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Old January 19th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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Default Frequent cruisers...bane of crew & staff?

We had several interesting conversations with the staff on a recent cruise on RCCL concerning the lucky few who can cruise 3- 4 times a year.

It seems that passengers who frequent cruises on the same ship are not always that welcome. Surprise!

Some of the crew's comments were that 'most' of these cruisers don't tip or if they tip at all it's very small. Other's walk around with a certain attitude of entitlement, asking for freebies, special treatment and even expect exemptions from rules, etc. This we witnessed in the main dining room when a gentleman came in for dinner wearing shorts and a loud 'T'...when we expressed surprised, the comment from other guests at our table was, 'oh...he knows better, but he and his wife cruise this ship a lot and think the rules don't apply to them anymore.'

Now if it was just one staff/crew member who made this type of comment I would think...'sour grapes'...but it was the general consensus about frequent cruisers.

Perhaps they begin to think of the staff as their personal servants rather than employees. Or maybe they tend to get too familiar, forget how to be gracious and have good manners. Either way...this was the opinion of several several staff members. I'm just sharing it with you.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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I just find that in bad taste when cruisers don't think any of the rules apply to them, frequent cruisers or not. Plus, for them not to tip or tip a little, while the rest of us save up for a cruise and include the required tips, just not right or fair. No wonder they can cruise 3-4 times a year while we can't. I think the majority of us respect the staff and the job they do, I've never considered not tipping them or comming into the dinning room in shorts and t's....
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Old January 19th, 2010, 08:02 PM
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This frequent cruiser should realize more then anyone how hard the crew works to keep him happy. The lack of tipping could come back to bite him, with the crew he thinks he knows so well....Eventually, the lack of attentionto his needs ,may make him realize the error of his ways.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Is there not a basic question here being confirmed? As passengers are passengers even if the same ones sailed on that ship for every week of its sailing season in whatever part of the world it happens to be in at the time!

So the ships staff want a constant turnaround of people that will every 7 days or so make up the wages or the "NON PAY" they DONT get from the line and to make the wages they promised when these people signed up to work there..

A really good post or point made as it just confirms how much the ordinary staff think or rely on "new blood" to make their income.

And thatís why I laugh so much when some folks get into the relationship with their waiter or room attendant of course they were nice,,,but just until they can say goodbye,,and next please

Familiarity does not make tips at the level these guys need and count on these days. Not saying they are not nice people, but they as well as the ship or the line are also running a business..people forget that.

Theyíve had your money, so donít need to see you back soon unless youíre gonna tip the same way again
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Old February 15th, 2010, 02:02 AM
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It's o.k. that the attendants, waiters, etc. are nice and expect a tip for their services and pleasantries...you know I really don't mind. In the back of my mind I realize that they MAY only be nice for the tip...but at the same time I'm enjoying the experience and the good service.

I think of it like this...When I go into a restaurant and enjoy a nice meal, I know when I'm finished I'm expected to pay...but that thought doesn't diminish my enjoyment.

It's a real trick to be warm and friendly and yet not get too personal...and that's what a cruise ship's staff have had to learn. They have to welcome hundreds of new guest every seven to ten days (depending on the itinerary) and make each of those guest feel like their wants and needs, etc are the most important thing they have to accomplish each day. They earn their tips!
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Old February 15th, 2010, 04:11 AM
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I was just wondering if it could be that the staff becomes more complacent when encountering return guests? I don't know about you but I tip based on service. A tip is not a right, just to be expected but rather for a job well done.

I feel that many of the crew members on ships feel like they are entitled to a tip regardless of the quality of service they provide and that is just wrong.

It is my understanding that crews rotate from ship to ship as their contracts expire. If someone was to cruise the same ship 2-3 times a year, how many times would they encounter the same crew?

I have never sailed the same ship twice, probably never will as long as there is new ships to sail. On the 3 carnival cruises i have sailed and the 2 princess cruises i have yet to meet a crew member that I can recall encountering from one of the previous cruises we have taken. There are crew members on every cruise that stick out and do a wonderful job while others you remember for their lack of service.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 01:03 AM
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A tip is not a right, just to be expected but rather for a job well done.
Yes, and no. The word "tip" has a couple of different meanings, depending on the "job" being performed and the wages of those who receive tips.

The sense of the word tip as Truck Cruiser has just used it is the sense most commonly understood by those who purchase services (e.g. the taxi cab driver; the hairdresser or barber). The service rendered has a published price and it is delivered by the service person. The purchaser tips when the service person has done a job good enough to merit a financial "thank you" from the consumer. I think this is how almost everyone understands tips and tipping.

But, there's another side to tipping -- and it arises from the perspective of the employer of the service person. Waiters are usually in this category. When I worked as a waiter, my salary from the restaurant was one-half minimum wage; and, income-tax withholding, FICA, and Medicare were deducted from that. You can imagine what my salary check amounted to!

So, how do waiters make any living at all? By tips, obviously. For these service people (unlike the cab driver or the barber or hairdresser), a tip is identical to part of their wages.

Now, this doesn't mean a waiter earns very little. Depending on the restaurant, a waiter might easily make 50K or more a year. One of my fellow grad students routinely made $200 to $300 between 5 PM and midnight, four nights a week. However, I don't think the very tired looking working mother at the IHOP who served me breakfast the other morning is pulling down that kind of money. Even if I tip her 15%, it's a pittance. My food bill is less than $10.

I don't know squat about the economics of service personnel on a cruise ship; but, I wouldn't be surprised if they're paid similarly to me when I worked as a waiter -- some minimal (and, by itself insufficient to live on) wage plus "tips."

I'm not looking for extraordinary service before I tip these kinds of people. I give an ordinary tip, counting is as part of the price of the service I'm purchasing (i.e. the cruise and its services). I will reduce a tip if a service person is rude or negligent. And, I will increase the tip (actually, it's the genuine tip!) for service beyond what a customer normally expects.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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I'm not looking for extraordinary service before I tip these kinds of people. I give an ordinary tip, counting is as part of the price of the service I'm purchasing (i.e. the cruise and its services). I will reduce a tip if a service person is rude or negligent. And, I will increase the tip (actually, it's the genuine tip!) for service beyond what a customer normally expects.
What a refreshing comment from someone who apparently hasn't read or participated in the Great Tip Debate .

Thanks Riv,
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Old February 17th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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What a refreshing comment from someone who apparently hasn't read or participated in the Great Tip Debate .

Thanks Riv,
I think I stumbled across that one, read a few of the posts, and moved on to something else helpful for my first cruise.

I guess I see tipping differently because of my experiences as a young man, working for tips. Tips were not "bonuses." They were the bulk of my wages, and for waiters today (and, I expect, the service people on a ship), they're still a big part of their wages. So, I take care to tip these people according to the customary rate. I've been where they are, and I know that a conventional tip is appreciated, and that a more than conventional tip really boosts more than wages -- morale, for example.

I just got back from the barber and noticed that haircuts are going up $2 on March 1. So, I'll pay $2 more and tip as usual (which in this case is 30%). It's worth it for this barber! I never have to tell him what to do (he remembers the picky things I ask for), he's fast, and he's an excellent craftsman with clippers and scissors.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:58 PM
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Interesting point made here that some people seem to imagine that the staff actually care about people, some do maybe, but just think back to the last morning onboard when they just can't wait to get you off the ship! People say to me that because I don't interact with the room steward & chat for ages that I am missing something, maybe I am but the last thing a busy cabin steward wants is an old gasbag going on & on & patronising them about where they live & how little they get paid.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 03:59 PM
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"just think back to the last morning onboard when they just can't wait to get you off the ship" Thats a great line bud

AND EVEN BETTER

"but the last thing a busy cabin steward wants is an old gasbag going on & on & patronising them about where they live & how little they get paid".

And especially when there is another one standing on the dock ready to replace you for the next X days, your done, the tips in pocket bye bye now.

Anyone that thinks different has to get a reality check, better still invite them home with you if they are such good friends,,,mmm hello any takers?

Its not real is it? Yes nice to meet them but the reality,,,,,,,,they are nice people doing a job, nothing more nothing less, and they move on to the next tip and the next person to sleep in the ships bed, not your bed

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Old March 28th, 2010, 08:05 AM
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Interesting point made here that some people seem to imagine that the staff actually care about people, some do maybe, but just think back to the last morning onboard when they just can't wait to get you off the ship! People say to me that because I don't interact with the room steward & chat for ages that I am missing something, maybe I am but the last thing a busy cabin steward wants is an old gasbag going on & on & patronising them about where they live & how little they get paid.
I have had my steward rush to open my stateroom door for me on debarkation morning, even thoguh I had my card key in my hand. I thought it was because we had tipped him extra the night before, and he wanted to show his appreciation.
So no, I don't agree with your statement.

I do believe though the cruise lines prefer the first time cruisers over the seasoned cruisers, as first time cruisers spend more money.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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I have had my steward rush to open my stateroom door for me on debarkation morning, even thoguh I had my card key in my hand. I thought it was because we had tipped him extra the night before, and he wanted to show his appreciation.
So no, I don't agree with your statement.

I do believe though the cruise lines prefer the first time cruisers over the seasoned cruisers, as first time cruisers spend more money.
Nice thought but I suspect he just wanted to make sure you were going!!
I agree that new cruisers probably spend more, especially on trips & things like photos.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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Nice thought but I suspect he just wanted to make sure you were going!!
I agree that new cruisers probably spend more, especially on trips & things like photos.
No, I recognize appreciation when I see it.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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No, I recognize appreciation when I see it.
I agree. Not everyone has a bad motive.

It's beginning to look like the staff's every movement and comment is suspicion for a tip. Is the only way we can appreciate the cabin crew's smiles, little kindnesses and good work is if they work for no tips?
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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:31 PM
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Don't seem to recognise a joke though!!
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:45 PM
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Don't seem to recognise a joke though!!
John, if you're making a joke please make use of the Smilies. (I know, lots of people don't like them , but they really make what you write clearer.)

I agree that most of the crew are "playing" nice, and that's okay. It happens every day in the real world.

On our last cruise we had a wonderful Room Steward who had been with Princess for years. We didn't expect to become "friends for life", but he was very efficient and friendly, always opened the door for me when he was in the hallway, and joined us on our balcony to watch the "latecomers" run for the ship! He had just the right "friendliness quotient" !
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Old March 31st, 2010, 10:05 AM
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You just have to remember, they are just doing their job, yes, some do it better than others, fact of life. They do rely heavily on getting their tips and making the guest fell welcome and taken care of, especially if they are return passengers.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 11:00 AM
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Interesting point made here that some people seem to imagine that the staff actually care about people, some do maybe, but just think back to the last morning onboard when they just can't wait to get you off the ship! People say to me that because I don't interact with the room steward & chat for ages that I am missing something, maybe I am but the last thing a busy cabin steward wants is an old gasbag going on & on & patronising them about where they live & how little they get paid.
I agree completely. And that's fine with me. I have no intention of making friends. I'm on a cruise for a vacation.

I know they are in a hurry to get us out so they can get ready for the next person I have absolutely no problem with that. It's as it should be.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 12:06 PM
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I agree completely. And that's fine with me. I have no intention of making friends. I'm on a cruise for a vacation.

I know they are in a hurry to get us out so they can get ready for the next person I have absolutely no problem with that. It's as it should be.
You know, I am not out to "make friends" either, but I do believe in being polite to the crew and showing appreciation for their hard work. I have heard some people talk to them so badly. (If it had been me serving them, NO amount of tip would have made up for such treatment, although I do wonder if those type people even tip) It seems to me, even in 2010, some people still believe in the "cast system" of the 19th century, and seem to think because they have more money than others, or a better position/job, that they are "better" than those there to serve them.

I do think there is a "happy meduim." Why can't we simply treat the crew on cruise ships politely, as fellow human beings, as at Least I do, to any waiter in a restaurant, or maid or porter in a hotel,etc.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 12:27 PM
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You know, I am not out to "make friends" either, but I do believe in being polite to the crew and showing appreciation for their hard work. I have heard some people talk to them so badly. (If it had been me serving them, NO amount of tip would have made up for such treatment, although I do wonder if those type people even tip) It seems to me, even in 2010, some people still believe in the "cast system" of the 19th century, and seem to think because they have more money than others, or a better position/job, that they are "better" than those there to serve them.

I do think there is a "happy meduim." Why can't we simply treat the crew on cruise ships politely, as fellow human beings, as at Least I do, to any waiter in a restaurant, or maid or porter in a hotel,etc.
Don't misunderstand me. I wouldn't consider treating them like that. I just meant I'm not out to make friends. I smile, will make chit chat if appropriate but I also know that in reality, that's all they want from me. I would never base a gratuity on if a person ingratiatuous (bad spelling) themselves with me. I expect good service and at the same time I appreciate it and will let it be known - with a smile, a thank you and when appropriate, with a gratuity.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 01:08 PM
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It's nice to make new friends.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 02:23 PM
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If you will allow me to make some comments as someone who has worked on cruise ships...

It does not matter to the staff if you are new or not, when you see new people coming on board every week you start each cruise with an open mind and you see where things go. 90% of the time you are just doing your job exactly as you would every other cruise. To me it was all one long cruise, not a series of cruises in a row.

You meet new people all the time, not just on the first day of a cruise, but by about the third day of a cruise you recognize the "feel" of the cruise in progress. They all feel different for different reasons. Sometimes is who is booked, how the weather affests their mood, whatever, but you definitely sense a difference in every crowd you have.

The guests meet and interact with you based on your personality. Now, unseasoned cruisers seem to be having more fun and everything is new and wonderful to them. They are often more fun, but they are more prone to "crises," too, because they don't always know how to do things.

Seasoned cruisers always have higher expectations, but that doesn't mean they are always more demanding. Sometimes they are less demanding because they are familiar enough with cruising not to get upset by little things (unfamiliarity with a new thing often causes a lot of unnecessary anxiety).

That being said, it is an individual thing. You can't stereotype cruisers behavior.

Now - IF a frequent cruiser acts like the rules don't apply to him it is because somewhere along the line he has been given special favors by a staff member he has befriended. It is like training a puppy, if you spoil them they will learn bad behavior. It isn't the server's fault, just like people who love their puppies they are just try to give them some special attention, but sometimes it has the wrong result.

When frequent cruisers get spoiled it manifests in their relationship with service people. If they feel buddy buddy with the hotel manager (for example) they also feel like they are running the place. When that happens they forget they are passengers, expect more and tip less.

Cruise lines love all passengers. Most experienced passengers are great guests who usually tip well because they know how the system works. But that is different from a person who takes the same ship over and over. But anyone who cruises three or fourt imes a year will be considered important even if they are a pain in the keister.

Yes, crewpeople change on ships, and to the frequent one-ship repeater that alone makes them feel somewhat superior. They probably tell waiters "that isn't how they do things on this ship." That is probably what the servers the OP spoke to were referring to.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 07:52 AM
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Paul..thanks for providing insight on this issue from someone who has experienced both sides of this issue

I would like to comment on your statement about "the feel of the cruise"..i've noticed a distinct difference when i have been on the chartered smooth jazz cruises vs "regular" cruises..on the smooth jazz cruises both the guests and the crew seem to be more relaxed (mellow) and more engaged, very often the promoter will invite crew members who are jazz musicians to join in jam sessions with the artist onboard and will arrange for a special autograph session for the crew members, very often at the back of the main theater you will see crewmembers standing and enjoying the show with the blessing of the captain and the promoter...on the full charters the tips are prepaid, there are a significant number of guest that this is their first cruise experience, but i suspect because the guest are enjoying the music and the "feel of the ship" encourages tipping above and beyond what has already been prepaid..the cruises are sold out (no kids) but the "feel" between crew and guest is very positive and because there is an extremely high return rate of guest (i would suspect over 60%) year after year on the same ship, plus the promoter has a staff onboard to act as a go-between if there is an issue that is non music related, it tends to become a win/win for all parties
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Old April 1st, 2010, 10:04 AM
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Paul..thanks for providing insight on this issue from someone who has experienced both sides of this issue

I would like to comment on your statement about "the feel of the cruise"..i've noticed a distinct difference when i have been on the chartered smooth jazz cruises vs "regular" cruises..on the smooth jazz cruises both the guests and the crew seem to be more relaxed (mellow) and more engaged, very often the promoter will invite crew members who are jazz musicians to join in jam sessions with the artist onboard and will arrange for a special autograph session for the crew members, very often at the back of the main theater you will see crewmembers standing and enjoying the show with the blessing of the captain and the promoter...on the full charters the tips are prepaid, there are a significant number of guest that this is their first cruise experience, but i suspect because the guest are enjoying the music and the "feel of the ship" encourages tipping above and beyond what has already been prepaid..the cruises are sold out (no kids) but the "feel" between crew and guest is very positive and because there is an extremely high return rate of guest (i would suspect over 60%) year after year on the same ship, plus the promoter has a staff onboard to act as a go-between if there is an issue that is non music related, it tends to become a win/win for all parties
That sounds like a blast I will have to book a full charter jazz cruise one of these days.

I agree with the feel of the cruise. My last cruise 4/26/08 on Carnival Freedom. A lot of cruisers had booked through a Travel Agent ( I don't remember the TA's name) and were very unhappy. The problem things keep changing, the hotels they thought were booked were not. The shore excurision included in the package were changed etc. That meant a lot of cruisers were mad, not at the cruise line, however, they still took a bit of there anger out at the cruise line. I hadn't booked through this TA so I don't have all the problems and was having a great time. As was my Crazysis and parents. I was extra nice to the staff, as I felt they were getting picked on for things out of thier control. We had a great cruise and side trip to Venice. BTW this is way I prefer to book on my own. I can research everything and control all parts of the trip.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 10:21 AM
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When I worked on the Norway there was a large singles group cruise company that would bring singles onboard every few weeks - those cruises were always a little crazier.

Yes - large groups can be very moody, either in a good way or a bad way.

The Jazz Cruises, by the way, are the best cruisers I have ever been on in terms of just pleasant overall friendliness, and best of all, they are also the most racially mixed cruises, but jazz lovers (and these are all serious jazz lovers) tend to have a deep appreciation and knowledge of music, so you have something to share with everyone on board - and race truly is a non-issue no matter what.

Neither is age. I remember older white men telling young black guys how much they not only admire them, but love them.

I was on the last cruise Wayman Tisdale appeared on (and played) - he didn't look very good, but we were all told and believed he was in recovery from the leg cancer that took his leg. He did not make it to the next cruise (he passed away). But on that cruise everyone was in tears listening to his story.

He had been a Phoenix Sun and my wife had worked on him as a professional massage thearpist (and the other Suns as well for three years) - and we tried to get in to talk to him a few times but his entourage unfortunately made it somewhat impossible and we never got to talk to him. When she heard he had died she was devastated. She was really sad she didnt try harder to get in to talk to him. he was a very special person, ball player and musician.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 10:54 AM
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I met Wayman on one of the smooth jazz cruises and he was a pleasure to be in the company of and we chatted alot about the Tulsa Jazz Festival at which he performed at every year..he was able to make a very nice transistion from being a professional NBA player to a well loved and successful smooth jazz artist

Jazz speaks a universal language and brings together folks of all ages, colors, nationalities...i attended the montreaux jazz festival in 2005 and it is incredible how knowledgeable and appreciated Europeans are about America's music..much more so then in America..the world famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, for economic survival has less jazz every year and more alternative music and stars

Paul..as you well know the Norway for years hosted an annual jazz cruise (the founder of LLC organized it)..my Mom and my friends Mom were on it in the early 90's and had a special treat because AFI hosted a special tribute to honor the great legends of Jazz from the 30's and 40's (it was filmed for PBS but I could never find a copy)..to this day she still talks about it

my fondest memory that illustrates the collaberation between jazz promoter and cruiseline was last year on Celebrity Century, where a crew member that was our assistant waiter and one that was a cabin steward on our deck, were able to play in the horn section with Greg Adams (founder of Tower of Power), and Larry Carlton (FourPlay) and Boney James among other..at the end of the song there was this huge roar from the back of the room and when we turned around it was lined with their coworkers from the galley and housekeeping giving them a standing ovation..for the rest of the cruise the guests teased the two crewmembers about being superstars and asking for their picture and autographs..the crew was sooooooooooooooo proud of their coworkers and it brought crew and guest closer together as family
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Old April 1st, 2010, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix_the_cat View Post
Don't misunderstand me. I wouldn't consider treating them like that. I just meant I'm not out to make friends. I smile, will make chit chat if appropriate but I also know that in reality, that's all they want from me. I would never base a gratuity on if a person ingratiatuous (bad spelling) themselves with me. I expect good service and at the same time I appreciate it and will let it be known - with a smile, a thank you and when appropriate, with a gratuity.
I know Felix, I was just showing the other extreme. Neither is appropriate.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 03:04 PM
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Great posts by Paul, thanks

I am also into reality TV and one of my favs right now is "Cruise Ship Diaries", its about Costa. It gives me a really great insight into what the staff or crew have to deal with on a daily basis especially being an Italian owned and run line, where the first language is Italian.

They have meetings to "gauge" the people coming on board before they cruise, especially with nationality. ie we have a lot of Germans this week so their expectation is,,,whatever, staff behaviour, noise levels, music, food, games,,,in fact anything.

They must work under so much strain for 7 days or so at a time trying to look happy and welcoming to all nationalities that board the ship and the individual expectations these customers have. In this case not new v experienced cruisers, but as nationality v nationality

Would be really interested to hear from Paul on how that was managed during your time onboard
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 05:29 PM
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I agree, good posts Paul. We love your insights.

BTW-Small world dept.-I went to school with Wayman Tisdale. He really was one of the 'good' guys.
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