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Posts posted by twangster

  1. 6 hours ago, ScottD said:

    Something a bartender told me a few months back is that they only get the gratuity if they serve something other than water to someone with a deluxe package... he told me when people come up and grab bottles of water, they aren't entered into the computer, they just hand those out when a card is flashed, therefore no record of the "sale". So he would constantly try to talk them into taking a soda or  can of beer to bring back to the room for later so he could enter an actual transaction, which then brings up his "sales" and adding to his daily tips.  I saw him practically begging a guy to take a red bull or coke with him and the guy kept declining, just wanted the water... I asked him why he was trying to push the cans so much, and he explained this all to me.  This and the fact that no one really tips cash on a water 

    I cash tip water.  Not much different than a beer from a bartenders level of effort.  Since I cash tip a beer, I cash tip water.

  2. 12 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

    Having my ArriveCAN ready to go (and never needed) when boarding a cruise an Vancouver ranks up there with having all my covid testing paperwork ready to go to re-enter the USA (and never needed) when we got flown back from the Bahamas on a private jet when my son was "quarantined" for exposure on Adventure back in 2021.

    ArriveCAN was always matched to my passport and not shown to CBSA.  I crossed a number of times when ArriveCAN was required, driving and flying, and ArriveCAN compliance was noted on screen to the CBSA agent when they swiped my passport.   It's only when you didn't complete ArriveCAN would you really find out that it mattered.  Visitors would get a slap on the wrist, Canadian residents faced the possibility of crazy high fines.  

  3. 18 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

    So can we interpret this to mean they only get 8% of that 18% service charge per drink?

    And reading further on, they get even less from a drink package drink, and even less than less if they work on an older ship.
    No wonder they appreciate straight cash tips.

    I've been told this before. 

    Some of the money goes into a crew fund that pays for crew parties off the ship on select port days.  Not everyone can go to all such events but over the course of a contract there is opportunity to participate in many such events.  Crew beyond bar staff are invited.  Some of the money goes into an employee assistance fund of some sort although that is an interpretation based on a concept I was told about.  Almost like a hardship fund is what it sounded like, administered by management.  

  4. Back when Canada required a COVID app be filled out for every entry this type of itinerary required filling out the app twice as each entry to Canada was unique.  

    When a ship stops in Victoria before ending in Seattle the immigration process is performed automatically, at least for US citizens.  Like any cruise ship arriving to a port of call, the ship announces that the ship has been cleared.  At that point everyone is free to leave the ship without being processed or seeing CBSA on land.  Citizens beyond WHTI countries may be handled differently.

  5. Royal's train departs later in the day from a station near the airport in Anchorage and it ends right at the cruise terminal in Seward.  It leaves later so that fly in guests landing in the morning can make the train but this means it arrives in Seward late afternoon or early evening. This is a charter train with only Royal guests on board.

    The Alaskan Railroad direct train operates from the downtown Anchorage station and ends at the public train station in Seward.  This is a ten minute walk or a complimentary coach ride to the cruise terminal.  The direct train leaves early in the morning and arrives in Seward mid-day.  Anyone can book the direct train including tourists who are not taking a cruise.

    Goldstar isn't always offered on the Royal charter train.  It depends.  I'd call and ask.  If it is the on-board experience will be the same as the direct Goldstar booked train.

    In both cases once you handoff your luggage in Anchorage you won't see it again until it is outside your cabin door on the ship.

    Personally I like arriving earlier to the ship so I tend to book direct.

  6. 10 hours ago, TYCruise said:

    Interesting.  Then it seems like they are leaving money on the table sailing the ship empty.  Maybe the logistics are too much?  In the video above it said that the Norwegian Bliss could only sail under when it was low tide.

    In order to sail from Vancouver to LA the ship has to get to Vancouver.  That means the last Seattle departure would have to return to Vancouver.  For those guests it becomes a PITA to get home from Vancouver when compared to returning to Seattle and flying home domestically from Seattle.  That scares off a lot of US guests who desire a Seattle round trip cruise for simplicity and lower airfare costs.

    For Hawaii they have no choice but to use Vancouver to satisfy the PVSA so they do.  Ending a Seattle based cruise in Vancouver is another matter.

    In the past they sometimes offered a one or two night repo cruise between Seattle and Vancouver but those were lightly booked and often very cheap, to the point it's not worth it.    

    A short Vancouver to LA cruise might appeal to a few, but not masses.  Vancouver, like all Canadian cities has high airport fees so flying to Vancouver costs more money.  For a short cruise like a proposed Vancouver to LA repo you can easily spend more money on airfare compared to cruise fare.  It appeals to some, but not many.  When many aren't going to book it, it's more cost effective to run without any guests.

  7. 1 hour ago, Ryan79 said:

    Also, Ensenada is used as a foreign port for cruises out of LA all the time. Ensenada is only 200 miles from San Pedro

    Ensenada is a foreign port but it is not a distant foreign port as defined in the PVSA.  

    Ensenada obviously works fine as a foreign port for closed loop San Pedro cruises.  It doesn't meet the requirements for a open jaw or one way cruise between two different US cities. 

  8. 1 hour ago, Gilley said:

    My husband was matched to my status so he is now diamond.  He got the drink package and I got refresher package for our upcoming Icon cruise. Can I use his vouchers and if so how do I go about it.  Should I get my wow band activated for him or do we always have to be together for him to buy me a drink using his card.  I hate to let the vouchers go to waste.  Im afraid if I need his card he won’t be able get drinks in the casino which is where he will spend most of his time🤦‍♀️

    He can share his vouchers but since he has the drink package they may initially react as though he is trying to share drink package drinks.  He'll need to be very clear, "I'd like to use one of my Diamond drinks for my wife and a drink for me using the drink package".  Just be very clear he is trying to order you a drink using his Diamond vouchers, not the drink package and you should be fine.

  9. They can't sail with passengers between two US cities without having to deal with the PVSA (Passenger Vessel Services Act - Federal Law).

    Seattle to San Pedro would require sailing to an allowed "distant" foreign country such as South America or Asia along the itinerary to satisfy the PVSA.  For the purposes of the PVSA, Canada is not a "distant" foreign port so it can't be used to satisfy the PVSA for open jaw cruises between different US cities.

    Consequently they have a choice.  End the last Alaska cruise in Vancouver and sail from Vancouver to San Pedro with passengers or sail without passengers from Seattle to San Pedro.  Ending the last Seattle based cruise to Alaska in Vancouver is massively disruptive to all the folks on board who would now have to deal with flying home from Vancouver in another country.   It appears they chose the second option, an empty "deadhead" repo cruise from Seattle to San Pedro.

  10. Call Royal.  Just explain it's a what if scenario, unsure if it will happen.  

    The other family will need to do the changes to their cabins so maybe a conference call with them, or get together around the kitchen table.

    The only complication is removing guests from your cabin so you are solo.  You'll have a cabin capable of 3 people so you may be repriced when dropping to solo, and maybe forced to move cabins at prevailing rates.  Maybe have some fake names to join you in your cabin so that doesn't happen.

  11. 55 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

    I'm curious why they don't go to Bimini more.  It can handle larger ships, but only Vision class stops there and only once in a while.

    For one they need to blitz PDCC as much as possible.  Spend there stays with Royal.

    For a second reason, the Bimini pier was built by a competitor.  Going there puts money in someone else's pocket. 

    Virgin has little choice.  They need somewhere to go.  They don't have their own port or private island so anywhere they go is putting money in someone else's pocket.  Other cruise lines, not so much.    

  12. 28 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

    I'd love to know what percentage of suite guests on those ships buy internet. Enough to where offering it for free would hurt the bottom line? I doubt it.

    The question they are asking is... If Voom was included would more people book a suite on these older ships?

    Probably not.  So they don't offer it. 

    There is little reason to offer something that will reduce revenue while not motivating people to step up to a suite.  The demographic that books suites on the older ships is going to book suites on the older ships with or without Voom included.  

  13. I would have a conversation with the deck supervisor.  Ask for them specifically, that is who the cabin attendant reports to.  

    Explain how you marked the glasses and they were not replaced despite your request.  Let them manage their crew member and coach them to do better.  

    BTW - there is a national noro outbreak going on.  It's in the news but largely being ignored because the media hasn't yet tagged cruise ship to the noro headlines.


    Feb. 27, 2024
    A norovirus outbreak is impacting communities nationwide and the CDC says its crucial that everyone take precautions from the highly contagious stomach bug. NBC’s Dr. Tara Narula breaks down the symptoms and ways to stay safe on TODAY.


  14. 1 hour ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

    Another ship that I have noticed is priced way beyond what it is worth is Liberty out of Bayonne. Not saying that Liberty is a bad ship, but like Navigator, the pricing is ridiculous for what it is, and what it doesn't come with compared to other ships.


    3 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

    I still can't believe Navigator and Star have similar suite prices.

    Despite that Royal insists they can't include Voom on the older ship full suites because they are so much cheaper.  🤷‍♂️

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