My son and I are traveling with another family for a Christmas cruise. We're choosing to get away because my husband just passed away and staying home for the first hoiliday would be too painful.
Even in December, I assume we'll need sunscreen for the western Carribean? And since the crew is spending their holiday mmaking sure we have a nice time, I'd like to get our room server and our wiater some small token of the holiday. Any ideas? I've purchased two calling cards with 670 minutes on them (because I know if they call from anyplace in Mexico it will eat up the card much faster because of the high calling charges). Do we have more than one waiter I should cover? This is my first cruise and I don't know what to expect! Who else do I need to consider? And any suggestions of little things the crew could use would be most appreciated.
cruising on the Inspiration over Cristmas
You will have an assistant waiter as well as your main waiter. And you will have a cabin steward. These people are the main individuals assigned to your service.
Some of these people may not be Christian nor celebrate Christmas. If they do, then money is always the best option. A lot of people give them calling cards thinking this is a novel idea they would appreciate, but the waiters I've talked to said money is preferable to calling cards, and they have calling cards they haven't used.
Have been on two cruises over the holiday season. I gave them small boxes of chocolates, knowing that I would be giving them money at the end of the cruise .
The boxes had a picture frame on top so when the chocolates were finished they could use it as a keepsaver for a picture of their loved ones they are missing and to store whatever in the box. The staff seemed to appreciate it and it was not a big investment.
So sorry to hear about your husband. I hope you all have a wonderful time! I agree that money is the best thing to give to people. If you're on Carnival, they automatically add $9.75 per person per day for tips onto your bill. This covers everyone except the maitre'd. On top of this, we all tipped our waiter, assistant waiter, bar server, and cabin steward an extra $10 per person from each of us. If the service warrants it, tip well. I have to say though that we chose not to tip the maitre'd. We never saw him (we heard him for a few minutes on the microphone each night at dinner) and we couldn't really see what, if anything, he did for us. Maybe it was mean, I don't know. It just didn't seem right to tip someone who did absolutely nothing to enhance your cruise. All of the others that we tipped provided exceptional service and added to our trip, so they were rewarded well. I would think that they would greatly value money, since many of them send their money back home to their families. Hope this helps. and have a wonderful cruise!!
We don't tip the Maitre 'D either unless he does something for us like change tables to a window or seating times. But some will argue that he does other things for you which you don't recognize such as:
1) He arranges for newlyweds to be with other newlyweds
2) He arranges singles to sit together
3) He arranges families with children to be with other families
4) He is the dining room manager of the service staff and keeps them focused
5) He arranges special dietary meals for those with special needs.
6) He arranges for anniversary couples to sit at a two-top
But I think it's recognized he gets a decent salary that's why the suggested amount is $.75 per person.
I made up some gift bags when we cruised at Easter one year. For a lady, I put in a pair of pantyhose, some nail polish & remover, a nail clipper, small cologne, small photo album, some small travel sizes of cosmetics like lipstick, blush & eyeshadow. For the guys something similiar but a t-shirt from home, small shave creme & aftershave, photo album, clippers etc. and all received some gum, small bags of candy too.
May you always remember the wonderful days that you and your loved one have shared.
Dear Katherine, sympathy in the loss of your husband. Regarding your cruise question- sunscreen is a MUST, broad spectrum UVA/UVB factor 25 at least.( lips too) Baseball caps-or any type of head covering is essential, good sunglasses to block the glare off the water, water shoes/sandals for walking the decks & beaches - they get hot. Fanny pack to carry all your daily cruise essentials ( leave your purse at home), small back pack for you and/or your son to carry portable CD player and beach stuff.
Money is still the best present for the crew, put it in a Christmas money holder card so they will know that its a little something extra.