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mike last won the day on June 7 2015

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  1. Thanks for the input doc :) . I knew carnival could be a bit cheaper, but this helps explain why my brothers family of 4 couldnt come close on price to sail with me on Royal sometime.
  2. Odd indeed that they have no minute packages at all left. It makes me wonder if they intend to get prices to rediculously low levels as the fleet slowly upgrades to the new satelite tech. 7 days without internet. The thought brings me to tears :P .
  3. Keep in mind on the 60/day package that you have pretty much any and all drinks covered. As such make sure to factor in soda and other covered non alcoholic drinks when deciding if it is right or not for you. Personally I drink 1-2 a night on vacation. It fits me more to buy a la carte. If I can find that awesome flavored water anytime that they have in the Windjammer at lunch I may have to reconsider any package though. Seriously that stuff was pretty tasty :P . In any event the soda package at a minimum really isnt a bad idea just for the water part. Stock up over the day and take with you off the ship for a way cheaper alternative to buying highly overpriced tourist water.
  4. I think there are definitely 2 types of service professionals, those who let tips come as they will and those who get a little pushy. Mix in there the customers comfort level with societal norm amounts for the gratuities and you have a great recipe for 'mileage may vary'. I've tipped the 15% mark on land and felt comfortable, sometimes bumping to 20%, especially if im not paying cash. The 18% gratuity onboard the ships is already pushing past my land standard and is why I personally dont feel the compulsion to tip more unless they just plain knocked it out of the park for me. Another way to look at it is my feeling of 'hey, youre getting 18%, you could get 0 if I just dont get drinks at this bar or skip spa service' etc etc. The good service staff IMO will as I said let the tips come to them, not get pushy. As a side note I think some staff stand there when they hand it to you on a cruise simply because they dont want to inconvenience you with having to hunt them down again just to hand over a slip that takes 2 seconds to sign.
  5. The fact that they changed Jamies back to flat rate leads me to think that at worst Royal might try this with each specialty and keep or change back as they find what restaurants people are willing to pay a la carte for. So far only Izumi has managed this. Honestly because of Jamies I'm not terribly worried the fad will catch on with Royal, but I guess only time will tell.
  6. You are correct, and yes unless the service went way above what you would expect a bartender to do I would sign and forget. I paid a la carte last time and didnt leave extra tip and still received good service.
  7. Honestly I thought the compromise they came to with DD classic would have been a perfect balance. Perhaps they continued to get feedback indicating otherwise?
  8. Considering all of the above, I think it all comes down to pay. I know of few people personally who would take a partial year contract besides k-12 teachers. Add to that making sub 10/hr when accounting for all 12 months again I know of no one that would do it for that. By U.S. standards, its not much above a hotel or fast food equivilent pay.I think in this case it just boils down to pay, time worked per week and seperation from pretty much everything you know.
  9. I agree with you, it's indeed hard to tell though I lean to imagined just as sugar causing hyperactivity has been proven to be a placebo effect (a proper meal will do the same for energy levels). I don't doubt that for some employees the auto gratuities lead to diminished output. However, far more often than not I think bad or poor service can be linked to any number of other causes such as bad training, bad day/personal drama going on, work problems etc. I think the best way to try and determine the impact of auto gratuities is to amass some simple data be it here or in a dedicated thread. Stuff like ship, sailing date/ days and good fair or bad service rating in a few main categories such as housekeeping, food staff, bar staff and administrative. Perhaps aim for a week cool off period to let excitement or rage subside for as objective an opinion as possible. As I generally believe the facts when laid bare, I see this as a golden oportunity to do some sciencing of our own. Any interest in this anyone?
  10. I couldn't agree more with Matt. At the end of the day with Navigator being at a virtual tie with the Independence I would go for the economy option personally. More money to spend onboard or a several day longer cruise on a ship truly worthy of the 'wow' factor like Navigator sounds like a win win to me.
  11. This... this made me laugh so hard it hurts :P . But yeah, they're hitting hard today. I just seen volley 2 arrive. These bots mean buisness. Well, shady buisness lol. Yes I know bad pun is bad. Seriously though, as if it really needs said... fake passports are a surefire way to spend years in jail for trying to cheap out $100 or so. Any trip out of country, cruise or not, is magnitudes more in cost. Just spend the 100ish and get it the legal way(through your countries government) and save the risk of being someone's cell neighbor for years. Does this need said one may ask? Of course its common sense another may say! My one reply.... "seriously, have you even SEEN my generation?" :)
  12. Royal really should, if they haven't already, put out a recipee book with just their alcoholic drink recipes. I'd love to know exactly which specifics they use in drinks that can vary some such as the mai tai.
  13. I looooved Chops. For that matter even the Windjammer steak at lunch one day was great. Royal does steaks wonderfully.
  14. I tend to agred with you, people often seem to think a safety device(or person) is a substitution for active involvement. Unless there was only a handful of people in the pool I cant see how anyone would trust a preteen in the pool without their own parent supervising. A perfect example comes from I believe here in the states a few years ago when an adult woman drowned in a public pool and no one noticed her body for DAYS. Yes the lifeguard was notified and ignored the boy who reported it, but the fact a busy pool had no one notice for days speaks volumes. This is precisely why I say no one or thing is a proper substitute for active parental supervision. As the old saying goes ' if you want something done right...' .
  15. http://www.royalcaribbean.com/customersupport/contactUs.do A list of numbers depending on location. Being American I don't know if youre intended to call an Italian number since only a fax number is listed for the UK. One thing to note though is to my knowledge it has always been after final payment no modifications (other than the mentioned exception above) can be done as I believe mentioned in the contract acknowledged on payment. The last minute deals have been cheap fares for those who have yet to book or make final payment. Royal has however said they are ending last minute deals in the very near future so as to prevent any more of the same frustration I believe you are experiencing. While promotions will still arise, no more super cheap "last minute" fares should happen anymore soon.
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