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  1. I’d like to think this is the last time we have to jump through this particular hoop to board a ship, but we’re cruising to Canada in October. ….but for now….We’re all negative for our Sunday cruise!! (I figure people here will get it. No one at my work seems to understand why I’m so happy)
    9 points
  2. Matt

    Gratuities are going up.

    I think there's two primary issues with gratuities. First, is the nature of the fact gratuities are obligatory and many (including myself) wish it was just rolled into the cruise fare since they aren't really optional. I'd be the first to sign up for that. Second is the fact the rate is going up. It's the first rate change in 4 years. I think that's quite a lot of time between rate changes. Given the rate of inflation and standard of living over last 4 years, it's not an overreach, especially given how hard the crew work.
    8 points
  3. Day 4: St. Thomas We started breakfast with the continental from room service, but my wife didn’t order coffee because supposedly the coffee tastes better when I go out to get it in the morning. The bagel, cream cheese, and orange juice was good, but the donut was the worst donut I have ever had. I never in my life thought I would say I had a bad donut. After breakfast, my wife got ready and went shopping for a beach bag. I stayed back at the room, but I figured Valerio probably wanted to get our room picked up so he could go about his day. I didn’t find my wife in the shop with the beach bags, but instead in Regalia fine jewelry. To make a long story short, we need to downgrade our room in an inside room, maybe even the onboard brig for the rest of the cruise. Why couldn’t she find a dollar tree on the ship? Lunch was at the Solarium Bistro, the food was good, nothing to write home about. We did St. Thomas on our own. We got into a taxi at the port and the driver told us what the fare would be. While he was driving, he must have received a memo from corporate headquarters informing him of a price increase because when we arrived at the sky ride ( or two blocks away where he dropped us off, the price increased $2 per person. The sky ride was cool and the view amazing, but there wasn’t a lot to do at the top of paradise point. We took great photos and had a drink. My wife and I had a banana daiquiri it was delicious and our server was great. The people running the sky ride were friendly and helpful. Whenever my father got on or off the tram, they stopped it for him because of his mobility issues. We rode a taxi back to the ship where all but myself, my wife, my brother, and my sister in law got off we continued on to Magen's Bay. The driver was so cool and drove us there for the quoted price. He even stopped by Drake’s Seat so my brother could get a geocache. One thing I learned is in St. Thomas, traffic safety is merely a suggestion. Magen’s Bay was beautiful, but we didn’t have a lot of time there. Our ship arrived almost 2 hours late due to the medical evacuation the other day that took us off course. Two taxi drivers got into an argument over us. I thought it might go to blows. The taxi business in St. Thomas is cutthroat. I could see a series on Bravo: The Real Taxi Drivers of St. Thomas. Back at port, my brother and I returned to the ship while my wife and sister in law continued to shop. I will admit I did worry my wife and sister-in-law might miss the boat, but they didn’t. When my wife returned to the ship, we went to the windjammer, but stopped first at the schooner bar to hide a duck. It was ten minutes until the LGBTQIA get together and we had a cute duck with rainbow hearts. At the windjammer we enjoyed the jerk chicken or as my wife called it, The Rick chicken. After dinner another trip to the bionic bar and then the adult comedy show. I really enjoyed the show, but definitely one comedian more than the other. After the comedy show we rode the Rising Tide bar and played the card game I launched on Kickstarter and had extra copies after I fulfilled all the orders. We finished the card game where all the “adults” laughed and had a good time, while the “kids” (early 20’s) just put up with us. On the way back to the room, my wife stopped by Sorento's for pizza and made friends with two little kids (it was past midnight) because she misses our grandkids. Stray observation: now every time we return to our room, our room steward greets us while he unlocks and opens our door for us. The service is beyond what we expected. Tomorrow is St. Kitts and swimming with the dolphins.
    7 points
  4. This is why many restaurants pool tips, so the back of the house staff can share in the compensation.
    7 points
  5. ellcee

    Gratuities are going up.

    I could not disagree with you any more than I currently do. This is not a great wage for the work they provide. I feel like you're going out of your way to justify why you don't need to tip because you tip with your time. You do what you need to do with your $$ but 32k is not a livable wage for the hours they put in.
    5 points
  6. Considering that many of the crew actually work a 12-16 workday with maybe 1 day off a week, the $32,000 figure is crap. If that $32k figure is based on a 29-week contract at roughly 2500hrs, based on a 14hr workday for 6 days a week. Their average pay is $12.80, factor in a 17% tax rate and the rate becomes $10.62. Minimum wage varies, yes, but so does cost of living. I also want to point out that you say you "save" people. A Vegas server compared to cruise crew members is dragon fruit to bananas. They both might be fruit but that is where the similarities stop. It is nice to offer a lending ear, prayer and support but those don't pay the bills, not everyone has vices they need to be cleansed of. I also wonder if the cost of 24/7 phone support is more than what the daily gratuity would be?
    5 points
  7. Today’s SWA deal. Our $166 flights down dropped to $88 each and the flights back that started at 17,365 points each dropped to 2655 this morning!!! System would not let me make the changes so I called & they did it manually over the phone. Those prices disappeared 30 minutes later. Do you think the $18 DBP intern is working for SWA now?!?!!
    5 points
  8. There are two formal nights. Once they refer to as formal night and one as dress your best. You will see dress from all along the spectrum on these nights, from jeans to tuxes (though not many). You will pass just fine with a shirt, tie and trousers and not feel out of place.
    4 points
  9. Our daughter in law’s pregnancy question was just answered incorrectly. Haste and excitement ended up with touching yes instead of no. Big old red DENIED came up. The rep I just spoke to told me we would get a follow up email about it, and worst case we would correct it at the port the day we leave. She assured me that we won’t be denied boarding on Sunday. So the moral of this story is Slow Down and Be Careful when answering the questions when excited. There are enough hoops to jump through without creating more.
    4 points
  10. I have booked on the Nov 9th sailing - so i'm doing my bit to help the cause! Got a good rate on a GS too.
    4 points
  11. I do not understand why people on vacation, specifically on a cruise think its ok to treat people like crap. I get SO MAD when I see crew members mistreated. The days of standing by are over, I confront people now who do this. This is my vacation/cruise too and if you are gonna be an A-hole to a crew member then you are gonna get it back from me. I used to just sit on my hands, no longer. Someone needs to stick for these people. We are SO overly nice to the crew because of the A-holes that treat them like crap.
    4 points
  12. (I skipped yesterday so here is yesterday’s and today’s update.) Day 2: A perfect half day at Cococay We spent most of our day at Cococay and half of it was a perfect day. The other half, not so much. Let me start by saying none of the bad luck was Royal Caribbean’s fault, mostly just bad luck and some stupidity on my part. We got of the the ship, no problem. My wife dipped me in a vat of 9,265 spf sunscreen. She held me by my heel so I had an Achilles sunburn. After the sunscreen I got into the pool at the oasis lagoon, got a drink and floated around for about 15 minutes when I realized my iPhone was in the pocket of my swimsuit. Luckily it survived. Following the lagoon and a few more drinks, we headed to chill island where we snorkeled. My wife bought two full face snorkeling masks on Amazon for under $19 each, which also came with dry bags for our phones and ear plugs. The masks worked perfectly, the pictures from our phones in the dry bag were less than average. But the masks I highly recommend. We snorkeled by the giant rock and saw a lot of fish, but I’m not a strong swimmer, so the poor lifeguard almost had an anxiety attack watching over me so I gave him a break by giving up and sitting in a lounge chair. I absolutely hate the beach. We live near a beach and I loathe it. Our beach has year round freezing temperatures, a strong undercurrent, and sand. However, at Cococay, I didn’t mind it because I was resting in a lounger under an umbrella and a nice guy kept bringing me drinks. When my wife and sister in law finished snorkeling, we headed to the snack shack on our way back to the lagoon. I got a chicken sandwich and a brownie, my wife got the funnel cake. Back at the lagoon, a bird promptly stole and ate my wife’s funnel cake and to show his appreciation, he pooped on our beach towel. I headed back to the lagoon where I got a drink and then lost my seapass card. After retracing my steps in the pool for about 45 minutes, I gave up and reported my lost card to security. Then after being told several times to stop doing backflips into the pool by lifeguards, a kid continued to doing backflips into the pool, but he finally stopped when he flipped head first into the side of my sister’s face causing bruising and swelling. After that my 76 year old father slipped and fell. The lead lifeguard treated his wounds well, he was very kind staying with my parents the entire time and even arranged transportation back to the ship for my parents and sister in law who was helping them. I was done so my wife and I headed back to the ship where I waited in line with all the other careless people who lost their cards. I was given a temporary pass to get back on the ship. After a shower and a rest, I was issued a new card at guest services and then was dinner. I was hungry so I ordered two appetizers: Asian style pork tacos and a shrimp cocktail, two entrees: the garlic tiger shrimp and the salmon. Because I didn’t want to be a pig, I only ordered one dessert. Due to a medical emergency, we diverted to Nassau for an medical evacuation. A few people expressed their displeasure with the casino closing due to being in port. Following dinner was the ice skating show: 1887 a journey in time. The skating was amazing, but I had a hard time following the plot (that is if it even had a plot). Then another trip to the wonderland bar to try the rest of the cocktails on their menu. It was super close to closing time, but they stayed open later to accommodate our party of 9 (my dad stayed in their room.) the mad hatter was even super friendly to my 75 year old mother. She loved the wonderland bar and wants to go back. After a late night pizza and a beer, it was back to our room for bed. Day 3: a sea day Today was a sea day so we slept in, I got us coffee to drink on the balcony. Next was a quick bite to eat at the mini bites breakfast. Some of it was delicious and other things were just okay. Then off for more coffee at cafe promenade. The cold brew was great. My wife went to lay by the pool and I started drinking pina coladas taking them back to the room to drink on the balcony while watching the water go by. Then it was up to the pool deck to find my wife and watch the sexiest man contest. I didn’t last long on the pool deck and headed back inside. I waited in the rising tide bar where the bartender said it would rise in about five minutes. Fifteen minutes later we never launched and I received a text from my wife they were headed to the windjammer, so I got off the rising tide bar and has an unremarkable lunch at the windjammer. My nephew and sister in law boogie boarded and then my nephew headed over to the standup surfing flow rider. My brother was in line to zip line. We stood in between to see who would go first, but they both went at the same time. Then it was off to get ready for dinner. For appetizers I ordered the wedge salad and shrimp cocktail. For an entrée I got the seafood fettuccini Alfredo, and the soufflé for dessert. Like always the food was excellent, but the service was even better. The only mishap was the drink waiter spilled a Jack and Coke in my brother’s lap. He had to eat the rest of the dinner with a soggy grundle, which just so happens to also be the name of a band I saw at the Fillmore two weeks ago. On the way to the room to change my clothes, I found the stowaway piano player again. We saw him briefly at the wonderland bar last night. I messaged my family and they came down to see him. I tipped him and he asked me three times if I had a request. I declined the first two times and finally asked if he would play Let it be by the Beatles. He is by far the best entertainer on the ship. Next up was Grease. We all loved it, although my wife politely had to shush the older couple in front of us who decided that the middle of a Broadway musical was the best time to hold a loud conversation about their lives. I was also very concerned for the girl who sat next to the loud conversationalists that she would be unsuccessful at Candy Crush, but to my surprise she was better than I expected because she kept that game going for almost the entire hour and a half performance. There are nearly 6,000 passengers on the Harmony of the Seas this week and tonight it was obvious. The only other times that I noticed that we have that many people on the ship is every time I get on the elevator with all the other 5,999 passengers on the same elevator. Stray observation: We went to the bionic bar tonight. Although I love the concept, the cocktail wasn’t very good, but it could be I just picked out one of their cocktails. It’s amazing that someone probably graduated from MIT with a phd and then invented a robot bartender. It’s genius really. Although I didn’t like the cocktail, I really liked my bartender, R2-3PO. Nice guy, has a family back home, he showed me a photo. He married a lovely blender and they are raising 3 sweet, but rambunctious toasters. Tomorrow (or today) is a stop at St. Thomas.
    4 points
  13. Congrats! We are heading to Bermuda on Saturday and the 4 of us tested negative this morning, so I totally get it!
    3 points
  14. I feel your joy! We received three negative test today too! Our first cruise since COVID. I truly can’t imagine having suitcases packed and getting a positive. I would be heartbroken.
    3 points
  15. Damn, they weren't offering wives when I was in my GS on 5/29! Is that a new perk? Sorry, couldn't help it.
    3 points
  16. You'll see men dressed even more casually than khakis and a polo. Wear whatever you are comfortable with.
    3 points
  17. Really not trying to "pile on" here, but in looking at your profile, you mention that your Allure OTS cruise in January 2023 will be your first cruise, so I think it's partially a factor of not having seen what these crew members do for you and who they are perhaps? @Ampurp85 was not exaggerating when she said they maybe have one day off per week and work 12-16 hours a day. This is not like a hotel stay where a different maid will service your room each day. The same stateroom attendant will clean and make up your room morning and evening every single day with rare exception (I have seen my assigned stateroom attendant every single day on all 3 of my cruises this year.) They will call you by name: "Mr. Joe" every time they see you from the first day and ask how "Mrs Sue" is if she is not with you. The same MDR staff will wait on you every night and remember your drink order if you have traditional dining. They will ask you if you got off the ship and how your excursion was - many of them have not been off the ship in AGES. They have not seen their families since their contract began and many send all of their paychecks directly home. If the 32000/year figure is accurate, it most certainly is not $16/hour. Additionally, (and someone more experienced feel free to correct me if I am wrong) they do not work the whole year - when they finish a contract and go home, they have no pay until their next contract begins. I hope you and your wife have a wonderful cruise. I am going on Allure in a few weeks myself and am really looking forward to not having to think about a thing except which drink I want and which restaurant to go to once I get on board.
    3 points
  18. No you do not but you’ll need to call to order and the other person has to get the refreshment package.
    3 points
  19. Adding or removing passengers from a reservation often, but not always, requires the reservation to be re-fared to the prevailing rates. Whether there's one person on the reservation, or two, the total cruise fare will be the same at any point in time because solo travelers have to pay a solo supplement equivalent to the cruise fare of a second passenger. Simply keep your wife on the reservation and make final payment. If she's able to go, then your reservation is all set. If she's not, then she can be a no-show at the pier and her port taxes and fees will be automatically refunded. No need to make changes to the reservation for this to happen. As far as double C&A points for you sailing solo in the event she can't make it, you may or may not get the double points. It seems to depend on what agent is managing those point allocations for your sailing.
    3 points
  20. Checking in is your resposibility.
    3 points
  21. You have to understand during the pandemic the Canadian government didn't want people crossing the border but they recognized they lacked the legal authority or political capital to absolutely and completely close the border. Make no mistake they wanted the border closed. ArriveCAN was introduced in the days when only residents returning home were allowed to enter Canada. They couldn't stop Canadians from leaving Canada such as snowbirds going to Florida to winter homes but they wanted to make it inconvenient as a means to dissuade Canadians from traveling. They tried to suggest that Canadian citizens who were not currently residents were not allowed to enter Canada but that was ruled unlawful so they tried to make it ugly to visit Canada by anyone, including Canadian citizen expats. There were many attempts made to dissuade travel. As a result of the rules Canadians began shipping their cars and flying to meet them as a means to travel outside of Canada while land borders were physically barricaded. The government had to stop this. Travel had to become burdensome. Introduce ArriveCAN. Canada tried outlandish mandatory quarantine requirements to dissuade Canadian from traveling internationally but those were challenged and the Canadian government needed a legal plan B to slow border travel. ArriveCAN was their alternative intimidation tactic to scare people away from cross border travel. Originally it was a place to document your mandatory quarantine plan in case you tested positive. In the eye's of the Canadian government that was them being generous as right before that there were mandatory quarantine in government provided what were effectively concentration camps. When lawsuits challenged the concentration camps for otherwise healthy residents coming home the government's "generous" response was the ability to self quarantine at home. Canada didn't want anyone crossing the border but they couldn't stop defiant Canadians from traveling so they tried to make it ugly. ArriveCAN's purpose was to make it burdensome for everyone to cross the border. As the pandemic progressed and more defiant people crossed the border ArriveCAN was there with its original purpose intact - dissuade travel, don't make it easy. In the early days when some expats and foreign nationals started to be allowed to enter Canada the government didn't want a sudden mass influx of travelers so they adapted ArriveCAN from its original mission as a means to slow international travel. It's mission remained keeping it ugly to travel but now it's target audience evolved from targeting Canadians to targeting anyone coming to Canada. The request for your cabin number, optional as they lack legal authority to demand this information, is the current example of the passive aggressive nature of ArriveCAN. Making it ugly to travel to Canada. The Canadian government doesn't want you there but they can't legally close the border so this is their way to try to slow cross border travel to manageable levels as a means to reduce the spread of the virus.
    3 points
  22. Already done. Easter 2023
    3 points
  23. I think that explains why there may not be a lot of people sailing on Spectrum!
    3 points
  24. We are very generous tippers and I totally believe in the gratuity culture....but I also agree with @JBC and feel as if a mandatory gratuity is not a gratuity at all, but a compulsory charge. I would much prefer that they include that compulsory charge in with the cruise fare. That would permit people who want to tip generously to do so and those who would be removing their mandatory gratuity would feel as if they're getting away without paying. Win-win.
    3 points
  25. I am a big supporter of tipping and certainly have no issue with prepaying the gratuities as well as handing out more $$$ throughout my cruise. My most recent cruise was on Adventure with my balcony room as far aft as possible. There were some mornings I would walk up the long hallway and peep into rooms that were being “serviced”. I could not believe the condition of some of the rooms!! Items thrown everywhere, suitcases still in the way, totally messy rooms! I would hyperventilate if I was the one who had to go into those rooms to straighten out the beds and pick up after the slobs! (Sorry for this description but I just couldn’t find any nicer words) No money would be able to compensate for my hard work…some of the rooms even stunk like body odor or old food! I do and always will over-tip my room steward as well as compliment him or her (although, I’m not sure I have ever seen a female steward?) for their dedicated service. Oh…and should I ever come across a steward who isn’t quite up-to-par with the daily duties, I will politely request or mention what is lacking. That would not change my gratuity compensation. After all anyone one of us can have an off day…no?
    3 points
  26. Self testing is effectively equal to no testing. Not much of a point to it.
    3 points
  27. Royal Caribbean Announces 2023-2024 Expanded Singapore Program Royal Caribbean has announced deployment for the Spectrum of the Seas for 2023-2024, and longer cruises are making a comeback, according to a press release. A mix of new 5- to 12-night cruises will whisk adventurers to destinations in Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, joining the cruise line’s short getaways to Malaysia and Thailand. On a mix of longer cruises that are 5-, 7-, 9- and 12-night itineraries, calls include Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Manila, Philippines. Royal Caribbean’s crowd favorite 3- and 4-night getaways, first introduced in July, round out the cruise line’s next year-round season. The Spectrum will head back to the Penang, Malaysia, and Phuket in Thailand. “During Royal Caribbean’s first year-round season in Singapore, we’ve continued to see travellers return for more. Being able to visit international shores again has only increased that demand. People want to cruise with us, and now they can set their sights on new adventures for next year. Today’s holidaymakers seek unique experiences and a fuss-free vacation – they want to have a fun holiday without having to worry about confusing travel requirements and restrictions – and Spectrum of the Seas delivers exactly that. The combination of Asian-themed experiences and signature favourites on board with the opportunities to explore Asia’s energetic cities, traditional architecture and exotic landscapes makes for the perfect way to embark on the revenge travel vacationers are seeking today,” said Angie Stephen, vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific, Royal Caribbean International. The upcoming cruises include two 12-night sailings. These sailings can also be enjoyed back to back, visiting a new destination almost every day for the entire 24-night adventure. Included are 10 destinations unique to this experience, such as Hong Kong; Tokyo, Osaka and Mount Fuji, Japan; and Nha Trang and Hue/Danang, Vietnam.
    2 points
  28. Okgladgal

    The Key

    We enjoyed The Key on our last cruise because it was basically free due to Covid OBC. To me the best part was the early boarding and Chops lunch. It was very relaxing to go to a nice sit down lunch and not have to worry about eating lunch in the Windjammer. The menu was pretty small. Google "Chops lunch menu Royal Caribbean" & you can find pics of it.
    2 points
  29. Try not to look like a slob, you’ll be fine
    2 points
  30. CruiseRoyalDad

    Crown Loft

    Stayed in one of these on the Symphony in 2019. We will do you one better, we had 3 children with us in the room for a total of five people in room. They were 7,5, almost 17 months at the time. The baby we had upstairs in the loft with us, in the changing area right in front of the bed. The room worked perfectly. Though nervous at first it proved many times more convenient than the Grand Suite we had done with the same size family on Allure the summer before. In contrast to the Grand Suite it feels open and roomy. The curtains of the loft close providing separation between us and the older children. The TWO bathrooms are key with four or more people in a room. The deep, large, balcony is basically the best view and highest perch on the ship! The location of the suite was absolutely perfect even though at first I thought it would be a hassle. We were steps from the suite lounge/Coastal Kitchen and all of the amenities that brings with it, we were a few floors above the windjammer, and the pool deck was also conveniently located. With our children being the age that they were it was easy access for quick dips or night swimming which they made a nightly ritual. Finally, right outside the suite floor doors you have an elevator bank that provides quick access to the main entertainment decks of the ship. Don't worry about being too high and about long elevator waits on port days, as you know from having stayed in the Royal Loft Suite, the concierges provide express elevator rides to exit on port days! Fear not! Book it! Don't even think about the Grand Suite!! Now that the vaccine reqs were thankfully (mostly) rescinded we booked a 2BR GS on Harmony August 2023. While we'd love the crown loft again we can't fit it now that we are SIX!!!
    2 points
  31. ellcee

    Gratuities are going up.

    I just did a google salary conversion and got sick to my stomach. This may make me tip a little more.
    2 points
  32. See hubby doesn’t appreciate how great a wife he has. I HATE to shop except for the grandkids and during our biannual trips to Kittery where I buy just enough clothes to get me through to the next trip. I don’t like or wear jewelry, expensive bags, shoes or perfumes. My idea of vacation shopping (besides the grands!) is an Xmas ornament or fridge magnet. Maybe some spices or special coffee blends. Can’t force me into a jewelry store.
    2 points
  33. Ray

    Gratuities are going up.

    Not going to comment on the link because everyone knows everything you read on the Internet is 100% true However i will comment on the fact the person i know who is bar staff on cruiseship received $1000 per month for their 1st contract. I cannot say if this has inceased each time they renewed contract as i have never asked as its none of my business. But to get to the figures mentioned thats a $3000 a year increase or roughly 30% per contract
    2 points
  34. I can't add much to this discussion except for this: Most of us tip according to a percentage of our bill. For example, most of us will tip 15% to 20% of our restaurant bill. However, RC changes a set price per day. So, it makes sense for them to increase the gratuities ever couple of years. The fact that they only do it once every 3 to 4 years even if the cruise prices have increase during that time means the staff is shorted before the next increase. It also makes sense for RC to have a fix rate since how much we each pay varies widely across the board. A percentage would not make sense. Yes, I prepaid the gratuities because I don't want the bill at the end of the cruise and because I know that I won't be able to find the people behind the scenes to thank them with a tip. Yes, even with prepaying the gratuities, I still tip more to brighten up someone day. Especially since I can afford to. I don't know if this will chance once I am a fixed income but it feels good to do it today.
    2 points
  35. Are you basing this on a 40 hour work week? Cruise ship employees work more than 8 hours a day and more than 5 days a week. The most recent glimpse I have seen was a pay of a little under $1400 a month for a 29 week contract. That $32K figure may be an average when you count officer level staff who do make more.
    2 points
  36. @TheRick, just be VERY happy that your wife went to Megan's Bay with you and did not discover that the very BEST deals on fine jewelry are in St. Thomas.
    2 points
  37. Personally, the mandatory tipping is not for me as I prefer to provide tips directly according to service. However, too many would be woefully short so I accept it to ensure that a far amount is received by those who serve. We have decided to consider it a minimum and then tip additional where we feel it is deserved. And then there are those who wouldn't get a nickel of the daily.... Back in January we were on the Allure for an 8 day. There was a room steward that was taking care of cabins closer to the elevator on our deck that we passed several times a day. Great guy, always singing and greeted us by name (we had stopped and briefly chatted with him on day 2) without fail. He wasn't taking care of our cabin but the day before we got back to Lauderdale I tipped him because he added so much to our experience. Without knowing what was in the envelope he expressed his gratitude and thanked us for the interactions during the week. I told him that when we got our survey we would mention him and to please keep that cheerful personality on full display as the world needed more of it. The next morning back in Lauderdale we got another big smile and a song.
    2 points
  38. That explains the difference in opinion, for me at least. I'm fine in an interior, lol, so that living area is huge to me. To each his own, as with most cruise-related opinions. No right or wrong answer.
    2 points
  39. Ray

    Gratuities are going up.

    I agree 100%!!!! I have always said what a person tips should be up to them however so many threads regarding tips ends up a who can p!$$ the furthest competition! Poster No1 i tip $1 per drink and $20 for cabin steward. Poster No2 i tip $5 per drink and tip my Cabin steward $50 Poster No 3 well i tip $10 per drink, $100 for cabin steward and i give guy cleaning pool my Platinum credit card and tell him to go have fun. When it comes to tips best just to do what you want because tbh anyone can WRITE that they do this or do that but there's no proof and those saying they tip 100s or 1000s could infact be tighter than 2 coats paint and actually not tip at all...
    2 points
  40. IMHO there is no need to justify or explain what you choose to do with your money. There is also no reason to try and shame others for what they want to do. I personally don't understand removing tips but that's something to do with my life and personal experiences. As a person who starting out serving in a pizza restaurant at 14, having to clean and restock a salad bar, I feel for most service workers. On a cruise ship many people often wear many hats, so that dishwasher could be the greeter one day, the same for the laundry person. I am blessed enough to be able to tip what I want, to choose what extras I want, and travel in any style I want. The key for me is to budget, I stop unnecessary spending months before any vacation as well as putting extra aside. I know not everyone can do this. I also think including gratuity in the fare, instead of a separate charge, might work better.
    2 points
  41. 2 points
  42. I will say I can afford suites but most times they don't make sense. The only time I feel like they do is if I am traveling with more than 3 people. That $3000 could be a whole other cruise in a JS. On the other hand, if you don't cruise often, I say do what makes you happy.
    2 points
  43. They really need to change it so if you answer "yes" to anything it takes you to a confirmation screen saying "hey this can disqualify you from sailing, are you sure this is accurate?" Especially now that the ticky tack questions are gone.
    2 points
  44. While I admit the cabin looks wonderful and I too hope to one day enjoy a grand suite - for the life of me I never understood the designer who thought it was a good idea to put the closet in the kitchen....
    2 points
  45. Sounds about right in line with all of Royals announcements lately........unclear.
    2 points
  46. Neighbors cat that crosses into my yard was not impressed when I tried to test it today.
    2 points
  47. I do not see anyone complaining about paying gratuities, it’s more of how they’re being charged. i find the phrase cheapskate being thrown around is very judgmental when no one here knows the heart or actions of another. Also the comment if you can pay for a cruise you can afford to pay whatever fees there are, is not totally accurate. Easy to say for anyone who can afford a cruise every year and especially be able to get a suite. FYI, not everyone is sitting on big 401ks. For my wife and I now on a fixed income It has taken years for us to be able to afford a cruise, and sleeping in our car many times on vacations just to save money. An extra $150 means something to us. If we can save $50-$75 by only tipping for the services we partake of that helps cover other costs. PS I realize that some that are paying for a suite had to save up for years to be able to do it. I am sure they’re not the ones calling people cheapskates. Also I think most working on the cruise line are making more than our combined Social Security even without tips. But I am not against tipping what I can afford.
    2 points
  48. That's per person. Perhaps he was calculating the total cost.
    2 points
  49. I’m totally testing my dog today, gotta use up my 28 govt tests.
    2 points
  50. teddy

    Gratuities are going up.

    I’m not singling you out personally, just calling attention to what you said….I’ve seen very similar things said recently, and not just here This describes the service industry as a whole, not just cruise ships. Prices are up on everything and there aren’t enough workers, even with increased wages. Seriously. I’m in retail. Since the pandemic started in early 2020, I’ve been working 6 and 7 days a week other than the three cruises we’ve taken. Costs have increased and we can’t find enough help. No one is happy…customers or workers. When we are lucky enough to have 7 to 8 days of doing nothing, we appreciate the people who wait on us. We not only pay the gratuities that Royal charges, we pay additional cash directly to the workers who have made a direct impact on us Food for thought: Something we hear from a lot from new hires who leave after a month or so is that they don’t want to work in retail because of the way they get treated by customers. I know I’ve personally seen crew on ships get talked to by guests in ways I don’t know if I could handle….and I’ve been interacting with customers for 37 years.
    2 points
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