Cruise Cabins Head-to-Head: Spa Class vs. Concierge Classby John Roberts | December 18, 2015
Most cruise ships, especially the larger and newer ones, offer a wide range of cabin categories. Generally, the differences are clear: The price goes up as you get a better location, more space, and outdoor areas. But some lines offer different specialty categories, and those can be trickier to choose between because the prices can be similar but the perks are very different. Here, we put spa-class cabins head-to-head against concierge-level staterooms to help you choose between them.
As the name suggests, these cabins are for passengers who want a cruising experience that focuses on health and wellness. Often, you get exclusive in-cabin amenities, such as pillow menus, plush robes and slippers, upgraded bath products, and even nicer bathrooms with better showers. In some cases, you also get access to the ship's thermal suite (which usually includes a relaxation room, saunas, and whirlpool tubs), as well as complimentary fitness classes and discounted treatments.
Some to Consider: Carnival Cruise Line's Cloud 9 cabins come with in-room body scrub kits and fitness kits with yoga mats. Celebrity Cruises' AquaClass cabins have exclusive rights to dine in the Blu specialty restaurant, where breakfast includes a tableside muesli service. Norwegian Cruise Line's spa cabins have in-suite whirlpool tubs with ocean views, while Seabourn's spa suites have tubs in the bathroom instead.
These staterooms add perks that mirror what you might find in concierge-level suites in hotels. These might include priority embarkation and disembarkation, and priority access to specialty dining reservations and shore excursion booking. You're also likely to have access to a private lounge with big-screen TVs, a concierge, and regular cocktail hours. These cabins are usually a little bigger, with upgrades like double sinks and massage shower heads.
Some to Consider: Norwegian's The Haven cabins and MSC Cruises' Yacht Club offer concierge lounges that could hold their own with similar spaces on land. And Celebrity's concierge-class staterooms include daily canapes and complimentary shoeshine service.
If you envision yourself enjoying the ship's thermal suite and booking spa treatments, and you want healthier food options, a spa-class stateroom is your best upgrade. Concierge cabins are ideal if you care more about VIP perks and service than wellness.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.