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What Are You Entitled To In Your Cruise Fare

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Over this past weekend, as I watched television, “the word” of the weekend seemed to be “entitlements”.

The phrase got stuck in my head. As a result, this week’s blog topic is entitlements; or … what paying your cruise fare entitles you to.

First off, and most basic, once you’ve payed for your cruise in full you’re entitled to board the ship on the specific date, and enjoy the ship for the length of cruise you’ve chosen.

There are variances in what you’re entitled to by some different brands – such as luxury lines being all inclusive (where alcoholic drinks, in cabin liquor set up, and wine with meals are included). Some luxury lines also include some excursions, as do most river cruises.

Aboard the “major cruise lines” your cruise fare entitles you to enjoy all your meals on board, if you choose to avoid any of the alternative restaurants available on the ship, which require you pay an extra surcharge in order to partake.

These cruise ships normally offer a selection of where to dine for each and every meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are usually available, at no extra charge, in your choice of the ship’s dining room, buffet restaurant, or via room service. Some cruise lines will allow you to order room service to your cabin from the full restaurant menu; others have a more limited menu, such as only a continental breakfast available in the morning, or simplified menus featuring sandwiches, burgers, and pizza during lunch, dinner, and after dinner hours.

When considering what cruise you should book, information in regard to specifics of their available dining choices for each cruise line is available on each cruise line’s own web site, in their Know Before You Go and or Dining sections.

Drinks containing alcohol, wine, bottled water,  and soft drinks are available at a cost (plus a 15- 18% gratuity above the printed cost). However there is always a selection of different types of drinks you are entitled to enjoy at no cost any time you want; this list includes coffee, tea, milk, iced tea, a variety of juices – which generally change with the time of day-.

Your cruise fare also entitles you to partake of a large selection of entertainment on board. Pretty much every ship will have a number of bars or lounges featuring live entertainment, and perhaps a DJ in the disco or dance club. Each evening there will be changing featured entertainers or larger production shows in the ship’s showrooms, that you’re entitled to attend if you choose to.

Many ships now offer a variety of daytime activities you can choose to participate in. Depending on the cruise line, they can vary from guest lectures, cooking demonstrations and classes, computer and photography lessons, dance instruction, trivia contests, water parks, access to gymnasium equipment, napkin folding lessons, instruction for making towel animals, sports decks where activities can include basketball, volleyball,  ping pong, paddle tennis, rope climbing courses, rock climbing, etc. The list can go on and on, and continues to grow as the cruise lines continue to innovate.

An interesting thing about the cruise industry is that in the vast majority of cases, irregardless of what type of cabin you’ve booked, you are entitled to access all of the amenities I’ve mentioned above.

Some cruise lines do have some areas or some restaurants which are restricted by what type of accommodation you’ve chosen. While, in general, these restrictions are quite minimal, it is a good reason people should consult with professional and knowledgeable travel agents who specialize in cruising, to completely understand your options before making your final decision, and putting down your money.

With all due consideration, I think it’s much more pleasant and fun to discuss the entitlements of cruise ship passengers, than the entitlement issues of society.

– A View From The Kuki Side Of Cruising –




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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 22, 2012 at 5:33 am

AH, and the entitlements get even more diverse with the dawning of “Concierge Level”, available mostly on the premiere level of ships, I hate that word “level”, it is almost a caste phrase.

With the conciege, limited liquor selections, DVD player, bottled water (in cabin) robes and slippers pillow “concierge” which offers about 9 types of pillows to select from, Egyptian 400 to 1100 count sheets, prefered alternate dining reservations, monogrammed stationary and prefered embar/disembaration priviledges and a host of other goodies, which differ by cruise line. Cabin size usually is the same as non-conciege, at the lower end of concierge pricing.

There are other levels that up the goodies further, making the offerings more precious than concierge, and so on. And concierge is reflected in the cruise fare, for sure.

Do I think Concierge Level is good? Hell yes, book it every time. I guess “level” takes the sting out of “clas” which surely reminds one of the caste system. But, hey, I sail the way I live at home, and everyone should as well.

Comment from Robbie Fields
Time August 22, 2012 at 6:00 am

Which lines still offer shoes shined overnight if left outside the cabin door?

Apparently a deck chair with blanket was not always an entitlement, with tickets having to be obtained. Hint, hint!

Comment from Rain
Time August 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

Hello, just stumbled upon this site and I’m enjoying it so you have my thanks for all the content

I am an empty nester and I won an airline ticket so I wan to travel as far as it will take me. So I thought of a repositioning cruise. where can you direct me either from this site or another? and maybe you can tell me if its do-able. I want to cruise from Tampa to Europe and I’ll fly back on my free ticket…ultimately would liketo do it this fall but now Im concerned cause you mentioned rough seas. Do you have any advise for me? Im talking suggestions too. I’ll be traveling bymyself abd it will be my first cruise. I and do a cruise length as long as I want. not sure if I should do a very lenghty one bcasue it will be my first time and I’d hate to have motion sickness for more than a day. how does this motion sickness last anyway? I really enjoy you site and Im really looking forward to your feed back. and your visitors feed back also.
Thank you and cheers!

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 23, 2012 at 4:01 am

Robbie Fields

Cruise ships that have Concierge Level and Butler Suites do offer shoe shining in those
designated accommodations. Butlers will also pack and unpack your luggage if you ask.

The steamer and “rug”, i.e. blanket, is primarily on Cunard ships, is still a tradition and is complimentary to all passengers.
Ironically, Home Lines, a venerable luxury brand in the past, did charge a nominal fee, about a buck per day,to reserve YOUR chaise with your name and cabin number to be used only by you as you reserved it. End of hogging chaises, and that was a great service, believe me.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 23, 2012 at 4:03 am

Rain – do you have a valid passport? Thats a starter.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time August 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

Rain – trans-atlantic cruise to Europe only occur in the spring as ships deployed in the Caribbean reposition to Europe for the summer season.

There are indeed many ships that do this, so it is very doable, but I would think about not limiting yourself to a Tampa departure. Cruise ships are not like trains that run a regular schedule year-round – they change their itinetraries all the time and you have to find a ship going where you want to go at the time you want to go.

I suggest you google “trans-atlantic cruises” or “Atlantic crossings” or go to all the cruise line web sites and under “destinations” look up “trans-Atlantic.” You will find something that suits you, as long as you want to travel in the Spring.

AHH – but there is one exception, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 does cross from New York to the U.K. and back several months out of the year – but you would have to start fron New York.

That being said, there are MANY ships leaving from Ft Laud or Miami going to the European continent every spring – so it is up to you.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 24, 2012 at 6:58 am

You can take a cruise and simply not spend a dime while on board enjoying – I take exeption to enjoying- if the following are adhered to:
do not buy one on board photo
do not dine in any alternate dining venue that charges a fee
do not buy any bottled water
do not pay for any shore excursions
do not play bingo
do not participate in the foolish “horse race”
do not do any laundry on board
do not donate to any seamans charity on board
do not use the casino
do not buy wine
do not buy cocktails
do not buy beer
do not buy ice cream
do not buy sodas
do not exchane money for any fee
do not allow gratuities to be placed on your ships account (cheap creep you are)
do not pay for any special seats in the show etc
do not pay to have express disembarkation

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 25, 2012 at 4:36 am

And, do not buy anything in the ships shop, even if you forgot to pack your toothpaste.

Comment from Rain
Time August 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

firstly thanks for responding. secondly so impressed with the wealth ok knowlegde here. Paul thank you specificaly. you just narrowed down my search.

cheers all.

Comment from Andor
Time August 28, 2012 at 10:42 am

We are also “entitled” for our own “convenience” to be charged the gratuities on our credit cards.
I once had a horrible cabin boy – the shower stall was moldy, and I’ve got a serious case of allergies from it. After I vigorously protested he simply covered the mold with thin layer of some paint (( When I notified the purser that I would take care of the gratuities myself, he made a note on the sheet in front of him and promised not to charge my card. Imagine my surprise when the card was charged anyway… I had already given the envelopes to the deserving workers!

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time September 3, 2012 at 8:31 am

What a passenger is NOT entitled to is griping, bitching, pissing and moaning and berating the crew and staff members that they deem worthy of such abuse.

I came across a review from a disgruntled passenger that hated the cruise, ship and all simply because they were not served afternoon tea promptly. Yes, they too had the gratuities removed from their bill, as most from their country do not tip.

I for one would never have the tips removed, and we do tip additionally to crew that have shown us exemplary service.

We make it a point to tell them that our extra tips are in addition to the ones charged , and beleive me, they know who tipped and who had them removed. Fair? Stupid on our part, enabling? Call it what you will, charged tips go beyond your steward or bar tender, they are distributed to all crew, NOT staff or officers, strictly the crew, many, many unseen faces that make the cruise what it is.

As for the gratuity added to the bar tab, we add an extra buck or two for each round, maybe more, and the end result is extra worth it.

As for actually having the tips removed from your final ships account, good luck, never gonna happen.

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