There is perhaps no position on a more mysterious Royal Caribbean cruise ship than the Royal Genie.
What adds to the intrigue is that you might not even realize you’re seeing them around the ship. A Genie does not wear a badge, so he easily blends into his surroundings. They are one of the few crew members with access to the entire ship. Their impact on a Star Class passenger is nothing short of magical.
I recently had the honor of interviewing a current Royal Engineer. He preferred to keep his name anonymous so as not to draw attention to himself personally and to keep attention on the Genies as a whole.
However, he wanted to share some things you might not know. How do you become a genius? What training do they follow? What would they like new Star Class cruisers to know?
Let’s find out.
Who is chosen to be a royal genius?
To be eligible to apply for the position, one must have two years of hospitality service experience and possess an industry degree. Geniuses are usually former suite or diamond concierges.
Being hired from outside the company is rare, but it does happen. You would expect them to have qualifications similar to what you would normally find as a five star hotel concierge.
Geniuses go through a thorough interview process with multiple human resources and customer service managers. They are required to make a short 2 minute video, simulating picking up a guest at the terminal and escorting them to 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 whole process can take two months or more.
Read more: What is the difference between a Suite Concierge and a Royal Genie?
Training to become a Royal Engineer
Being chosen as a Royal Engineer is just the start.
Before the pandemic, new Geniuses were flown to London for courses at the British Butler Institute. There they learned proper serving techniques from a former Queen’s butler.
They visited cellars, learned about cheese varieties and the correct presentation of caviar. Did you know that you have to use plastic spoons to serve caviar because a metal spoon will change the flavor? I didn’t, but maybe that’s just me.
A genius’s schedule
The time a Genie starts their day will likely depend on whether the ship is in port or at sea.
Port days are usually earlier as most passengers ask to get off the ship first, especially if they are stopping over on one of the private islands. The Genie will accompany them to the beach or to the swimming pool with the deckchairs of their choice before the general public has disembarked.
A typical end of the day is around 11 p.m. At this time, most activities are over and specialty restaurants are closed.
At the end of their five-month contract, it is common for ship management to ask them if they would like to return to the same ship.
Also, when Genies receive ratings from guests and crew, they can get more opportunities; like moving to a new ship, for example.
What can a Genie do?
Le Génie’s goal is to provide its guests with a unique, unforgettable and magical experience. Communication is essential. They listen carefully to their customers’ 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 the lives of deceased family members.
Your experience may differ depending on whether you are on an Oasis or Quantum class ship.
The Oasis class tends to be more “show oriented” where the Genie will make sure you have the best seat in the house.
The Quantum class is more “activity-based” where your Genie will ride you to iFly, North Star, bumper cars and stunt school.
The only limits to a Genie’s power are things that go against company policies and local government laws. For example, guests would not be allowed backstage and deck tours are currently suspended due to Covid restrictions. Also, your Genie cannot bypass the customs queue for you on the morning of disembarkation.
Read more: My advice for someone using a Royal Genie on a Royal Caribbean cruise
Request a Genie
All Genies are amazing and more than capable of handling customer requests, but can you request a specific Genie?
The answer is maybe.
It depends on the ship whether Genies can swap guests. That’s usually not a problem, especially if you’ve had a previous relationship with a Genie.
Either way, it’s not uncommon for Genies to help each other out. There are at least three Genies per ship to take care of eight to eleven suites.
How much to tip a Genie?
As a Star Class guest, daily gratuities are included in the cruise fare, but Genies are not included. When asked if he could provide some sort of monetary guideline for genius gratuities, he instead referred to tipping as “service appreciation.” He reminded me that even beyond money, gratitude and kindness are always appreciated.
If you check online message boards, you will find many discussions regarding tipping the Genie and the amounts vary widely. However, $100 per stateroom/per day seems to be a pretty consistent view among Star Class cruisers.
I would say the amount you donate should be based on how special they made your vacation, how many people they are hosting experiences for, and your overall connection with them personally.
Will Star Class expand?
I was surprised to learn that a large part of the requests he receives from customers is to implement the Star Class program on other Royal Caribbean ships.
He recommends customers fill out their comment cards to let Royal know what they want.
When asked what a first-time Star Class cruiser should know, the answer was, trust your Genie to fulfill your dreams. Get into vacation mode. Relax and know that they will take care of planning and organizing everything for you.
For him, being a Genie is like being on stage. If your performance is transparent, you should never see what’s going on behind the scenes. Although the Genie gets a lot of the credit, he reiterated that it’s a team effort with many different departments to ensure you have the most unique vacation experience possible.