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Suite Life: What are all the perks?


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As a solo traveller deciding to book a suite at 200% cost is a big deal. I'm almost there in my decision making but need a bit more input from experienced suite bookers. I have taken over 40 P&O cruises and now book just Azura, Ventura and if pushed Britannia. I make decisions to eat only in the speciality dining venues - the MDR is too noisy with hearing problems and I now rarely leave the ship - mix of been there done that but also arthritic joints. So I spend a lot of time in my usually balcony cabin. BUT I like more space and I like the idea of the, for some, dreaded butler as he may be a useful resource. Breakfast in Epicurean is not an attraction as I dine there most days I get invited for breakfast. So what else might I expect?

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As a solo traveller deciding to book a suite at 200% cost is a big deal. I'm almost there in my decision making but need a bit more input from experienced suite bookers. I have taken over 40 P&O cruises and now book just Azura, Ventura and if pushed Britannia. I make decisions to eat only in the speciality dining venues - the MDR is too noisy with hearing problems and I now rarely leave the ship - mix of been there done that but also arthritic joints. So I spend a lot of time in my usually balcony cabin. BUT I like more space and I like the idea of the, for some, dreaded butler as he may be a useful resource. Breakfast in Epicurean is not an attraction as I dine there most days I get invited for breakfast. So what else might I expect?

 

Very little, sadly. We find that the benefits worth having are;

 

- Priority embarkation (usually on board before 12.30pm)

- The extra space in the suite. Like you, we spend a lot of time there away from the crowds, particularly useful on the larger ships.

- Breakfast in the Epicurean (although we didn’t enjoy it last time on Britannia as there were some families with young and noisy children and it was like being in a crèche)

- All room service food free of charge

 

Suite features that we find are pretty worthless are;

- Butlers. We have found most to be poor and quite intrusive, turning up regularly pretending to do ‘useful’ things that aren’t.

- Priority boarders lunch - horrible cheap plonk and low quality snacks - we prefer to go for lunch in the Glasshouse which is usually now open for lunch on boarding days.

- Priority tender passes - we hate tender ports (my wife cannot get off due to disability) and P&O make a meal of it, so I just leave it until the crowds have eased. If you do use the passes it’s difficult to bypass queues without getting daggers looks from others who think you are queue jumping.

 

We have only cruised with P&O and I believe that other lines offer far more benefits to suite passengers.

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Unlike Selbourne I find the butler useful. Some of course are far better than others. They will bring your breakfast, lunch and dinner to your cabin. So if you are particularly tired you may prefer to eat in your suite one evening. You can choose exactly what you want from the menu of the day.

You will of course get the canapes each evening before dinner. He should take care of your laundry too.

Also, anything off the room service menu is free to suite passengers.

You are supposed to get priority on tenders going and coming back now but we've never found that to work either.

Apart from that as, has been said there aren't many perks for suite passengers on P&O. There really should be more.

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Unlike Selbourne I find the butler useful. Some of course are far better than others. They will bring your breakfast, lunch and dinner to your cabin. So if you are particularly tired you may prefer to eat in your suite one evening. You can choose exactly what you want from the menu of the day.

You will of course get the canapes each evening before dinner. He should take care of your laundry too.

Also, anything off the room service menu is free to suite passengers.

You are supposed to get priority on tenders going and coming back now but we've never found that to work either.

Apart from that as, has been said there aren't many perks for suite passengers on P&O. There really should be more.

 

Yes, that’s a very good point about in suite dining from the full MDR menu given the OP’s comments about dining in quiet places, which I can relate to. My wife has taken advantage of this when I have been off the ship in tender ports. I can imagine that, as a solo passenger, this could be of great benefit.

 

I’d forgotten the canapés. I should have listed them in my ‘don’t appreciate’ list. We have a good laugh when most arrive, although on our last cruise in a suite 2 or 3 of them over the fortnight were actually quite nice, which surprised us! We used to think that the birds swooping around the aft of the ship as we left a port were due to them looking for fish, until we realised they were wise to the aft suite passengers throwing the canapés off their balconies 😂

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Hello all

I have to say if I was fortunate enough to be able to afford a suite having my own sunbed on my balcony would be my number 1 advantage oh I can dream one day I will be lucky and have an upgrade to a suite or be offered a suit at an affordable price to me.

 

I can dream

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I stayed in an aft mini suite on Oceana once. Very comfortable room with a lot of space. Great view from balcony. Not sure if the larger ships have anything equivalent but I would consider a mini suite as a cheaper option. We didn't get a butler but the room was great.

 

One other thought. I have booked the deluxe balcony a couple of times on Ventura. It is a very large and comfortable room and the price is very reasonable. No suite perks but if I wanted a comfortable room with plenty of space then this is the option I would prefer to choose. I would combine this with a pass to the retreat if the weather is good. Nice and quiet, and you get VIP treatment.

 

When we were in the mini suite of Oceana, it was nice to be escorted to the VIP lounge where we were given complementary drinks and had access to the light buffet. Kept you away from the crowds and the host came over personally to let us know when the room was ready.

 

I have had butler service on other cruise lines. Not a big fan, did very little to enhance my experience.

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Its about time P & O upped the suite offering and at least offered a designated suite class restaurant with a better menu. Recently experienced a Yacht Club Suite on Seaside and the service and suite only facilities were amazing. The pricing was comparable so it can be done!

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Your own private sunlounger on the balcony has got to be one of the major perks of a suite. Well if travelling to warmer parts [emoji295]️
You dont get them in most suites on the larger ships because the balcony is too small.

 

We are on Britannia next week in a suite and wont have one.[emoji24]

 

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Yes, that’s a very good point about in suite dining from the full MDR menu given the OP’s comments about dining in quiet places, which I can relate to. My wife has taken advantage of this when I have been off the ship in tender ports. I can imagine that, as a solo passenger, this could be of great benefit.

 

I’d forgotten the canapés. I should have listed them in my ‘don’t appreciate’ list. We have a good laugh when most arrive, although on our last cruise in a suite 2 or 3 of them over the fortnight were actually quite nice, which surprised us! We used to think that the birds swooping around the aft of the ship as we left a port were due to them looking for fish, until we realised they were wise to the aft suite passengers throwing the canapés off their balconies 😂

Naughty:')We always ask the butler now not to bring them as we are not fans either.

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We had an aft corner suite on Britannia's Transatlantic return,as others say by far the biggest advantage for us was the huge balcony with our own sunbeds,not only away from the crowds but on sea days,of which we had quite a few,the ships superstructure shelters you,whereas things were going flying up in the Serenity area,our balcony was sheltered & sunny.

I can see the breakfast in the Epicurean being an attraction to some,we tried it on our first morning,very nice & civilised,but we do like buffets,only spoilt by the behaviour of other passengers sadly,we like to be able to pick & choose,& it is so close to the aft suites whereas the Epicurean(& sadly the Crows Nest) are almost a bus ride away on Britannia!

We didn't find a lot of use for the butler apart from fetching a bottle from room service when required,the canapes were generally pretty good,again I can see the attraction of using him for in room dining if required.

Check in at Barbados was speeded up by suite passengers being directed away from the lines to empty check in desks which meant being on board in minutes &,when Ponta Delgada turned into a tender operation the priority pass saw us on the first tender off the ship which meant making a good day of it.

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We don’t tend to book suites on P&O unless we have a specific reason to do so (eg several tender ports for the passes or if lots of sea days in a hot area to avoid the bun fight on the outside decks).

 

What you get, other than the extra space is so limited that imo it’s not worth the extra cost. I would rather use the money to pay for select dining or indeed an additional cruise.

 

Other lines make booking a suite much more attractive with the separate dining areas etc. That said even some of them are chipping away at the perks. Grill class on Cunard is not what it once was in terms of the food offering.

 

It’s all down to personal preference in the end and what is important to the op, who at least has the information from others to make an informed decision.

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Thank you for all that information. I am going for it, maybe just the once, but will see how it goes. So Azura in the Caribbean 2019 aft suite I hope, waiting for a call back, and not too far from Epicurean for breakfast and dinner. I like the sound of free room service and maybe in suite dining occasionally. Plus the Butler can entertain himself with fetching my Peller Ice from the Glasshouse. I have tried the mini suites but found most came with bath and over shower which is a no go for me it has to be a walk in shower. A bath and I would require lifting gear.

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Thank you for all that information. I am going for it, maybe just the once, but will see how it goes. So Azura in the Caribbean 2019 aft suite I hope, waiting for a call back, and not too far from Epicurean for breakfast and dinner. I like the sound of free room service and maybe in suite dining occasionally. Plus the Butler can entertain himself with fetching my Peller Ice from the Glasshouse. I have tried the mini suites but found most came with bath and over shower which is a no go for me it has to be a walk in shower. A bath and I would require lifting gear.

 

Good for you. Peller Ice Cuvee is our favourite too!

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Thank you for all that information. I am going for it, maybe just the once, but will see how it goes. So Azura in the Caribbean 2019 aft suite I hope, waiting for a call back, and not too far from Epicurean for breakfast and dinner. I like the sound of free room service and maybe in suite dining occasionally. Plus the Butler can entertain himself with fetching my Peller Ice from the Glasshouse. I have tried the mini suites but found most came with bath and over shower which is a no go for me it has to be a walk in shower. A bath and I would require lifting gear.

 

Just remember room service is only free if you order via the Butler not direct.

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As others have said, not that many perks for suite passengers on P&O, but for us it's primarily the considerable amount of extra space if you choose wisely - well over twice the area, with a separate sitting room.

 

The priority boarding makes a great start to the holiday too, and getting into your suite earlier than you would a cabin.

 

Breakfasts in the Epicurean are a joy, particularly outside in sunny weather, and free room service might be useful to some - though we prefer the company in the MDR.

 

As for the butler, it's no big deal unless you plan to make use of him for entertaining etc - though it's nice to look through the following day's menus if you're a food lover (as I am). The much-vaunted canapes are really pretty poor - if you were hungry they'd be OK, but who's that hungry on a cruise ship?

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Thanks all. I just thought I might add a bit of context to my decision making process. My other love is musical theatre well all theatre but West End. I go for up to a week and see up to 10 shows. I have just booked my latest in June this year. By the time I factor in hotel (nowhere near suite level but it is the Savoy on a mega deal), travel and all meals and transport plus other entertainment I have accrued over £4000 for just a week. Must add I don't do McDonalds but I'm not eating at Michelin starred places and arthritis forces taxis or Uber. My Azura suite with premium economy flights will be £6000 for 2 weeks I will likely spend £1000+ each week in speciality dining and bar bills. So very comparable to paying for my musical theatre weeks. All in all I'm able and happy to spend that amount so willing to give suite life a go. I will report back.

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Thanks all. I just thought I might add a bit of context to my decision making process. My other love is musical theatre well all theatre but West End. I go for up to a week and see up to 10 shows. I have just booked my latest in June this year. By the time I factor in hotel (nowhere near suite level but it is the Savoy on a mega deal), travel and all meals and transport plus other entertainment I have accrued over £4000 for just a week. Must add I don't do McDonalds but I'm not eating at Michelin starred places and arthritis forces taxis or Uber. My Azura suite with premium economy flights will be £6000 for 2 weeks I will likely spend £1000+ each week in speciality dining and bar bills. So very comparable to paying for my musical theatre weeks. All in all I'm able and happy to spend that amount so willing to give suite life a go. I will report back.

 

You don’t have to justify your decisions. It is your money so spend it on whatever you want. Enjoy.

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Naughty:')We always ask the butler now not to bring them as we are not fans either.

 

While we agree with the quality of the selection, we just left them on the coffee table to be taken by those who do the turn down service. They disposed of them as they saw fit.

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I have enjoyed reading this thread. In our six years of cruising (all P&O) we have enjoyed a suite twice, plus we like the superior deluxe cabins on the larger ships as they are generous in terms of space. We have a mini suite and a suite coming up and agree with what others have said. I hope you enjoy the cruise and maybe let us know how you get on!

 

 

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If you want extras for having a suite then try Cunard. We had an upgrade last year, had 2 bottles of bubbly on arrival, fruit bowl in the room refreshed daily, chocolate truffles with turn down, 2 separate sundecks with the most amazing sun loungera- you were basically lying on a normal mattress! Separate dining room with a different menu to the normal dining room and also a separate bar as well. It was more expensive but you did get something different compared to what everyone else could use.

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If you want extras for having a suite then try Cunard. We had an upgrade last year, had 2 bottles of bubbly on arrival, fruit bowl in the room refreshed daily, chocolate truffles with turn down, 2 separate sundecks with the most amazing sun loungera- you were basically lying on a normal mattress! Separate dining room with a different menu to the normal dining room and also a separate bar as well. It was more expensive but you did get something different compared to what everyone else could use.

 

I’ve considered Cunard and the extra suite benefits but the price premium over an equivalent P&O suite has never made it feel worthwhile. Cunard is very expensive for what’s in reality very little different from P&O. Fewer ‘problem ‘ passengers though, I imagine.

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If you want extras for having a suite then try Cunard. We had an upgrade last year, had 2 bottles of bubbly on arrival, fruit bowl in the room refreshed daily, chocolate truffles with turn down, 2 separate sundecks with the most amazing sun loungera- you were basically lying on a normal mattress! Separate dining room with a different menu to the normal dining room and also a separate bar as well. It was more expensive but you did get something different compared to what everyone else could use.

 

 

Thank you for the suggestion. I have travelled in Queen's Grill many times with my husband or brother but it was not my favourite cruise experience. P&O may be seen as downmarket from Cunard for many but I have made it work for me and I enjoy sailing with them, albeit sometimes my fellow travellers may be a challenge but thats life in general I just adapt as required to ensure the holiday I want.

 

Primarily I want more space as I spend much time in my cabin and want to enjoy it. I add on any extra touches by buying them in. As a solo traveller I just wanted to check what the perks might be given I would be paying 200% of the cost which may help me justify it. I do not want to pay even more for the Grills experience which I did not enjoy. Having understood the P&O perks are minimal I then decided to reassess against a land based holiday I also take regularly. It compares very favourably price wise so I have booked the suite.

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