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Star Class Newbie - Anthem of the Seas


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So here goes.  I am a planner by nature and not being able to plan everything myself is driving me crazy!  I am going to trust the process and "attempt" to go with the flow but am hoping to get some more information.  We cruise in a little over a month and I have read tons of blogs and searched the internet but I still have a few questions/clarifications:

1.  If I send a schedule of dinner each night, along with other things we want to do/already have reserved, will the genie follow that or will they move things around?  My concern is that the times we want to dine there won't be tables available for our group (10 people in 3 Star Class Suites) since we didn't book in advance and therefore, we won't get to eat where I want on the day I want.

2. I have heard Anthem tends to not allow lunch to be served in the suite on embarkation day.  We can live with that but will they do snacks/appetizers for sail away at 3 PM that day?  I have heard people say that if the restaurant isn't open that you want the food from then you can't.  We were thinking of getting some sushi, tempura and spring rolls from Izumi.  Alternatively, Brass and Bock is open so we could get appetizers delivered from there.

3.  I know the Genie doesn't stock the room with wine but could they deliver a few glasses of wine or leave some gin in a glass to make gin and tonics? 

4.  With our total of 10 of us in 3 star class suites, we have asked for one genie thinking it would be less work for that genie since we will be doing mostly everything together.  Does that make sense to others or would having (potentially) different genies be better?

5.  Besides the few snacks we asked to be stocked in our room, I do want some snacks delivered to the room (sometimes) but I don't want wasted food.  I was thinking of putting on my schedule I will be sending to the genie what days we wanted snacks delivered.  Is that what others do? 

6.  Tipping at specialty restaurants.  I know we aren't paying for any of the specialty restaurants but I usually tip $15-$20 for the two of us when we have gone to them on past cruises.  There will be 10 of us at most meals so what is reasonable?  Follow the same guideline we typically do?  What about at breakfast or lunch at CK?  Does anyone have any guidelines that are reasonable?  Not trying to be cheap but we splurged for our 20th anniversary on this cruise and I want an idea of how much extra cash I need.

7.  When we do in-suite dining (we want to order chops one night), do we just get in contact with our genie and tell them what we want and what time?  Is that the same for ordering breakfast in the room too?

8.  I know everyone tips their Genie differently and I have googled, Facebook stalked and searched and I still have no idea!  It seems some people do $100 pp/day (which would be $2100 which is 40% of what we paid for our room so that is not happening)!  I only foresee our Genie scheduling dinners for us and handling in-suite dining if we want.  We already booked all excursions and shows.  I was hoping $700 for the week was reasonable (the other two rooms would likely tip them the same so $2100 from the 3 rooms in total - I know I would be happy if I made $2100 in cash for a week!!).

9.  I know we have to go to the Star Class Zone 6 drop off area.  I was a little confused as to what to do when we get there.  I know I don't give the bags to the pier porters so is there someone at the star class banner that will tell me who to give them to or should I go inside with them?

Thank you in advance for any other tips or tricks to make this the most amazing trip ever!!!  I know there are some experienced Star Class cruisers here so I look forward to hearing from the experts!

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Just now, jaullram said:

1.  If I send a schedule of dinner each night, along with other things we want to do/already have reserved, will the genie follow that or will they move things around?  My concern is that the times we want to dine there won't be tables available for our group (10 people in 3 Star Class Suites) since we didn't book in advance and therefore, we won't get to eat where I want on the day I want.

Yes!  Since you are all Star Class this will actually make it easier on the Genie to set it up.  We often found that our Genie had booked us at the same times as his other Star Class families just to make it easier.

1 minute ago, jaullram said:

2. I have heard Anthem tends to not allow lunch to be served in the suite on embarkation day.  We can live with that but will they do snacks/appetizers for sail away at 3 PM that day?  I have heard people say that if the restaurant isn't open that you want the food from then you can't.  We were thinking of getting some sushi, tempura and spring rolls from Izumi.  Alternatively, Brass and Bock is open so we could get appetizers delivered from there.

Anthem is the one ship that does give you push back on this.  Izumi will most likely NOT be open for that timeframe so I could see why they may not be able to honor that request.  Most food service shipwide shuts down around 2pm to prepare for muster and then doesn't ramp back up again until closer to 5pm.  

4 minutes ago, jaullram said:

3.  I know the Genie doesn't stock the room with wine but could they deliver a few glasses of wine or leave some gin in a glass to make gin and tonics? 

They should be able to deliver individual wines and cocktails.  Anthem used to have a bar cart that came around daily but I haven't heard that service being mentioned lately so they may have discontinued it.

5 minutes ago, jaullram said:

4.  With our total of 10 of us in 3 star class suites, we have asked for one genie thinking it would be less work for that genie since we will be doing mostly everything together.  Does that make sense to others or would having (potentially) different genies be better?

If you are wanting specific restaurants on specific days for the entire group, then it is probably easier to have one Genie so they can arrange all of that.  If you are more flexible to allow them to create your schedule (they will get you into every restaurant for dinner at least once!) then you could benefit from having different Genies.

6 minutes ago, jaullram said:

5.  Besides the few snacks we asked to be stocked in our room, I do want some snacks delivered to the room (sometimes) but I don't want wasted food.  I was thinking of putting on my schedule I will be sending to the genie what days we wanted snacks delivered.  Is that what others do? 

We got daily deliveries on Anthem but it wasn't an overwhelming amount of food unless we specifically ordered something -- more like fruit and cheese plates and snacky things.  On Symphony we tended to just message our Genie when we wanted something and it would be delivered.

8 minutes ago, jaullram said:

6.  Tipping at specialty restaurants.  I know we aren't paying for any of the specialty restaurants but I usually tip $15-$20 for the two of us when we have gone to them on past cruises.  There will be 10 of us at most meals so what is reasonable?  Follow the same guideline we typically do?  What about at breakfast or lunch at CK?  Does anyone have any guidelines that are reasonable?  Not trying to be cheap but we splurged for our 20th anniversary on this cruise and I want an idea of how much extra cash I need.

Tipping is very subjective so just go with what's comfortable to you.  You will not get a check at Coastal Kitchen unless you ordered a bottle of wine or something that was out of the limits of the drink package.  The specialty restaurants you will receive a zeroed out bill with room for additional tip to be charged to your room so that will alleviate some of the cash you need to have on hand.

9 minutes ago, jaullram said:

7.  When we do in-suite dining (we want to order chops one night), do we just get in contact with our genie and tell them what we want and what time?  Is that the same for ordering breakfast in the room too?

Yes..you coordinate the in-suite dining with your Genie.  Just remember everything will come at one time from apps to desserts.  You can also order wine and cocktails at the same time.

For breakfast we ordered the night before and set that up with the Genie as well.  This includes specialty coffee delivery if you are so inclined!  

You can order from regular room service at any time as well and that's included but the Genie will tell you to go through them.  We also did a lot of to-go orders by walking up to Izumi and ordering.  You could have the Genie do that but I had no issues with doing it myself and found it quicker than waiting...I get impatient when it comes to food 😉

12 minutes ago, jaullram said:

9.  I know we have to go to the Star Class Zone 6 drop off area.  I was a little confused as to what to do when we get there.  I know I don't give the bags to the pier porters so is there someone at the star class banner that will tell me who to give them to or should I go inside with them?

You get out at the Star Class banner.  Keep your luggage until they get someone that is a Star Class porter to load your luggage onto a cart.  They will bring you into the terminal with your luggage and check you in.  You will then be directed to the Suites waiting area.  Your Genie should come off the ship to escort you on the ship.  You will have to go through security where they will scan all of your luggage through the scanners.  At that point they take the luggage to your room and the Genie will take you onto the ship.  On Anthem the room wasn't ready when we boarded and we were sent to Coastal Kitchen for lunch.  They had an area for carry-on luggage inside of Coastal Kitchen.  Then we ended up meeting with the Genie after lunch to go over the schedule and we were then brought to the room.  

This may be different for you depending on when you board, but we got to the terminal at 10am so relatively early.

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46 minutes ago, jaullram said:

9.  I know we have to go to the Star Class Zone 6 drop off area.  I was a little confused as to what to do when we get there.  I know I don't give the bags to the pier porters so is there someone at the star class banner that will tell me who to give them to or should I go inside with them?

 

Pull up zone 6, tell parking authority (if one is standing there glaring at you) that you are star class.  They will get you someone.  (That was our first time)

Pull up zone 6, tell RC person standing there that you are star class.  They will get you a porter and take you inside (that was our second time)

We always had bottles of wine and champagne in the room....they just showed up.  As for other drinks....you can ask for them.....it is a long walk if you have to go get them yourself 😉

 

 

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19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

1.  If I send a schedule of dinner each night, along with other things we want to do/already have reserved, will the genie follow that or will they move things around?  My concern is that the times we want to dine there won't be tables available for our group (10 people in 3 Star Class Suites) since we didn't book in advance and therefore, we won't get to eat where I want on the day I want.

The Genie will do whatever YOU want to do.  They will make suggestions/recommendations (and they often have a reason for the recommendations that they make !!!) but it's your cruise and they are there to serve you...you will get whatever you want.  Do NOT worry about not getting a table when you want it.  You will get what you want.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

2. I have heard Anthem tends to not allow lunch to be served in the suite on embarkation day.  We can live with that but will they do snacks/appetizers for sail away at 3 PM that day?  I have heard people say that if the restaurant isn't open that you want the food from then you can't.  We were thinking of getting some sushi, tempura and spring rolls from Izumi.  Alternatively, Brass and Bock is open so we could get appetizers delivered from there.

The "rule" you stated is technically true...about the restaurant being open...but I can tell you from experience that generally a great deal of the "snacks" that are delivered to our suite on embarkation day have come from Izumi.  I imagine that, as long as you let the Genie know in advance what you want, you will get what you want.  They are hesitant to try and put a formal, sit-down lunch together on embarkation day b/c everyone (particularly the Genies) are so busy but if you let them know what you want, they will make it happen.  My biggest concern with something like tempura would be that it might (WOULD) be cold by the time it gets to you....or more accurately, by the time you get to it.  I think that's why they generally have "finger food" on embarkation day...trying to keep warm food warm is a losing battle.  Just be midful of that.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

3.  I know the Genie doesn't stock the room with wine but could they deliver a few glasses of wine or leave some gin in a glass to make gin and tonics? 

The whole "drink in the suite" thing is so much more complicated than it needs to be....IMO.  The truth is, they will bring you any drink you want at any time.  Just let the Genie know what drinks you want (even liquor) and they will bring it.  What they will NOT do is leave you a bottle of liquor.  Frankly, I have never thought about asking for the liquor in a glass without the ice/mixer but I suspect that they would do that.  As for the wine, either ask for as many glasses of wine as you want or just pay for a bottle to be delivered.  The same works for champagne.  It's far less of a hassle, IMO, to just pay a couple of bucks for a bottle and be done with it.  They will bring glasses, napkins, silverware, etc.  You should be able to have a nice spread with food and drinks that you want.  What you will NOT get is a full, multi-course, sit-down meal for embarkation lunch.  If you want that, you will need to go to one of the open restaurants....which is certainly doable.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

4.  With our total of 10 of us in 3 star class suites, we have asked for one genie thinking it would be less work for that genie since we will be doing mostly everything together.  Does that make sense to others or would having (potentially) different genies be better?

I have done it both ways.  The very first SC cruise I was on, we were with friends also in SC.  They had their Genie (I can't recall her name at the moment) and we had Reyno.  It worked very well as some of the times their Genie made the arrangements and sometimes Reyno did, but they always coordinated.  Having the same Genie also makes sense b/c you know things are well coordinated that way.  I'm not sure I have a recommendation on this one.  I don't think you can make a mistake on this one.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

5.  Besides the few snacks we asked to be stocked in our room, I do want some snacks delivered to the room (sometimes) but I don't want wasted food.  I was thinking of putting on my schedule I will be sending to the genie what days we wanted snacks delivered.  Is that what others do? 

Wasting food in SC is one of the unfortunately unavoidable pitfalls. We have learned, over the course of many SC cruises, that we do NOT want extra food brought to our suite but we aren't "snackers" to begin with.  We love our specialty dining and we utilize that but we just cannot eat more food than that !!  That being said, the Genie will bring you whatever you want, whenever you want it.  Many people ask for an afternoon snack and that's great.  I wish I could eat an afternoon snack !!!  The best thing (IMO) is to ask for what you want and, during the course of the cruise, you realize that food is going to waste, cut if off.  By the end of our last SC cruise, we had a strict "NO MORE FOOD" policy in effect.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

6.  Tipping at specialty restaurants.  I know we aren't paying for any of the specialty restaurants but I usually tip $15-$20 for the two of us when we have gone to them on past cruises.  There will be 10 of us at most meals so what is reasonable?  Follow the same guideline we typically do?  What about at breakfast or lunch at CK?  Does anyone have any guidelines that are reasonable?  Not trying to be cheap but we splurged for our 20th anniversary on this cruise and I want an idea of how much extra cash I need.

It is true that your meal gratuities are included in your SC cruise fare.  We have a very standard meal tipping philosophy and we do not change it whether we are in SC or not.  $5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner.  Always...whether we eat in the Windjammer or Wonderland (God forbid).  You will be with a larger party most of the time.  I never worry about what others in my party do.  If they all tip like we do, the server scores !!  If not, oh well....I can only control what I do.  It keeps me sane.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

7.  When we do in-suite dining (we want to order chops one night), do we just get in contact with our genie and tell them what we want and what time?  Is that the same for ordering breakfast in the room too?

Yes.  That is the best thing to do.  When I first started cruising in Suites and finally SC, I used to feel very guilty about asking someone else to order food for me.  It seems like such a personal thing and something I SHOULD be able to do for myself.  So I started trying to just do it myself by calling the Room Service line.  I quickly learned that this was a fool's errand.  Nobody EVER answers that line.  It was so frustrating.  I eventually realized that if I wanted to eat in my suite, there was only 1 reliable way to get that order made and that was to use either the Concierge or the Genie.  As those who have used Room Service before know, they will bring you EXACTLY what you ask for and nothing more.  You must ask for salt, pepper, butter, bread EVERYTHING or you will not get it.  Therefore, I began a ritual of making all of my Room Service orders in writing and handing them to either the Concierge or the Genie.  It ends up saving us both a great deal of time and the order will be right.  Give your Genie your breakfast order the night before.  Breakfast is the BEST meal of the day for Room Service, IMO.  SOOO decadent.

 

19 minutes ago, jaullram said:

8.  I know everyone tips their Genie differently and I have googled, Facebook stalked and searched and I still have no idea!  It seems some people do $100 pp/day (which would be $2100 which is 40% of what we paid for our room so that is not happening)!  I only foresee our Genie scheduling dinners for us and handling in-suite dining if we want.  We already booked all excursions and shows.  I was hoping $700 for the week was reasonable (the other two rooms would likely tip them the same so $2100 from the 3 rooms in total - I know I would be happy if I made $2100 in cash for a week!!).

We have never tipped our Genie $100 PP/PD.  We tip $100 per day, period unless we have had some kind of complex event in our suite during the cruise. $700 for the week is very reasonable, IMO.  

 

9.  I know we have to go to the Star Class Zone 6 drop off area.  I was a little confused as to what to do when we get there.  I know I don't give the bags to the pier porters so is there someone at the star class banner that will tell me who to give them to or should I go inside with them?

Definitely DO NOT give up your bags before you have checked in with the Star Class greeter/coordinator.  You will have to fight off the luggage handlers but hold your ground !!  Once you check in with the SC greeter, he/she will let you know where to go with your luggage.  We choose to keep ours with us but you can choose to let yours go, if you want to do that.  I don't recall which SC suite you are in....but if you are in a loft suite, I recommend that you keep your luggage with you and have the porters bring it inside and take it UP the stairs for you.  If you are in one of the ATS or one of the panoramic suites, it isn't as critical b/c you don't have to deal with stairs. If you choose to keep your luggage with you all the way through the boarding process, be sure that you have coordinated that with the Genie ahead of time. They have to arrange porters to take care of this. It's easy to do this at Terminal A in Miami.  Not quite as easy with the other ports...but it can be done.  Just be firm.

 

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14 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I don't recall which SC suite you are in....but if you are in a loft suite, I recommend that you keep your luggage with you and have the porters bring it inside and take it UP the stairs for you.  If you are in one of the ATS or one of the panoramic suites, it isn't as critical b/c you don't have to deal with stairs.

They're on Anthem..so I think all the SC suites do have stairs.  

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@AshleyDillo, @WAAAYTOOO and @dodgestang Thank you so much!  I am definitely a planner so this helps me out.

I think we are going to do lunch at Chops on embarkation day and then we are just going to have light snacks and drinks delivered for sail away.  I am sure if I am specific about what we want it (cheese, crackers, sliced fruit, chips and salsa, etc) it shouldn't be hard.  

The one thing I will really try to insist is that we are able to get into our room when we get on the ship.  I want to go straight there with the luggage and drop stuff off.  I will make sure we put it in our response back to whoever we have.  I will also make sure porter brings suitcases upstairs!  I am thinking $20 or $25 is a good tip for them (hopefully).

I knew the experts would have all of the answers - thank you again!

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8 minutes ago, jaullram said:

The one thing I will really try to insist is that we are able to get into our room when we get on the ship.  I want to go straight there with the luggage and drop stuff off.  I will make sure we put it in our response back to whoever we have.

We weren't able to because we arrived so early and they were still cleaning it.  They will ask you in your 5 day to weekish out email your plans for arrival.  When we replied back with 10am it was suggested for us not to get there that early because the rooms wouldn't be ready yet.  My mom didn't like that answer so 10am it was..thus we couldn't go to the room at first..even CK wasn't open to lunch yet when we got on.  But at least we avoided all the traffic that backs up getting to the port drop-off and parking at Cape Liberty.

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If you get on board at 10-10:30am like I normally do, the room won't be ready.

Last time we sailed...we just handed over everything except my backback, Genie took us on board, we went had lunch at CK when it opened at like 11:30, then Genie came and got us and took us to room.  We were in room about 1.5 hour before normal rooms opened.

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If you decide that you want to go early, and there's a chance that the room may not be ready, just make sure that the Genie knows that the porter needs to take the luggage upstairs.  If you don't do that, trust me...it will be downstairs.  

Last year, when we were on our Anthem B2B SC cruises, I cannot remember what time we got there, but I do know that we went straight to our suite.  Looking back at my itinerary, our flight arrived at EWR at 9:13 so by the time we got our luggage and got to the terminal, it was probably 10:30 so that may have helped.

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