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Royal Caribbean Star Class - Royal Genie


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The Star Class Experience – Wow!

To be honest, we were less than excited prior to boarding the cruise.  The preliminary pre-cruise surveys, questions and level of help from our “Genie” seemed to be less than stellar.  We came to the port with a definite, “show me something / prove yourself” attitude.  Turns out, it was just like the rest of our Royal Caribbean experiences; the pre-cruise experience was not great but once we hit the port…  Wow! Did we mention… WOW!

 

Our Genie – The Amazing Luciano Santos

Our Genie was Luciano Santos and we cannot say enough about how amazing he was.  It wasn’t just all things he did for us – it was the way he made us feel as though it was truly his pleasure to be able to find ways to help us and it was the fact that he had most definitely taken time to figure out what we would enjoy.  At every step of the way, Luciano was there to pave the way.  There were times we swore we could see the puff of smoke when Luciano seemed to magically appear seemingly seconds after we called him.  Seriously, when does this guy sleep?!

 

What Star Class Provides and What a Royal Genie Can Do

Royal Caribbean does a poor job of helping people to understand just what Star Class provides and what a Royal Genie can do.  They are really selling themselves short.  We expected our Royal Genie to be able to reserve seats at shows and to get us to the front of the line wherever we went – and of course that was all done - beyond that, we had no idea what to expect.  The reality is that wherever we went on the ship we were instantly recognized and given special / priority treatment.  Evidently, the key staff are required to learn all the Star Class passenger’s pictures and names before each cruise.  It was a little freaky to have people we never met address us by name.  We had all our meals either in Coastal Kitchen or in our beautiful Grand Loft suite.  Coastal Kitchen is a major perk – great ambiance and they will customize anything or prepare meals off menu - we never once set foot in Windjammers (or as we call it, “Foodjammers”) and we never saw our table in the Dining Room.  All laundry and pressing are included.  We were invited to complimentary Star Class tours of the bridge, theater and galley. 

 

Our Genie setup cocktail parties and gourmet dinners in our suite – all included with the exception that if there were more than some unexplained number of drinks we would have to cover them.  In actual practice, on one occasion we paid $60 for additional drinks and that was when we hosted a cocktail party for 12 people.  On all other occasions there was no charge at all – not even an opportunity to provide a tip.  See more on this below.

 

To sum it up, we never had to deal with any problems – if anything popped up, Luciano handled it - and we were able to enjoy every facet of the ship – which most passengers could not.  For example, there is an Escape Room on board that books up on the first day.  Our Genie simply had them open another session for us.  Other passengers were limited to one turn through the iFly and North Star – if they could even manage to get that booked at all.  Our Genie set us up for multiple turns – at the most desirable times.

 

It is not cheap…  Upgrading from a Sky Loft to a Grand Loft on this cruise (just so we could try Star Class and the Genie) was around $4,000 for two people.  The best compliment we can make on how much we enjoyed it is that after the first few days of the cruise we upgraded our previously booked January 2020 cruise (11 nights on Anthem) from a Grand Suite to a Grand Loft (again, solely to get a Genie) at the additional cost of $5,900 for two people.

 

Debarkation was the one weak point which we will cover below.

 

 

Embarkation

The port in Sydney is beautiful but not very practical and there were exceptionally long lines everywhere.  When we pulled up in our taxi we held up a “Star Class” banner that we had been instructed to print out.  Within seconds a Star Class concierge came over to us and took over.  No, we should not bother moving our luggage – she had some porters come over to our car and take our luggage.  No, we did not have to worry about any lines – she took her Star Class sign and led us past all the lines and shepherded us through each step of getting to the threshold of the ship.  As we boarded the ship, our Royal Genie was there waiting for us and led us to the 270 lounge where he produced our favorite drinks (without asking, based on our pre-cruise responses) while we waited for Coastal Kitchen and our Suite to be ready.  From the time our taxi pulled up until the time we were seated in the lounge with a drink in our hands was less than 20 minutes.  Our luggage was in our room within minutes of us getting to our room.

 

In-Suite Private Cocktail and Dinner Parties

This was an amazing facet of the Star Class service.  At no additional cost to us we were able to plan private cocktail parties and dinners in our suite.  Correction…  We decided that we would like to have a cocktail party or dinner and simply communicated that to our Genie and he took care of the rest!  For example; during the cruising tour of the Sounds our suite had a wonderful view from our private patio.  We had met some people with whom we become friends and discussed having them join us out on our patio.  When I mentioned this to our Genie he suggested we have a cocktail party…  We had no idea this was possible.  We put together a list of 12 people (including ourselves) and gave them to our Genie.  He made up formal invitations which he sent to each guests room.  He asked them which drinks they would like to have.  He offered suggestions for a food menu which we reviewed together (we added sushi).  Everything was beautifully setup in our suite before our guests arrived.  Our only cost was $60 to cover the large number of alcoholic beverages.  THEN at the party which was around Noon we thought of asking one couple to join us for dinner.  Our Genie suggested hosting them in our suite – even though it would be in five hours.  Again, our Genie made up professional invitation, asked each guest what they would like from any of the specialty restaurants and which drinks they would like.  Like magic, it all appeared in our suite.  Beautiful table setting and then everything cleaned up for us afterwards.  No charge at all.  We ended up hosting three of these dinners for couples we became friends with on board.  These friends had no special status.  None of the dinners cost us a dime.

 

Debarkation

Ovation and the Star Class program really missed the boat on debarkation for Star Class guests.  On other ships, just in regular suites, the concierge was able to take off this ship either via a crew elevator or a special backdoor passage.  Not on Ovation and perhaps not in Sydney.  We had to fight for the elevators and ended up just walking down five flights of stairs with our carry-on luggage.  (Our Genie did carry my wife’s luggage).  We had to squeeze our way past lines of people both to get to the actual off-board point and then on to the customs location.  As amazing as our Genie was, there was nothing identifying him as a Royal Caribbean official, so a lot of passengers were giving us dirty looks and making comments under their breath as we moved past them.  Once past customs we were on our own.  We think they could have had a Star Class representative on the port – just as they had during embarkation – to help us get a taxi or uber etc.  This was really the only disappointment related to Star Class and the Royal Genie.

 

Tipping

This is a continual frustration on Royal Caribbean and likely on other cruise lines as well.  It is very difficult to know what is a good tip – particularly for concierges and Genies.  We also don’t like the system where tips are automatically generated.  Yes, you can have the tips removed but how awkward is that?  We tip pretty liberally but we want to tip those who provide excellent service and we have noticed the decline in service – particularly from the room attendants – now that they know they are getting their tips regardless.

 

Royal Caribbean has done a good job of keeping their people from asking for tips – but we wish there was some way that someone could let us know what is a poor tip, good tip, exceptional tip etc.  We desperately wanted to give a really good tip to our Genie and the manager and waiters / waitresses in Coastal Kitchen.  It turned into a round robin chat between the few Star Class guests on board to try to come up with an answer.  We hope we tipped appropriately.  We gave our Genie $250, the manager of

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On 4/8/2019 at 3:45 PM, imkosmic said:

Great review, but it got truncated at the tip part - which is valuable, and hard to find, information. Can you please post the remainder of your review?

Yes please post the remainder of your review!

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Thanks for posting your Star Class Experience.  Maybe you can send an email or complete a survey to RCCL about the debarkation process.  Have a great day

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I think the disembarkation process in Sydney is genie dependent.  We’ve had Genie service twice in Sydney (same Genie: the wonderful Wendy) and on both occasions she personally escorted through luggage claim, customs and to our car, although we still had to fight for elevators even with her priority elevator card.   This year Wendy won’t be on the ship for our sailing so it will be interesting how this is handled with a different genie.

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So sorry your disembarkation was such a "let down" having to "squeeze" past people...oh my !!!!

 

Why was this thread resurrected anyway ????

Edited by Ashland
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Just found this and really enjoyed reading it, i do want to splurge and go star class in the near future. the cocktail parties and dinners in the room sound like a blast and right up our ally! Also going to follow this for any advice on proper tipping for the genie just in case i do make it happen soon 😆

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YIKES!  I was searching for information RE Star Class when this thread came up.  And there HASN'T BEEN a POST since December!

I know, I know...the pandemic has, at the very least, put a halt to so many activities that were part of our lives pre-Covid.

However, I choose to continue being optimistic that by the end of 2020, cruising (probably with many changes) can resume.

We are booked for a B2B2B on Symphony of the Seas early 2021.  But, the big Family Cruise is booked on Symphony for June 2021.  That's the splurge for us - the Villa Suite.  (We do Ocean View and Balconies, never did a suite).  I was on the waiting list for a year prior to the June 2021 itineraries being announced.  A call from Royal Caribbean came very unexpectedly...getting the Villa Suite was a long shot...and then I was told, "The Villa Suite is available for your date.  There are at least 15 other people who are on the list, but you are Number One.  Do you want it?"  YES, YES, YES!

The reservation was made more than a year in advance, there wasn't much to do then.  Now, though, I want to learn EVERYTHING about the Genie, the perks and any suggestions, information and fun facts.

So I'm hoping that other Crazy Cruisers will come to this thread and get the conversation started.

BTW, I'm Nancy from NW PA.  Traveling in our group will be myself, DH Bill, 2 DSs, their wives and our 4 teenage grandchildren.  🛳️

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