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CruisePal March 2nd, 2004 08:16 AM

Charge for Todd English Dining
Okay, this is the beginning of the end. The email below was issued by Cunard in regards to dining in TE. Cute, let's just start charging for alternate dining in the TE and oh by the way, let's also change the category of the obstructive view cabins and charge a lower price. What about those who paid the higher price before the new cat change? what about the TE charge? This is the problem when you rush to bring a product to market, you fine tune and make more money. Read on..
The excitement of the QM2 inaugural has reached epidemic proportions! World wide attention! No other ship launch in the WORLD has ever had so much publicity as Queen Mary 2!

Last week, a special general assembly was held for Cunard Line employees in Miami by Pamela Conover, our President. Ms. Conover stated to all employees a sort of 'State of the Union' address regarding QM2.

We have listened and are taking action from our guests and travel partners and there will be some changes going into effect immediately. We want our service levels to exceed our guest expectations and all measures are being addressed to see that all QM2 staff on board not only meets, but goes beyond the call of duty for our guests!

We have also decided that effective with the 2005, Jan, 3 Caribbean cruise, we will restructure our Category coding to reflect that the 'B-3' cabins, the obstructed view balconies, will now become 'B-6' categories... thus making them the least expensive balcony cabins, just above 'B-7', in which there are only a few of them to begin with. All categories thus in the B grade will be adjusted accordingly.

My personal opinion here is, this is going to be the BEST DEAL ON THIS SHIP, if you don't mind the lifeboats! The cabins are spacious and the balconies are the 'glass panel' balconies!

One last note is that, because of DEMAND for the Todd English alternative restaurant, effective with this Saturday's Caribbean sailling, March 6, we will be instituting a surcharge on dining in this restaurant to hopefully alleviate the demand a bit and thus allowing the passengers to DECIDE themselves if they wish to pay. The charges are as follows:
Lunch will be $20 USD and Dinner will be $30 USD, per person. Comparing that to the prices to dine at Todd's restaurants on land, this is still an incredible deal! And in fairness to ALL GUESTS, we will be only allowing one visit, per guest, per voyage, so that as many of the QM2 guests that wish to dine in the restaurant, may do so.

We are listening and QM2 is only on her 4th voyage!

Space is filling up quickly and the hype that you have experienced these past weeks will only become greater when our ship calls on NYC for the first time in April, and sails in tandem with the QE2 on April 25. Publicity will be high and its great for all of the travel business.

So there you have it! By the time I get on board this Saturday they'll be charging for life jackets:-)

jon March 2nd, 2004 12:03 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
I find the $30 cover charge for Todd English dining quite unacceptable. $15 is the maximum I would expect to pay.

The camparison drawn between this charge and the cost of eating TE on land is irrelevant. Many people have paid $500 a night to be on the ship and to have use of the facilities, this extra charge reeks of profitering.

Will I pay it?.....and here's the crux.....Yes; but because I have to. I do not wish to miss out on the experience. I will however expect a high standard of service, choice and quality (and quantity) for this additional charge.

Other lines do charge for alternate dining, NCL costs about $10 I think. For this you do get better surroundings, food and service and I am willing to pay for that. NCL cruises cost $500-$2,000 though and Cunard cost $1,500-$26,000 so I feel there is a marked difference.

In the last year it has become very evident that Cunard is trying to make money at every turn. The costs of excursions has been cited in other posts also. As CruisePal comments : Where will this end?


Jim Avery March 2nd, 2004 02:04 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Hi Jon:
On the Maiden Voyage we dined in Todd English 3 times. 2 dinners, one lunch. The first dinner was very good in every way. The second I ordered the same meal, crispy duck, as it was very good and generally not available at home. What I got was mushy duck swimming in orange sauce. The waitress argued with me that it was exactly as I had 2 nights before. B.S. I was eating and know what I ate. At lunch my wife ordered the ribs. Fatty and tough, inedible. Glad we were not paying a surcharge.
One more cute thing about TE. The starboard side passageway for 8 deck passes directly through TE. This is especially pleasant at lunch when 8 deck passengers in their speedos are passing through to get to the pool area immediately aft. Not the passengers fault, a stupid design (one of many).
Hope your trip is ok.

barton March 2nd, 2004 03:52 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Good to know all this beforehand. We were planning to go to TE at least once for lunch ,if not for dinner. Now, after reading this, we will not bother. Think Cunard better starts getting its act together before the word spreads out...

Tom (and James) March 2nd, 2004 05:58 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
We were going to rush to make reservations at TE on April 25 sailing.

After reading the "food review" (and the argument with server) we will not do this, especially at $30 each!

Thanks for the information.

Greed Lives.

EH March 2nd, 2004 07:42 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
I work in banking and believe me, we could never get away with this kind of bait and switch. I already paid for tickets and it was clearly advertised that all the alternate dining sites were included for no extra charge. Wouldn't it serve Cunard right if all the passengers boycotted the wonderful TE and they were left with empty seats? Maybe they would wise up.

Thulewx March 3rd, 2004 04:38 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
I was on THE maiden voyage and ate at TE twice, both times were wonderful, service excellent. I know of several other people who ate there numerous times (4+) and also had great meals.
Carnivore's assertion that people can only eat there once per cruise is BS and easily circumvented, unless they're going to institute some sort of ID check and frisking at the door, with lists, etc... are they going to try to tell me who I can and cannot invite to dine with me?
As to the surcharge - everyone I talked with, on the Maiden Voyage, commented that it wouldn't be long before there was a surcharge, but this was fast. Why didn't they just say that there was no surcharge for the maiden voyages, period? Are they going to charge less for the people who can't get reservations but decide to opt for the "bar" seating?
As for the pool-deck passage through the restaurant - yes - EXTREMELY poor planning - supposedly they have a sign now saying passage is not permitted, but everyone's ignoring it.

CruisePal March 3rd, 2004 07:57 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
What Cun ard should have done from day one was a place a surcharge on dining at TE as it's very hard to play take away down the road. I believe Cunard had to offer as much as it possibly could upfront in order to gain the confidence of experienced and potential cruisers who would look for value on their dollar. However, it's there's no excuse for such an action this late in the game. I'm not aware of any cruise line that has ever advertised and received payment for services and/or use of facilities and then played "TAKE AWAY". What was most unusual about the press release I posted is the fact that they also changed a category of cabins, lowered the price of cabins within that category (after people have already paid full boat price on past cruises) and did not announce that they were issuing refunds for the difference between the two categories to those who have already cruised. The most death defying feat thus far is that Cunard is making these sweeping changes and using the tagline "we're listening to our passengers and we're making improvements", that's a nice fall back position, however, when you build an 800 million dollar liner, you should know better than to start adding charges for services originally included and not change category cabins without offering cash refunds (not cruise credits) back to passengers who paid full boat pricing. Can you imagine the powers that be at RCCL sitting back and laughing at Carnival/Cunard over this snafu? What other changes on the way? What else will be changed mid stream? Why can't you tip the way you wish to tip? Why are crew members jumping ship? Why is the Commodore on vacation (have to wonder if he's on a forced vacation).
No doubt, if this ship was under a US flag, the justice department and/or other consumer protection agenecies would be investigating just how Americans boarding ship are being abused financially. If you purchased an all-inclusive vacation at a U.S. based resort and prior to your day of arrival they told you that such and such a restaurant was "off limits" to you unless you paid more money to eat at that restaurant what would happen? Would they offer you a refund? I'm sorry but, those running cruise lines such as RCCL and Celebrity have NEVER played this type of game. Who is running Cunard? Carnival? Why has the QE2 sailed for years without this much bad publicity? It appears as though while you're on a luxury liner, the only place you get what you pay for and be treated royally is at RCCL or Celebrity. Okay, we'll sail on this puppy as we already paid and can't get our money back, however, we must ALL post what we see, what we experience and our opinions. This "can you wait" campaign was as brilliant as the "Diamond is Forever" campaign and we know ALL know how much trouble DeBeers got into for price fixing:-)

JP Evans March 3rd, 2004 06:15 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Cruisepal. Iím sure Iíll get hate mail about this. But here it goes anyway. Have you ever seen that Saturday Night Live act where the shrink sat there and all it said was ďJust look at yourself! Just look at yourself!Ē I think you are setting youíre self up for a bad cruise. Maybe you should just not go? Itís apparent that you are a Celebrity lover and nothing will live up to Celebrity. Whatís wrong with trying something new and keeping an open mind? All the cruise lines and every company out there are in the business of separating you from your money, everyone knows that. Itís the way of the world right now. Anyone who denies that is living in a fantasy world. It stinks, it stinks big time! Everything is getting expensive. When you get a good deal, thereís always a catch. I have read all the bad publicly; I also read the good ones too. Which proves ďdo you see the glass half full or half empty?Ē Sometimes you wonder if two people who wrote about the same sailing were actually on the same ship? Does it really matter if they changed the categories for sailings a year away (Iím sure anyone who booked those cabins will be offered the lower fare)? Does it really matter that Cunard changed their mind about Todd English (maybe it will cut down a little on the demand of Todd English, I doubt it)? And besides itís 30 bucks. What you paid for the cruise, Iím sure $30 is not going to be a problem. If it is? Donít make a reservation. Does it really matter that the hull outside cabins have no glass panels in the balcony (I knew that was the case when they were building the ship). Iím booked on the QM2 for the tandem crossing on April 25th I booked it almost 2 years ago, With a side trip to Paris when I get to England. Iím really looking forward to it.

Just go on the QM2 and enjoy yourself. You are going on a ship thatís the most exciting to set sail in a long time. Everyone knows about the QM2 and everyone is envious that youíre on it. Mention to the checkout girl that the supermarket and Iíll bet you, sheíll be more excited for you than if you were sailing on the ďInfinityĒ


CruisePal March 3rd, 2004 07:42 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
No such thing as hate email:-) No, I'm not in love with Celebrity or any cruise line, I just love to cruise and it's also part of my job.. However, the point I was making in my post was the fact that you have a ship that cost 800M to build, you staff it in a half assed fashion, you lose crew you can't afford to lose and who suffers for it? The people (like me) and you in April who pay very good money to travel on what has been billed as the most luxurious liner ever built! The point is direct. We are not guinea pigs for Cunard, Carnival or any other cruise line. I'm not paying for a cruise to part of a focus group for Cunard. Think about it? Hundreds, if not thousands of fare paying passengers will pay millions to travel on this liner. There's not another March 6th sailing for me. What about those who saved for two years or more to take this trip of a lifetime? What do you tell them..."oh look at the glass as half full, not half empty". No way! Cunard will take its licks in the press and from the fare paying public. No doubt, I'm going with an open mind and no doubt, will have fun on this trip. However, call a spade a spade. Look at some of the other posts and tell me that $30.00 does not mean something to those who paid for their trip and then found out they have to pay TE an alternate dining fee. Look at what it costs just to connect to net on this ship! Do you know that other cruise lines charge a flat fee of $100.00 per cruise to access the net 24/7 from your cabin for one week and I have to pay $480.00 for ten days and that's not even 24/7 access, that's for limited use.
Do you think it's a good idea to automatically charge tips upfront to the passengers? I'll let you in on a little secret. When you set up a pre-tipping policy, the crew has absolutely no incentive to work any harder, provide exceptional service or go out of their way for any passenger. Point in fact. Read some of the posts on other QM2 boards and you'll learn that passengers have to fake a heart attack for attention on this ship. Ever been on a Carnival cruise? I have, just once, wrote the review and begged my editor to never send me again. Ever traveled on Holland America? Reviewed the Zuiderdam and let me tell you that they have NO clue what they're doing. One common thread runs through, they're all owned by Carnival Corporation. And I'll close with one more item, I have boiled RCCL on two major stories and I don't play favorites, I just tell it like it is.

QueenMaryCruiser March 3rd, 2004 08:14 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
*****, *****, *****!

Dudes, chill out ondeck and have a great time! I'm sure we will, surcharge or not!

rollerdonna March 3rd, 2004 08:22 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Reading JP Evans and Cruisepal makes us somewhat sceptical about our trip on the ship in November. Both of you make some excellent points both positive and negative. We try to read as many reviews and news items about the ship as we can and so far the positive and negative points are running neck and neck.. We really cannot totally agree re the opinions about Carnival though.We think they put out a good cruise for the money despite the shortcomings. As we will never be able to afford the top of the line cruiselines such as Crystal,Radisson, Seabourne etc we will content ourselves with what my husband calls "The Average Joe Cruise". Having only five cruises under our belt with RCCL,Costa,Holland America and Carnival we have enjoyed them all. None of those cruises were perfect but none were bad either. Travelling with Cunard in November will be a huge "step up" for us and we're hoping it will be as enjoyable as all the other cruises we've taken.But my husband is expecting "a little touch of class" on the QM2 (despite the Carnival ownership!!!!) And if the Todd English Diner comes even close to the Carnival Legend's Golden Fleece diner then the 30 dollars will be worth every cent.

JP Evans March 3rd, 2004 09:27 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
I've been on 14 cruises over the years. 5 Carnival, 2 RCCL, 2 Home Lines, 1 Princess, 1 Celebrity, 1 Commodore, 1 NCL, and one 4 day cruise down the Nile (not sure if that's a real cruise since the ship only had 3 decks, trip of a lifetime, but only 3 decks). And the QM2 is my 15th. Never had a cruise that was less than great.


Tom (and James) March 3rd, 2004 10:33 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
You are absolutely right about "automatic" tipping: there is NO incentive to provide service at all.

Thulewx March 4th, 2004 05:24 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
If the automatic tipping leads to poor service, why is the service spectacular on lines where tipping is not allowed? (Silversea, Radisson...)
I had no problems with any service anywhere on the QM2. The problems we had were because of a combination of newness/unfamiliarity with the ship and under-manning - lots of new employees were seasick (having never been at sea with 40 foot waves). All service employees I dealt with, worked their tails off to try to satisfy.

CruisePal March 4th, 2004 08:07 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
The Silversea, Radisson and even Seabourn are small ships that require excellent service and attention. If you were to build a new Seaburn vessel which held 2000+ passengers, service would go down based on the availability and inexperience of the crew. You brought up a good point in that "lots of employees were sick" due to rough seas and no experience in 40 foot waves. When I was on QE2 we had 60 foot waves for six days and even lost a grand piano which went flying out of a window, however, the crew never missed a beat. In fairness to Cunard, the other problem that they have been presented with is the lack of the number of experienced service staff they can recruit. As newer and larger ships enter the market, the quality of the work force goes down due to the lack of available (experienced) crew and staff. I don't doubt that the staff worked their tails off to "try" and satisfy the passengers, they're between a rock and a hard place. The smaller ships tipping policy on established ships is welcomed by passengers who have cruised and/or will cruise on those lines in the future, as they are high end ships which also ensure that the gratuities are higher and those who cruise on those vessels disburse additional gratuities at the end of their cruise. In the case of QM2, the company decided to automate the tipping policy in order to retain employees, as they are seeking to broaden their market to the masses and not a select number of high end cruisers. The fear of losing employees (you can't afford to lose) rises when you have no clue if these passengers will tip appropriately. The automated tipping policy also hurts the employee staff more than it helps, as those who might tip more have no incentive to do so. Many cruisers (experienced or not) do not always tip those they never see. Sometimes a Head Waiter shows up on the last day to ask if you had a good time and his hand is out and many passengers are like "hey, wait a minute, who's this guy?" He's basically in a management position, earns more than a waiter or a busboy and you should only tip a person in that position if they went out of their way for you during the entire cruise (not just a stop by the table toi say hello). The automatic tipping policy helps those in management more than it does the lower ranked employees. If a Head Waiter did absolutely nothing for me during a cruise, I give more to my waiter and bus boy (in addition to the suggested tip). If service was exceptional all the way around, I tip everyone 40% more than suggested and that includes the Head Waiter as well. It goes back to the cruiser making the decision as to "whom" did what and how much of a tip they deserve. If you go out to restaurant and the service was poor, you mgiht leave 15% but, if the service was exceptional you would leave 20% or more. When a cruise line charges $30.00 per person for dinner as in the case of the TE. Four people are paying $120.00 and the average tip would be $24.00 for great service. However, you more unlikely to tip because you're now paying $120.00 for four people to dine in a venue that was included when you purchased your ticket. The cruise line states that they imposed this dining fee to control the amount of passengers who dine in the TE. How much of the $30.00 per person charge is earmaked as a tip for the waiters? Do we know if the employee receives any tip out of the service fee? If the employee receives nothing, then Cunard should be ashamed of itself on that issue, if they actually disburse a tip out of the TE fee then those who work in the TE will acutally benefit more than main dining room employees. If they receive nothing, then Cunard stands to earn that much more revenue in a venue, which was originally included in the price of the ticket. Automated tipping was offered (originally) as a way for first time cruisers to take the guesswork out of how to tip. Experienced cruisers on lines such RCCL do not use the system, as they know from experience that the service staff dreads the customary tipping guidelines issued by the cruise line. When you cruise frequently, you get know just about every staff and crew member who you would normally come into contact with during a cruise. If you cruise on a line such as RCCL, you see the same faces hopping from to ship. Experienced cruisers tip these people well as they're coming back on board frequently and want the same level of service. In contrast, Cunard is not yet appealing to repeat cruisers. The ship is too big to fill it up with a majority of repeat cruisers. However, QE2 is smaller and the only reason that ship is still afloat is due to the large number of repeat cruisers (Europeans) who support her. How many cruisers have said "it's not the QE2?" When the marvel wears off of this one, it will be interesting to see if Cunard switches the QE2 back to transatlantic crossings and moves QM2 to Florida 6 months or more out of the year. Yes, it's bigger and faster but, cost more to operate than the QE2. Europeans have supported QE2 as they take "holidays" as opposed to Americans who take "vacations". This is another reason that QE2 has survived as well as it has in the last decade. How many Americans can afford the time (not the money) to take a six day crossing to Europe? Not too many, however, Europeans take a holiday for three to four weeks and have the time to cruise one way and take a plane back the other. Interesting that complaints on service are coming from those who have cruised a number of times on the QE2. On the tipping issue, let your conscience be your guide. Many will not tip in addition to the tip already charged to their onboard account as they feel they don't have to, it's been taken care of. This is where the service staff loses out. The back bone of any ship is the service staff and if they jump ship (as they have done already) Cunard will be faced with running a ghost ship. I'll go on this ship just once (as will the majority)and will never travel on her again. When Cunard runs out of bodies to fill her and make her profitable, what will happen then? The point is clear. If you keep making changes every other week and passengers (especially Americans) are subject to those changes, they will not put up with the nonsense for long, they'll get on Celebrity and RCCL as they KNOW what to expect. There's no problem when you're fine tuning a ship and that fine tuning does not affect the passengers financially, when you begin to use cruisers as a paying focus group to fine tune, then you end up with problems.

Jim Avery March 4th, 2004 08:22 AM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Cruisepal you are right on the money. Couldnt have said it any better. The great Cunard line that I have loved all my life is, for all practical purposes, gone. I regret the passing of style, substance and even the smell of the great liners. QM2 did not deliver for us and we went aboard as rabid believers. Who sang the oldie "Wont be fooled again"? I wont be Carnivalized again.

CruisePal March 4th, 2004 08:54 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Thank you Jim. The Carnivalization of Cunard is what will be the downfall of the QM2 and any ship that follows her by Carnival. Let's keep in mind that Cunard was ailing before Carnival took over and the line was losing money. Carnival thinks it can restore the greatness of ocean liner travel, however, they already fell short of the goal line. Let's also remember that the QM2 is the largest ocean liner in the world and RCCL has the largest "cruise" ships in the world. RCCL has the bucks to build the next largest cruise ship in the world coming out in 2006. Carnival is known for its cheap cruises, sub-standard service and questionable food. However, you get what you pay for and those who travel on Carnival either love it or hate it. Now, those who travel on the QM2 will either love or hate it, there will be no in between. RCCL could have saved Cunard as well, however, they knew to stay away from her as they know what works, know the market they're catering to and did not want to venture into unchartered waters. Carnival has gotten themselves into something that may cost them quite a bit of money and which may very well cause the demise and/or takeover of the line. Carnival also did not listen to those who operated Cunard, as they could not afford to do so. You have the upper management of Carnival operating a world class ocean liner (go figure). I believe they should have built a smaller ship first (like the Queen Victoria) and used that ship as their business model to build on for the future of the QM2. They could have also refitted the QE2 for less money and even set the standard for the entire industry. However, the need to be the biggest, the most grand, the best and fastest at sea, overshadowed what the market would bear. Lines such as RCCL are in a position to punch out the likes of a Carnival, as they've become an 800 lb. gorilla and can now move forward to sell their cabins at higher rates, as Cunard will have to maintain the already inflated ticket price on the QM2 thus, shifting increased business to RCCL and other cruise lines. We use the term "Cunard" as if they exist at this point and time and we both know that they no longer exist, just the brand name remains. However, you can't build on a brand name which is losing it's luster under a Carnival tent.

John O March 4th, 2004 11:37 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining

You have obviously not been on a Carnival cruise in a few years. If you had, you would know that the quality of their food and service is outstanding. I cruise primarily on the luxury lines (Seabourn, SeaDream, SilverSeas, Crystal), so know good food & service. Having recently returned from a Carnival cruise with family and friends (it was certainly not my choice) I was blown away by the cruise experience. I've since learned that Carnival spends more per passenger on food than any other cruise line out there. And this is the cruise line that you deem so contemptible.

I'm sick to death of people bagging on Carnival Corp as if they are the evil wizards of the cruise industry. This is the company that has been the saving grace of many a floundering cruise line. And for those who don't know it, Carnival Corp does NOT impose it's Carnival brand business practices or philosophies on the other cruise lines under its umbrella. They are all operated as stand-alone companies. So to say that Cunard (or Princess or Holland America for that matter) has been "Carnivalized" is just sheer ignorance.

CruisePal, I don't know what organization you work for as a "professional" cruise critic, but after reading so many of your reviews all I hear is a bunch of sour grapes.

Thulewx March 4th, 2004 11:55 AM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
CruisePal - you said, " they are high end ships which also ensure that the gratuities are higher and those who cruise on those vessels disburse additional gratuities at the end of their cruise. " - Not true - Radisson employees will not accept gratuities offered by customers unless doing something totally out of line (shopping in town, contacting realtives using their phone card, etc. bartending at private cocktail parties during their off-duty hours). Silversea employees are not supposed to accept gratuities and can lose their job if it's discovered.
The concept of pre-paid tipping leading to poor service just isn't proving true. My pre-paid gratuities on the QM2 maiden voyage were $11.00 per day. The auto-tip for the "grill" pax is higher (they have a butler). I did give more to my stewardess since I was travelling single and she would have normally gotten more, plus she did some extra things for me when I was under the weather for a couple days. I tipped several of the bartenders extra since they always saw to it I was served in a timely manner, but I only started tipping extra AFTER I saw them go the extra mile. I did not tip the Maitre'D even though he did his job fairly well - he did nothing extraordinary.
Another subject: As far as the Cunardival Victoriadam - it's not that much smaller (pax numbers) than QM2 (400 I believe) and QE2 is 900 less than QM2. But I fully believe the QM2 should have a minimum of 1600 crew instead of the 1300 they advertise. It would all run MUCH more smoothly with appropriate ratio.
Another statement of yours, "Carnival thinks it can restore the greatness of ocean liner travel, however, they already fell short of the goal line." Sounds to me like you've already judged QM2 as a failure and I'm sure your review will substantiate your pre-judgement..

Cruzing March 4th, 2004 12:09 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Okay, I just came onboard here and see that there has been quite a bit of judging on the Carnival/Cunard experience. I read the CruisePals posts as well as the other threads and while I may disagree with a few of CruisePals notions, I do not agree that Carnival allows each cruise line entity that it operates to stand alone. Carnival did purchase fine stand alone cruise lines and left them alone. In the case of QM it appears as though they might as well start to ready the purple and red paint and rename this ship something other than QM2. I've also read more bad posts (sans CruisePal) about the QM2 than good ones. I guess everyone has their own idea of what's a great cruise and some people luck out on carnival and some don't. It depends on what you're into. Carnival has a habit of naming its ships with eye catching names like Fascination, Imagination, etc. I will tell you there's nothing fascinating about the fascination and no imagination was put into the Imagination.

If you had a good experience on Carnival, God bless you, many have not and those who can't afford other lines go slumming on Carnival. It seems people are paying alot of money to sail on QM2 and getting a Carnival experience. As for tipping. I tip the way I want and don't like automated tipping as I don't think anyone has the right to make that decision for the cruiser. Just who does Cunard/Carnival think it is? How about some truth in advertising. Can you wait, yeah I can wait.

Bill Stanhope March 4th, 2004 12:17 PM

Re: Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
But don't you realize that you don't have to accept Cunard's new automatic tipping?? Everyone is free to tell the Pursers Office to remove the prepaid gratuities from the shipboard accounts and then tip in cash as they see fit. The prepaids have only been done as a courtesy for those who are uncomfortable with the whole tipping process.

Evan March 4th, 2004 12:18 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Everybody ease off of CruisePal. He is just giving his opinion, based on the comparisons his job has afforded him to make. I am quite sure none of you will cancel your trip based on his postings. Everybody agrees that a ship of this size will endure some growing pains. The only way Cunard will be able to make corrections that will enhance passenger satisfaction is if people like CruisePal say something. He doesn't necessarily have to wait until he is on the ship to express opinions based on policies ($30 surcharge at TE).

I haven't been on a cruise in almost 20 years (I was in 9th grade). I for one am happy to hear him share his experiences, observations, and comparisons (good and bad), but am aware enough to know that what he says is opinion, and will allow myself the freedom to form opinions that may differ from his. Keep posting CruisePal, and I look forward to meeting you.


Alang March 4th, 2004 12:21 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Will be sailing the QM2 this Saturday (03/06) and will try to have an open mind about the ship, service etc. Have cruised 3 times in the past 11 months all with RCCL. Wife and I decided to give this cruiseline and ship a chance to see the diference in companies. Reading different articles and talking to individuals that have already cruised on this ship makes me have second thoughts on this upcoming cruise. I agree with CruisePal that Cunard was not ready to put this ship into service. I can understand a little fine tuning but there appears to be much more than a few small issues that will likely cause many first time Cunard/QM2 customers not to return.

Cruzing March 4th, 2004 12:30 PM

Re: Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
I guess the automated tipping is just one area of concern. I've read a few posts from people who sailed the during the past few weeks and they feel uncomfortable asking for an additional portion of food let alone going down to the pursers desk and asking them to remove the automated tipping charges from ones account. I think that the people just don't fit the ship or is it other way around. Maybe in a society that now looks at gross spending as something of the past, economy becomes the norm. When I cruise I like to take just a few outfits and not feel like I have to dress up or down. I'm on vacation and just don't want to be bothered looking my best for strangers. I don't want to feel like I'm on display or have to dress a certain way just because the look of ship dictates what I should do or not do. yes, I have cruised on NCL for freesytle cruising and it's a good experience. I've looked at the interior pictures of the QM and I'm impressed but notice that the pictures which include passengers look out of place as though the passengers do not belong in the picture with sweeping drapes and beautiful furniture. Maybe QM is ahead of its time or just too late on this one. Hey, opinions are great but everyone has one. CruisePal is obviously going on this ship and I will read what CruisPal has to say as it's first hand. I'm smart enough to read between the lines. As for bashing Cunard, it seems everyone is doing that on all the boards I'm reading. People seem upset and pissed off over the Todd English surcharge and maybe they should take some heat on that one as some people can't really afford $30.00 per person. Some people budget (like me) and we can only do so much. I know I would not be able to afford todd english dining with four people at 120. and afford an excursion the next day. Would I have eaten in the todd english, sure I would have if they let you experience it for free as it was suppose to be from day one.

Opinion March 4th, 2004 12:36 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
I read the cruisepals stuff and it seems cp has some good insider stuff . some posts sounds like carnival employees but cp seems fair and even handed to some degree. do carnival or cunard people post on these boards? it looks that way from some of the responses to cp. im not going on this ship can't afford it but the board seems like it may be more interesting than the ship.

Jim Avery March 4th, 2004 12:41 PM

Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
John O, what is your position in Carnival corp.?

Jim Avery March 4th, 2004 01:18 PM

Re: Re: Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Right on Cruizing,
If some people want to pay Cunard prices for a Carnival cruise so be it. I have sailed twice on Carnival. Convenience (New Orleans) and we like Mexico. Latest was October, '03. The food was truly abominable. Only the 24 hour pizza and Mexican food ashore kept us from losing weight. At least one guy in the posts above likes paying for that stuff. no accounting for taste.
All the best for quality cruising.

CruisePal March 4th, 2004 02:37 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
John O,

No need to get so bent out of shape. One would think you speak from the corporate board room of Carnival. Spinning the story is not my style but obviously "spinning" is a corporate practice and I believe that's what I'm reading in your post. You speak with authority concerning Carnival and quite frankly I hope you do work for Carnival and that your'e reading all of the reviews concerning QM2. If you're not an employee of Carnival, I apologize and if you are... I sincerely apologize. I have lived with spinning stories from just about every cruise line you can imagine, I have received telephone calls and emails concerning what I write and what I have said on national television concerning the Norwalk Virus and how I beleive if a ship is sick, it's sick, don't send out a few thousand more to get sick and dummy up your CDC reports so that your number of sick passengers fall just short of the reporting requirements imposed by CDC. If every other cruise line in the world can take their licks, so can Carnival, no one is immune to criticism. Additionally, if I'm impressed by QM2, it will make my review much more meaningful and carry more impact. Have I pre-judged QM2? Absolutely not! I've made a list and will check it out twice - once onboard. If what I have written thus far is untrue, I will correct myself to all of you on this board and the general cruise buying public. If the ship is not up to par and is a total disaster, it will be another blight against QM2 and you can take it, leave it, throw it away or just chalk it up to a mad reviewer. What I don't understand is the position some are taking that would make it seem like we've all got a stake in whether this ship succeeds or fails. We don't own Carnival (unless you have some stock) and we certainly should ALL expect the best service and excellent food that Cunard has fed the cruise buying public in their press releases. Are we not tired of being lied to? Are we not fed up with sub-standard service? Think about it. This board is riddled with all sorts of jibes against this ship and the majority of us have spent a great deal of money to cruise on her (look at me, I'm calling QM2 "her" and personalizing a vessel:-) and what we really fear is that we've had this great build up for nothing. We don't want read or listen to bad news about this puppy and some are probably sitting at their computers with their fingers in their ears signing LALALALALALALA.

Jim Avery March 4th, 2004 02:57 PM

Re: Charge for Todd English Dining
Cruise Pal:
Right on again. I have a suggestion for those soon to sail QM2. Take that beautiful brochure with you and list all the misrepresentations or non-existent items. You know, sort of like when you were a kid and had to make lists in the back seat. I bet it will be very revealing. I know reading it after my return from QM2 was quite interesting.

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