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  #61 (permalink)  
Old December 8th, 2007, 08:09 PM
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Paul -
I guess i was just so stunned that someone on the same exact cruise had a totally different experience than me that i just had to write. Dont forget Paul, your opinion here with you as 'Admiral' can be taken with greater weight.

But let me address your points further: we spent around $189 for the 2nd tier wine pkg. Each bottle of wine that required chilling was brought to us perfectly chilled. For those chilled wines we were provided with wine buckets with ice in them - we got it in Chops, Portofinos the windjammer (jade side) and the dining hall. Did you ask for one since you didnt get one? Also Chops was actually only $20 bucks - a sheer bargain for that type of food (nevermind the service which was exceptional). Try Manhatten Morten's Steakhouse and you'll see what i mean- you and i could easily drop 300 in a place like that. So they HAVE to charge $20 - look at the meal you're getting - it doesnt compare to the dining hall - totally cool with that. Also, not sure of your math - but the most expensive bottle of wine on the pkg was $38 and that was just 2 of them. The rest were cheaper and I scouted them out beforehand with a wine connisseur. Each bottle was opened by either a bar manager or a waiter - like within seconds of us getting it. My buddy who knows what he is talking about would be always poured the first glass and be allowed to sample the taste before it was poured to the rest of us. The reds were opened and allowed to breathe and then poured in due time. On Tues in the windjammer, i actually had gotten too much sun and couldnt get into the 2nd bottle of wine - they corked it and took it away. We had it the next nite at Chops with no problem. The last nite, we had one bottle left out of the 14 that we didnt consume - so at Portofino's we asked to take it back. They brought us an icy chilled bottle of Lindeman's Bin 77 Chard that looked awesome - we previously had it at other dinners. We brought it home with us and plan to have it at a special dinner at Christmas to remember the Mariner and the good times we had.

Now for the room - we had room #9360 towards the back of the boat. It was a balcony room - regular D2 class. Plenty of room at the foot of the bed which did not butt the desk or couch. I had plenty of room to walk around it and i am a pretty big guy myself. The toilets stank? Jeeze i didnt have that experience either. Didnt you mention it to the room steward? And as far as the photography - no offense, but a 90 year old couple could probably care less about whatever photography you were looking for so you cant be too upset about that.

Frankly, my guess with the problems that you experienced this time must be an anomoly. I also have to believe you've dropped your name and positon to the ship's stewards and waiters who must have kissed your ass in the past. I mean really - think about it: a floating city in the caribbean - it is as beautiful as they make it and you have to be amazed at what they can do with the service and at that price. Truly amazing.

So my message to everyone else is that the Mariner was a great experience that far outweighed my expectations. Dont worry if you have a cruise booked on this beauty (Alamogirl) - you'll LOVE it - it is one of the highest ranked ships. Unless you expect to be treated like King Arthur. They do have 3000 other guests to take care of too ya know. Personally I hope i have another chance to see her before she is sent out to California in '09.
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  #62 (permalink)  
Old December 9th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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I was so disappointed when I read about Paul's experiences. And, rather surprised that someone from Royal Caribbean has not responded in some way here, but perhaps that is not done.
We are sailing on the Mariner on January 6. This will be our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. I did a lot of research before choosing this ship. My husband and I have cruised a few times before on Princess and always loved it. However, this will be the first cruise for our daughters who are 27 and 30. I had some major health issues this past year and wanted this to be a wonderful time for everyone. It seemed to me that the Mariner would be fun for all of us. I so hope someone from Royal Caribbean has read this thread. We have one balcony cabin and one inside promenade cabin. Still trying to decide whether or not to try the specialty restaurants. We do have one vegetarian with us. I am still looking forward to this time with my family and will do my best to overlook the things that I can.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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To everyone who is booked, do not dismay. You will have a great time. Definitely book the specialty resaurants; you won't regret it (book it early on). The ship is gorgeous with every single public room well designed and decorated. The dining room looks like a scene from Titantic. Our room was immaculate with unusually attentive staff in our huge junior suite. Music at various bars and lounges was absolutely terrific. The promenade is a great place to stroll and have a latte.

Breakfast at Windjammer was just fine (you can't ruin breakfast). Lunch there was similar to cafeteria food. And dinner in the dining room was usually good to sometimes very good. I noted a general decline in the food from past years, and service in the DR definitely more "casual" than I remember. Paul is correct. It seems that specialty coffees and such came at an inappropriately late time. We didn't order wine, so I can't comment. These comments do not apply to Portofino's, which was perfect in every way. I did lose my daughter's favorite Cinderalla thermos in the Windjammer and inquired several times at Lost and Found. Not there with a polite "Sorry. Try back again." No one made any special phone calls to Windjammer, but no problem. She got over it.

These things did not ruin my vacation, and they will not ruin yours!!! Happy sailing.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Oceans - you will have a GREAT time - definitely do not be dissuaded. Sandy is correct in what she wrote that there has been a slight decline in the dining hall which may be just a product of time - people dont feel like getting dolled up on an ocena liner w/85 degree temperatures not to mention packing suits and dresses and shoes. We only went to the dining hal 2X - we went to Chops (which does have seafood incidently) twice and once to Portofinos - that dinner takes a while but thats italian style - leave a window of 2.5hrs to complete the meal. Definitely worth the $20 and if you are inclinded to do this, book immediately when you get on board - they WILL sell out and there's a very goood reason for that.

Our experience was on a scale of 1-10 an 11+. Your kids of that age will have a BLAST. This ship is highly rated by many others who have had terrific expereinces - dont worry whatsoever!
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Old December 11th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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8) ,look,Ive been on 9 crusies,2 hal,2 princess,3 rccl,1 ncl,1 carnival,our last cruise last week was the navigator 5 days,unlike dave I no longer drink and like to eat on cruises,:coffee bar was excellent,buffet was average,chops was good,dining room pauls right about the bread,you had to flag the guy down etc...baskets,were better,americans dont eat margerine,we want butter,and the new menus are jumbled up,one time at lunch,in the dinning room i ordered a salad,and two other things and the waiter said,you ordered three entrees,and I said thank you.casino has mostly all slot machines,10 dollar limit black jack,but over all great cruise,were paid 620,pp,e-1,5 days,and were paying 420 for a d-2 in january 4 days,and were booked on the carnival freedom in dec.08 6 days for only 649,that includes the gas charge,for a large balcony,cruising always beats out all inclusives in some old resort,unless your an alcoholic (like me and drink your self to death,but if you dont drink its not worth it,ill post my pics soon,ps leave paul alone,greg
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old December 11th, 2007, 07:56 PM
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We were on the Mariner mid Oct. and it was our second time on Mariner. We've always had balcony rooms and we recently made Diamond C & A.
The service was excellent in the dining room (tho no sommeliers on RCI for some time now)> I'd hate to think that the good serice we've
experienced on RCI was due to our C & A status or our balcony room.

our waiter and asst. waiter were excellent. Not for just us, tho, as
others at our table were first-timers. We travelled this time on a group
cruise, and had raves from most on the ship, dining, etc.

We have noticed the new menus, cutting down on the courses, Most do
not know the "old" system, and just ended up ordering 2 courses.

It's hard to believe we were on the same ship, just a few months apart.
We met several couples in the concierge lounge and found that some
found the Mariner their favorite ship and had sailed on her many times.
Of course, now....the question is...is the good service because of C & A
status, or cabin selection?
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Old December 11th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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Lou - It appears that Paul must have had just some bad luck thats all. Our service was bar none EXCELLENT!
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Old December 11th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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Just got back from the Mariner and we had a wonderful time. Judy and Paul in the dining room treated us like royalty. We were offered bread so many times. The food was great and if we did not want the salad offered we got another without any problem. We were in one of the cheapest cabins and I felt no less treatment from anyone.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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Jorrea - thats great news - i agree - we got treated like celebrities!!
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Old December 12th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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GT...

As I was not the one ordering the wine, and truthfully I rarely if ever order wine by the bottle in a restaurant, I think it was because this was my first experince (ordering wine by the bottle) on a mass-market ship that I even noticed there were no sommeliers.

No, there were no ice-buckets for chilled wine, yes we were chilling our riesling down with ice cubes from our water, yes, the bottle did sit on the tables for extraordinarly long times before they were opned, and yes, the waiter did walk away from the table with the bottle of wine with wine stll in it.

Keep in mind, I am not any kind if wune expert, If I was, I would have asked these things to be fixed right away. It was only after I got really horribe service the next to last night, and was virtually ignored until I complained, that I started thinking about my duty as a reviewer to let readers know what had happened.

In my position, I often learn as much from readers as they learn from me. Then my job becomes one of accumulating all the information and passing it on for future readers. That is what has happened in this thread. I can tell you I am a lot more conscious of wine service on ships now. I just returned from Cunard, and even the "lowest" dining room had sommeleiers and ice buckets for white wine.

Is this enough to ruin a cruise? Of course not. I would say it is about 1% of the entire overall experience, especially on a family oriented ship like this. But dining room service to ME is something that traditionally I have come to expect to be perfect on cruise ships. I have been cruising for 25 years now and my first cruise was on the company that defined lux cruising, Royal Viking. Service has always been the anchor by which I defend cruising as one of the best vacation values anywhere, but if I go on a ship and get less than excellent service, then I have nothing to brag about.

Bottom line, I am not saying this is a bad ship, as it is in the Voyager class which is just a great class of ship. all of the extras like the ice rink, sports decks, Johnny Rockets, hige video arcade, etc, make them wonders of the sea.

I am just saying that the service should have been better, and especially upsetting is that we have sucha hard time resolving problems. That was my whole point.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 07:26 PM
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Exactly. I totally agree, Paul. Things fall short at times, that is to be expected but it is the handling (or recovery) from a situation that is most important to me. BTW, you asked about my Emeral issues, I just posted them over on the Emerald thread.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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In the conclusion to all of this, I was contacted by guest services by telephone. It is their job to fix things that go wrong when a customer leaves the ship with an issue and subsequently contacts the cruise line.

This did answer many of my questions, and to Royal Caribbean's credit they did offer to "make things right" in ways that I believed the head waiter was going to do - adjust my final bill. But let me tell you what I learned in this follow up.

First of all, most surprising and relevent, I learned that an RCI head waiter DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER to credit a passenger's drinks if it arrives to the table 25 minutes late, even if he knows for a fact service is bad. This explains why he did nothing when he saw our problem with his own eyes.

The rep who called says the ship was contacted for responses to my concerns; They said they DO keep white wines refrigerated, but no, they do not have sommeliers or provide ice buckets.

Here is what I didn't like. In response to my concerns, the ship people replied that:

1. My contention the wine arrived late and sat unopened for 15 minutes was not true. Their response, as read to me on the phone was "the wine arrived and was opened within 5 minutes." OK, that is simply untrue, - we were putting ice in our wine to chill it. If the wine was properly chilled why did we do that? Because it sat on the tabkle unopened for so long. Is warm wine a big deal, no. Is lying about what really happened. Yes.

2. In response to my contention that I was skipped on the second pour and the waiter walked away with the wine: the ship replied, "Mr. Potter (sic) was served a little less than the lady sitting next to him." In other words, once again they lied in not admitting they had actually skipped me and walked away with wine in our bottle. Is being skipped a big deal? well yes, because I purchased another wine I didn't need. Is lying about it after the fact a bigger deal? absolutely. They were covering up, which makes me look like a jerk.

To RCI's credit, the lady on the phone did not automatically believe what the ship said. I told her it was not accurate and she said "well, I am not going to try to judge who is lying" which I found somewhat offensive in suggesting I could be lying. Note to RCI: A better thing to say is "I'm in no position to play judge and jury here." Still, she stuck with me and offered to adjust my final bill accordingly. I said that was not my point in pursuing this and politely declined.

The last question I had for her was why the anniversary cake we purchased was served to us after dessert, essentially making the surprise factor of having a cake to celebrate a moot point.

She said this did not sound right to her, either. A celebratory cake should be served for dessert, not after it. After all, no one wanted any cake after dessert, so we took it back to the cabin, made room in the minifridge, met in the Lido at a later time (because they have silverware there) and had our own celebration with the cake we had purchased. In other words, the ship played no part in actually helping us celebrate the anniversary in a meaningful way.

In this case, I did ask our head waiter well in advance why he was serving our cake after dessert instead of before? His reply was that was the way they always do it on their ships. Unforunately, I forgot to ask for a follow-up to this. I doubt it is true. if it is, it shouldn't be.

What sticks with me is that the headwaiter was insensitive to my concerns all along. He dismissed each one while onboard claiming either I was "too late" or "that's our policy". And when questioned after I left the ship he actually lied about what happened.

Do I know for a fact what he was thinking? of course not, but I was traveling in the lowest cabin category, I did not check my "Mariner's Club" box even though I have sailed RCI several times. As far as he knew I was a one-time, first-time cruiser he thought he could snow. Whether or not that is true, I would certainly hope a suite-buying, repeat passenger would get more respect on board than we did.

But once again, to RCI's credit, they did follow up with me with a phone call and offer to make things right. That is something, but it misses the point...

A cruise is the trip of a lifetime. Everything that happens onboard has significance. Most cruise lines go out of their way to assure a passenger is happy, especially when he complains. The staff person who fails to satisfy a passenger because he does things procedurally wrong and then does not respond when the passenger complains is creating a situation where the passenger is now brooding, and feels he is in a confrontational position with a staff member. leaving an unresolved negative feeling with a passenger is enough to ruin a cruise for many people. People do not easily forget being confronted or lied to, they obsess, just like I did.

Among the meager promises made by Rawaswami to me was "this will never happen to another passenger," and yet when I followed up after the fact to complain, he lied about what had happened in our case. So, in effect, he got me twice and proved his word that "this would never happen again" was just more untruth. It just goes to show you - a liar who really doesn't care will never change his spots.

I give RCI credit for the follow up, but they should realize that while late is better than nothing, it is not nearly as good as a timely resolution. I also have to say that the lies by the staff to my post-cruise query was also insulting, but I credit RCI follow up for sticking with me in the long run.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
I would certainly hope a suite-buying, repeat passenger would get more respect on board than we did.
I must disagree with this statement. Certainly the suite-dwellers enjoy nicer digs than those who can only afford inside staterooms -- they paid for them -- but outside the living quarters, they should enjoy the same amenities.

Do we really want to see a "class-based society" onboard? Perhaps those in the Royal Suite will be given the right to boot the lowly Promenade-room cruisers out of the prime pool chairs, or perhaps the folks in the Owners' Suite will be allowed to by-pass the line when waiting for a tender? No, thanks! I'd like to think that the ship's personnel treats everyone fairly and provides good service to EVERYONE regardless of the cost of their passage.

I just sailed on Mariner as well, and fortunately I did not encounter these same problems. We ordered a bottle of wine on our first evening in the dining room. I must admit that I am not a wine lover; however, my husband does enjoy it. I couldn't tell you a thing about the quality or temperature of the wine, but I asked the waiter to pour me only half a glass, which he did. He offered both my husband and I a refill later during the meal; my husband accepted, while I declined. The bottle reappeared for the next two nights (until my husband finished it off).

One evening I ordered a mixed drink at dinner, and I did think it was awfully slow arriving.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 09:25 PM
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Whether or not that is true, I would certainly hope a suite-buying, repeat passenger would get more respect on board than we did.

I think this is a very egotistical comment! Our 1st cruise, outside - window- we didn't want to leave - still remember Arsinio- he took care of us and our room - this was 4 years ago. The following 3 have been balcony rooms and/or JR suite - same great service - no different treatment.

As I stated previously Paul, you seemed to be spoiled and perhaps a tad stuck on your "title" - everyone has a bad day or perhaps even a week-grow up!!!
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Old December 17th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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Umm...

I think you are taking things out of context here.

When I said "better than what I got" never did I say I thought I got what I deserved. In fact I very vociferously said exactly the opposite.

So, if the person paying for a suite on Mariner got the kind of service I got, I would say he is really getting ripped off because there are definitely ships where you can get much better service for that kind of money. And that's simple logic.

There is nothing anti-egalitarian in my statements, just logic.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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Paul,
I think that was just another example of the many times that only the most recent posts were read and then commented on.

BTW, I tried your links and the web site and still cannot figure out how to sign up for the newsletter.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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I'm sorry, I got there with one click... Here is the link:

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...tter/index.cfm

If you look above in the blue area below the ship you see the words "About Us" click on that, and in the drop down menu, click on "Newsletter".

That goes to a page that says "Subscribe to the CruiseMates Newsletter"

put in your first name (optional) and email address and hit the button that says "subscribe"
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Old December 18th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Got it, thanks!!!

I'm seeing an occasional price paid here on the board and am starting to feel like a fool...that will be soon be parted if ya know what I mean.
Does this board have a policy of not comparing prices we pay?
I sure would like to.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 02:35 PM
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No, we don't have a policy about comparing prices, please just don't ask people to post the name of a travel agent - that's where we draw the line (like free advertising).

I know on our RCI cruise the prices did go up in all categories after we booked. We booked over a year out.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Ok, I understand about the advertising.
I just think maybe I should be exploring other options.

Example: A 5 day Carribean balcony on the Pearl last Feb cost about 2200.00 for the both of us. This was on only 2 weeks notice because we were sick of the snow.

Our 7 day Mexico on HAL's Ryndam was booked on 9/16 for 2600 bucks.
This is for an exterior cabin (E). We were told there were no more Verandas available. We also booked this one on the morning we decided to go.

Any advice or angles I can receive to get more bang for my buck would be appreciated.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 03:45 PM
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I'll take this one off-line and send you a PM.

If there is one thing I do see it is great bargain prices all the time as I am the one who compiles our bargain newsletter.

This thread is way off topic now, so we shouldn't have this discussion here.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Thanks...
These conversations do take off, huh?
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Old December 19th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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Paul-I have read many of your posts regarding Mariner and was impressed with your passion and time you spent on your vacation.

Am curious, do you go on other lines and evaluate the also? Just interested as to what your responsibilities are as the editor of Cruise Mates. Am assuming you have no affiliation to one line or the other.

But regardless, I am shocked that you had all the issues that were unsatisfactory despite some personnel knowing who you are. One would think a little better service after then issues would serve RCCL better.

Some may disagree, but I totally believe that having "Diamond" on your card or staying in a suite would help over being in an inside cabin. I know service is impeccable in the concierge lounge and it has been my experience that it resulted in better service at the pool bars, etc. when they know you are Diamond. Again, this is my experience and it made a difference going from Gold to Diamond.

Nice commentary on your experience....sorry about the service you got though.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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I have also noticed excellent service in the concierge lounge and when the bartender sees "Diamond" on my card they seem to pour better drinks. The Welcome Back party also was great for free strong drinks. I am glad they are generous with the pur. It makes a $5 drink worth it. I also experienced something on the Mariner I have not previously experienced. The pool bar tender actually ran me a tab rather than running card every single beer. This was convenient. I would just make a point of seeing him at the end of the day or evening to settle up. Once or twice it ran to the next day. I also believe there may have been an extra one or two in there.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
Once or twice it ran to the next day. I also believe there may have been an extra one or two in there.
Nice, DTW! I have experienced this also...especially if you build rapport wity someone specific at a pool bar and throw him an extra $3-$5 on your tab at the end, the freebies loosen up as the cruise goes on. Anyone else experience the same thing?
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Old December 19th, 2007, 07:07 PM
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On the Pearl....there is a bar on the fantail that we went to religiously. Met some great people here.
The bartendar did not ask for the card at the beginning of the 2nd night.
On the last night we cleared the card and I slipped him a Ben.
I hope he was able to keep it for himself.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 09:41 PM
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You got to connect with the right bartenders! Some are by the book and some are not! 8)
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  #88 (permalink)  
Old December 22nd, 2007, 12:06 PM
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This one, Julian, took pretty good care of me on the Mariner! 8)


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Old December 22nd, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
This one, Julian, took pretty good care of me on the Mariner!
He usually does!
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 04:08 PM
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these guys are cool on the freedom. 8)

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