Letting the Genie out of the bottle: Asking Royal Caribbean's wish maker the top questionsIn:
There may not be a position on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship more mysterious than the Royal Genie.
What adds to the intrigue is that you may not even realize you see them around the ship. A Genie doesn’t wear a nametag so they easily blend in to their surroundings. They are one of the few crew members that has access to the entire ship. Their impact on a Star Class passenger though is nothing short of magical.
I recently had the honor of interviewing a current Royal Genie. He preferred to keep his name anonymous as to not draw attention to himself personally and to keep the focus on the Genies as a whole.
However, he wanted to share some things you may not know. How does one become a Genie? What training do they go through? What would they like first time Star Class cruisers to know?
Let’s find out.
Who is chosen to be a Royal Genie?
To be able to apply for the position, one must have two years of hospitality service experience and possess a degree in the industry. Genies are typically former Suite or Diamond Concierges.
Being hired from outside the company is rare but does happen. They would be expected to have similar qualifications which you would normally find as a concierge of a five star hotel.
Genies go through an extensive interview process with multiple Human Resource and Guest Service managers. They are required to make a short 2 minute video, simulating picking up a guest from the terminal and escorting them onto the ship, for example.
They must demonstrate how they would handle a variety of guest situations. The final interview is with the Genie Fleet Coordinator. The entire process can take two or more months to complete.
Read more: What is the difference between suite concierge and a Royal Genie?
Training to become a Royal Genie
Being chosen as a Royal Genie is only the beginning.
Pre-pandemic, new Genies were flown to London to take classes at the British Butler Institute. There, they learned proper service techniques from a former butler to the Queen.
They visited wineries, learned about varieties of cheeses and correct caviar presentation. Did you know you have to use plastic spoons to serve caviar as a metal one will change the flavor? I didn’t, but maybe that’s just me.
A Genie's schedule
What time a Genie starts their day will likely depend on if the ship is in port or at sea.
Port days are generally earlier as most guests request to get off of the ship first, especially if they’re calling on one of the private islands. The Genie will escort them to the beach or pool with the loungers of their choice before the general public has disembarked.
A typical end to their day would be around 11 p.m. At that point, most of the activities have ended and the specialty restaurants are closed.
At the end of their five month contract, it is common for the ships management to ask if they’d like to return to the same ship.
Additionally, when Genies receive appraisals from guests and crew members, they are able to get more opportunities; like moving to a new ship, for instance.
What can a Genie do?
The Genie’s goal is provide their guests with a unique, unforgettable and magical experience. Communication is key. They carefully listen to their guests needs and tailor their trip with experiences they may not have even suggested.
Common guest requests are parties in their suite. Everything from birthdays, anniversaries and retirements to vow renewals and celebrations of life for family members that have passed on.
Your experience may differ depending on if you’re on an Oasis or Quantum class ship.
Oasis class tends to be more “show oriented” where the Genie will make sure you have the best seat in the house.
Quantum class is more “activity oriented” where your Genie will escort you to the iFly, North Star, bumper cars and acrobat school.
The only limits on a Genie’s power are things that go against company policies and local government laws. For example, guests would not be allowed in any backstage areas and bridge tours are currently suspended due to Covid restrictions. Additionally, your Genie cannot bypass the line at customs for you on debarkation morning.
Read more: My advice for someone using a Royal Genie on a Royal Caribbean cruise
Requesting a Genie
All Genies are amazing and more than capable of handling guests requests but can you request a specific Genie?
The answer is, maybe.
It depends on the ship if the Genies are able to trade guests. It is generally not a problem, especially if you already have a prior relationship with a Genie.
Regardless, it is not unusual for the Genies to help each other out. There are at least three Genies per ship to take care of anywhere between eight and eleven suites.
How much to tip a Genie?
As a Star Class guest, daily gratuities are included in the cruise fare however, Genies are not included in that. When asked if he could provide some type of monetary guideline for genie gratuities, he instead referred to tipping as an “appreciation of service.” He reminded me that even beyond money, gratitude and kindness are always appreciated.
If you check message boards online you will find many discussions regarding tipping the Genie and the amounts vary greatly. However, $100 per cabin/per day seems to be a pretty consistent opinion among Star Class cruisers.
I would say that the amount you give should be based on how they made your vacation special, how many people they are arranging experiences for and your overall connection to them personally.
Will Star Class expand?
I was surprised to learn that a lot of the requests he receives from guests is to have the Star Class program implemented on other Royal Caribbean ships.
He recommends that guests fill out their comment cards to let Royal know their wishes.
When asked what a first time Star Class cruiser should know, the response was, trust your Genie to accomplish your dreams. Put yourself in vacation mode. Relax and know that they will take care of planning and organizing everything for you.
To him, being a Genie is like being on stage. If your performance is seamless, you should never see what’s going on behind the scenes. While the Genie gets a lot of the credit, he reiterated it is a team effort with many different departments to make sure you have the most unique vacation experience possible.