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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 4th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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Default First Time Tips

Hi,

We are Sailing from NJ in late January 2010 for our very first Cruise holiday. We depart on the Explorer of the seas and we are really exsited. Having said that, I have been reading some of the forum's and i am now very worried that after paying for the holiday it is going to cost me substantially more!. I understand that drinks are not included neither are the shore excursions is this true amongst other things?.
Maybe i seem a little naive, but, it is our first time and thats why i am asking. This cruise is special to me and my wife and i want to get it right for her. Thank you.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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You are doing the right thing. There are additional charges for things such as alcoholic drinks and soda, and bottled water. There is coffee, iced tea, juices in the morning and such available for no charge in the buffet. of course there are also shore excursions which you can book through the ship, they are also an additional charge, you also have the option of booking them independantly and that can often save money, but you have to really do your homework. You will also incur a daily charge per person added to your onboard account (generally $10-12 per day per person) to cover gratuities. There are also speciality restaurants available as an alternative to the no charge dining venues which carry an additional charge, but it is up to you if you want to try them or not.

There's stuff like bingo and the casino, so that is extra money if you want to do those things.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Glynn, you are absolutely right, alcoholic drinks are not included in the price, not are shore excursions.
If you're not a heavy drinker, you can get away with the free tea, coffee, lemonade, fruit punch, iced tea or water that are provided in the Lido buffet.
However, all "specialty" drinks ( tropical concoctions with umbrellas), all beer, wine, and other spirits will cost you, and they can be expensive.
If you want to be frugal, moderation is the key...

As for shore excursions, they too can be expensive. You can read about, choose and book your ship-sponsored shore excursions online before travelling, just go to the Royal Caribbean website and check them out.

Here's another word of advice. Ship sponsored shore excursions tend to be a bit pricey. You can book cheaper excursions on your own if you research the port and attractions online, however, if for any reason your excursion is delayed in returning to the ship (ie: traffic, mishap, whatever) the ship WILL NOT wait for you.
If you are on a ship-sponsored excursion and something delays your return, the ship WILL wait for you.

That being said, I do hope you and your wife will enjoy your first cruise, and I guarantee you, it will not be your last! It's easy to become addicted, as all of us here at CM are!

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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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Hi Both,

So, am i correct in thinking that Gratuity is charged per person per day and also per drink?
If this is true then forgive me but that is 'out of order' you are in effect paying twice.

I will certainly look at the RCCL website and decide which excursions we want.

Thanks for all the info it really is good to know you guys are here helping us novives out

Glynn
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynn
Hi Both,

So, am i correct in thinking that Gratuity is charged per person per day and also per drink?
If this is true then forgive me but that is 'out of order' you are in effect paying twice.

I will certainly look at the RCCL website and decide which excursions we want.

Thanks for all the info it really is good to know you guys are here helping us novives out

Glynn
I'm glad you are asking these questions. I think the cruiselines should be more up front about the additional costs of cruising. Carnival charges $10 per day per person and removes them from your ship board account. However, you can go down to the purser's desks and have the gratuites adjusted.

However, on RCL you have a chioce bewteen pre paying gratuities or using the envelopes. The RCL site has suggested guide lines and information about gratuities. With RCL you decide how much to put in the envelopes or pre pay. Here is a link. http://www.royalcaribbean.com/custom...34&faqType=faq
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Also, they aren't "double charging you" tips on the drinks. The tips that are automatically charged are split by your various dinning room staff and your room steward. The tips charged on the drinks pay the bar waitstaff and bartenders, so they are not the same pool of tips, or "double" tips.

On excursions you can find good priced ones through the ship, you can also find great deals by not going through the ship. One thing to look at when booking on your own, is look at how long your boat is scheduled to be in that port, and look at how long the excursion is. If you are in port for, say, 8 hours, and it's a 6-7 hour excursion I might think twice about booking privately. If it's a 3-4 hour excursion on the other hand, even if you are running with delays you should have more than enough time to get back. Just make sure you are using reputable tour companies, and you can do that through resources like this site and others.

My wife and I took our first 2 years ago, and we were surprised a little by the "extra" charges at first, but I tell you what. We love cruising, we still find it to be a value, and we have been since, and are planning on two more in the next year. Have a great time, I know you will.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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If you figure $100 p/day into your cruise budget for gratuities, drinks and basic excursions you won't have that "last day shock" when you receive your onboard account.

You can adjust that up or down depending on what excursions you take and if you have more or fewer drinks.

The gratuities that are added to your shipboard account are for your cabin steward, waiter, asst. waiter and perhaps the Head Housekeeper or Maitre 'D. The 15% added to a drink is the gratuity for the bar staff. I know that tipping is looked at a bit different in the U.K. than the U.S. but I do believe that once you experience the service you receive you will feel that the gratuities are fair.

Have a wonderful cruise.

Take care,
Mike
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Old October 4th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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Also, be advised that the $10 per person, per day, will appear on your account all at once, ie: Not put on your account every day, but the total amount for you, and perhaps your significant other, will appear early in the cruise, and in total. Sometimes people will be on a seven day cruise, see the $140 charge appear on the first day, and PANIC. No problems, don't worry, all is O.K.

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Old October 4th, 2009, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster
Also, be advised that the $10 per person, per day, will appear on your account all at once, ie: Not put on your account every day, but the total amount for you, and perhaps your significant other, will appear early in the cruise, and in total. Sometimes people will be on a seven day cruise, see the $140 charge appear on the first day, and PANIC. No problems, don't worry, all is O.K.

"SKY"
Hi Sky I thinking you for confusing Royal and Carnival. The OP is cruising on Royal. Carnival does auto tipping, Royal does not do auto tipping. I'm a regular Carnival Cruiser like Sky is so I'm use to the auto tipping. I hate the envelopes I find them to be a pain to use. Other people love the envelopes and hate auto tipping. This to me is one of the biggest differences between Carnival and Royal.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster
Also, be advised that the $10 per person, per day, will appear on your account all at once, ie: Not put on your account every day, but the total amount for you, and perhaps your significant other, will appear early in the cruise, and in total. Sometimes people will be on a seven day cruise, see the $140 charge appear on the first day, and PANIC. No problems, don't worry, all is O.K.

"SKY"
Hi Sky I thinking you for confusing Royal and Carnival. The OP is cruising on Royal. Carnival does auto tipping, Royal does not do auto tipping. I'm a regular Carnival Cruiser like Sky is so I'm use to the auto tipping. I hate the envelopes I find them to be a pain to use. Other people love the envelopes and hate auto tipping. This to me is one of the biggest differences between Carnival and Royal.
OH! You're absolutely right. So sorry. My bad! Thanks so much for straightening me out. I've sailed Carnival so much lately, and heard so many first timers panic when they see that post, that I automatically assumed the worst. Thanks Kat.

"SKY"
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Old October 5th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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My travel agent has told me that i can pay a lump sum of £80 per person (sterling) before i go - is this better and if so do i incurr any further costs?
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Old October 5th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster
Also, be advised that the $10 per person, per day, will appear on your account all at once, ie: Not put on your account every day, but the total amount for you, and perhaps your significant other, will appear early in the cruise, and in total. Sometimes people will be on a seven day cruise, see the $140 charge appear on the first day, and PANIC. No problems, don't worry, all is O.K.

"SKY"
Hi Sky I thinking you for confusing Royal and Carnival. The OP is cruising on Royal. Carnival does auto tipping, Royal does not do auto tipping. I'm a regular Carnival Cruiser like Sky is so I'm use to the auto tipping. I hate the envelopes I find them to be a pain to use. Other people love the envelopes and hate auto tipping. This to me is one of the biggest differences between Carnival and Royal.
Partially right, on Royal if you opt for "My Time Dining" the auto tip applies. Otherwise, you are correct about Royal. Royal passengers on traditional dining can have tip automatically credited to their onboard account. They recieve vouchers for tip that they can place in the envelope along with any additional for outstanding or above and beyond the call services rendered.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynn
My travel agent has told me that i can pay a lump sum of £80 per person (sterling) before i go - is this better and if so do i incurr any further costs?
Where is your cruise going to? How many days is your cruise. The tips are per day so that is why I'm asking.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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The Cruise is for 12 days. Leaves Bayonne 24th Jan then goes to six islands.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynn
The Cruise is for 12 days. Leaves Bayonne 24th Jan then goes to six islands.
If you pre-pay your gratuities, and 80 pounds sounds about right with the current conversion rate, you will not incur any additional gratuity fees unless "you" decide to give extra.

Take care,
Mike
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Old October 6th, 2009, 06:56 PM
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One more "tip" (as it were) When you sign your bar bill, there is a space for tips. The tip has already been added to the bill, this is extra which is totally OK to exclude.
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