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

| December 1, 2008

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

We greeted the suite guests as they entered and exited the area. They talked to Alex with obvious affection and appreciation. They looked at me as though I were a bit of dust on the desktop -- at least until I told them I was writing a story about Alex and the job of concierge. At that point their obvious adulation for this young man was effusive. Everyone spoke about him as my parents might have done about me if I had graduated from medical school, discovered a cure for cancer, and negotiated world peace in my spare time. He really is worshipped by "his passengers," because he has the ability to make each one feel like they are the most important person on the ship. And each person walks away wishing he was their son.

That is a talent I'd love to put in a jar and package. I'd be rich!

To those fortunate enough to sail in the Jewel's top 46 suites, Alex is like the ship's God, because he can and does make miracles happen. He is also omnipresent. I spent just a few hours with him, talking to guests, filling all their requests, and taking the time to listen to them. He gets to know them, and forms personal relationships with each one. After several hours I was exhausted, ready for a coffee and a chocolate croissant, but this was only a small part of what is normally a 120-hour work week for Alex. He explains that it's not work to him -- that if he woke up each morning telling himself he had to go to work, he'd have quit doing this long ago.

Breakfast is served in Cagney's each morning until 10 a.m., and the concierge or his assistant is available at the entrance daily to handle guests' requests. From there it's off to the small concierge office, catching up with administrative work in time to be back at the desk in Cagney's for lunch service. Once lunch is over, the concierge makes the rounds of the top suites to see if the guests need anything. These personal visits to the suites are very important to Alex, as he feels it helps establish a personal relationship with each guest. It's effective, too: The first day of the cruise, as we sailed from New York, he came by our cabin to check if we needed anything, and I thought that was very special service.


After visiting the suites, there may be a wee bit of time off, or at least time to shower and clean up, ready to host a Latitudes members' cocktail party, or the VIP party NCL holds in the Spinnaker Lounge one night, or the suites guests' cocktail party in the Courtyard of the Courtyard Villas another night.


Once those duties are done, it's time for Alex's evening stroll around the ship, stopping to check on all "his guests" during their dinner. If he's made your dinner reservation, he knows where to find you. If you had no reservations, and simply went to dinner on a whim, he'll find you. One might think that on occasion this visit might be obtrusive, but frankly Alex is such a nice guy, with such a pleasant demeanor, we looked forward to his dinner visits.

Continue Article >> A View from Both Sides of the Concierge Desk (Part 3)

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