My husband and I will be sailing on the Ocean Princess May 28 - Seward to Vancouver. At the suggestion of postings here, we will probably have most of our meals in the Horizon Court - Bistro in the evening. I have read about the suggested tiping in the main dining room, but I am not clear how tipping works in the alternative restaurants. Also, even if you don't eat in the main dining room, are you 'charged' tips? or are these voluntary? We are extremely excited about this trip, and I just want to know all of the policies I need to know ahead of time.
At the suggestion of postings here,
> we will probably have most of our meals in the Horizon Court
> - Bistro in the evening.
I really have no idea why u'd want to have most of your meals in the Horizon Court. My personal opinion... if u do, u're missing out on a great part of the Princess cruise experience.
Skipping formal nights for the Horizon Court if u dont want to dress up, makes some sense. But for other nights I would reconsider.
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I have really given the dining options some serious thought. We are young thirtysomethings, and not seasoned travellers. When we are home, we dine out weekly, but we generally do not venture beyond our local favorites in Dallas. One of my hesitations is actually 'fitting in' in the more formal dining areas. We are just not that versed in the ins and outs of fine dining. We may give the dining room a try on one of the casual nights, but I'm sure we will venture to the main dining area every night.
We are in our 60's and do not live "high on the hog". But you will enjoy the dining room. We do not eat at expensive restaurants. I am a pickey eater but usually found something I liked. I will like open seating as last tablemates were traveling together and older; we really didn't have anything in common. My husband wants the same people all the time. I prefer meeting other people. Two cruises there were only 4 of us at table and great people. There are a lot of honeymooners and younger people than us. Formal night we ate in Bistro even tho we were dressed ok for dining room. Also try speciality restaurants. Hey go for it!! You probably will never see these people again. Have sailed on Princess several times and our favorite.
We are sailing on the Sea Princess June 2nd and have opted
to try the Personal Choice Dining. Although we do plan on
eating in the diningroom too. And we plan to dress up at least
We are getting very excited as the time draws nearer, as I am
sure you are too.
Have a wonderful cruise.......
Why not try Personal Choice on your cruise. You meet a different group of people every night or you can choose a table for two, plus you eat when you want.
The first night is usually a smart casual night, so there is no need to dress up, this would be a good time to try the dining room out to see "how you feel" about it.
I think you would be missing out on a great part of your cruise experience by not eating in the main dining room.
Don't get me wrong the Horizon Court is wonderful but only a small part of what is available to you. Try Tea in the dining room some afternoon, or breakfast or lunch in the dining room on a sea day.
As far as tipping your on board account is charged $6.50 per day per person for your waiter, asst. waiter. So no matter where you eat your waitstaff is covered unless you choose an alternative resturant with a cover which takes care of your servers there.
Bottom line you paid your hard earned money to be pampered, so you might as well enjoy your cruise to the fullest.
Have a great cruise!
I don't generally eat at fancy restaurants at home, so the cuisine in the main dining room when I'm on cruise really is a treat -- but the cuisine is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The waiters and their assistants really go out of their way to take care of you, and they put on quite a show in the process. I have to agree with the others who suggest not skipping dinner there. Go, and let them spoil you!
If you really are concerned that the cuisine in the main dining room won't be to your liking, relax. There's a section of the menu that's aptly labelled "Always Available" with such standard items as Grilled Chicken Breast, Sirloin Steak, a fish entree, Fetuccini Alfredo, and Baked Potato that are prepared very simply -- and you can order any combination of vegetables that you prefer. Although not listed explicitly, the pasta of the day also is always available with "red" (tomato) sauce in addition to the featured sauce of the day. These items provide a "safety valve" if there's really nothing on the featured menu that's to your liking.
As to tipping, MV Sea Princess is scheduled to change to the new "Personal Choice Dining" program when she arrives in Alaska next month. Under the "Personal Choice Dining" program, Princess will add a default amount of $6.50 per day to your bill automatically to cover tips for the dining staff. You may go to the pursor's desk to raise or to reduce this amount if you wish. This amount takes care of tips for all waitstaff, including those assigned to the alternative restaurants.
BTW, there are three alternative restaurants aboard MV Sea Princess now. The pizzeria (located at the top of the atrium) opens in the late evening. The Horizon Court serves the buffet in the early part of the dinner hour and becomes a bistro in the later part of the dinner hour. Finally, the outdoor grill now becomes a steak house featuring alfresco dining (which might be a bit chilly in Alaska) during the dinner hour.
As others have said, please don't limit your self to just one dining venue. PC sounds just right for you. You can reserve a table for 2 or sit with a group of your choice. Remember what you may have been taught; say Please and Thank You. As far as the large amount of silverware at a dining room setting, its simple, just start from the outside and work your way in. Your desert spoon or fork will be brought by the bus boy at the correct time. The waiter usually wears a jacket and the bus boy maybe just a vest or less formal style jacket. Looks like automatic tipping to your cabin account may start with the Alaska itinerary, so you will have nothing to worry about. The total is shared by all of the dining room (in every dining room) staff. The only additional people you would need to consider tipping is your room steward (about $50 a week for a couple), for room service upon service as you may not see that person again and anyone else who may have done something special for you. The tip is automatically added onto your beverage bills, spa treatments, and if your purchase speciallty coffees or teas. Beverages including soda & mineral water, wine, beer and alcholic drinks are extra.
Also, by participating on these cruise forums and message boards, you will become a seasoned traveler by the time you are ready to sail. Hint: in the theaters and lounges, you do not have to feel intimidated about buying a drink. Again, just say No thank you. Enjoy the shows, dancing, entertainment, etc.
Cheryl, just got off the Ocean Princess for a weeks cruise to the southern Caribbean. Fantastic ship. Tipping is at your discretion at any place on ship other than the 2 main dining rooms or your stateroom steward. However, Princess automatically adds a 15% gratutity on to any drinks you have other than coffee, milk, or water so be careful on that one.
The food is fantastic on board. Quite a ship!. Enjoy. JT
JT - This policy is changing with the Alaska itineraries this summer. From what I understand (via the Princess website under "New Releases"), each passenger is automatically charged $6.50 per person, per day. The cabin steward is given his/her tip at the end of the cruise, in cash or a receipt from the bar with the tip amount being charged to the cabin charge account. The recommended tip for the cabin steward has risen since last fall to the industry norm of $3.50 per person, per day.
Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion. Have a great cruise, Cheryl.