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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 22nd, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Default Free beverages thing of the past

I booked Mariner for April. Just found out that all juices, lemonaide, ice tea, etc that USED TO BE FREE now Royal Caribbean is charging a soda card fee of $6.00 per person, per day PLUS a 15% gratuity which comes to $96.50. Nearly $100.00 for only 2 people for a 1 week cruise. This does include soda. That leaves the ONLY free thing to drink on board as tap water. Talk about nickle and diming to death.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

guess our carry on bags will be filled with life's necessities!
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

We'll be on Voyager in 30something days, so will be able to see what the story is, have heard conflicting information on this subject... On the Royal Caribbean site, it mentions the soda/juice card, but had some info that if you want OJ other than in any dining room or cafe for breakfast, then you will be charged for it, but that you can still have coffee, iced tea in the windjammer and dining room for free?? I'll be sure to report back as to what they are doing on Voyager.

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Old January 22nd, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I hesitate to help add to this molehill, but it concerns me that RCI could/would adopt such a pricing policy without giving more specifics to current ticket holders. The fine print in the 2004/2005 Caribbean brochure is not a model of clarity. It says that all alcoholic and certain other beverages are subject to a charge. Will the company respond to e-mail to a web site customer service address? There ought to be a way to find out the specific charges in advance of sailing. As pointed out above, these fees affect every meal.

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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Maybe we should start an email campaign to Royal Caribbean stating that this is at bit too much. At least juice w/meals should be included. Soon they will be charging for ALL food. What next?!
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I have never before sailed with Royal Caribbean, but I have recently booked Mariner. I have e-mailed them from their website to ask about the new drink charges rumor and asked for a response but after a week have not gotten one. I was at my travel agency today and had my agent call to ask. Right in front of me she confirmed with Royal Caribbean that they were charging for these beverages that USED TO BE FREE. It is $6.00 per day plus 15% gratuity per person which is nearly $100.00 extra for 2 people on a seven day cruise! That does include soft drinks, but I don't drink soft drinks and would always drink ice tea or lemonaide. Now unless I only want to drink tap water for an entire week cruises will cost an extra $100.00. The agent did not go into Windjammer /vs dining room. I still think this stinks! Nickel and diming people to death. If it works out for Royal Caribbean Carnival and others would probably follow the leader.
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

These things happen when things are in demand!!!

I booked my cruise almost 8 months ago for the VOS on May 21.
In those 8 months we went from N.Y. to N.J.,and now they're going to charge for juices.
By the time May comes what else is going to change.

Will I be charged for shows?
We'll I be charged for the things they STOPPED charging for (exp:rock climbing/ J.R.)?
Time we'll tell! 4 months to go --Alot can change in 4 months!!

R.C. like the other cruise lines we'll be doing the same thing unless people stop going on cruises!!!

This will be my first cruise in 13 years.
I always pick a trip based on the rules at the time!!!

What an idiot I am!!

Thanks Royal Carribbean
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I called RCI today regarding this policy. They told me that juice, iced tea etc was free while in the dining room but during the day you would have to pay for it or get the soda card.
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Thanks Jan,
That does make sence then, thanks for posting that info.

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Old January 23rd, 2004, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I just signed up on cruisecritic.com for the Meet and Mingle on the Voyager.

I saw Trends To Watch for 2004 and of course ,I double clicked.

# 2 on the list was ---epect even more nickle-and-diming.

It said the the Norwegian Dawn is now charging $10 for a "Celebrity Showcase".
It also said epect even more a la carte charging starting in 2004.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

My mother in law just made a suggestion to me to bring powdered ice tea and lemonaide. Just get your own water and ice and do it yourself. I thought that was a great idea.
Libby
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Old January 24th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I am on the phone with RCL right now. The soda/juice sticker is posted on their web site and is verified by customer service for me. My complaint about this is that I pay a gratuity to express my gratitude for service rendered to me. When I go the bar to get a drink and the barstaff hands it to me, it is no different than if they handed it to the waitstaff - no service has been rendered to me in fact . I got my own drink so to speak. If I go to the dining room and order a drink (for which I've already paid my gratuity upon buying my soda/juice package) I end up tipping my wait staff for dining room service including this drink again. On top of this, i am being told it is added at the beginning and is not optional - you can't pay what you want for gratuity. This means I don't have the option to go to my purser and have it removed or changed. Someone help me understand why this is happening please.

I also asked about having gratuities adjusted for cabin stewards and wait staff if one felt the amount charged to be too much or too little. I was told it can be adjusted to pay more but not less.

These are not gratuities. These are service fees and should be advertised as such.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

What bothers me is that when I booked our cruise these drinks were included in the price and now that the FINAL payment is in they changed the rules.
Seems like they should have given some knind of notice. I can understand changes that are out of their control but this is not the case here.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Couple of things: I called RCCL the other day and listed on another post that I had done that. The agent I first spoke to said the juice, etc., was free in the D.R. and Windjammer. I indicated the info. on their website didn't sound like that was correct. She had me hold on while she double checked. Came back and apologized, saying it wouldn't be free at any venue and that she was glad she checked. (Though sometimes I've had very friendly and good service when I've called w/a question or something, too many times I have gotten poor service and differing answers from different reps when I've called for information. I went to a "Cruise Show" at a local mall yesterday. There were reps from the lines there. Never could get a chance to speak w/the lady from RCCL as she was in a long discussion about weddings on board and someone else was yet ahead of me. I did ask NCL 's rep about the entertainment charge, which I, too, had heard about. She said they DID try it on a particular ship, and tried to get well known comedians, etc., but they discontinued it. (HOORAY! Probably no one paid the fee and people just skipped the shows!) HOWEVER, on this board someone mentioned that they were just on one of the RCCL ships and free juice WAS available in the mornings in the Windjammer, that the staff came around w/trays (?!). So??? Last, but not least, when we were on our last 2 RCCL ships, March and Nov., we were allowed to tell the purser's desk we wanted to tip the OLD way - w/cash in the envelopes. And we did. Though we tipped MORE than the recommended amt., we could have tipped less had we so desired. On their tipping forms for automatic tips, you could leave off people like the wine steward (which we didn't use at all.) But I'm not sure what the practice is now. They keep changing by the wk!
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Old January 26th, 2004, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

i am going on the RCI Voyager in 54 days. It will be my first cruise. And advice you can give will be appriciated. Especially about the drink card price and how it works. Enjoy your cruise.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Hey guys and dolls. I just got off the phone with Royal Caribbean and here is what I was told. The coke card has been expanded to cover BOTTLED juices now. These are the bottles you used to pay extra for when you wanted a bottle of JUICE. The juices in the Windjammer and dining room that come in glasses are still FREE. So you will get cokes and bottles of juice when you purchase the coke card now. Hope this is clear as mud. Todays date is 1-27-03. See how long this lasts.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

You choose a wonderful ship. Voyager is one of my favorites. I recently cruised on her as well as her sister the Navigator. Your definetly in for a treat. As for the drink policy- you have the option of buying the soda package card that now includes juice in it but is not mandatory. As for all the talk regarding that only water is the only beverage offered on board the ship without cost is not true. Juices like lemonade and orange juice are availible during breakfast and right after breakfast closes lunch opens and i just walk in to get lemonade or apple juice when i get thirsty because windjammer is pretty much always open. If not there is a 24 hrs snack station open where you can go sit down and eat sandwiches/pizza/pastries and other goodies. There is coffee, tea, milk and water availible at all times. Another option is room service also availible 24 hrs, where i always order a couple glasses of apple juice which come covered, some milk which come in cartons and save them in my fridge in my stateroom just in case i got thirsty at night or if my little sister wanted some milk at bed time it was readily availible to me.
Last but not least, you will definetly have the time of your life and a MUST- go to the ice
show that they have-it is truly amazing how these people can put on such a spectacular show in an rink onboard a moving ship.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

This is from the RCL website FAQ's.

Do you offer drink packages?
To make your vacation more convenient, we offer an Adult and Kids Soda/Juice Package as stated below.

ADULT FOUNTAIN SODA/JUICE PACKAGE
This package entitles guests 18 years of age and older to unlimited consumption of fountain sodas (no cans) and juices at all bars and lounges, Windjammer, Dining Room and Private Destinations (CocoCay and Labadee). This package is available for purchase on the day of embarkation at all bars and lounges and may be charged to your SeaPass account. After this package has been purchased, a sticker will be placed on your boarding card allowing you to consume fountain sodas (no cans) and juices throughout your cruise. A complimentary Coca Cola souvenir cup is included as part of the package.

Juices that are included in this package are orange juice, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice and cranberry juice.

The cost of the package is $6.00 per person, per day, and is applicable to the total days of the cruise vacation. A 15% gratuity charge will be added.

Please note: The fountain soda / juice package is only available for the total amount of days of the cruise and prices are subject to change without notice.


KIDS FOUNTAIN SODA/JUICE PACKAGE
This package entitles our younger cruisers (guests 17 years of age and younger) to unlimited consumption of fountain sodas (no cans) and juices at all bars and lounges, Windjammer, Dining Room and Private Destinations (CocoCay and Labadee). This package is available for purchase on the day of embarkation at all bars and lounges and Adventure Ocean and may be charged to your SeaPass account. After this package has been purchased, a sticker will be placed on your boarding card allowing you to consume fountain sodas (no cans) and juices throughout your cruise. A complimentary Coca Cola souvenir cup is included as part of the package.

Juices that are included in this package are orange juice, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice and cranberry juice.

The cost of the package is $4.00 per person, per day, and is applicable to the total days of the cruise vacation. A 15% gratuity charge will be added.

Please note: The fountain soda / juice package is only available for the total amount of days of the cruise and prices are subject to change without notice.
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Old January 28th, 2004, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Has anyone sailed and gotten back in January on a Voyager class ship who can tell us first- hand the beverage situation. When my travel agent called, RCCL told her that this new fee became effective in the beginning of January. Is ice tea and lemonaide free at the dining room and in the Windjammer or isn't it?
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Old January 28th, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

There is No Lemonaide served in the Dining room.....
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Old January 29th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Is Lemonaide available in the Windjammer for free?
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Old January 29th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

What happens if you order roomservice? We sometimes order breakfast in the morning,. will they charge for our OJ?
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Old January 30th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I just received this reply about the soda/juice card from RCCL today, its basically what I thought, we can still get juice in the windjammer for breakfast with no charge, its when you want juice at one of the bars:

Dear Ms. Nye,

Details regarding which nights will be formal, casual, or smart casual vary from sailing to sailing. Please consult the daily Cruise Compass guide once onboard for specific information.

Coffee, (except specialty coffees), tea, and milk are complimentary onboard all ships. Fruit Juices are complimentary in the dining/ Windjammer room; if served in lounges, there is a nominal charge.

Alcoholic Beverage Prices:

Beer: $2.95 and up
Mixed drinks: $4.95 and up
Frozen drinks: regular glass $4.95 and up; souvenir glass $6.95 and up
Wine per glass: $5.00 and up
Specialty coffee: $4.95 and up

Nonalcoholic Beverage Prices:

Glass of soft drink: $1.50 (24 oz. glass)
Can of soda: $1.75
Juices: $1.95 and up
Bottled water: $2.25 and up
Nonalcoholic Mixed drinks: $2.95 and up
Specialty Coffees: $1.95 and up

Note: All prices are quoted in United States Dollars (USD) and are subject to change. A 15% gratuity charge will be added to all bar and wine checks.

Thank you for choosing Royal Caribbean International.
Raenell Shah

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Old January 30th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Donna:
Thank you for sharing that with us. It is a relief not needing to spend the extra $100.00 for our trip on a drink card. I just drink juices and lemonaide. Right in front of me my travel agent called RCCL and they told her there was a charge for these now. However they didn't talk about if the drinks came from the Winjammer or the dining room or even a lounge so I was under the impression that you could not get them free anywhere. I am so glad to know that I can go to the Winjammer and get them without having a soda card.
Thanks Libby
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

This thing has really stirred up a lot of grief. If they charge, they charge - and if the card does indeed cover the sodas/juices at CocoCay, then you've saved your money. I'm in no way oozing with money, but I feel if I can afford to cruise and enjoy the solitude, why complain about a little extra money. I just booked a cruise for 5 people in August and got a cheaper price and better cabins than when I went two years ago with 3 other people.

I just try to keep everything in perspective and think about the cost of a standard vacation where everything you eat/drink is an additional fee. It adds up to a lot more than what I've payed for my cruise. And it saves me the aggravation of driving from lcoation to location. All in all, whether they charge or not, we're still getting the best bang for our buck, so to speak. But, I'm anxious to hear the opinions of anyone who has recently returned from a cruise.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

As I understand it the only change is that that soft drink sticker now also covers juice, and the cost of the sticker went up to $6 per day.
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Old February 5th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Free beverages thing of the past

I agree, I think we should definitely write to them....this is getting a bit ridiculous......we have a party of 15 going in Nov. 04.....Nickel and diming on a cruise ship for non-alcoholic beverages is insane! What are we paying for!

I wasnt' thrilled about the soda card (originally it was just for soda) because we don't really drink it....then I heard they are now charging for juice, lemonade, bottled water, coffee/tea, milk anywhere on the ship except in the dining rooms......well considering you can't go into the dining rooms except for seating time.....that's leaves all day all over the ship that you'll have to get beverages from somewhere and now be subjected to a beverage card and gratiuties that you must pay for also.

Please tell me how to write to RCI, as I have been unable to locate an e-mail address to send them a letter, thank you........and I hope things change because it's getting a bit ridiculous when you are told that food/beverages are all inclusive and now THEY'RE NOT.


Tigger1
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Old February 5th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Tigger 1 - the e-mail address for RCI is on their web-site. I talked to my TA yesterday who called RCI for me concerning the soda card. This is what she found out...

The card cost was increased from $5/day/person to $6/day/person and also now includes juices from any of the bars which used to charge $3 and up for a bottle of juice. Lemonade, tea, milk, coffe, juice, etc are still available in the Windjammer for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. just as before. If you can live w/o soda/juice during the day other than the times you're in the Windjammer, you should be OK. My husband and I just bought one soda card before and shared the drink. This works as long as you don't plan to drink soda in the dining room. If that's the case, everyone will need a card, but that's the way it's been with soda for several years. The old soda card did not cover drinks on Coco Cay, but I've heard the new card does; this would make the card worthwhile to me because you get really thirsty on the island. One thing to keep in mind is that RCI is not the only cruise line charging extra for soda/juices. And I would just as soon they charge extra for people who want those things than to increase the price of the tickets and include them. At least this way, you have a choice. Have a great time. I was very impressed with the SOS before and can't wait to sail her again in August.
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Old February 5th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

Anyone for packing Koolaid or Crystal Light. They pack easy, do not trigger security luggage alarms and do not have a spill in luggage problem. Next you know the lines will start to charge us $2/bucket for ice. I can live with water, even the tap junk on cruise ships (no, I do not have a Brita). I WILL NOT ADD THIS EXTRA CHARGE TO MY VACATION. I have been cruising since 1969, you know, back when the tough choice was how many different seafood (crab/shrimp/lobster) appetisers to order every night. I do not and will not pay extra for "premium" resturants that serve what i used to get. One of the big reasons to cruise is cost control. Paid for my housing, meals and transportation. Have been all over the Carribean and Mex Riv many times over both cruise and land. Changes like these can/will stop me from cruising.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 06:35 AM
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Default Re: Free beverages thing of the past

To add to this and I don't think anyone mentioned this on this thread. From my experience, bartenders and servers tend to...lets say... well are not REAL motivated to serve those who are using drink cards. At least, this was my experience on Carnival. I have also read many messages saying the same thing.
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