjoyed our SS experiences! We really did not use the services of our Butler. Every time we saw him, he reminded us that he was there if we needed anything...but we figured there were plenty of people that wanted "everything" so we did not bother him.

 

One evening towards the end of the cruise...we had a lot of OBC to utilize and DH tried on a shirt. In the process he lost his sea pass. While I waited for him outside of the men's room, our Butler appeared and said he would go get a new sea pass...fortunately...DH appeared with his pass in his hands!

 

Laminae was amazing! We thought we might dine there 2 - 3 times but we were there every night. Great service, great food, absolutely no complaints.

 

Michaels Club really did not work for us. The bar tender was not very good and they are not equipped to offer a great variety. I started drinking Cognac French 75's. Bartender did not know how to make that drink. The Martini Bar really cannot be beat in terms of Bartenders!

 

Disembarkation....they had a special line for suites and a designated spot for the luggage for suite passengers. It made the entire disembark process as painless as possible.

 

If the price is "reasonable" we definitely do SS!

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Our butler brought and setup video games for our kids. We had them stock our fridge with soda and water. We switched out our champagne with red wine. He made dinner reservation for us, switched our excursion tickets for us.

 

 

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We have done a number of Celebrity cruises. In the past we have done mostly Aqua or concierge cabins. When they added MC for Sky Suites I got interested in booking a Sky Suite. We have now done 4 cruises in Sky Suites and just got back from 14 nights in Aqua. We have 4 more SS booked. We had a great 14 nights in Aqua. I thought I would miss MC and Luminae. I did not miss them, but I do like MC and Luminae and think it is worth it to a point. I did learn one thing is that we will go with the Best promo for now on. Does not matter what cabin we have. Also must have a suite if cruising in Asia, just makes passport, customs and body temperature check so much easier.

We have had Sky Suites on one M Class and 3 S Class ships. So far M Class ship was the best, then Reflection and Silhouette (because of the wall of chillers in MC). Luminae is real nice, great staff and food. Love that we can order off the MDR menu at lunch or dinner in Luminae. We mostly book 12 to 14 night cruise 3 times a year. When it comes to cost. If the Sky Suite with taxes, total cost is over $10,000 USD I start to think twice about booking the cruise. I'm happy if I keep the cost of the suite in the $6000 to $8000 dollar range.

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Our butler brought and setup video games for our kids. We had them stock our fridge with soda and water. We switched out our champagne with red wine. He made dinner reservation for us, switched our excursion tickets for us.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

We really enjoy the suite life. Imo no comparison to aqua class. The suite has more space and the perks are great. We really enjoy michaels club. Priority embarkation and disembarkation that comes with suites . Have stayed in AQ on a few ships and found it fair to poor. if a suite isn’t in your budget, better to get a regular balcony cabin and dine in specialty restaurants daily. Persian gardens imo overated. If you want to try it, you can for a small fee. The aq cabin perks flavored tea yuk, aromas which if you have allergies you might remove quickly and hor dovers, yes we all need more food on the ship aren’t worth much again IMO.

 

However clearly some people like AQ as the cabins get booked.

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