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Everything posted by lildawgscottFL

  1. You said the above, but you also said "I never had that “omg I’m on a cruise” excitement, and I wasn’t even sad to pack up and head home " - and that's why I'm nervous! How can I set my expectations any lower than "omg I'm on a cruise" - that's the whole point! If it doesn't make me feel something exciting, then I will remain loyal to Royal.
  2. Thanks, Kristen! That was quite an effort you put forth for us! I'm even more concerned now about my upcoming NCL cruise.
  3. I would have polished off the bottle! The drink package + single-malt scotch = heavenly indulgence!!
  4. What they said ^^^ Navigator is the "no brainer" option! Especially if you're a newbie! Enchantment is more subdued (aka less to do, older crowd), but it is still wonderful for a "seasoned" cruiser. The Navigator-class and Freedom-class ships are, for me, the sweet spot between getting a whole lot for your money while not spending a lot of your money (a la Oasis-class and Quantum-class). It will be a big win for you!
  5. Could not agree more! And, it is absolutely not cynical. You are simply being objective and merely reflecting the unfortunate reality of a certain percentage of people. We see it every day, regrettably. On the flip side, we also have coworkers who are true teammates - people I tip share with willingly and enthusiastically. And, I have seen people like that working together on Royal. That is when you know you have found a great bar!
  6. @FManke confirmed: they only share with each other - no longer do they share with other bars (as per the lead bartender at 270 on Anthem)
  7. I remember once I was told by the R Bar lead bartender on Freedom about how the tip sharing worked on board. He said a few different bars all shared together. However, the last cruise I was on (Navigator), that R Bar lead bartender told me that was not the case for them. She said they only share with each other - not other bars. I have a message into one of my friends, who is a lead bartender on Anthem at 270, to gather more information for you.
  8. I am sorry. I really was not aiming at anyone in particular or meaning to offend. I do understand that "rude" angle and I feel that is a problem with cocktail service in the MDR. You are 100% correct. Personally, I will not leave the table to get a drink. I will either bring one with me or wait until dinner is over. It is unfortunate, but that is the reality of cocktail service in the MDR. Again, I apologize if you thought I was calling you out specifically.
  9. Sorry for my delay. I had taken quite some time to write you a lengthy reply on 08/10, but it got deleted and I got pissed off about it, so I closed the browser and left the room! I apologize that I have not gotten back to you until today. To make a long reply short, I am not a fan of the upfront, large tip. A little extra on Day 1, just to show them you're serious? Okay, I get that. But, not the whole week's worth in one shot. Besides, you need to shop around for the best bar and bartenders. It could take a little time to discover that. Just remember that, like branding, repetition is key. They may get all excited on Day 1 with a big tip, but the emotion wears off. Give them a medium tip and then continue to tip throughout, and you will get better service. You need to keep hope alive! Keep them guessing, "Will this be a small one or the big kahuna!?" It is the basic Pavlovian response! If you do not drink alcohol, how does your generosity toward a bartender benefit you? What is your end game?
  10. Speaking as one in the industry.... NEVER USE A COCKTAIL SERVER!!! Granted, that is an overgeneralization, but for the most part, it is true. (That includes the MDR.) First, they are slower. Three reasons for that: they are not the ones making your drink the bartender making the cocktail servers' drinks will always prioritize the guest sitting directly in front of him or her over the guest he or she cannot see at the cocktail server's table; the cocktail server has to walk around the lounge, pool deck, etc. while the bartender has everything he or she needs at his or her immediate disposal; the cocktail server can only visit one table at a time, whereas the bartender can make several guests' drinks at one time, especially if the guests order the same cocktails. Second, cocktail servers are almost always less capable, which is why they are still servers and not yet bartenders. Sometimes, that is not their fault. They may be new or young or just have not been trained yet. However, I like the pros! Bartenders are usually the pros! And again, that, too, is a generalization. I have met my share of crappy bartenders. However, on the whole, servers work their way UP to become bartenders. Thus, by the nature of that merit-based system, bartenders will typically be better than cocktail servers. Third, cocktail servers do not make your cocktails. That may seem obvious, but most people do not even consider that fact. Thus, they have no control as regards the final product's quality. As much as the company (in this case, Royal) wants there to be 100% consistency between every drink at every bar on every ship, we all know that is an impossible standard for many reasons. At the end of the day, all you care about is your own personal drink - it had better be the best it can be! (let other people get bad drinks ) The way to ensure that you get a great drink is to bond with a bartender. DO NOT MISTAKE ME HERE. Tipping helps, but if you are a jerk, you will likely still get a bad drink. Remember, bartenders are people first, bartenders second - treat them as such. They are not slaves. They make a choice to be there. They can make a choice not to be. So treat them with respect. And then also tip them well! Just because you have the drink package, does not mean you will get the best drinks. Someone who tips well can make not having the drink package go a long way. Additionally, I do not merely want the best quality drinks; I also want the best service. I want to skip the line. I want them to remember my name. I want them bending over backward to make sure I am happy. And so on. There is only so much a cocktail server can do. A bartender, on the other hand, can have a significant impact on your cruise vacation - particularly if that bartender is also the lead bartender. (Pro Tip: learn who the lead bartender is very early on in your cruise. They know things!) Fourth (and final for now), unless you are sitting far away from the bar and have a good reason not to get up (broken foot, etc.), get your lazy butt up! On every ship I have been on, the bar is never too far away. Hmm? It is like Royal planned it that way. The bar is a very social place - both with the bartenders and with your fellow guests. It is a cruise! Do not isolate and insulate yourself - mingle! Make it a party! Make memories! Make lifelong cruise friends! It is much harder to do that from your lounge chair, your MDR table, or your theater chair. The Europeans have the pub culture figured out. They got it right! So do as they do and mozy up to the bar - your cruise vacation will be better off for it in countless ways. And leave the MDR for dining!
  11. bingo! nail on the head! tail on the donkey! (insert cliche here)!
  12. Hey girl, hey! No way! DRF was so much fun!!! Yes, it's true, it's jamming with people. Yes, it's true, they're trying to sell you stuff you don't want at every turn. BUT! It's a memory I'll have forever!! After all, how often can you climb a waterfall? https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B41VaJKWq_l0NC0zd3RVNjZqQ0k/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B41VaJKWq_l0TWwzbzFJMEptcG8/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B41VaJKWq_l0T25JS201NmlVSGc/view?usp=sharing
  13. Jack Daniels is the McDonald's of booze - it's ubiquitous, it's reasonably priced, it tastes fine, but nothing to write home about, and it's got brand recognition. Thus, every bar carries it, just like they all carry Johnny Black and Smirnoff and Bacardi. Unfortunately, it's not the bars' fault - it is the fault of the uneducated consumer. Hence, I drink Jack when they have nothing else available, and Smirnoff and Bacardi - NEVER JWB!!! Yuck!
  14. If I ever found Ardbeg Uigeadail, I'd be in heaven! I did find Talisker Storm though on Harmony (or maybe Navigator). But, it's like you're alluding to, make friends with the bartenders! They can find things that they can hide away just for you. My R Bar staff was the best and they did that for me!
  15. There definitely is Scotch on board and it is definitely included in your Premium Drink Package. Have no fear! Defining "good Scotch" is an individual thing. For me, I "settle" for their selections of decent Scotches. They used to have a few better ones, but quality has declined in recent years. As for getting it in the MDR after dinner, my experience is that you are better off leaving the MDR, getting it at a nearby bar, and then returning to your table. Or, simply wait until you have left the MDR. The bar service in the MDR is notoriously slow. (The bar service in specialty restaurants - Chops, 150, etc. - is significantly faster, but still slower than one would like.) The other option you have is to discuss your desire with your wait staff. These guys and gals are usually incredible!! Truly the soul of the MDR. Let them know this is something you will want every night and most of these fine people will make sure it is done for you. They are very good at learning behaviors, habits, likes, dislikes, etc., but they are even better when you help them learn by simply telling them! Just remember, you are asking them for a little something extra. Reflect a little something extra in their gratuity! Finally, as for selections on each specific ship, listen to FManke's advice and search this blog for the menus. That is your best bet. Other than that, you can stay apprised by joining groups on Facebook and simply asking people who just got off of your cruise ship. Hope that helps.
  16. Brandon, Jim, and Heidi...... Welcome Aboard!!! B) :D (sorry for my delayed welcome)
  17. According to the very definition you quoted, sir, a gratuity is "an additional charge placed for services rendered." Your opinion of Royal's business practices may be valid, but do not take your grudge out on the server/bartender. Protesting by not tipping does not hurt Royal - it hurts the crew member. Moreover, the practice of tipping ensures the highest quality of service. If there were no tips, the servers/bartenders would do just enough to not get fired. It is a capitalistic model that rewards productivity and punishes the lack thereof. All I am hearing from your argument is a justification to withhold from someone something that they rightfully earned. If you want to withhold, withhold from cruising until Royal changes their policy. Or, if it is a matter of not being able to afford the gratuity, then perhaps affording a cruise is beyond your means as well. Call tipping by whatever name you wish, but do not call it unjustified. These people work hard (for the most part) and earn the money. What is out of control is the belief that one deserves anything. Everything in life is earned - including the service you receive on a Royal Caribbean ship. If there is no fair value exchange, then you are simply robbing the server of his/her service, and that is morally corrupt.
  18. Of course I tipped! :angry: Put that coffee back in your mouth, sir! ;) First, there was an 18% gratuity added to the bill. Second, I almost always leave cash. The bartenders like it better. Third, that receipt was from BEFORE I purchased the drink package. Once I did buy the package, I would put out our two room cards and some cash IMMEDIATELY, so they'd know they were about to get money on top of the included gratuity. Nothing gives bub! Don't you have a bar you're supposed to be at! :P
  19. Welcome aboard Ken and Gaye! I'm so jealous you'll be on Harmony before us! I'm busting! We have to wait until January. :-( But, at least we get to go! Woo hoo! :-)
  20. Just FYI, my wife uploaded the Cruise Compass we got from Enchantment just last week. Matt has already posted it on his blog. You can see some, if not all, of what may be your entertainment options. And, for the record, while it wasn't quite as thrilling as Oasis class entertainment, it was nevertheless fabulous! We loved every bit of it! Still, I can't wait to get on Harmony next January! Grease is the word!
  21. Usually I'm a Whisky man - Scotch Whisky to be precise. On board, however, I simply cannot resist the Death By Chocolate Collins at the R Bar. I also have a Caipirinha tradition at Boleros. I must have at a least one Caipirinha per cruise. A new tradition is to have a Pina Colada made with Malibu, to be enjoyed in the Solarium hot tub! Preferably, we like to have it on boarding day before anyone else finds out about the Solarium hot tub. If we can be relaxing and imbibing before noon, we've won! Also, Scotch. Did I mention Scotch? ;-)
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