Here’s a new level of cruising decadence: $499 for a bath.
OK, this is the top offering on Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Bath Butler menu, whereby a butler runs the bath and provides a bottle of Dom Perignon and sturgeon caviar for the guest to savor while they soak. But seriously? For $499, I would expect to be bathing in Dom Perignon as well as drinking it. And for the butler to offer a free back-scrubbing service.
Norwegian’s new Bath Butler service is available to guests staying in suites across the fleet. There are seven different baths, each inspired by a location in which the ship sails (Mexico, Hawaii and so on) and each coming with its own themed cocktail. Essentially, the butler will run the bath, add some bubbles or oil and bring the cocktail. The $499 Mediterranean Soak aside, the other baths all cost $99 (apart from one for kids, at $49, with a smoothie instead of a cocktail).
Having a butler prepare your bath does make you feel pampered, it’s true. I stayed in a luxurious ski chalet once where the butler prepared a log fire in the fireplace, lit candles all around the bathroom, scattered rose petals in the water and produced the perfect gin and tonic on a tray. There was no charge for that, either. Nor is there in the top suites on Silversea Cruises, which also has hot and cold running butlers to draw the perfect bath for high-spending guests. Frankly, when you’ve shelled out for a suite, do you really expect to pay even more to have someone run you a bath?
And I do see some limitations of a butler-bath on a cruise ship when there’s $99 at stake. First, you can’t have candles unless they’re electronic ones (they’re a fire hazard at sea). Second, given the relatively small space on a ship, even in a suite, do you really want the butler hanging around the bathroom fiddling with the water temperature while you’re trying to get into your bathrobe with dignity? And third, you could actually create this ambience yourself with a little bit of planning. Just pack your favorite bubble bath, order a cocktail or two on room service and, er, once it’s arrived, run the bath. Bingo! All yours for the cost of the cocktail.
The idea of the Bath Butler service sounds appealing and the offerings are dressed up in poetic language. The Hawaiian Bloom, for example, is ‘a plumeria (frangipani) milk bath with floating flowers accompanied by a coconut kiwi pineapple splash prepared with Bacardi Rock Coconut, pineapple juice, lemon lime soda with chunks of fresh pineapple and kiwi’.
But basically, it’s just a bubble bath and a fruity cocktail and another opportunity for a cruise line to gouge money from the gullible.
Or are we being harsh? Would you pay $499 for a bath? Let us know below.