Starting in Style with Jet Set Sail from Celebrity Cruises:
Everyone I know looks forward to their holidays. And, everyone I know dreads actually getting there. Even if you are travelling business class or first class, you still have to get to the airport, fight your way through the crowds to check-in and then go through security and passport control. And, it’s inevitable that your gate will be the one which is 20 minutes or more from the departure lounge. If you are like me, you’ll have packed hand luggage with a change of clothes and all your valuables just in case your checked-in bag goes missing. Sometimes I wonder if sprinting to the departure gate with a rolling bag is one of my main ways of keeping fit…
Imagine if you could drive up to your own private jet terminal, be greeted by a valet who took your case to be boarded, check in with just the other people who are travelling with you, then go through to a lounge area for that celebratory glass of fizz (or cup of tea) and get on the plane relaxed and refreshed.
Once upon a time, I had a real taste for airline food, particularly the cooked breakfasts. I loved those little foil trays which were uncovered to reveal a hot meal, something warm but not over stodgy. Now, unless you’ve paid to travel business or first class you are more likely to be handed a wrap or a ‘doorstop’ sandwich and a paper cup with a sachet of ‘milk’. That’s if you are lucky enough to get any food at all.
Just suppose you could go back to the times when you were served a proper meal, with china, napkins and cutlery at a price that did blow your entire holiday budget…
And, when you finally get to your destination, especially if you are going on a cruise, embarkation can be a real nightmare. Imagine if you will, being a VIP and having your own ‘fast track’ boarding.
With Jet Set Sail, the new service from Celebrity Cruises you CAN experience the kind of VIP treatment that used to make travel so special. And the best thing is the extra cost is very reasonable – close to the kind of price you might pay for a premium economy flight compared to the standard price, but with so much more included.
I went along for myself to try the inaugural flight out to Barcelona. They’ve set up a new service based from the private jet terminal at Stansted, where you’ll be pampered from the moment you arrive. There’s a valet parking service and luggage collection which means you don’t have to worry about getting your case into the terminal. And, there’s an exclusive lounge with complimentary refreshments while you wait to board. You don’t need to go anywhere near the main terminal.
Once on board the plane, as I discovered, you get a two course cooked meal – a hot breakfast for me with a fruit salad and juice all served on china with a linen napkin and proper cutlery. And, there’s plenty of fresh coffee or tea in a proper china cup.
At the other end, Celebrity Cruises staff were on hand to help us reach the transfer coaches. Although we landed in Barcelona, one of Europe’s busier airports, we were whisked through and quickly arrived at the port for embarkation. There’s a VIP stream there, so Jet Set Fly passengers really do arrive on board without any hassle.
Sadly, I was really only there to experience Jet Set Sail and just had time for a quick lunch in Luminae, the suite class restaurant, and a tour of the ship.
I’ve always been impressed by Celebrity Cruises food and this was no exception. I picked a healthy enough starter of salmon sashimi with avocado but, everything went downhill from then on as I indulged in the special Luminae burger.
And then, in the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cake…
We only had half an hour to see around the Equinox, one of the two ships which will be offering Jet Set Sail in 2016/17. It was enough to convince me I wanted to stay for longer, though. Apart from the World Class Bar where the expert mixologists create all kinds of bespoke cocktails, I was particularly impressed by the wine tower(!)
and by the poolside lounge facilities.
I loved the main dining room with all its classical charm too. We learnt that guests on board can dine on shared tables or, if they prefer, just with their own travel companion.
I very nearly hid! I’m sure they wouldn’t have noticed one more. As it was, I discovered a new way of keeping fit…trying to find your way off a Cruise Ship before it departs!
I was impressed, with the services and facilities offered on board the Equinox and with the well thought out Jet Set Sail service. Whilst the very first trip had a few teething problems with rather longer queues land-side in Stansted than might have been ideal, I’m sure those will be ironed out. And, the concept itself is really well thought out, addressing all those issues which add to the pre-holiday stress. It’s lovely to start a trip in style, particularly when you are going to be cruising on a Ship with such a great balance of old-fashioned elegance and contemporary style.
For more about Jet Set Sail, visit the Celebrity Cruises website.
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