Ocean Village, the easy-going line that's been promoting cheap-and-cheerful U.K.-oriented cruises since its 2003 launch, is adding a concierge amenity that's neither cheap nor especially cheerful (at least to passengers who don't qualify). The new concept Club Lounge has been introduced on both Ocean Village and Ocean Village Two.
The exclusive lounge is located just under the ships' bridges and offers a number of perks, such as free Internet access, luxury Continental breakfast, and afternoon tea plus pre-dinner canapes and drinks (including Champagne, beer, wine and cocktails). Lounge staffers will also be on hand to book spa treatments and restaurant reservations at La Luna or the Bistro.
But before you get too excited, know this: Access to the lounge is only available to passengers who book the ships' pricier AA grade suites and BB grade mini-suites -- and, on top of that, these travelers have to pay a one-off fee of £70. That's per passenger, by the way. Kids under 16 are allowed in without charge but must be supervised by a parent.
Charging top suite-holders for access is an interesting and, it could be argued, an innovative approach. While concierge lounges are increasingly popular, especially for big-ship cruise lines, they're widely considered a perk to begin with. Passengers whose suite categories qualify for admission on lines ranging from Cunard to Holland America are not assessed an additional fee.
Still, Ocean Village's Club Lounge could prove to be a good deal for those entitled to pay £70 for entry -- especially for those who typically rack up a big bill using onboard Internet.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
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Ocean Village Adds Upper Class Perks
May 6, 2008