Fiona Maclean experiences the luxury way to start your cruising holiday
I was lucky enough to be invited along to the inaugural Jet Set Sail flight. Celebrity Cruises have very wisely introduced this premium service to help their passengers start their holidays early – before they ever get on a plane.
Instead of battling with the queues in Heathrow or Gatwick, Jet Set Sail customers travel from a private jet terminal at Stansted, where they are treated like VIPs from the moment they arrive. I watched as passengers drove up to be greeted by a valet service to look after their hold luggage. And, they could leave their cars right by the terminal, rather than in some off-site carpark that could only be reached by mini-bus. Once inside there was a sense of tranquillity. There were still the normal check-in and security procedures, but the only passengers around were those travelling that day to Barcelona.
Airside, the spacious and comfortable lounge was a million miles from the shopping mall of the main Airport. There were free snacks and refreshments too, while you waited to board the plane. With plenty of plush seating and only the Celebrity Cruise passengers, there was an air of exclusivity about the place. A very comfortable and luxurious way to wait for your flight.
On board, the service was akin to the kind of flights I remember from fifteen or twenty years ago. A two course hot meal with proper cutlery and china, linen napkins and fresh brewed coffee, smiling hostesses and efficient service. And I’m guessing that if you’d been planning to stay on the cruise it would have been nice to be on-board with no-one but your fellow passengers.
We arrived at Barcelona El-Prat airport to be greeted by more staff from Celebrity Cruises who helped us collect luggage and escorted us to a waiting transfer coach. Then, at the dock, we joined the VIP queue to board, speeding us through the processes.
What better way to start your cruise holiday? I’ve been told that the premium for travelling with Jet Set Sail varies depending on the dates you want to travel and the airport you need to reach. As a guide it would cost you about the same as an upgrade to premium economy – but with a far more extensive range of services on offer as part of the package.
I travelled with Celebrity Cruises Jet Set Sail from London Stansted to Barcelona, to meet Celebrity Cruises Equinox. For more information on Jet Set Sail, see the Celebrity Cruises website.