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Siobhanl

Butler/Suite - first time and a little disappointed NCL Jade

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Well when he showed up the last night asking if I found everything to be satisfactory and hands me a card which states tips for the butlers are not included in the dsc I thanked him for the information and told him I would leave envelopes on the desk for everyone. The next morning I laid out my tip envelopes except in the butlers envelope instead of money I wrote a note explaining how disappointed I was that I didn't meet him until the last night of the cruise and unfortunately would not be leaving him a tip.

 

 

 

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How does one tip the night butler, since it's rotating? I don't know if we'd use him/her but just for general info....

Any time I've had to use the services of the night butler, I just tip cash when saying thank you. I had one night butler who I had to call because because I couldn't get the balcony door to close and he ultimately had to call the electrician. I tried to tip him $20 for coordinating and he wouldn't accept ("I did nothing") and insisted I give it to the electrician! I said I will 'thank' him also and he said "No - you just have a wonderful night." (I wrote a Vacation Hero card for him.)

 

See, some butlers are just fabulous :D

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The thing is that everyone is different in terms of how much assistance they either need or feel comfortable accepting, and so it's really a personal thing.

 

For example, on a cruise I always send clothes to be pressed, but I wouldn't think of sending actual laundry. On the other hand, I've had a regular housekeeper/cleaning woman at home since I was in my twenties (waaaaay before I became disabled and actually needed one!), and I can't tell you how many friends said at the time OMG how could you let someone else clean your house when you are perfectly capable? (I have a demanding career and prefer to spend my time off actually doing fun stuff other than cleaning.)

 

So I say to each his own on that front - but I won't allow myself to feel guilty for utilizing a service I paid for because NCL wants to keep their expenses low.

 

right, but there is a difference, in my mind anyway, about utilizing the services that are provided by the butler to the maximum, that are listed as perks such as in suite dining, unpacking, etc. vs. things that are not such as pushing a baby stroller all over teh ship, making your coffee for you and bringing it to you in bed, and expecting them to be at your beck and call every second and getting upset when they tell you they will get to you as soon as they are finished iwth another guest. ive seen people constantly who think the butler should appear as soon as s/he is called. well if he's serving someone else dinner, that's just not gonna happen. you have to wait your turn. we've never had our butler take an unreasonable amoutn of time to appear.

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See, some butlers are just fabulous :D

 

It's TRUE! I think the majority of them are fabulous. Before DH and I took the plunge into the "suite life," we had a cruise in an aft balcony sandwiched in the middle of the aft romance suites and the butler(s) who worked those suites brought us treats and did things unasked for us during the cruise I guess just because we were where we were. It sold us on booking suites!

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I kind of feel for the OP when they next sign onto Cruise Critic if they've been at sea and haven't been following this thread all along LOL.

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I think the best things butlers do are small but wonderful. After the second day of asking for the same thing for breakfast it magically appeares unasked each day. Lovely room decorations for our anniversary even though we hadn't requested anything and he had the staff at dinner bring a cake to our table (I could see him peeking around the corner grinning as they sang to us). It just makes the trip that much more special.

I don't understand the grumpiness of those who put down people who **pay** for that extra level of service. It's not as though it's a demand being made of a regular room steward.

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Norwegian says their butlers are "trained and certified" but I don't know what that means.

 

Sent from my SM-T817V using Forums mobile app

 

As Yosemite Sam would say...I do Declare! err Certify.

 

IMO, and from what I was told by a butler, the "certified" part that was shown/advertised by NCL roughly when the BA came out only had a few butlers actually go through the program NCL talked about at the time.

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I love traveling in suites & I utilize my butlers' services as often as I can without a single ounce of guilt.

 

The issue of a single butler having to cover 14 suites is NCL's issue. When people reduce their expectations and use this service LESS, it enables NCL to continue to assign 14 suites to each butler. If the current butler/passenger ratio is too much, it is the responsibility of the Concierge (as manager of the butler staff) to address this with the Hotel Director and GET MORE STAFF.

 

So, if you use your butler heavily, don't feel guilty (just be sure to tip accordingly.) But don't NOT use the butler to help him/her, because who you are really helping is NCL who gladly took your extra Haven/suite cruise fare after promising you personalized butler service but then doesn't have to hire adequate staff to deliver the service because you "don't want to be a bother."

 

Bingo.

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Hi All,

 

Bit disappointed about our first experience of “Suite Life” on Jade.

We were really looking forward to this and researched a lot on CC.

 

Check in was fine and quick because due to traffic we were later than we hoped.

 

Very nice gentleman even referred to us a VIP’s then handed us over to our concierge who explained that as we were late nothing was available food wise as it was 4pm and muster would be at five. Not a problem as we have reservations at 2130 at Le Bistro.

He then told some young guy to escort us to our Suite. Got to the escalators and they were sealed off and someone said board down here. This involved steep steps carrying our luggage which my husband had to carry for both of us as I have health issues.

No offer of any assistance from said young man who took us to the lift and said this is the lift you take and disappeared!

Now it was only 4pm for a cruise departing at 8pm.

 

Second disappointment just now when our Butler called.

After much excitement and research on CC we were very much looking forward to a nice breakfast from Cagneys on our balcony in the morning especially due to the great weather. Also to having dinner in our Suite tomorrow night.

Butler signed deeply when I said we’d like cooked breakfast from Cagneys or as it turns out Modernos and said something like he couldn’t come very early!

 

We said we didn’t want early but what time would best suit him? He just said mark down your time - maybe it’s language difficulty. I asked if we could have a menu for the cooked items and he said “it’s nothing really just eggs benedict or waffles or scrambled eggs”.

I said no problem we’ll swing by Modernos and look at the menu.

I then said we’d like dinner in suite tomorrow night since our welcome letter even suggested it.

He said I have 14 Suites to take care of and can only do 7pm as 8 and 8.30 is taken. I said could we go later like nine and he said no it’s too late restaurant is closed but we’re eating in Le Bistro tonight at nine thirty and it’s open till ten.

After all I’ve read online I’m disappointed. This is only a short cruise but we were interested in booking a Suite in future if we felt it was worth it but that’s looking less likely.

I don’t think we’re being demanding - haven’t asked him to unpack or draw a bath etc just two meals served in our Suite.

Have we lucked out with a bad butler?

Is it that we’re not American so he thinks we won’t tip?

Actually we changed money into dollars especially to tip him but he’s not going to get much if he’s so unhelpful.

 

Thankfully our room steward seems very nice though he has taken away our cushions for the balcony furniture and we were hoping to sit in comfort as we sailed away.

 

Trying Royal Caribbean in August but up till now Norwegian was our favourite. We were so excited reading other people’s experiences of having a Suite and now I wish we’d just gone for our regular aft balcony.

I've done the haven four times out of seven, but after my last time I decided I will no longer do it. It used to be that we were treated like rock stars with VIP treatment which was an absolutely amazing experience and well worth the money. Just the fact that they remembered our names and greeted us by them every time we walked into the Haven, and knew us by name without even having to look us up at the Haven restaurant made us feel special.

 

Last year on the Breakaway we did the Haven and it was extremely disappointing. They never greeted us by name once when walking through the Haven or Haven restaurant. The few requests I made to the butler were either forgotten and never carried out, or I was just just told plainly "no." When I asked if we could get chocolate covered strawberries instead of the seafood plates they bring as snacks I was told "no, we do strawberries on Wednesday". When I asked for boxes to carry my liquor bottles out for disembarkation, I was told yes but they never came. Whenever I spoke to the butler it was like I was interrupting him and he couldn't be bothered.

 

I paid the extra money for access to the Haven and to feel special, instead we felt ripped off and ignored. We enjoyed the spa facilities more than the Haven due to the large group of children left in the Haven daily that cruise who were frequently left unattended and were rambunctious. That plus the other things I mentioned.

 

We decided this cruise (we're doing two back to back) we'll forego the Haven and just stick to the spa. It'll be half the price and I'll go buy my own plate of chocolate covered strawberries if I want them.

 

We did have absolutely amazing experience once on the Escape when Virginia was the Concierge and Arnie our butler. They were absolutely incredible in every way... The only way I would ever do Haven again is if I knew they would be there.

 

So I feel your disappointment...

 

 

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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If I were to book "a butler" (which I wouldn't because I don't care about food, being escorted etc) and pay about $3500/pp, I would expect the services of a dedicated butler in a "child free zone".

 

 

This is how the Haven is perceived by those who "look at the pictures" and "read the ads". Knowing this is not the way it is....I'll stay in my inexpensive cabin and eat in the buffet and buy some nice expensive baubles (the money is going to be spent).

 

 

 

But...the people who pay those prices really do deserve more. Whether I would use the butler or not is not the question. If I wanted a romantic dinner in the cabin with DH each and every night @ 7:00 pm and I got anything less, I'd be a very unhappy cruiser, and probably a very lousy tipper.

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We had an Owner's Suite on the Jade in mid-April. Our concierge was Carlos and our butler was Rizaldi. We booked the cabin for the extra space, including 2 balconies and 2 bathrooms. We spend much time in the cabin so having space is important to us. We had discovered from our last cruise on the Spirit that the cabins with more space come with a butler and a concierge so we make use of them occasionally. My husband's birthday was the day after sailing and we had reservations for a nice steak dinner at Cagney's. That morning, while Rizaldi was refilling our coffee station, we came back to the room after breakfast. He took me aside to ask me what time our reservations were for dinner and said that they'd "set up" the room while we were away. I never asked. I never told Rizaldi that it was my husband's birthday. Of course, it is there for anyone to notice on our passports/itinerary/Latitudes program/etc. We came back to a cabin decorated with streamers, balloons and confetti with a white tablecloth on our dining table and lots of cake, candy, etc.and a second bottle of Moet Chandon champagne in the chilling bucket. My husband was so surprised and delighted -- and so was I since I did not request it and did not know to expect it to be so elaborate. Keep in mind that this was only the day after sailing so our butler did not know us very well by then. I was impressed that he took the initiative to help us celebrate in such a nice way. Our concierge also stopped by our table to wish my husband Happy Birthday at dinner. I remember when he gave me a sly smile at lunch and that was when I realized that he was in on it as well.

 

I'm sorry to hear that some people have not had such a good experience. I don't know if we were one of the lucky ones but I feel that the service met our expectations.

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We love sailing in a suite. We tip the Butler and Concierge based on how much we use them. If we're sailing on the bigger ships with the Haven proper, we don't utilize the Butler as much. Maybe to order lunch on a port day if the restaurants are no longer open. We've always had a great time. We travel while kids are in school so most times there aren't many children onboard. The NCL Crew is what brings us back to NCL. I must say as of last year I did notice a change in crew attitudes. Last year on the Breakaway and this past February I wasn't pleased with the Concierge. (happened to be the same one) He had an attitude. His assistant Lilly, was terrific. I actually tipped her more. I think after Kevin O'Sheehan left, NCL started to "nickel and dime" even the crew aren't happy with some of the changes. Sorry I'm all over the place here but we always felt like family on NCL and now it's different. But we will continue with the "suite life". :cool:

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I agree about that the increased tip may give the impression that the Butler is included. I recently sent an email to the Public Relations Dept at NCL. I wanted to get clarification as to whether or not the Butler's tip was included in the daily fee. My email is below - followed by their response. It appears that even NCL is confused as they gave me the impression that ALL crew members share in the daily fee. :)

 

Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:59 PM

To: PublicRelations NCL

Subject: Butler Service

 

 

 

Hello:

 

I hope you can assist me. I have a cruise planned in The Haven. I want to ensure that everyone receives a gratuity.

 

Can you please breakdown how the $17.50 service charge is allocated? How much to wait staff, versus cabin steward, etc.

 

Also, I want to clarify if the Butler is included in this daily charge?

 

Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

Hi:

 

 

 

We do not have a breakdown ofthe service charges. All our crew is included in the service charges. If youhave any other additional questions, please send an email to accessdesk@ncl.com.

 

 

 

All the best,

 

Public Relations

 

Norwegian Cruise Line

 

 

 

 

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I've done the haven four times out of seven, but after my last time I decided I will no longer do it. It used to be that we were treated like rock stars with VIP treatment which was an absolutely amazing experience and well worth the money. Just the fact that they remembered our names and greeted us by them every time we walked into the Haven, and knew us by name without even having to look us up at the Haven restaurant made us feel special.

 

Last year on the Breakaway we did the Haven and it was extremely disappointing. They never greeted us by name once when walking through the Haven or Haven restaurant. The few requests I made to the butler were either forgotten and never carried out, or I was just just told plainly "no." When I asked if we could get chocolate covered strawberries instead of the seafood plates they bring as snacks I was told "no, we do strawberries on Wednesday". When I asked for boxes to carry my liquor bottles out for disembarkation, I was told yes but they never came. Whenever I spoke to the butler it was like I was interrupting him and he couldn't be bothered.

 

I paid the extra money for access to the Haven and to feel special, instead we felt ripped off and ignored. We enjoyed the spa facilities more than the Haven due to the large group of children left in the Haven daily that cruise who were frequently left unattended and were rambunctious. That plus the other things I mentioned.

 

We decided this cruise (we're doing two back to back) we'll forego the Haven and just stick to the spa. It'll be half the price and I'll go buy my own plate of chocolate covered strawberries if I want them.

 

We did have absolutely amazing experience once on the Escape when Virginia was the Concierge and Arnie our butler. They were absolutely incredible in every way... The only way I would ever do Haven again is if I knew they would be there.

 

So I feel your disappointment...

 

 

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

We were in the Haven on Escape to Bermuda in May and it was awesome. The workers bent over backwards for us. * think you get a bad crew or a bad butler. If your butler tells you no for an easy request go straight to concierge and he will straighten him right out!

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I agree about that the increased tip may give the impression that the Butler is included. I recently sent an email to the Public Relations Dept at NCL. I wanted to get clarification as to whether or not the Butler's tip was included in the daily fee. My email is below - followed by their response. It appears that even NCL is confused as they gave me the impression that ALL crew members share in the daily fee. :)

 

Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:59 PM

To: PublicRelations NCL

Subject: Butler Service

 

Hello:

 

I hope you can assist me. I have a cruise planned in The Haven. I want to ensure that everyone receives a gratuity.

Can you please breakdown how the $17.50 service charge is allocated? How much to wait staff, versus cabin steward, etc.

Also, I want to clarify if the Butler is included in this daily charge?

 

Thank you very much.

Hi:

 

We do not have a breakdown ofthe service charges. All our crew is included in the service charges. If youhave any other additional questions, please send an email to accessdesk@ncl.com.

 

All the best,

 

Public Relations

 

Norwegian Cruise Line

 

 

What a poorly written response. And to send you to the access desk? The butler and concierge are not included in dsc. It's probably answered in the faq's.

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We do not have a breakdown ofthe service charges. All our crew is included in the service charges. If youhave any other additional questions, please send an email to accessdesk@ncl.com.

 

All the best,

Public Relations

Norwegian Cruise Line

That's because the "service charge" is used to pay crew wages. A cute little piece of accounting sleight of hand.

 

<let the flaming begin>

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The butler and concierge are not included in dsc. It's probably answered in the faq's.

It is answered in the faq.

 

 

"Also, certain staff positions (e.g., concierge, butler, youth program staff and beverage service) provide service on an individual basis to only some guests and do not benefit from the overall service charge." - FAQ

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That's because the "service charge" is used to pay crew wages. A cute little piece of accounting sleight of hand.

 

<let the flaming begin>

That is how it works with all mass market cruise lines, no slight of hand. This is their business model and apparently it works for them, otherwise they would have changed it by now.

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So all my observations were correct, despite being accused of being tight, and a troll, some NCL believe in their own BS

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I bet you some NCL Haven personalies, the ones that defend it at all costs, believe that when you dine at Gordon Ramsey restaurant he cooks it?

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It is answered in the faq.

 

 

"Also, certain staff positions (e.g., concierge, butler, youth program staff and beverage service) provide service on an individual basis to only some guests and do not benefit from the overall service charge." - FAQ

Many cruisers do NOT read the FAQs. Shame on NCL for not giving an accurate answer to someone who WANTS to tip appropriately.

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Hi All,

 

Thanks for the many varied and helpful replies to my original post and the not so helpful reply from someone suggesting that because one books a Suite it follows that you are a serial complainer.

 

Just to clarify a few things and to let you know how we got on I’ll fill in some details.

 

This was a short cruise, in fact it was a two night cruise from Southampton to Hamburg on the Jade. We did this cruise last year and enjoyed it.

Fully aware these taster trips are just that and not like a proper cruise. Unfortunately due to commitments these are all we can take at the moment and we have done several. We cannot be away for more than a few days.

 

We didn’t set out to book a Suite but while booking our normal Aft stateroom a pop up window suggested upgrading for a very reasonable amount so we did.

We upgraded simply to see what a Suite was like and only discovered the “perks” later thanks to CC.

 

I find CC invaluable due to the extra information you get here and researching the Suite perks was no different.

 

I know the young man sent to show us to our room wasn’t a porter but I think good manners alone should have prompted him to offer help with our luggage. It was only two small cases but I can’t carry anything at present and my husband did struggle a little carrying them as it was a very hot day and steep steps.

Don’t really understand what he was there for since he did nothing but show the lift. I think we’ve managed to find our way many times without help.

I just hope he isn’t a butler or concierge in training!

 

I was disappointed about our Butlers reaction to my meal requests and a bit confused as our welcome letter specifically said why not enjoy in Suite dinner. Also the fact that he pretty much grimaced when I asked about the cooked breakfast options and the possibility of seeing a menu from Cagneys.

 

Telling me it’s just the “usual scrambled eggs” etc isn’t helpful as how could I be expected to know what the usual is?

I’d read mouth-watering reports on CC about crab cakes for breakfast etc and this is not usual for me but I would have liked to try them though I didn’t want to ask for something that wasn’t usually allowed.

 

We always have breakfast in our Stateroom on every mini break though it’s usually just the continental breakfast provided and naturally we tip whoever brings it.

 

Regarding dinner in our Suite we certainly were not suggesting that the Butler push aside someone who had already booked 2000 or 2030 as a time slot nor that he try to accommodate us at the same time.

 

What I asked was if we could have dinner at 2100 but was told that was too late the restaurant was closed. Confusing as the restaurant was Le Bistro and it’s open till 2200. We had a reservation there the first night for 2130.

 

I knew from CC that there are night Butlers also so wondered if the night butler could do it but was told no.

 

In the end we decided not to have dinner in our Suite as my husband wasn’t comfortable asking the Butler to try and fit us in. In truth it would be stressful not relaxing having someone surly setting up dinner for us.

 

The Butler came with snacks both afternoons and did our breakfast both mornings. I was surprised that he would do it the morning we disembarked and was very happy with that as we normally go to the dining room disembarkation day.

 

This was our only contact with the Butler and that was fine. Breakfasts were great, we wrote in what we hoped to receive and got everything in abundance including a huge plate of bacon and also waffles which I love. Couldn’t have waffles on disembarkation day as they don’t do them but could have French Toast so all was good.

 

Our ice bucket with our complementary bottle of sparkling wine was never replenished but we weren’t likely to drink it anyway as we had the drinks package and that was more than enough.

 

Found it rather awkward both mornings trying to make conversation with the Butler as we were trying to be friendly but he very obviously didn’t want to talk. Understand that he has a lot to do but we just tried to chat while he was setting up but he didn’t engage at all.

 

Clearly English isn’t his first language so maybe that’s why he didn’t want to talk. I think it would be nice if NCL explained more about what having a Butler is all about. For example this extra phone in the Suite is for calling the Butler?

Is it? I don’t know I assume it is because I’d read about it on CC but there was nothing in the room to tell me that.

 

Bit like the switch by the bed with the orange light, we pressed it and nothing went on or off then we worried that it was to summon the butler but thankfully later discovered that it’s a light under the bed.

 

Have to say I really do think that being English/Irish and not American made the Butler think he wasn’t going to get a tip. I base this on the fact that in the past every time I’ve tipped on a cruise the receipent seems surprised. That and reading forums where people from the UK have talked about removing gratuities from their bill or else paying but then not giving any extra tips. Obviously not everyone does this.

 

Before being limited to short breaks, our holidays were usually to the Maldives where tipping is the norm.

 

The Butler seemed happy and again surprised when I tipped him. Another awkward moment when leaving and I tried to shake hands but he looked like he was about to hug us. Not something we’re used to 😂.

Just wish he’d been that friendly during the cruise so maybe giving something at the start would have been the answer.

 

I won’t name him because I have a relative who once worked in a five star hotel in Dublin who told me that even the smallest complaint can get staff fired.

Also because I feel that 14 Suites is too much work.

 

We didn’t tip the concierge because we didn’t use him nor did he make himself known to us at all. No idea what he even looked like though I do know his name from our welcome letter.

It wasn’t Omar that’s been mentioned often on CC.

 

I would definitely love to get a Suite again especially for a proper cruise in the future. Loved the extra room and cooked breakfast.

 

Enjoyed the cruise just as much as last year. Shame it’s not scheduled for next year but we’ll look at doing a short one from Europe. We did a one night on Breakaway last month from Copenhagen to Germany and also loved it.

 

Really like NCL a lot. Last year on our two nighter we had booked before the all inclusive drinks came in to force and I phoned up to see if we could get it as we had only paid deposit and they gave it no problem. Found them very helpful.

 

We are not major cruisers being limited to short trips but have been on Escape, Jade and Breakaway NCL as well as Celebrity, Princess, P&O and RC. Think I like NCL best.

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Meant to add that you are indeed told that Butlers and Concierge are not included in the gratuities. It was in one of the leaflets delivered to the Stateroom.

 

Happy 4th July!

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