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Old July 10th, 2014, 07:07 PM
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Default Most outdated cruise ship "traditions"

I am thinking about all the "traditions" that have become either more hassle than they are worth, are now so outdated they are slightly embarrassing to the cruise industry, or things that would just make more sense if were not locked into thinking cruises HAVE TO BE a certain way....

My list is below. Now, I do know the logistic reasons why many of these things exist, but I also argue that there are equally important reasons to change some of these things that are being overlooked.

Please give me your point of view:

1. Singing Waiters - having 10 waiters who speak English with such thick accents that Happy Birthday becomes "Habbee Birsaday to zhu" is kind of sad. What is even worse is asking these lovely foreign nationals to sing "God Bless America" when most of them are from elsewhere, and some of them probably want to emigrate may not be able to get a visa for some obscure reason.

2. Embarkation photos. These are essentially mandatory unless you know enough to just ignore the photogs. All they do is hold up the embarkation process often by 30 minutes, and in many cases the guests have matted hair and chapped lips from flying all night.

3. Dress Codes - stop making it even “suggested” for the entire ship. A better way would be to offer a special optional formal event for the people who like to dress grandly. This way they have a true reason to dress up (like an invitation event) - not just a seeming desire to "show off" because the daily schedule says its a "formal suggested" night.

4. Tip envelopes. Thankfully largely repealed on many, but not all cruise lines; but they have been replaced by lines for "optional tips" on every charge slip we now have to sign for any item during the cruise. "optional tips" often come in additional to mandatory service charges. I say make them all service charges, and stop the controversy once & for all.

5. Tipping for Room Service - this is a new and separate tipping ploy that should never have started.The last thing I want to do is search for my carefully hidden wallet for a single dollar bill as the waiter stares at my "bed-head" and smells my morning breath. Especially if they send one of those attractive young ladies. If they want some money for room service - once again, make a small service charge that goes on your final bill - and don't make people sign anything first thing in the morning.

6. Bingo - Most average baby boomers think of bingo as a game for surly blue-haired old ladies with OCD. You can keep it - just keep it a secret until we get aboard the ship. I don't want to hear about cruise ship bingo unless I am already on a cruise ship - then I might go (but very unlikely).

7. Lifeboat Drill - this is actually one area where most cruise lines have already made the process less painful. However, now it is usually scheduled before sail-away, why not schedule it later so people who traveled all day can have a nap, for example. Make it just before sail-away - the time when most people actually want to be out on deck.

8. The Baked Alaska parade. This final night tradition is based on parties dating from the '50s when people celebrated the entry of Alaska and Hawaii to the union with parties like "Luaus". But in the end, the Baked Alaska parade is a ploy to bring out the entire dining team; busboys and dishwashers, to sing (of all things) "God Bless America" to generate more tips. Its embarrassing to the waiters and to me, and its a ploy for more tips (which should be replaced with service charges anyway).

9. Bargain Shopping Day - please stop selling gold by the inch in the main breezeway on the last day of the cruise only! Everyone knows the bargains come out on the last day - cruise lines are only hurting themselves by being so predictable. Stabilize the prices and make every day "bargain day," but also keep it low-key so you don;t have the madness on the last day.

10. Disembarkation. Disembarkation is really the most disrespectful process in cruising – especially being rushed to get out of your stateroom by 8:00 in the morning when the ship has not even been cleared by customs. Why not design itineraries where the next cruise starts later, so people on the previous cruise can leave at a far more leisureely pace? sail away at 8:00 p.m. instead of 4:30 so people coming and going have more time to get on (and off) the ship? Everyone can take later flights - so there is less airport congestion, shorter lines at customs, etc etc etc?
--

Those are my tips - what say you all?
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Old July 10th, 2014, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I am thinking about all the "traditions" that have become either more hassle than they are worth, are now so outdated they are slightly embarrassing to the cruise industry, or things that would just make more sense if were not locked into thinking cruises HAVE TO BE a certain way....

My list is below. Now, I do know the logistic reasons why many of these things exist, but I also argue that there are equally important reasons to change some of these things that are being overlooked.

Please give me your point of view:

1. Singing Waiters - having 10 waiters who speak English with such thick accents that Happy Birthday becomes "Habbee Birsaday to zhu" is kind of sad. What is even worse is asking these lovely foreign nationals to sing "God Bless America" when most of them are from elsewhere, and some of them probably want to emigrate may not be able to get a visa for some obscure reason.

2. Embarkation photos. These are essentially mandatory unless you know enough to just ignore the photogs. All they do is hold up the embarkation process often by 30 minutes, and in many cases the guests have matted hair and chapped lips from flying all night.

3. Dress Codes - stop making it even “suggested” for the entire ship. A better way would be to offer a special optional formal event for the people who like to dress grandly. This way they have a true reason to dress up (like an invitation event) - not just a seeming desire to "show off" because the daily schedule says its a "formal suggested" night.

4. Tip envelopes. Thankfully largely repealed on many, but not all cruise lines; but they have been replaced by lines for "optional tips" on every charge slip we now have to sign for any item during the cruise. "optional tips" often come in additional to mandatory service charges. I say make them all service charges, and stop the controversy once & for all.

5. Tipping for Room Service - this is a new and separate tipping ploy that should never have started.The last thing I want to do is search for my carefully hidden wallet for a single dollar bill as the waiter stares at my "bed-head" and smells my morning breath. Especially if they send one of those attractive young ladies. If they want some money for room service - once again, make a small service charge that goes on your final bill - and don't make people sign anything first thing in the morning.

6. Bingo - Most average baby boomers think of bingo as a game for surly blue-haired old ladies with OCD. You can keep it - just keep it a secret until we get aboard the ship. I don't want to hear about cruise ship bingo unless I am already on a cruise ship - then I might go (but very unlikely).

7. Lifeboat Drill - this is actually one area where most cruise lines have already made the process less painful. However, now it is usually scheduled before sail-away, why not schedule it later so people who traveled all day can have a nap, for example. Make it just before sail-away - the time when most people actually want to be out on deck.

8. The Baked Alaska parade. This final night tradition is based on parties dating from the '50s when people celebrated the entry of Alaska and Hawaii to the union with parties like "Luaus". But in the end, the Baked Alaska parade is a ploy to bring out the entire dining team; busboys and dishwashers, to sing (of all things) "God Bless America" to generate more tips. Its embarrassing to the waiters and to me, and its a ploy for more tips (which should be replaced with service charges anyway).

9. Bargain Shopping Day - please stop selling gold by the inch in the main breezeway on the last day of the cruise only! Everyone knows the bargains come out on the last day - cruise lines are only hurting themselves by being so predictable. Stabilize the prices and make every day "bargain day," but also keep it low-key so you don;t have the madness on the last day.

10. Disembarkation. Disembarkation is really the most disrespectful process in cruising – especially being rushed to get out of your stateroom by 8:00 in the morning when the ship has not even been cleared by customs. Why not design itineraries where the next cruise starts later, so people on the previous cruise can leave at a far more leisureely pace? sail away at 8:00 p.m. instead of 4:30 so people coming and going have more time to get on (and off) the ship? Everyone can take later flights - so there is less airport congestion, shorter lines at customs, etc etc etc?
--

Those are my tips - what say you all?
Paul,
You've hit on a number of them. The Muster Drill is just something I've grown to accept. It's SOLAS standard but, yes it's boring and we all know by looking on the back of our cabin door where the heck we're supposed to go. However, I still don't excuse anyone from skipping it.

A lot of long time cruisers, including myself, can't stand the "singing waiter" song. However, everyone first or second time cruiser I've been with loves it. So I guess it's a good thing.

I tipped for room service before it was "mandatory". I just think that it's a bit of a stretch to "require" a service charge for room service.

The Baked Alaska parade was, IMO, a complete joke. I hate baked Alaska and I don't think any cruise line now has it. The fire issue was the killer on that one. I think it's a good thing it's gone.

Bingo: Let's just say I did it once.

The port stop photo also drives me nuts. I really don't want to have my picture taken with the person who drew the short straw and had to wear the penguin, polar bear, or Mayan costume. I also don't want an embarkation photo. Most of the time you can bypass it but sometimes they "force" you to have an embarkation photo.

Disembarkation is the best: You have been their best friend for 3, 5, 7 or more days but on the last day they want you the hell off the ship and don't pull any punches about it. I COMPLETELY understand why but it is something that makes the cruise experience a bit less special.

As I stated earlier, the newbie cruisers love this stuff and, years ago, I probably did too but now it's boring, time consuming and a old hat. However, us "old timers" are not the bread and butter of the cruise lines so they cater to the folks who spend the money on the pictures and the "newness" of the experience. I just go with the flow.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 10th, 2014, 10:29 PM
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Great Topic!:

1. Singing Waiters - having 10 waiters who speak English with such thick accents that Happy Birthday becomes "Habbee Birsaday to zhu" is kind of sad. What is even worse is asking these lovely foreign nationals to sing "God Bless America" when most of them are from elsewhere, and some of them probably want to emigrate may not be able to get a visa for some obscure reason.

I say do away with it...I just read that RCI stopped doing this because they found out the staff was embarrassed....too old school,and we have seen it ad nauseum.

2. Embarkation photos. These are essentially mandatory unless you know enough to just ignore the photogs. All they do is hold up the embarkation process often by 30 minutes, and in many cases the guests have matted hair and chapped lips from flying all night.

I have refused to stop for years now..just what I need is a sweaty discombobulated picture of us, just off a plane...leave me alone as I walk down the gangplank in port too!

3. Dress Codes - stop making it even “suggested” for the entire ship. A better way would be to offer a special optional formal event for the people who like to dress grandly. This way they have a true reason to dress up (like an invitation event) - not just a seeming desire to "show off" because the daily schedule says its a "formal suggested" night.

Baggage fees per bag,and overweight fees,and just getting too old tooo shlep, has surely changed my attitude...think Mix and Match!

4. Tip envelopes. Thankfully largely repealed on many, but not all cruise lines; but they have been replaced by lines for "optional tips" on every charge slip we now have to sign for any item during the cruise. "optional tips" often come in additional to mandatory service charges. I say make them all service charges, and stop the controversy once & for all.

Totally agree with you!

5. Tipping for Room Service - this is a new and separate tipping ploy that should never have started.The last thing I want to do is search for my carefully hidden wallet for a single dollar bill as the waiter stares at my "bed-head" and smells my morning breath. Especially if they send one of those attractive young ladies. If they want some money for room service - once again, make a small service charge that goes on your final bill - and don't make people sign anything first thing in the morning.

This I don't mind as we never order in the am, and we always look gorgeous

6. Bingo - Most average baby boomers think of bingo as a game for surly blue-haired old ladies with OCD. You can keep it - just keep it a secret until we get aboard the ship. I don't want to hear about cruise ship bingo unless I am already on a cruise ship - then I might go (but very unlikely).

I occasionally play, as we get to the theater early,and it gives me something to occupy my time.

7. Lifeboat Drill - this is actually one area where most cruise lines have already made the process less painful. However, now it is usually scheduled before sail-away, why not schedule it later so people who traveled all day can have a nap, for example. Make it just before sail-away - the time when most people actually want to be out on deck.

This does not bother me in the least..I like not standing on deck though, I almost fainted once..sit me in the theater.

8. The Baked Alaska parade. This final night tradition is based on parties dating from the '50s when people celebrated the entry of Alaska and Hawaii to the union with parties like "Luaus". But in the end, the Baked Alaska parade is a ploy to bring out the entire dining team; busboys and dishwashers, to sing (of all things) "God Bless America" to generate more tips. Its embarrassing to the waiters and to me, and its a ploy for more tips (which should be replaced with service charges anyway).

Buh bye....

9. Bargain Shopping Day - please stop selling gold by the inch in the main breezeway on the last day of the cruise only! Everyone knows the bargains come out on the last day - cruise lines are only hurting themselves by being so predictable. Stabilize the prices and make every day "bargain day," but also keep it low-key so you don;t have the madness on the last day.

Gold by the inch turns you green before the evening is over...I never ever understood this shlock item.

10. Disembarkation. Disembarkation is really the most disrespectful process in cruising – especially being rushed to get out of your stateroom by 8:00 in the morning when the ship has not even been cleared by customs. Why not design itineraries where the next cruise starts later, so people on the previous cruise can leave at a far more leisureely pace? sail away at 8:00 p.m. instead of 4:30 so people coming and going have more time to get on (and off) the ship? Everyone can take later flights - so there is less airport congestion, shorter lines at customs, etc etc etc?

Love this idea..you should run a cruise line....$$$ is the focus, so moneymakers will be around for a while.
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Last edited by Trip; July 11th, 2014 at 09:11 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 08:19 AM
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Singing waiters - we never reveal we are celebrating anything. Our last cruise partners that he, a very good singer, stopped at a table where the waiters were gathering and tried to bring them a little closer to in tune - or at least give the celebrants a voice worth listening to.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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This is fun!

1. Singing Waiters. I must be traveling on the right cruise lines. I have not seen one of these in years, nor have I missed them. But like any other tradition, some of the old school will lament it's passing.

2. Embarkation Photos. We are usually able to breeze past them with a smile and a wave. The costumed ones in port are especially annoying. But for some, the embarkation pictures, complete with ship name and date, are a long standing tradition and they have a whole collection of them going back years. I have read reviews where people being escorted to suites bypassed this area and they were incensed. And if there is any chance the cruise line can make a few $$ off them, you can bet they are here to stay.

3. Dress Codes. This is why we love NCL. No shorts, tanks or sandals in the big MDR and 1 other venue, all others casual. But, you can dress up any night and no one will give you a second glance. But some love that formal night, and it just ruins it for them if the guy at the next table has on jeans and a polo. I think Royal has a good idea with the Dynamic Dining. Have one smaller venue which is required formal. Everyone's happy.

4. Tip Envelopes. Do some cruise lines really still do this? Who wants to spend their vacation time putting the cash in envelopes, (is it too much, not enough?, tracking people down, that feeling that you never saw this guy before in your life and why are you handing him money?). The Daily Service Charge is a major improvement. As far as the "optional" line on the bill, we usually ignore this. Some tip extra at the specialties, we never do. We do give the bartenders and bar servers an extra $ or two, often in cash, even through an extra service 15% charge is already added to the bar bills. I guess because we do it at home and it just doesn't feel right not to. And we do get some really good service. The fact that the option is there for great service above and beyond does not bother me at all.

5. Tipping for Room Service. Only rarely do we use room service, and then it would be coffee in the am before we get ourselves together. With a 24 hour restaurant available with fairly decent food, why order from a limited room service menu? It's really not that good. I have never been able to get a straight answer on whether the delivery person is in the DSC pool or not. I would not feel comfortable not tipping him. We always tip room service at a hotel. But it is not mandatory at all. I wouldn't mind if they charged an extra buck or two service charge, like they do after a certain hour,but I agree, no slip to sign.

6. Bingo. Some people love it. Until that generation of cruisers is gone away, it will be around. And unlike many activities, it is something they can charge for. I can find plenty of other things to do, free or otherwise, like a $15 Martini Tasting.

7. Lifeboat Drill. The cruiselines are required to do them, and I am greatfull they do. They have improved much from the days where you had to schlep your life vest with you. And yes, do them BEFORE sailaway, not after. You never know what can happen or when. I think I am correct in saying the Concorida had some issues pre drill. Once sailaway has begun, people are in cruise mode, and let the party begin. They are at the bars, in the pool, dressing for dinner. A lifeboat drill at that point would be a real buzz kill. Just try corralling a few thousand people with a few drinks in them into a life boat drill. Good luck.

8. Baked Alaska Parade. I didn't know anyone still had these. Why.

9. Bargain Shopping Days. Yes, our last two cruises had "Pandora" type bracelets at special pricing, buy 2 get one free, Today Only. You literally had to fight your way to the table for a view. And they were still there at same pricing last day of the cruise.

10. Disembarkation. What's wrong with letting passengers decide what time they want to get off the ship, pick up colored luggage tags corresponding to their chosen time, get up at their leisure and have a relaxing breakfast, and then just walk off the ship at their chosen time, or even later? We do it on NCL every cruise. We have left as late as 10:00 am or we have also been one of the first off, depending on OUR schedule for that day. It is so much more civilized than getting orders to vacate at whatever hour based on your floor or assigned color.

I would add a number 11, and it would be probably listed as number 1 in my book.

11. Traditional Dining with early or late seating at assigned tables. This is a cruising dinosaur if their ever was one. No one lives this way. I asked someone once, if they went to eat at a nice restaurant at home, and upon entering, they were escorted to a table where another 6 or 8 strangers were seated, what would they think? It would not fly, yet some people claim to love this on a cruise ship. It is a mystery to me. I will decide when I eat, and where I eat, and I will not dine with anyone I don't know unless I make the choice to do so. I think this will soon be a thing of the past. Dynamic Dining is a step in that direction for Royal. Interesting concept, but I don't know if they can pull it off without the need for reservations every night.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 11:19 AM
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All of the above!
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Old July 11th, 2014, 11:43 AM
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Great replies.....

As cruise "experts" I think we just turn off our brains when we see the cliche things, but I know they did SOMETHING similar to baked Alaska on my last Carnival cruise (I recall it as actually Baked Alaska - they can use LED candles & such) - they still have the parade and the waiters singing "God Bless America". I will have to ask Royal Caribbean if they really ended this.

Yes, a Dynamic Dining formal restaurant is a good idea, but I would like to see a bigger "event" that is formal, a true occasion to dress up for - where the people who do not want to dress up are not invited. That way, you don't feel goofy for being dressed up on a ship full of casual people.

I remember when tipping for room service became a "thing" - at the time none of us had ever heard of it. Somehow it became accepted. I blame the "Royal Champions

Keep the comments coming!
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Old July 11th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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Americans have largely been responsible for the ridiculous growth in tipping for everything. What happened to the days when people only carried their cruise card around with them on the ship during the cruise? Now it seems too many roam the ship with 'walking around money' to lavish tips on people every time they do the least little thing. Yes I am exaggerating but not by much. We (U.S. citizens) created this monster and it needs to be killed.

The automatic 'gratuities' and service charges should cover room service people too, and I think they do get a cut but it isn't always clearly communicated (probably on purpose) to the guests. Royal Caribbean says a portion of their daily gratuity covers 'dining services'. Carnival says it covers 'alternative services team'. NCL calls them 'behind-the-scenes support staff'.

Want to know how to really annoy the dedicated bingo players? Show up only for the last game on the last day and win the jackpot prize. Some of them do their best to keep track of who has played all along and resent a newcomer dropping by and winning the big prize.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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I admit that during the 9 or so years I lived in New York City I became a 'serial tipper" - it is very common in that city to just hand someone a little money for any little thing, and they are glad to take it.

When I came back to Arizona people started telling me to stop doing that, that I was embarrassing people.

So Dave, I completely agree, we are responsible for it, and a lot of other nations have two responses: (1) they resent us for making it a common practice, and (2) they often sucker us into giving tips we shouldn't have to give.

Like in many European restaurants where they don't show a service charge on the final bill they give to Americans. Or on cruise ships where they show the service charge, but also include a space to leave a tip.

Hey - just because the space is there it doesn't mean you have to use it.

Now, I don't have a problem with the people who say they tip bartenders for special service, or massage therapists who do a really good job. But I won't tip a European cab driver 20%, I have seen them pull too many scams on Americans.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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Also - I wanted to point out that I think it is fairly controversial for me to suggest they should add a service charge to the final bill for each room service visit. Room service is supposed to be complimentary on cruise ships.

But with so many darn people these days insisting that room service people deserve cash tips, it is getting to the point where it is expected.

My real position is that they should NOT be tipped, because they get their fair share from the pool of tips at the end. But - if the cruise community is going to make room service tipping "mandatory" - I would rather have it on my final bill than hand over cash.

As Dave said, cruises are SUPPOSED TO BE A CASHLESS SOCIETY. I find it ridiculous to have just one exception to that rule. If people had not started handing cash over to room service stewards, we wouldn't be looking at service slips we have to sign now (as an excuse to get us to leave a tip).

Also as far as tipping envelopes go - yes, as far as I recall if you do not tell Royal Caribbean or Celebrity that you specifically want your gratuities on your final bill at least two days before the end of the cruise then you have to fill envelopes and hand them out. At least that was the case a couple of years ago. I even went to the front desk and asked if they could make an exception and still add them to my acct on the last day, and I was told "sorry, the deadline was yesterday."
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Old July 11th, 2014, 06:49 PM
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I did not realize the tip or no tip for room service had become such a big issue. Honestly, you are the only person I have heard mention it. I don't ever recall signing a slip for our room service breakfast. The only slips I ever see are for those things which carry an actual charge, like drinks.

I do agree that tipping is getting out of hand here in the US. I hate those tip cups on the checkout counters next to the registers and I refuse to give someone a tip for filling a coffee cup and ringing me up. The only people who deserve tips, IMO, are those such as waiters who get paid a very low hourly pay and tips are a big part of their take home.

Ok, I do have a few exceptions, like the guys who take your bags at the dock and the skycaps at the airport. Although why we do this I don't know. I think they are already making some pretty darn good money. Also, we women probably all tip our hairdressers, and the husband says he tips the barbers. They make a pretty good buck also. So there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason about who we tip.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 09:05 PM
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Royal Caribbean likes to present receipts, even when there is no charge. For example on the Oasis-class ships, Johnny Rockets serves a complimentary breakfast and they will bring a receipt for you to sign that has zero dollars as the fee unless you ordered something that costs extra. And there it is, that tab with your name on it, no cost, but that pesky line for 'additional tip'. It is pretty blatant that the expectation is for you to provide a tip. They've also done this to me for the extra-fee restaurants that I prepaid online before the cruise. The $35 they charge for Chops is supposed to include gratuities, yet they hand you a receipt and it's like "surely you aren't going to just sign it and not put another $10 in the blank"? Well, that is exactly what I do. I sign it, say thank you, and leave. My fee was supposed to be for the 'nicer' food and the service, and I paid for it with my $35. Why should I have to pay more?
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Old July 12th, 2014, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Beers View Post
Royal Caribbean likes to present receipts, even when there is no charge. For example on the Oasis-class ships, Johnny Rockets serves a complimentary breakfast and they will bring a receipt for you to sign that has zero dollars as the fee unless you ordered something that costs extra. And there it is, that tab with your name on it, no cost, but that pesky line for 'additional tip'. It is pretty blatant that the expectation is for you to provide a tip. They've also done this to me for the extra-fee restaurants that I prepaid online before the cruise. The $35 they charge for Chops is supposed to include gratuities, yet they hand you a receipt and it's like "surely you aren't going to just sign it and not put another $10 in the blank"? Well, that is exactly what I do. I sign it, say thank you, and leave. My fee was supposed to be for the 'nicer' food and the service, and I paid for it with my $35. Why should I have to pay more?

Giving Royal the benefit of the doubt, could it just be their way of keeping track of usage per cruiser on the ship for their own internal purposes?

I know on NCL, they always slide one of our room cards anywhere we go upon entering, free or not, except for the buffet. I assume it is a record keeping thing and probably produces lots of good analytical data for them about who went where and when.

And when and if you do add an extra $10 to the restaurant bill, does that not go to the server in full, or does the Corporation take their cut? Just wondering what the incentive would be to them to mess with all that paper, if the tip all went to the server.

I don't recall, is Royal still one that uses tip envelopes instead of a Daily Service Charge? Perhaps this has some bearing it it?
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Old July 12th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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Yes, I said above that Royal/CXC are the cruise lines that will still make you fill envelopes if you forget to ask them to charge tips to your onboard acct.

Yes, I am sure NCL merely slides the card for tracking purposes and that is fine - they are VERY serious about tracking their daily cost/revenue (see the CNBC special "Cruise Inc. - Big Money on the High Seas" http://www.hulu.com/watch/64392)

In most cases you can be sure any "service charge" and all kinds of cruise gratuities go into a pool. I have even been told that crewmembers are expected to turn in any cash tips they get - not allowed to keep them. That is one reason I am not in favor of added tips on ships. I would be more in favor if I knew for a fact the person I tipped was going to be allowed to keep it.

Consider this scenario - you have a room steward who works especially hard just for you, so you hand him a $20, but another crew member sees it. It then becomes an ethical dilemma for your steward "Do I turn the money in? - what if I don't and I get reported...?" The pressure is always on for crew members to follow the rules because if they get on the wrong side of a situation life can get problematic.

And there are reasons why the cruise lines do this (which I don't fully agree with, but I understand) - what about the room stewards who play on people's emotions. We often see people post that they "adopted" their room steward to help her out with her kid's education (or whatever) - they gave him/her money. I am sure the cruise lines do not like to hear about that, and so they do what they can to discourage crewmembers from doing that.

So - anyway. If you give a crew member money, just be sure it is for the right reason, and if you want to be sure they keep it, do it discretely in cash. I have my doubts that any "added tips" are kept by the server. The cruise lines are in business - and being honest, they are not going to broadcast details about their internal policies.
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Old July 12th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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Along with embarkation photos can we get rid of dining room photos. They interrupt your meal and/or conversation. Plus they are usually not very good.
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Old July 12th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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yes please do...the pirate and his parrot are a pita!
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Old July 12th, 2014, 03:35 PM
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Along with embarkation photos can we get rid of dining room photos. They interrupt your meal and/or conversation. Plus they are usually not very good.
Yes! Please! I'm tired of being interrupted for photos I have no intention of buying, nor do I wish to be accosted by the pirate as I try to leave the dining room.

What makes it worse is when the photographer is pushy about it.

Another annoyance is when they hold up the line of people leaving the ship in a port to do the photos on the pier. We were barely moving on a Carnival cruise once, and it was because they had set up a cattle chute to make everyone go through the photographers. We ducked under the ropes on that one.
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Old July 12th, 2014, 03:54 PM
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Paul, since you were last on RCI they have changed the tipping process. RCI does now add an automatic gratuity to your onboard account and you no longer have to set it up yourself with guest relations. However they will still put envelopes on your bed on the last day along with the customs form and debarkation information, just in case you want to give out some cash too. They add $12 per day ($14.25 if you are in a suite) to the seapass account, which can be adjusted up or down, or totally removed.

I do tip in cash for the Concierge and Diamond Lounge servers, since those drinks are complimentary for me as a Diamond Plus member.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 12:41 AM
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I would like to add to the disembarkation. Every hotel in the world has a 11am checkout. Why do cruiseline make u leave by 8. They can get those rooms cleaned before the 5 or 6 pm sailing.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 05:43 AM
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#10 seems to be most logical, but it will never happen.

ALL cruise lines count embarkation as Day 1 in the itineraries. If boarding is delayed to 5:00-6:00-7:00 pm then it's hard to justify that as a Day 1.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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Though disembarkation is an abrupt ending to a wonderful cruise, I do understand why they want you the heck off the ship. There are 3,000 more folks who are in the same state of mind you were in seven days earlier.

There are "seasoned" cruisers who still show up at the port at 9:00 a.m. and then complain because they had to wait until 11:30 a.m. before they could board.

Carnival now sends an email telling you not to show up until 1:00 p.m.. No one pays attention to it. For a price they will let you be one of the first people to board. Just don't board before the Platinum cruiser who shows up ten minutes later.

With more homeland cruising more cruisers are not rushing to flights so they want a leisurely debarkation. The folks on the pier want to get on. It puts the cruise line in a bit of a pickle. I'd rather piss off the people who are leaving rather than the people I'll have to put up with for the next seven days.

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Old July 13th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Snoozeman View Post
#10 seems to be most logical, but it will never happen.

ALL cruise lines count embarkation as Day 1 in the itineraries. If boarding is delayed to 5:00-6:00-7:00 pm then it's hard to justify that as a Day 1.

But, they don't necessarily have to delay boarding just because the ship has a late departure time. In my experience, regardless of the time the ship leaves port, they always allow people to start signing in at around 10:00 am ( assuming the ship does not ALSO come in late ) and boarding usually starts at around 11:30. For example, the POA, which does not leave Honolulu until 7:00PM. Of course, the ship also gets in early, so you could have a very long day on board day 1. But, most ships leave around 4:00, so on the average, the first on are only getting about 4 and 1/2 hours max before departure. So even if they delayed both boarding AND departure, it would probably work out to the same number of hours. My guess is departure time depends more on how long it will take them to get from A to B, with the minimum of fuel expended.

NCL has proved that the disembarkation process does not have to be such a "here's your hat, what's your hurry" experience. Letting people decide on their own when to leave, one would assume would create chaos, but it works pretty efficiently.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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But, they don't necessarily have to delay boarding just because the ship has a late departure time. In my experience, regardless of the time the ship leaves port, they always allow people to start signing in at around 10:00 am ( assuming the ship does not ALSO come in late ) and boarding usually starts at around 11:30. For example, the POA, which does not leave Honolulu until 7:00PM. Of course, the ship also gets in early, so you could have a very long day on board day 1. But, most ships leave around 4:00, so on the average, the first on are only getting about 4 and 1/2 hours max before departure. So even if they delayed both boarding AND departure, it would probably work out to the same number of hours. My guess is departure time depends more on how long it will take them to get from A to B, with the minimum of fuel expended.

NCL has proved that the disembarkation process does not have to be such a "here's your hat, what's your hurry" experience. Letting people decide on their own when to leave, one would assume would create chaos, but it works pretty efficiently.
You can't intermingle guests so you can't have it both ways. No guests can board until all guests from previous cruise are off the ship. That's why the B2B's are last off.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 01:12 PM
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I'm not nearly the experienced cruisers as many of you so I'll give my point of view for someone who's only taken six cruises.

1. The singing waiter. As I believe Mike said many new to cruising get a kick out of this, I for one like it. How often do you go out for dinner and have a singing staff? In my opinion it adds to the festivities, anything patriotic should be left out and as of yet I've never seen any of the staff singing that type of stuff. It does bring a smile to many faces and its nice too see. I really like the song Carnival staff sings on the last night....I also enjoy the dancing.


2. Embankment Photos. I like it! Maybe they should have two lines, one for photos and one for people to by-pass. However, how hard is it to just say" No Thanks" this applies to dinner time photos and shore photos. It seems people have less patience's and tolerances when its something they don't care for.....learn to adapt to silly thing, it makes life much less stressful.


3. Dress Code. I think there should be a less formal dining room for those who wish to have the same dining menu and not have to eat at the buffet if they don't want to dress up....not sure how they would go about it but I like the idea.


4. Tip Envelopes. I say do away with them all together. I like that they just add it to my account and if I chooses to tip more to my room steward I will, don't think he / she cares if its in an envelope.


5. Room service tip. I'm so very guilty of tipping room service and its a pain but I feel guilty if I don't. I would like to see something stating " No Gratuity Allowed"


6. BINGO. I've played a few times and why get rid of it? People like it and that's one of the good thing about a cruise, something for everyone.


7. Life Boat Drill. In my opinion if people don't like it don't go on a cruise. Once again people need to be more adaptable and its just silly that anyone would have a problem with this. Making it right before sail away is a great idea, people want to get going so if the ship won't leave until this is completed people will be eager to get it over with and get to their spot for the sail away.


8. Baked Alaska Parade . I have never seen this done. Carnival does still serve what they call Baked Alaska on one of the nights.


9. Shopping. I don't get it at all but many love it, I know to stay clear of the area when is going on.


10.Disembarking I admit I felt hurried on my last cruise as I wasn't in a big hurry to get off but I understand...Its over ...get off !


11. Early, Late & Anytime. I like the idea of sitting with the same group but the times really are not the best. I find myself wanting to go to dinner on the ship around 7:00 pm, 6:16 is just a little too early and 8:15 is just too late so this leaves ATD. I'm thinking we might just give it a try on our next cruise.
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Old July 13th, 2014, 07:37 PM
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1. Singing Waiters - Don't mind if they sing....it's kind of fun.

2. Embarkation photos - Love cruise ship photos...the more the merrier....Photos are the best memories.

3. Dress Codes - I make my own dress code and prefer dress up then casual. So if the compass says casual and I dress up so be it.

4. Tip envelopes - I like to receive the tip envelop in the cabin in addition to the auto tips. Last cruise I had to ask for envelopes. I always have excellent crew members and I do like to tip additional.

5. Tipping for Room Service - Never used Room Service.

6. Bingo - Don't play Bingo.

7. Lifeboat Drill - Something that has to get done. Don't complain just do it and get it over with.

8. The Baked Alaska parade - That was cool back in the day...

9. Bargain Shopping Day - Don't do the last day shopping in the Promenade but don't mind it either. There are cruisers that love it.

10. Disembarkation - Leaving the cabin by 8am is not nice. They should give you until 10am and then have embarkation 2 hours later.


The "additional tip" line on the receipt goes into a pool then split so that is not fair. So I total out the receipt with 0 as additional tip and then secretly tip cash at least I know he/she gets what I'm giving and not going into a pool.

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Old July 13th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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I also understand the ship purser needs to close out the books for the previous; they don't want to open new folios until the previous ones are closed. So they say everyone off by 11am, and no boarding until 1pm, I believe that can happen. I am not in the business so there must be a good reason as to why.
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Old July 14th, 2014, 10:01 AM
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You can't intermingle guests so you can't have it both ways. No guests can board until all guests from previous cruise are off the ship. That's why the B2B's are last off.
I don't think anyone on NCL tries to hang around until 12:00 or 1:00. Obviously everyone on an NCL ship is off by 11:30 am as that is when boarding always starts for the next cruise, give or take a few minutes. I think the latest we have ever gotten off is around 10:00. But the system allows you to make it a leisurely disembarkment done on your own schedule, within reason.
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Old July 14th, 2014, 10:46 AM
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Disembarkation time - all I can say is that Hotels manage to have people coming and going at all times of day; in and out, 7 days a week. How hard could it be for a cruise ship to work like hotel for the checking in /checking out process just ONE day a week?
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Old July 14th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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Disembarkation time - all I can say is that Hotels manage to have people coming and going at all times of day; in and out, 7 days a week. How hard could it be for a cruise ship to work like hotel for the checking in /checking out process just ONE day a week?
Hotels, even the high end hotels, are holding to the 3:00 p.m. check-in. We stay in a number of hotels and it's getting harder and harder to get early check-in. The exception is Hilton and you are a Gold or Diamond HHonors member. They will give some leeway.

It is all a result of staff reductions. Hotel and cruise ships have fewer housekeeping staff and the same number of rooms. It just takes longer to turn them.

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Old July 14th, 2014, 08:24 PM
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Of all the things mentioned, the one that annoys me the most are the photos...We have been chastized as we've tried to go around upon boarding...caught in a long line of "say Cheese," as we want to get off in port. And finally, have gotten disapproving glances by the table photographer, in the dr, when some people at our table do not wish to have their picture taken.

There has to be a better way....this is not a foot stomping complaint, just a simple annoyance. Some love it and they should..some want to just avoid it all.
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