A View from Both Sides of the Concierge Desk

| December 1, 2008

Cruise Director Kuki tries out another staff job on a cruise ship.

Before my first experience cruising in a suite that offered butler service, I used to say, "What the heck would I do with a butler? I'd never use them!" Then I actually had a butler on a cruise, and it was so decadent and luxurious, I considered it "filthy" how much I enjoyed it.

When we booked a Romance Suite on the Norwegian Jewel, I noticed that besides getting to enjoy butler service again, we also had access to concierge service. After my previous mistake of underestimating the butler's job, I thought I'd best be careful not to do the same with the concierge.

Concierge service is offered in most land-based hotels rated three stars or higher. Other than asking the concierge for a restaurant recommendation in a city I haven't visited before, I've never employed their services. To be honest, I've never even thought of what else I could ask them to do, other than perhaps arrange a car service, or a tour. Concierge service is much more rare on cruise ships, but all Norwegian Cruise Line ships feature it for guests in the many categories of suites.

I decided the easiest way to learn about the concierge's job on a ship was to not only enjoy it as a guest, but to "work" it for a while as well -- a view from both sides of the concierge desk, if you will.


NCL's "rock star" Concierge, Alexander (Alex) Forbes, agreed to provide me with a brief training session.


Thankfully brief for me -- this young man works much too hard, and way too many hours, and is so much better organized than I, for me to want to spend much time working with him. His expertise, organization, and social skills made me feel too inadequate to tolerate it for long. I was much better suited to being the spoiled passenger having everything done for me.

My "training day" began at 8 a.m. sitting at the Concierge Desk, located in the Star Bar, next to the entrance to Cagney's overflow area (available to suite guests for breakfast and lunch). I arrived promptly, but it was obvious Alex had been there for some time, working on his computer, with his ever present day-timer and portable shipboard telephone always within quick reach.


Continue Article >> A View from Both Sides of the Concierge Desk (Part 2)

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