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Old 06-23-2014, 09:13 AM   #1
luvavacation
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Concierge Changes - only on Fantasy?

My family was on the Fantasy recently, and we learned of a couple of changes that I haven't seen mentioned here. If I am just late with my post and everyone else knows already, please forgive me.

1. No more blender or mixed type drinks. I am told the blender was taken away 6 months ago, and won't be replaced. DCL is streamlining the drinks (aka - cost cutting ) that are offered during Happy Hour in the lounge. This was a surprise, as we were looking forward to receiving our nightly BBC and Strawberry Daiquiri as in the past. This was a great perk for concierge that my family is very disappointed was taken away.

2. Due to our inability to travel light (3 females, we have stuff, and DH is almost as bad), we had a porter help us with our luggage as we disembarked. Once the luggage was collected from the "Blue Donald" section, we were told that concierge guests now bypass the long line for customs and we go through a side line. As soon as a customs official is open, concierge guests go to the customs official. I don't recall this ever happening before on DCL, I don't know if it will continue, but we appreciated it.

3. Food offerings in the lounge never really changed. I recall more variety previously, but it was pretty much the same each time we went. It all tasted fine to me, but my husband likes simple food and he didn't find anything he ever really wanted to have at the lounge as he said it was "too fancy". This was not the case before. More streamlining, I suppose, if nothing changes.

4. The fridge was never refilled without asking, and instead we were told to just come to the lounge for what we wanted. Sometimes though, you just want to grab a cool drink from your fridge while in a towel, and I don't believe that fits the dress code for the lounge!

We also really missed Andy and Alice. We had them last year (along with PJ who was there this summer but seemed to be constantly on the go so we never really interacted with him), and adored them. The other ladies in concierge were fine, no complaints, but Andy and Alice just seemed "warmer".

Finally, we were told a couple of times that the hosts work for tips, they aren't salaried. Even if I didn't know this ahead of time, on the last night you are given an envelope for the concierge tip, so you will know this eventually. I do tip them, as I do appreciate the little extra touches that the hosts do for us guests, but I do not appreciate feeling pushed into it by the out-of-the-blue story of how they work for tips.

I still loved the room we had (one bedroom), we had a wonderful room host, Tom, and the bed coupled with the bit of movement from the sea made for great sleeping (I like it when the ship rocks me to sleep! ). I also really appreciated the easy route through customs, but I am not appreciative of the other changes I experienced for the price I am charged for concierge. Since it will probably be 2 - 3 years before I sail DCL in concierge again, I wonder what else will change in that time?
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:27 AM   #2
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Mixture some changes some I had when on the Fantasy
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvavacation View Post
2. Due to our inability to travel light (3 females, we have stuff, and DH is almost as bad), we had a porter help us with our luggage as we disembarked. Once the luggage was collected from the "Blue Donald" section, we were told that concierge guests now bypass the long line for customs and we go through a side line. As soon as a customs official is open, concierge guests go to the customs official. I don't recall this ever happening before on DCL, I don't know if it will continue, but we appreciated it.

4. The fridge was never refilled without asking, and instead we were told to just come to the lounge for what we wanted. Sometimes though, you just want to grab a cool drink from your fridge while in a towel, and I don't believe that fits the dress code for the lounge!

We also really missed Andy and Alice. We had them last year (along with PJ who was there this summer but seemed to be constantly on the go so we never really interacted with him), and adored them. The other ladies in concierge were fine, no complaints, but Andy and Alice just seemed "warmer".
When we disembarked in April, I thought this was the case. There was a blue "wall" around the Donald area and I thought, "I bet there's customs back there!" However, we walked our luggage off and were probably the last concierge family off, so I never saw anyone go back there.

We had never had anyone stock our fridge.There were beverages in there when we arrived, but after that, we just kept it fully stocked with what we wanted and left whatever we didn't use.

Andy is on The Dream right now. Gotta share the wealth.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:52 AM   #4
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At least one addition we noted: "Treats" delivered to the room each day -- ranging from cupcakes to nuts and olives.

We've cruised concierge three times, twice on Fantasy and once on the Dream. We got three more scheduled.

We did send (and I'd suggest others do as well) suggestions to shoreside that got forwarded to guest relations. Our suggestions included adding a few extra perks for concierge (given the increasing difference between a 4A and V).

Ideas we suggested:

1) Fast Pass type option for photos (in addition to the boarding photo)
2) Priority tendering when returning
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:37 PM   #5
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Concierge changes on Fantasy....

What types of cocktails are being offered in the lounge?
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:27 PM   #6
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So I had no idea we could just take pop and water from the fridge in concierge and stock our own fridge! I will keep it in mind for next time, though it was nice previously when we just opened the fridge in our room and it was always stocked.

I had forgotten about the treats to the room, but I do remember now being surprised that, for a room of 4, there would be 2 of this, 2 of that, etc. I thought they always did that though in concierge, but perhaps I have forgotten.

As to the drinks, I am not a mixed drink person so I didn't pay too much attention to what was out, as we prefer the fruity blender-with-fruit-and-ice drinks, but there was rum, vodka, wine, and I think beer. Just nothing with fresh fruit, and nothing blended. Also, the bartender did state that DCL was pulling off some of the syrups and top shelf brands from concierge. She also said there were lots of complaints, and she recommended contacting DCL to let them know our opinion of the "streamlining".

Perhaps someone with greater knowledge of what brands are available at the cocktail hour will be of more help, DisneyDollface. I am sorry I don't have more definitive information for you.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:40 PM   #7
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OK, yes I realize this is a 1st world problem. We don't drink, and aside from me, no one in my family drinks soda. Will they refill juice or lemonade, do they have that in the lounge?
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:47 PM   #8
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Do they have draft or bottled beer in the lounge?
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvavacation View Post
The fridge was never refilled without asking, and instead we were told to just come to the lounge for what we wanted.

.....

Finally, we were told a couple of times that the hosts work for tips, they aren't salaried. Even if I didn't know this ahead of time, on the last night you are given an envelope for the concierge tip, so you will know this eventually. I do tip them, as I do appreciate the little extra touches that the hosts do for us guests, but I do not appreciate feeling pushed into it by the out-of-the-blue story of how they work for tips.
Feb 2013 our fridge on Dream wasn't filled, and we were told to get what we wanted. That's not a change from my perspective.

If someone in concierge tells me that they'll have a fun convo. Because to get a job like that, when all of the concierge staff that I have met is from 1st world, EXPENSIVE, countries, where all of your money comes from tips but there is no required tip, means that the person accepting that job isn't very bright. And I just don't think the concierges are un-bright. Therefore, I believe those stories are just stories. I believe they are lying. And I wouldn't have a problem saying all of the above to a concierge staff who tries to say such a thing. Our fave concierge CM is from England; there is no chance she has accepted a no-salary job with no tipping requirements, while continuing to keep a home in England. Not a chance. The staff onboard from places like Jamaica and Haiti, YES, absolutely. The tips (which are required for servers, etc) DO help them. But it wouldn't help keep a flat in London, that's for sure.

Quote:
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OK, yes I realize this is a 1st world problem. We don't drink, and aside from me, no one in my family drinks soda. Will they refill juice or lemonade, do they have that in the lounge?
I don't think so. FWIW you don't have to minimize your questions and concerns like that. We're all in a certain place where cruises are a conversation we're having. No need to make yourself feel bad at the start of a question.

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Do they have draft or bottled beer in the lounge?
At least on Dream, bottled.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:48 PM   #10
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Ideas we suggested:

1) Fast Pass type option for photos (in addition to the boarding photo)
2) Priority tendering when returning
I thought concierge already got private meet-and-greets?
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:01 PM   #11
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Yes the concierge lounge does have bottled beer. I don't mind stocking my own fridge from what is in the concierge fridge, that way I choose what goes in it!
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I thought concierge already got private meet-and-greets?
There is one private meet-and-greet with one character. It was on the concierge sundeck and lasted 15 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by storknurse13 View Post
Yes the concierge lounge does have bottled beer. I don't mind stocking my own fridge from what is in the concierge fridge, that way I choose what goes in it!
Was beer available in the refrigerators in the lounge when you cruised? When we sailed concierge on the Dream last fall, there was no bottled beer available for the taking -- it was only available during the scheduled pre-dinner cocktail hours and the 1-hour "Afternoon Soiree" on the sundeck, which was on Nassau day on our cruise. Only water and soda (and hot beverages from the fabulous coffee machine) were available 24-7.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:44 PM   #13
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There is one private meet-and-greet with one character. It was on the concierge sundeck and lasted 15 minutes. Was beer available in the refrigerators in the lounge when you cruised? When we sailed concierge on the Dream last fall, there was no bottled beer available for the taking -- it was only available during the scheduled pre-dinner cocktail hours and the 1-hour "Afternoon Soiree" on the sundeck, which was on Nassau day on our cruise. Only water and soda (and hot beverages from the fabulous coffee machine) were available 24-7.
Sorry to lead you astray....bottled beer was only available during the two cocktail hours. Sodas available for taking to your fridge for restock!
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:54 PM   #14
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:56 AM   #15
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Very surprised by this, we were on in January and never heard anything like this. We had Kemisha, Alice, and Julia and they were all wonderful and friendly. I wonder if it is certain hosts that bring this up to try and get more tips, not sure. The only thing we heard was the complaints about the price increases and how regulars are not rebooking. The concierge rebookings during the cruise and cruises before us were down at least 50% from other years and the hosts were bummed. We fell into the not rebooking after going concierge 2 years in a row.

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Interesting. Though I do have to wonder, how much of the downtrend in rebookings is price of concierge v. the newly minted 18 month booking window? We sail concierge in October 2014 & already have another booked in October 2015. What am I going to do with a booking that expires in April 2016, if we always sail in the fall and already have next year's fall cruise booked? 18 months is a bit stingy, IMHO. Give me 2 years if you want me to rebook.
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