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  1. Can I just clarify as I’m getting a little confused. One benefit of Star class is complimentary gratuities. Is this different from the normal pre paid gratuitues that I would put on any other cabin? Doing a couple of mock bookings for a star class suite and the pre paid gratuities are automatically tagged on. Do you still pay the pre paid gratuities with the star class perk or is it a glitch with the RCL site
  2. I had initially booked a BTB on Odyssey of the Seas for this November, 2020 (which was cancelled) and now I have a BTB booked for November / December 2021. The cruises are 6 and 8 nights each. I usually do the prepaid gratuities when I book online or with an agent (all of these booking were done online myself). Given that RCL charges $14.50 USD per person, per day, the grats should be $174 USD for the 6 night sailings and $232 USD for the 8 night sailings. The reason I ask is that when I added the prepaid gratuities for all four cruises, I was charged $520.16 CDN (which is approximately $397 USD) per cruise. It was the exact same amount for all 4 cruises, no matter the length of the sailing. This works out to approximately $33 USD per person, per night on the 6 night sailings, and $24.80 USD per person, per night on the 8 night sailings. We're traveling with another couple on one of the sailings, and they had the exact same issue. When I phoned, RCL wasn't able to handle the math (or my explanation), so I just had them remove the prepaid gratuities entirely. Anyone else have any issues with prepaid gratuities on Odyssey of the Seas bookings? You might want to check...
  3. First time poster, so please be kind! Only one cruise under our belt (the allure) and loved it. We prepaid gratuities and plan to do so for our 2020 cruise. I was talking with a friend today who also happens to be a travel agent. She made the comment that she prepays gratuities but depending how many nights they end up in MDR, then she has it adjusted at the end of the cruise. I was shocked. I had never considered that. We only ate in MDR one time because we liked the flexibility of Windjammer. Anyway...has anyone done that before? Is that common?
  4. Yay! So I booked my first EVER cruise! I am booked on a 12 day Ovation of the Seas from Sydney around New Zealand! The itineraries were released this past week. Thanks to the many people who have posted on these forums as I have lurked and learned from you all! I chose Ovation and leaned toward RCL because of these boards and Ovation was the newest ship in the area (though I think Princess Majestic might be newer). As an aviation geek I can definitely tell the difference between plane types but, I didn't know much about cruising and ships but these forums helped heaps and I am still learning! So I wanted to share a perspective from a Noob when booking a new cruise and hope to share my experience cruising in the future! Negative reviews: There are bound to be some rough currents; meaning, there are ALWAYS going to be whiners and grumps that complain about everything so take these with a grain of salt Positive reviews: There are going to be some over the top fabulousness reviews where everything was awesome...can everything REALLy be THAT awesome...also take these with a grain of salt. Research what cabin you want BEFORE bookings come out. I knew what cabin I wanted based on what was above, below, to the sides and even based on foot traffic and those whited out areas (which I avoided). I booked a forward balcony and it was only 200 more on the TOTAL, not per night. UNFORTUNATELY, the cabin I wanted wasn't showing up online. I wanted deck 9 and there was only one for the whole deck 9 and sailings were just released! I wanted starboard side but had to choose the only deck 9 cabin on the port! (more on this below) BOOK EARLY! I am not using an agent as I like to be in control. I booked via rcl.com Gratuities: for our 12 night cruise gratuities were added on by my choice just before payment and were clearly stated if you wanted to pay now or later. I opted to pay now and just pay the minimum deposit. Gratuities were $222 per person. On the same page it asks for traditional dining which gave the choice of 1730 or 2000. We chose 1730 because we also want to have time to go to the buffet later at night, oink! There was an option for my time dining but seems too much hassle for our first cruise. Keep up on Sales! So the day AFTER we booked our cruise RCL started a new promotion and of course got an email. I took the advice from many on here and did a dummy booking to see if it was cheaper and sure enough it was $256 CHEAPER! I did what Matt and you guys said to do and called up on my lunch break and with no waiting the girl on the phone said yes it is cheaper and she changed it for free! YAY! BUT WAIT....I wanted a specific cabin and asked politely if it were available because it wasn't showing on the website. She said is was available and saw it was the same price category and SCORE! We were now on the starboard side! EMAIL DINING: I emailed dining about a 2 topper. (like the lingo?) They replied and said that things were loaded about 50 days before sailing! So I will request again later. Thanks again for all info on these forums. No question (no matter how many times I saw asked) went unanswered. Cheers!
  5. Hello! First time cruiser here - am curious about a few things. 1. We booked our cruise (Adventure of the Seas, 7 nights, leaving July 6, 2018) through Expedia - I cannot figure out if dining gratuities are included. If not, what is the cost associated with 7 nights? 2. How does my time dining work? I see you can book a time to reserve your main dining room table every night. Can you choose different times each night? What happens if you change your plans and don't show up? Are you charged? Will they cancel future times? 3. To clarify - the buffet and main dining room are included in the cost of your cruise. Only specialty restaurants will be an additional charge? Thank you in advance! I am a crazy Disney World trip planner so I don't know how I didn't realize similar planning would need to happen for a cruise!
  6. I am going on the FOTS in March, 2018 and have not cruised in years with RCI. I am wondering if the free onboard credit given by RCI can be used to pay for the gratuities. I was not given a lot of OBC, and am willing to pay for the difference, of course. Any advice/knowledge would be truly appreciated. Thank you.
  7. Good Morning all, I have seen several posts that contradict each other on gratuities and the Drink packages.\ Some state that the gratuities are included, some state not. The terms and conditions stated on my Beverage offer is: (I actually read this stuff)(And yes, I tried to get the answer before asking) Online Beverages reservations for your sailing will be available up until 22-Mar-2017 11:59 PM EDT. If you are within the cut-off time, you will need to make reservations onboard. * Prices are per person unless otherwise noted and shown in USD. All selections are subject to change. Royal Caribbean International reserves the right to verify eligibility upon arrival to the activity. Prices subject to change without notice. Not all selections available on all sailings. Alternate selection of equal value may be substituted. TERMS AND CONDITIONS: *Prices subject to change without notice. Packages cannot be shared and are not transferable. Your check may reflect an additional tax for certain ports or itineraries. When ordering a beverage selection onboard, you must present your SeaPass card bearing the package sticker to your server. Upon arriving to the ship, please visit the Beverage display table at the ships Expo, check your Cruise Compass or ask your dining room waiter for more information. Beverage Packages must be pre-reserved a minimum of 2 days before your sail date. If you are within the cut off time, please visit a beverage table on the first day of your cruise to complete your purchase. Please note that orders cannot be modified once they have been purchased. To change an order, you will need to first cancel the existing order and then make a new purchase for your desired beverage package. Gratuity may be added to or included in the published price depending on itinerary. Selections are limited and subject to availability. Valid only for the voyage for which it was purchased and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional programs. No refunds for previous days will be issued. As of 0617 Central time on the 31st of January, 2017, what is the policy? Do I pay 18% on top of each drink or not? Thanks, Russ
  8. It's our 1st cruise coming up. Are we really going to be charged $12.95 per day gratuity for our 10 year old and our 3 year old? I have read where you can opt out of gratuities if you want. Is it bad cruise ship etiquette to opt out of paying $26.00 per day gratuities for 2 young children?
  9. Gratuity; [gruh-too-i-tee, -tyoo-] Word Origin noun, plural gratuities. 1. a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip. 2. something given without claim or demand. dictionary.com There are also some labor code issues in California, and I’m sure in other States: Labor Code Section 351 prohibits employers and their agents from sharing in or keeping any portion of a gratuity left for or given to one or more employees by a patron. Furthermore it is illegal for employers to make wage deductions from gratuities, or from using gratuities as direct or indirect credits against an employee’s wages. The law further states that gratuities are the sole property of the employee or employees to whom they are given. "Gratuity" is defined in the Labor Code as a tip, gratuity, or money that has been paid or given to or left for an employee by a patron of a business over and above the actual amount due for services rendered or for goods, food, drink, articles sold or served to patrons. I don’t know how Royal Caribbean Ltd is addressing the accounting of this mandatory fee to each and every person that boards their ships. But then again, they are not an American corporation. The corporation is in Liberia and based in Miami. I do not know the implications of that, nor care to. Another thing. Now they are offering free gratuities on select cruises. isn't that an oxymoron? How can they give you something free, when it is a free choice to begin with? These are not gratuities. This is not a gratuity, it is a fee. And if it is given out as a tiered amount to the service providers (asto position, time on the job, salary,ect.) and not an equal amount to everyone, is it not, a fee for salary? If you multiply the number of rooms and then the number of people in that room and times it by the mandatory “gratuity chargeâ€, we are paying the service staff's salary. This is a significant charge. Are we shown where that money goes? I would venture to guess that the trickle down effect to the actual service providers is miniscule. But, back to the mis-labeling of an added fee as a gratuity. A mandatory fee, or as Royal Caribbean labels it, gratuity, if not given to reward above and beyond regular service, the service provider is not motivated to provide over the top service if they get the same pay regardless. The "not so good" people and paid exactly the same as the "outstanding" people. But, now, Royal Caribbean encourages you to tip more if you see a great person. We pay a “gratuityâ€, then Royal Caribbean encourages us to double tip. Does that make any sense? Also what about the port intensive stops when most of the ships cruisers are gone all day and the charge for the whole day of disembarkation and the whole day of disembarking? So may questions? These charges are each and every day times each and every person, doesn’t matter if you are there or not, or if you are able to use them or not. I regress. The charge for the cruise, unless you are in a high end Suite, can be 50% or less than the total cost of the cruise. Royal Caribbean tries to make more on, not in rank order, the Drinks, Photos, Excursions, and now you can add to that list, Mandatory Gratuities. Some feel this is deceptive pricing and feel blind-sided when they get home to find out they paid double or more, than they actually thought. Doesn’t feel good. I still feel that Royal Caribbean and all their cruise lines offer the best bang-for-our-buck, but these issues are troubling. Why is Royal Caribbean getting involved in these practices that are causing a lot of cruisers (first timers and long devoted ones) grief? Only management can answer these questions. In the mean time, we all are just wanting to have FUN and not have to think about these things. But when issues keep bubbling to the top, they need corporate attention. Or at least a much different approach. Even the best of companies, in the best of times, need to differentate themselves from everyone else and get ahead of the pack. Royal Caribbean does that with cruise destinations and ports offered. Go beyond what is expected. WOW us.
  10. Just noticed that in the Cruise Planner, all beverage packages have the gratuities built in to the price of the package rather than added on separately. Royal Refreshment - $8 Royal Replenish - $22 Select - $42 Water - $47 Premium - $57 Ultimate - $67 All the above are in USD. Just thought I'd share.
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