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Ginnyfyr

Pleasantly surprised by Equinox Retreat Lounge!

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5 hours ago, CruiseLifeIsTheBest said:

The seriously tiny chairs were switched out during the 8/24 sailing. Got a shot before they were changed. 

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I may wake my husband up to win this argument! Thank you!

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There is no bar in the retreat on edge. Servers are supposed to be roving and take your order and they go to a Backbar to make the drinks. But if there is no server aPparent there is also no way to call one.

 

 As a person who Cruises alone and likes to sit at the bar and chat with the bartender and others sitting there, I really missed this. There was no way to say, for instance, oh please put another cherry in my drink. Or could I have some more ice in that. Or I’d like to have what she’s having. It was all done behind closed doors. Not a friendly atmosphere, IMO.

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We also just got off the equinox a few weeks ago and my only negative comment about the lounge decor is that the hostess had to stand by a podium   As did the guest  We liked seating allowing us to discuss our questions and concerns comfortably with her. This shouldn’t be like a customer service kiosk.  Also found the seating comfortable.

 

other comment, previously when we were in Michael’s club, and they didn’t have ingredients to make a drink, the bartenders would either get the alcohol from another bar, or get the drink for us.  The current bartender told my husband to get the drink from the martini bar.  Not sure if just the bartender issue, or celebrities.

Edited by Cruise a holic

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They did add a blender so they can make frozen drinks without having to go to Ensemble lounge although the noise sorta disrupts the tranquility.

 

Summit still has the desk for the Concierge and it is much better in my opinion.

Edited by wrk2cruise

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25 minutes ago, wrk2cruise said:

They did add a blender so they can make frozen drinks without having to go to Ensemble lounge although the noise sorta disrupts the tranquility.

 

Summit still has the desk for the Concierge and it is much better in my opinion.

Wasn't a problem with frozen drinks- they didn't have ingredients to make a chocolate martin or French martini-  popular requests.

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We were on 8/24 sailing and Rose was making chocolate martini's.  However I do agree that the Retreat overall service and experience was not what we have come to expect over the last 4 or 5 years traveling in Suites, multiple times on Equinox.

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Just returned from 9/7 cruise and experienced the Retreat Lounge. While I thought it was a real improvement in terms of design and enjoyed the self service fridge and placement of snacks I did see a few problems. There was no desk for the Concierge. They were forced to conduct business from behind a lecturn. This forced them to stand for extended times. Told the Captain about this and he spoke to the Concierge who confirmed the problem. Watch out for the small marble tables as they have sharp edges. I saw more than one person bump into them. I don't like the name change to The Retreat. Micheal's Club was named for Michael Chandris, the son of the founder of the company. The name change further separates Celebrity from its roots.

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36 minutes ago, Orator said:

Just returned from 9/7 cruise and experienced the Retreat Lounge. While I thought it was a real improvement in terms of design and enjoyed the self service fridge and placement of snacks I did see a few problems. There was no desk for the Concierge. They were forced to conduct business from behind a lecturn. This forced them to stand for extended times. Told the Captain about this and he spoke to the Concierge who confirmed the problem. Watch out for the small marble tables as they have sharp edges. I saw more than one person bump into them. I don't like the name change to The Retreat. Micheal's Club was named for Michael Chandris, the son of the founder of the company. The name change further separates Celebrity from its roots.

On the Edge they had a round table and chairs for the concierge to meet with people (and have some privacy), though it was quite close to the bathrooms. They did have a lectern that they stood at on embarkation day and we did not like that set up - it was right in front of the door and people walked in and lined up. We arrived early and were able to get our requests taken care of without standing in line, but our friends were there later and had to wait in line 20 minutes or more. Not sure if it is still set up that way, but it was not a relaxing way to start the suite life, IMO. I'm glad that you said something.

 

 

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I am also just off the Equinox.  I found the new Retreat Lounge sterile.  Service was nonexistent.  If you wanted a drink, you had to go to the bar.  Even then, it took forever.  Also do not care for the Concierge stand.  Preferred to be able to sit down to talk with the Concierge(s).  The two concierges I interacted with, Alexandra and Jeffrey, were pleasant and responsive.  No sign of the Suite Manager the entire cruise.  Maybe he's just a figment of our imagination.  The only time I saw more than 4 people in the lounge was the night the officers came.  Then it was packed to the gills.  Somehow, it just doesn't feel conducive to just hanging out as the old Michael's Club used to.  The one time I went to the butler's tea, there was one butler.  Who spent absolutely no time serving or interacting with the guests.  It was all self service.  I can get that in the Oceanview Cafe.  Given the exorbitant prices they're charging for suites these days, I think this is a big fail.

 

Could not access the Retreat Sundeck as there is no elevator service.  By all accounts, it's hot and windy and no shade.  No bar, no pool.  So what's the point???

 

And yes, the baby chairs were replaced during the cruise before mine.  With a slightly larger version.

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This is a bit mystifying.

 

I am not a regular on Celebrity, but have been trying to keep up with all the changes, including the package of suite perks.  Michael’s Club has become the Retreat Lounge, with new furniture.  It got that.

 

But I thought the whole idea of the lounge was that, if I am in a suite, I can get a drink, irrespective of whether I am Elite or have a drinks package.

 

Have I missed something?

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10 minutes ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

I am also just off the Equinox.  I found the new Retreat Lounge sterile.  Service was nonexistent.  If you wanted a drink, you had to go to the bar.  Even then, it took forever.  Also do not care for the Concierge stand.  Preferred to be able to sit down to talk with the Concierge(s).  The two concierges I interacted with, Alexandra and Jeffrey, were pleasant and responsive.  No sign of the Suite Manager the entire cruise.  Maybe he's just a figment of our imagination.  The only time I saw more than 4 people in the lounge was the night the officers came.  Then it was packed to the gills.  Somehow, it just doesn't feel conducive to just hanging out as the old Michael's Club used to.  The one time I went to the butler's tea, there was one butler.  Who spent absolutely no time serving or interacting with the guests.  It was all self service.  I can get that in the Oceanview Cafe.  Given the exorbitant prices they're charging for suites these days, I think this is a big fail.

 

Could not access the Retreat Sundeck as there is no elevator service.  By all accounts, it's hot and windy and no shade.  No bar, no pool.  So what's the point???

 

And yes, the baby chairs were replaced during the cruise before mine.  With a slightly larger version.

I must agree with most of your observations. Saber was also a Retreat Concierge and I basically saw him and Alexandra. They appear to rotate responsibilities. I waited for over 15 minutes for table service and I was one on three in the room at that time. I must say that the servers once they got to know me were very friendly. My DW said to me that there appears to be no need for Butlers since everything is self serve in the Retreat. The tea was well attended the one time I was there. The room was empty, but many times I observed fairly good crowds. The timing of our visits account for differences in observations. 

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Just now, Orator said:

I must agree with most of your observations. Saber was also a Retreat Concierge and I basically saw him and Alexandra. They appear to rotate responsibilities. I waited for over 15 minutes for table service and I was one on three in the room at that time. I must say that the servers once they got to know me were very friendly. My DW said to me that there appears to be no need for Butlers since everything is self serve in the Retreat. The tea was well attended the one time I was there. The room was empty, but many times I observed fairly good crowds. The timing of our visits account for differences in observations. Design is an individual preference and I liked the more neutral colors. To me it was a lighter, brighter room. IMHO the backless benches need to go. The room seemed to be designed for looks rather than function. 

 

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5 hours ago, Orator said:

I must agree with most of your observations. Saber was also a Retreat Concierge and I basically saw him and Alexandra. They appear to rotate responsibilities. I waited for over 15 minutes for table service and I was one on three in the room at that time. I must say that the servers once they got to know me were very friendly. My DW said to me that there appears to be no need for Butlers since everything is self serve in the Retreat. The tea was well attended the one time I was there. The room was empty, but many times I observed fairly good crowds. The timing of our visits account for differences in observations. 

 

I know Saber was listed, but I never saw him.  He must have been hanging out with the missing suite manager.  Or perhaps he was at the inaccessible Retreat area upstairs.  Yes, Rose was very friendly, but very slow with the drink orders.  Most of the time, she was the only one in there.  In my view, it just didn't have the same vibe it used to.  Not saying it's bad, just different.

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5 hours ago, Klapka said:

This is a bit mystifying.

 

I am not a regular on Celebrity, but have been trying to keep up with all the changes, including the package of suite perks.  Michael’s Club has become the Retreat Lounge, with new furniture.  It got that.

 

But I thought the whole idea of the lounge was that, if I am in a suite, I can get a drink, irrespective of whether I am Elite or have a drinks package.

 

Have I missed something?

 

No, you have not missed anything.  If you are in a suite, you can get a drink whether or not you are Elite or whatever and whether or not you have a drink package.  The trick was getting someone to furnish said drink.

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On 9/15/2019 at 1:32 PM, hulamoon said:

So, what? 

 

If there is not a bar in the retreat are people just sitting around? Do they go to other bars to get a drink and bring them in? Or is it a new concept, meditation like area.

 

They still serve drinks. Just not a bar you can belly up too. After 6 glasses of wine, that is when I meditate.

The new Retreat looks real nice. The chairs even have armrests.

Edited by bigbenboys
added words

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We were on the 8/24 sailing. The service was HORRIBLE !!! First drink was slow and refills impossible. The self service buffet was a definite improvement. No live music since there is no longer any place for them to perform. One night after waiting for 15-20 minutes for a wine refill we walked up to the bar. The waitress took the glasses and proceeded to leave (without them). Concierge came over and said she went on break and he called for a replacement. After dinner an assistant bar manager approached us after dinner. He apologized and said it would be corrected. No change !!! Normally at 5 PM neither of the concierges were present. After a few more tries we either sat in Ensemble or went to Ensemble ourselves to get refills !!! A big step down from "Michael's Club" !!!

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44 minutes ago, TommyD3 said:

We were on the 8/24 sailing. The service was HORRIBLE !!! First drink was slow and refills impossible. The self service buffet was a definite improvement. No live music since there is no longer any place for them to perform. One night after waiting for 15-20 minutes for a wine refill we walked up to the bar. The waitress took the glasses and proceeded to leave (without them). Concierge came over and said she went on break and he called for a replacement. After dinner an assistant bar manager approached us after dinner. He apologized and said it would be corrected. No change !!! Normally at 5 PM neither of the concierges were present. After a few more tries we either sat in Ensemble or went to Ensemble ourselves to get refills !!! A big step down from "Michael's Club" !!!

I am sorry to hear that. I was hoping we were the only ones noticing the dip in service standards. Too bad they don’t play music anymore. We didn’t make all of them but enjoyed the ones we went to, when aware of them. 

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5 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

 

No, you have not missed anything.  If you are in a suite, you can get a drink whether or not you are Elite or whatever and whether or not you have a drink package.  The trick was getting someone to furnish said drink.

They were checking us for the package in May. Pretty weird. I wanted to chock it up to inexperience but that wasn’t it. It was a far cry from the early suite experience and the desire to serve in those days. 

 

I wondered if they were making an attempt to stop serving drinks without package or status. It didn’t happen, let’s call it reluctant service. 

 

Will see how the next cruise goes!

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We were on the August 24 and August 31 cruises and never had any trouble getting drinks in the Retreat lounge. We were never asked if we had a drink package or not.

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I did notice that the new layout did add to the poor service due to inefficiencies.  If I ordered a soda Rose had to get glass/ice from the bar then go across the room to the cooler then bring everything to the table.  Stocking sodas behind the bar could easily solve this.

 

At tea time my wife orders tea (who woulda though).  Again the bartender would go across the room to prepare the tea and back to the bar for whatever else was ordered.  Again an easy fix.  Have the butler who is doing nothing prepare and serve tea.  Oh and maybe he could interact with passengers at the same time

 

If it's going to be totally self service for tea items the need to prepare signs to describe the sandwiches etc.  When the butlers brought them around they would describe them for you.

 

I was on Summit in May and the Revolutionized Retreat lounge was much better executed.  2 butlers on duty during tea time and 1 bar server able to provide excellent service throughout the lounge (which I believe is physically larger than the "S" class).  I'm back on Summit in about 30 days so I hope things there haven't changed.

 

I do believe the issues we experienced on Equinox were more of an issue with the particular management and staff than any changes to the product.  At least I hope so.

 

And yes watch out for the large white marble immovable benches.  I bashed my shin on one of them twice and saw a bar manager and several other passengers do it as well.

Edited by wrk2cruise

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Thank you for explaining things.  I am now less mystified.

 

I now see that  I can get a glass of wine in the Retreat Lounge if I am in a suite, but I may have a bit of a wait.

 

Can you guys  take me a little further on my voyage of discovery and  explain what is on offer? 

 

Are we talking (a) Classic Drinks Package?  Or (b) the range of drinks available to Elite members between 5pm and 7pm? Or (c) the Premium Package?  Or (d) some other range of beverages?

 

As a point of reference, my wife loves champagne.  I know that champagne is not offered under (a) or (b) but is available under (c).

 

 

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We were on Millie shortly after the changes. Apart from the tiny chairs the lounge was a welcoming place. The suite manager and concierges were present and helpful, seated at a table or circulating, afternoon tea was served by 2 butlers and the small bar area was staffed most of the time. My sister enjoyed her champagne there and they even managed Perrier jouet for her when requested. Next time we are on Infinity before it goes into dry dock as have to admit we weren’t as keen on the changes in the suite or the shadeless retreat deck. Itinerary suited so we booked whilst on board.

 

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Did anyone ask to meet with the suite manager re slow service in the Retreat? I know he wasn’t visible but should have been available on request.

 

Certainly not acceptable to be waiting ages for a drink or having to go to the bar to get it...One of the things we have always enjoyed in Michael’s has been the service level.

 

Re the podium. What about the many older less mobile guests who can’t stand long? 

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On 9/15/2019 at 4:34 PM, hulamoon said:

 

It seems like there was a big disconnect between what passengers like and the design. 

 

I think that sums up many of the comments I've read about the Edge (not just the Retreat Lounge.)

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4 hours ago, chemmo said:

Did anyone ask to meet with the suite manager re slow service in the Retreat? I know he wasn’t visible but should have been available on request.

 

Certainly not acceptable to be waiting ages for a drink or having to go to the bar to get it...One of the things we have always enjoyed in Michael’s has been the service level.

 

Re the podium. What about the many older less mobile guests who can’t stand long? 

 

Yes I know of a couple who requested a meeting with him.  Didn't notice any changes after.

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