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Dani24

First time in a suite! How do we maximize the experience?

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We booked a window suite in our upcoming 10 day RT Alaska cruise on the Grand. We have the smallest one (F301), as it was the last one left. I'll have at least $3900 in rewards from my Princess Visa to apply towards the cruise, and we originally planned to try a mini suite (we've previously had oceanview or balcony, but now we have a kid in tow and would like a bit more room too). Then I saw it was only $150 more to get F301 so we jumped on the opportunity.

It's likely we won't get a suite again, unless we someday wind up with a similar deal or get upgraded. So we'd like to enjoy the suite life as fully as possible over the 10 days.

I've already read over the official Princess list of suite perks. But what else should I know that's not listed in their flyer? What creative ways do you enjoy suite perks that aren't well advertised (for instance, I read yesterday about trading the mini bar for coffee cards or wine). Any other tips for maximizing this opportunity?

Also, I know that we pay higher tips for being in a suite. But do we need to factor in additional tips for any of the suite amenities (e.g. laundry, breakfast in Crown Grill, etc.) or is that included in that $15.50/pp/day? I want to be prepared with enough cash for any extra tips (beyond what we're used to from our prior cruises). 
 

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8 minutes ago, Dani24 said:

We booked a window suite in our upcoming 10 day RT Alaska cruise on the Grand. We have the smallest one (F301), as it was the last one left. I'll have at least $3900 in rewards from my Princess Visa to apply towards the cruise, and we originally planned to try a mini suite (we've previously had oceanview or balcony, but now we have a kid in tow and would like a bit more room too). Then I saw it was only $150 more to get F301 so we jumped on the opportunity.

It's likely we won't get a suite again, unless we someday wind up with a similar deal or get upgraded. So we'd like to enjoy the suite life as fully as possible over the 10 days.

I've already read over the official Princess list of suite perks. But what else should I know that's not listed in their flyer? What creative ways do you enjoy suite perks that aren't well advertised (for instance, I read yesterday about trading the mini bar for coffee cards or wine). Any other tips for maximizing this opportunity?

Also, I know that we pay higher tips for being in a suite. But do we need to factor in additional tips for any of the suite amenities (e.g. laundry, breakfast in Crown Grill, etc.) or is that included in that $15.50/pp/day? I want to be prepared with enough cash for any extra tips (beyond what we're used to from our prior cruises). 
 

Beware---staying in a suite can spoil you and you won't enjoy any other cabin as much again. 

You do not need to factor in any additional tips for suite amenities.  Purely optional but if you want you can fill out a crew member appreciation card for your wait staff at the suite breakfast if you got good service.  Do the same for your cabin steward and also give him or her an additional tip in cash if you have no complaints about the service you received.

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HI dani24,

enjoy your window suite... a lot of people loved them, very roomy, and close to everything.

 

Breakfast  enjoy it is at the grand grill or sabatinis do not miss, also remember ask for what you want, they will try to do it for you..... Laundry, send it out.... Yes you can change your mini bar... If there are any tender ports use your card to get the front of the line..... Enjoy yourselves...

 

Also Club Class  dining and lunch on sea days..... also get on early the first day and have lunch at Club Class......

 

And the bad news you will want to do it again....

( note windows suites are only on Grand class ships )

 

Cheers Don

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In a word - Sabitini’s

in two words - Club Class 

in three words - Expanded Room Service

in four words - Included One-day Laundry Service 

 

ENJOY!!!

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Club class is the best dining experience I have ever had in a MDR - tables are not too close together and some to the "extra" options are out of this world.  Also remember you can order room service off of the MDR menu if you want to stay in just remember that the kitchen gets busy and all courses will come at one time

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5 hours ago, Dani24 said:


Also, I know that we pay higher tips for being in a suite. But do we need to factor in additional tips for any of the suite amenities (e.g. laundry, breakfast in Crown Grill, etc.) or is that included in that $15.50/pp/day? I want to be prepared with enough cash for any extra tips (beyond what we're used to from our prior cruises). 
 

We always tip the guys/gals in the Crown Grill for the suite breakfast a little extra at the end of the cruise.

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Our favorite perk was MDR items available through room service.  We didn't care at all that everything came at once.  I noted you will have a child sailing with you, and without knowing their age, sometimes it might not be convenient to take them to the MDR so having the room service option might come in handy for you.  

 

We also appreciated the expanded breakfast room service menu for port days and disembarkation day.  We did go to Sabatini's for breakfast on sea days, which was great, but having the full breakfast menu for port days and the final day was very convenient. 

 

Enjoy!

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Here are some of my suggestion for cruising in a suite.

 

1. Already mentioned is the breakfast. Since I'm a night owl, I get up early for the suite breakfast and then go back to the suite for a nap.

 

2. Club Class dinning. We just took our first cruise with club class dinning. Club Class Dinning is available as soon as the MDRs open for dinner. We thought you had to wait for anytime dinning to open, but you don't have to wait.

 

3. Since you didn't mention how old your child is, the first thing you do when you get on board is go to the main desk and sign up for the behind the ship tour. They don't always offer the tour, but it is limited to about 15 people. I think there might be an age limit. It cost around $150, but is well worth it because of the goodies they deliver to cabin after the tour. Also since you are in a suite, they have a special line at the desk for suite and elite passengers.

 

4. Since they are changing the rules on the coffee cards so you can't carry over the unused portion for another cruise, I would not get the coffee card unless you drink a lot of coffee.

 

5. You get double cruise points. Your suite cruise counts as two cruises.

 

6. You get room service from the MDR menu so don't forget to ask your steward for the daily menu.

 

Roger

 

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Just to add... for those who are new to suites on the Royal class builds (Royal and Regal for sure), there is a dedicated Concierge Lounge on board for suite guests only.

Sadly, it is not Grand class ships.

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Also you can order a full afternoon tea to be delivered to your suite.  Just give them a good few hours notice.  Book it through room service.  They will bring it in with table cloths etc. A fabulous experience.

 

Don't miss the speciality restaurant breakfast and you can get what ever drinks you wish, Mimosa, bloody Mary's etc and speciality coffees (no coffee card required).

 

Complimentary speciality restaurant of your choosing on embarkation day.  We love Crown Grill (is it the Sterling Steakhouse on Grand, not too sure).

 

Mini bar swap.  We normally exchange all the shorts / liquor bottles for beer,  all the soft drinks for diet coke and all the waters for straight water bottles.  If you like some of the liquors but not all I believe they will swap them to more of your choosing from the selection already in your room.  You can swap all the liquor bottles for a bottle of wine but it never seemed good enough value to us.

 

Platinum / Elite / Suite evening drink of the day and hors d'oeuvre, normally in Skywalkers (Club 15 I think it is on Grand).

 

Used to get a corsage on first formal night and chocolate covered strawberries.  This has been more miss than hit on recent cruises.

 

Welcome bottles of Korbel and canapes and warm almonds.

 

Complimentary laundry

 

Enjoy it all.   It's wonderful.

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I have to agree breakfast at Sabatini's is my favorite suite perk. Enjoy the mimosas and the Eggs Benedict are the best.  I also really enjoyed the Club Class dining.  Some nice extra dining options and service was a step above.  Free laundry is also great.  I watch what i send out, but it helps to not have to bring as much stuff and return with less laundry to do at home.  

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Be careful with the laundry/cleaning services. We have generally had good service. This past cruise on the Grand, they shrunk a sweater of my husbands - had been a men's large, is now a boys 10! The slip was marked for cleaning, but they must have washed and dried it - it definitely shrunk beyond being able to wear. We reported the damage to the purser (they laughed when they saw the sweater), and a claim is being processed. They also lost a pair of my capris. I reported that to the steward, and when he couldn't find them, I reported the loss to the purser. The purser contacted the laundry supervisor, and still no capris. I wasn't going to submit a claim - the pants were old and inexpensive, but they were my "go-to" pants. I loved them! The purser insisted I fill out the claim form, and then she posted a credit on our folio. I still would rather have the pants!

 

Bottom line: The laundry/cleaning service is a great perk, just realize the quality is OK at best.

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Another vote here for the suite breakfast. Such a wonderful start to your day! Nukesubsailor is right.....very hard to go back, even to a mini! We have taken upsells to a full suite for about the last 3 years so gonna miss it next year. Enjoy all your Perks and the suite!

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My only disappointment with booking a penthouse suite is that I have never been offered an upsell or upgrade.  I imagine that is because the owner's suites and grand suites sell out early.

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7 minutes ago, nukesubsailor said:

My only disappointment with booking a penthouse suite is that I have never been offered an upsell or upgrade.  I imagine that is because the owner's suites and grand suites sell out early.

Yes, I think your right. We booked one of the aft suites on the promenade deck of Island for next month because I happen to hit a really good deal. It has been booked for more than a year. I was hoping they would offer a upsell to a different suite but no such luck. You can't find much info on those suites and I have a feeling they are full of vibration from being added later. 

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On 1/16/2019 at 11:26 AM, Dani24 said:

We booked a window suite in our upcoming 10 day RT Alaska cruise on the Grand. We have the smallest one (F301), as it was the last one left. I'll have at least $3900 in rewards from my Princess Visa to apply towards the cruise, and we originally planned to try a mini suite (we've previously had oceanview or balcony, but now we have a kid in tow and would like a bit more room too). Then I saw it was only $150 more to get F301 so we jumped on the opportunity.

It's likely we won't get a suite again, unless we someday wind up with a similar deal or get upgraded. So we'd like to enjoy the suite life as fully as possible over the 10 days.

I've already read over the official Princess list of suite perks. But what else should I know that's not listed in their flyer? What creative ways do you enjoy suite perks that aren't well advertised (for instance, I read yesterday about trading the mini bar for coffee cards or wine). Any other tips for maximizing this opportunity?

Also, I know that we pay higher tips for being in a suite. But do we need to factor in additional tips for any of the suite amenities (e.g. laundry, breakfast in Crown Grill, etc.) or is that included in that $15.50/pp/day? I want to be prepared with enough cash for any extra tips (beyond what we're used to from our prior cruises). 
 

You stated that you are well aware of the standard documented benefits of a suite, so I will list a few things that are not as obvious.

 

Yes, I think you will most likely wish to leave the Speciality breakfast staff an additional gratuity.  If you are having in-suite dining, you will likely wish to provide an additional gratuity.

 

The room service breakfast on the last morning is a great way to avoid the crowded last morning breakfast.  

 

Do do not forget to ask for the two bottles of water daily if you do not receive them.  Print out a copy of the suite benefits document, just in case you need it.

 

If you do not have the drink package, I would swap out the individual items for the items that you will drink.  I switch to all scotch for the liquor and Diet soda.  

 

The priority check in, boarding, and tendering is a little disappointing, because a lot of people with status have the same priority.  Therefore it is not much of a priority depending on the passenger mix.  Just do not be too disappointed.

 

The Balcony and balcony  furniture are super nice and I suspect you will want to spend a lot of time on your balcony.

 

While enjoying your Club Dining, you can enjoy the pasta dish prepared in your dining room as an appetizer.  We found that we liked most of these dishes.

 

Enjoy you full suite experience.

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I generally cruise in Window Suites (and bummed that the Grand is leaving/along with the Golden).  You will get your fill of specialty coffees during your suite breakfast.  I rarely used a coffee card the rest of the days.  

 

You mentioned traveling with a youngster (how old?).  Will your child be in a roll away or on the sofa bed?  That will make F301 very small.  

 

You will love the location (same floor as CC and probably breakfast).  There are "extra" bathrooms right outside of the hallway.  Enjoy your experience.

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Thank you all! In case it's helpful, our daughter will have just turned 7 a week prior to the cruise. She's really looking forward to hanging out with other kids in the kid's club.

For the afternoon tea in suite, how does it compare to the tea in the MDR? That has been one of our favorite things to enjoy on prior cruises.

Good to know that the laundry service may have some potential pitfalls. I was ready to just bring my entire laundry basket from home, since we live near the port, and let them do all my laundry for me! Kidding... kind of... But I will think twice about what I send to them for cleaning.

We'll likely swap out the mini bar, but I'm not sure how yet. We aren't big drinkers, and we don't drink soda at all. We're fine with the ship's water. And we don't drink coffee either! Can the coffee card be used for hot cocoa or tea? Though I had thought about just bringing my own tea and cocoa packets and asking for hot water. So, maybe a bottle of wine? But my husband isn't a big wine drinker. Decisions, decisions!

Also, is there another option besides the champagne at embarkation? Neither of us are fans. 🙂

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10 minutes ago, cr8tiv1 said:

I generally cruise in Window Suites (and bummed that the Grand is leaving/along with the Golden).  You will get your fill of specialty coffees during your suite breakfast.  I rarely used a coffee card the rest of the days.  

 

You mentioned traveling with a youngster (how old?).  Will your child be in a roll away or on the sofa bed?  That will make F301 very small.  

 

You will love the location (same floor as CC and probably breakfast).  There are "extra" bathrooms right outside of the hallway.  Enjoy your experience.

Our daughter will be newly 7 at the time of the cruise. I was thinking we'd put her in the sofa bed. But I'm open to suggestions on which is better. She's not finicky about where she sleeps. If we use the sofa bed will they make it back up to a sofa each day?

I'm not too concerned about the room feeling tight with the third bed in use. We're used to sleeping in regular cabins. And we were going to book a mini suite, so I imagine this will still feel a bit roomier in comparison. Although, I see that F301 doesn't have that desk/counter along the window wall. Anyone know where they put things like the fruit bowl, refrigerator, room service, etc. in F301 in the absence of that counter?

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4 hours ago, jagoffee said:

You stated that you are well aware of the standard documented benefits of a suite, so I will list a few things that are not as obvious.

 

Yes, I think you will most likely wish to leave the Speciality breakfast staff an additional gratuity.  If you are having in-suite dining, you will likely wish to provide an additional gratuity.

 

The room service breakfast on the last morning is a great way to avoid the crowded last morning breakfast.  

 

Do do not forget to ask for the two bottles of water daily if you do not receive them.  Print out a copy of the suite benefits document, just in case you need it.

 

If you do not have the drink package, I would swap out the individual items for the items that you will drink.  I switch to all scotch for the liquor and Diet soda.  

 

The priority check in, boarding, and tendering is a little disappointing, because a lot of people with status have the same priority.  Therefore it is not much of a priority depending on the passenger mix.  Just do not be too disappointed.

 

The Balcony and balcony  furniture are super nice and I suspect you will want to spend a lot of time on your balcony.

 

While enjoying your Club Dining, you can enjoy the pasta dish prepared in your dining room as an appetizer.  We found that we liked most of these dishes.

 

Enjoy you full suite experience.

Good advice except this OP is in a window suite without a balcony or furniture; but your other info is beneficial

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Here are a few tips about a suite. If you don't really drink you can swap out your mini fridge booze for two coffee cards. Since you don't drink coffee; you can use the card for hot cocoa and tea latte's.  Since you don't drink soda; you can have your frig stocked with just club soda or bottled water.   your daughter and you will get corsage on first formal night; you will also receive fruit basket on arrival in suite and some cookies or choc strawberries.  Club class dining is a great option;  you can choose to dine when you want;  You should also receive a comp dinner on your first night.  Have fun

Edited by AF-1

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15 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

 you will also receive fruit basket on arrival in suite 

 

And be aware the RS will refresh upon request

 

That last part is important. They won’t do it unless you ask. You can specify what you want.   We load up on strawberries.  

 

After a few days the sprig of vanda orchids typically left in the bathroom will begin to wilt. You can ask to have them replaced if you wish. 

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