LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Crystal Cruises is offering help for the gadget-challenged: An onboard tech concierge.
The concierges will be available to help guests with all types of personal electronics, from iPods and iPhones to Blackberrys and Palm Treos, Kindle electronic readers and Garmin GPS devices.
The concierges will provide consultations at no charge to anyone onboard. They'll be located in the ships' computer centers, where guests can check e-mail and use the Internet, beginning in April aboard Crystal Symphony and in May aboard Crystal Serenity.
"It's a really neat idea," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of CruiseCritic.com. "Crystal has always been very innovative. This is really useful to their guests. Frankly I could use a stint with their concierge myself!"
Niche concierges have long been big in the hotel world. The Ritz-Carlton began offering technology concierges in the mid-1990s in Asia to help guests with Internet service, and today Ritz properties have many other types of specialty concierges, including romance concierges, shopping concierges and medical concierges, to help guests in town for treatment.
Four Seasons' niche concierges range from a surf concierge at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara north of San Diego, to a ski concierge at the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole in Wyoming, to a nightlife concierge at the Four Season Hotel Miami who can advise you on how to dress to make it past the velvet ropes. A number of Westin hotels have running concierges who offer guided runs, and the Affinia Dumont hotel in Manhattan has a fitness concierge.