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Princess cruises: 1) non-alcoholic drinks; 2) art auction

Princess cruises: 1) non-alcoholic drinks; 2) art auction

Old Aug 22, 02, 10:01 pm
  #1  
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Princess cruises: 1) non-alcoholic drinks; 2) art auction

Sorry to post this on this forum, as opposed to the cruise forum - I suspect I might get more readers and responders to this post, here.

I was on a cruise for the first time in my life (Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, on the Dawn Princess) - overall, a marvelous experience.

I have 2 particular comments:

1) I was irritated about the policy for non-alcoholic beverages - that they are not automatically covered (ie an extra charge is required), notwithstanding the travel agent, and the cruise line telephone representatives' statements to the contrary.

Soft drinks are not covered - one has to pay extra per drink, or a flat fee for unlimited drinks (from the fountain, not canned drinks).

Juices are charged in the bars, and in the buffet area (juice is not charged there during breakfast hours) - they are not charged in the dining rooms.

Hot chocolate is charged, except as part of room service.

I wonder what the policy of charges is, for nonalcoholic beverages on other cruise lines.

2) It is nice that Princess offers an art auction - they claim that of all the cruise lines, who offer the art auction, only Princess cruise lines buy directly from the artist, without going through a middle man.

The starting prices were quite good. The main type of art that was offered was prints - very few original oil paintings were offered.
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Old Aug 22, 02, 11:20 pm
  #2  
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You have pretty much described all of the mass market lines, with the only soft drink difference is some charge in the dining room and some don't.

I would be amazed any cruise agent or travel agent told you Soda was covered, it's very clearly spelled out in their brochures and website it's not, and it's something most cruisers complain about.

The art auctions are also on every cruise line (the mass market ones).

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Old Aug 23, 02, 9:34 pm
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Will Randy, it this self admitted mispost (one of many such admissions) enough to move it or not?

I suggest we eliminate monitors, or eliminate poster that continue to mispost on purpose or out of laziness.

I agree with the poster that there are lots of orphans since the board was expanded to pages of topics. I have posted in the "West" forum without response. I am not surprised as only one post each week seems to happen, and seldom is there a reply or better several.

Should the condensation of the board begin? I put this hear for the specific of getting this moved to where it "belongs". I believe the topic of board consolidation would be best posted by you.

Reason for edit is below

An earlier post by 1director also admit to being misposted. The area they suggest is also, in my opinion incorrect in its logic. They did not post in Hyatt because it is about NY. So it was not posted in Hyatt, not in NY but in this forum. Most confusing. This too should probably be moved, but to where? The new massive forums is not working, in my opinion.

[This message has been edited by ranles (edited 08-23-2002).]
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Old Aug 24, 02, 10:53 am
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This is one of the reasons that my family and I prefer all inclusive resorts to cruises. We also enjoy exploring one location.
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Old Aug 25, 02, 3:15 am
  #5  
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This past May, my wife and I took our first cruise - we chose the Grand Princess, 7-day cruise from Ft.Lauderdale.

Overall, it was a very nice experience and we can't wait until our next cruise - planning on Princess again. The ship, room, intinery, food, service, and comedy shows were all excellent. Despite my wife and I being ages 35 & 28, we were some of the youngest on the ship, but we chose the cruise for its ship, price, itinery, rating, and food(great for out tastes).

The only disappointments were the policy for drinks and tips. Skipped the art auctions (don't buy art), but have read it is best to avoid them anyway.

Drinks - Out of all that food they include, a fountain soda probably costs the cruise line 5 cents or less - they can't include that? Just another way to pad the cruise price. We knew in advance that the soft drinks were not included, so I considered bringing a case with us, but decided against it when we learned that for $17.50 each, we could get unlimited drinks (fountain only). Condidering an average of 6 drinks per day for 6 1/2 days, that's less than 50 cents each - so its not worth it to BYO. Coffee, Tea, and milk are always free.

Tips - Automatically added to your open account. $10/per day, per person. Now how can it be a tip when they bill you for it? Sounds more like a surcharge - which comes back to padding the bill. Princess does clearly state that the "tip" is voluntary and can be reduced at the end of the cruise. Adjusting the tip requires standing in line and then going through the hoops to justify why you are reducing the tip, followed by a reply of why you shouldn't reduce the tip. I did go through the hoops because the tip was itemized as $3.50/per day, per person for room service and $6.50/per day, per person for dining; however, the dining is figuring 3 meals per day in the sitdown dining room - we only ate 3 meals out of 21. I didn't feel that we should have to tip on the days we didn't go. We did go to the buffet - which, as it is self serve, standard tipping customs do not require tipping; although, the cruise rep said otherwise. I decided to give the tips directly to the employees - in person and in cash! In addition to the $10/per day, per person($140 total) automatically billed to our account, all of the paid drinks(excluding the $17.50 fountain drink sticker) had an automatic 10% tip added. The drink "tip" was stated in advance and can not be reduced if the service is bad, which it was not.

I wonder if the cruise line keeps any of the "tips" or deducts a "fee" before distributing them? I also wonder how the cruise line distributes them? Anyone know?

I feel that when a "tip" is either automatically added to a bill, for an owner or partner, "suggested", solicited, or redistributed to other employees, it is no longer a tip! - It becomes more like a wage or surcharge. Wages should be paid by the cruise company and surcharges should not BE at all. Instead of Princess(or any other cruise line) telling me that the cruise is $700, then later telling me they need $70 more for employee wages, why can't they just be honest and up-front and tell me the cruise will cost $770! Even if the price was $770, that is still a great deal and I would have not hesitated to pay it. It's not the price I dislike, it's the way they bait with one price and then try to switch it to another. If they can bait and switch, can I charge and then self-rebate?

[This message has been edited by Aubie (edited 08-25-2002).]
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Old Sep 1, 02, 5:08 pm
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On every cruise I have taken, soda is not free, and I think the way it is written up in the cruise brochures is that "certain beverages" are not free.

We have gotten great rates on cruises, and I am sure the cruise lines look to make money wherever they can -- shore excursions, bongo, overpriced trinkets, photos and souvenirs. The airlines would love to be able to have these "other charges" -- actually, they are working on it.

You could always order iced tea, which is free, and/or bring your own for the first leg of your journey, and then buy more when you stop at the ports.
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Old Sep 1, 02, 10:26 pm
  #7  
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The thing that cracks me up is the coffee.

You do realize that it is liquid instant coffee that you are drinking? Did you ever notice that no one ever brews a new pot, and you never see it dripping as it's made... Liquid instant, even in many restaurants on land.

The exception to this is at the bar/lounge, where a real cuppa the good stuff is always made and you can see them using real coffee grounds.

(We were on the Crown and the Grand Princesses, but it's the same everywhere)
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Old Sep 2, 02, 11:48 am
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The actual amount of the suggested tips is comparatively small compared to staying in a land-based resort in the U.S. It's only being surprised that is unpleasant. On your next cruise you will know what to expect.

You should absolutely feel free to tip less or not at all if you were unhappy with the service. On one cruise I received minimal service from the cabin steward and did not tip him. Usually the waiters are so good I give extra.

Also, I always order expensive bottles of wine and reduce the tip on those through the purser before disembarking. I think $5/bottle is plenty to tip on wine.
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Old Sep 2, 02, 3:17 pm
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So THAT'S why cuiseline coffee tastes so bad...and on my last RCL Cruise, they started using a different iced tea that didn't taste as good either.
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Old Sep 2, 02, 6:55 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by DADISGARYK:
.... they started using a different iced tea that didn't taste as good either.</font>
@@ I learned from Delta's Crown Room agent that their 'funny tasting' iced tea now came in 'syrup' form, like the soft drinks. It is probably the same on the cruise ships. They taste yucky. (the iced teas, not ships )

re: obligatory tips

We went on three different small, luxury cruises with Radisson's Seven Seas, no tips expected and required. Surely gratuities were already added to the price, but we prefered it this way.

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Old Sep 3, 02, 4:48 pm
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Drinks: I guess that none of the common or mass market cruise lines offer free soft drinks.

However, the Princess agent in advance of the cruise stated that all other non-alcoholic beverages are covered - obviously that is not true (juices only covered in the dining rooms at all times, and in the buffet cafeteria only in the morning; hot chocolate only covered with room service).

Art - the Princess art auction representative stated that only Princess, of all the major cruise lines, is licensed to buy art directly from artists, while all other cruise lines do not have this license, and have to buy from a "middle man". The rep claimed that the art with art auctions in other cruise lines would be bid for a price higher that the starting bidding price for a comparable piece of art, on Princess cruise lines.

In terms of tips, it is easy enough to go to the main desk, and ask that the $10 per day fee not be charged. No explanations are necessary. The passengers are then allowed to tip as they please.

Another thing is that this cruise did not give out a schedule of events (ie art auction, shows, other events etc) ahead of time, at the beginning of the cruise; rather, they did it day by day. If they did it all at once, we (who like to plan in advance) could have organized our time, accordingly. Do any other cruise lines give you a schedule of daily events, for all days, at the beginning of the cruise?
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Old Sep 4, 02, 4:16 am
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Art auctions - One thing to remember about these on ships is that they are not always "auctions" in the traditional sense, where one unique object is for sale in that auction and people are competing against each other for it.

The companies which do the "auctions" on ships usually own anything up to the entire run of a particular image which they are selling (often because they have contracted the artist, whether directly or through an agent) and are usually prepared to sell you as many as you would like if you want to have them from stock in the warehouse. For most images, we are talking about a couple of hundred copies or so. You sometimes see this manifested when the "auctioneer" stops competitive bidding between two people and says "I'll do you a favour - you can have one each at that price."

If the cruise is a slow one for the art auctioneer, you can therefore often negotiate your way into buying images for the opening price (whether or not someone else has already bought one) or even, if it's really bad, below the opening price. As in all business, it helps if you don't appear to be a shark from the word go, but a genuinely interested audience member and participant. The only general rule which I've seen about that is that they won't do it until the image has already been up for auction once in the cruise - or, of course, if it's a genuine one-off item.

Programme for the entire cruise - every line that I've been on gives you the programme on a daily basis. There's an awful lot of programme juggling that goes on every day to accommodate the demands on rooms and people, which is why much can't be finalised until the day before. But if you make a point of getting to know the cruise staff personally (particularly the cruise director or the assistant) or the people who are running a particular thing, like the art auctioneer, dance teachers or gym instructors, they will often have a pretty good idea of when and where they are likely to be doing things throughout the cruise, even if the exact details are thereafter subject to change.
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Old Sep 4, 02, 12:48 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ranles:
Will Randy, it this self admitted mispost (one of many such admissions) enough to move it or not?

I suggest we eliminate monitors, or eliminate poster that continue to mispost on purpose or out of laziness.

I agree with the poster that there are lots of orphans since the board was expanded to pages of topics. I have posted in the "West" forum without response. I am not surprised as only one post each week seems to happen, and seldom is there a reply or better several.

Should the condensation of the board begin? I put this hear for the specific of getting this moved to where it "belongs". I believe the topic of board consolidation would be best posted by you.

Reason for edit is below

An earlier post by 1director also admit to being misposted. The area they suggest is also, in my opinion incorrect in its logic. They did not post in Hyatt because it is about NY. So it was not posted in Hyatt, not in NY but in this forum. Most confusing. This too should probably be moved, but to where? The new massive forums is not working, in my opinion.

[This message has been edited by ranles (edited 08-23-2002).]
</font>

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">TravelBuzz!
If it's a travel topic worth talking about, it's likely in this forum. (non-frequent flyer program travel)
</font>
Perhaps you thought you were in milesbuzz?? This is entirely appropriate here and in keeping with the forum description.

Thanks FlyerGold II for an enjoyable and informative topic!
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Old Sep 4, 02, 12:49 pm
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We recently returned from a 7 night cruise on the Celebrity ship Zenith (New York to Bermuda) and found several of the same situations.

In talking to friends about their cruise experiences, I did know that most drinks were not included, even my beloved Diet Pepsi, so I was prepared to buy a soda card for the duration of my cruise. On this ship, it was $36, so the $17 mentioned before was a bargain. The soda card only entitled us to one drink at a time, dispensed from the fountain. Guests purchasing individual sodas at $2.50 did receive the full can. I still concluded that even if I only had 2 sodas per day I was coming out even, so the card was, to me, a good purchase.

As far as the art auction, the auctioneer did make it a point to describe the type of art being purchased, the history of the artist, and if the art or print was one of 500, or an original. The only drawback I saw to purchasing the art on board was that, on our cruise, the majority of the works were sold unframed. Getting art framed and matted is very often much more of an expense than purchasing the art itself.

With regard to the tipping, Celebrity was extremely fair about this. The night before the ship docked, we were given 5 or 6 envelopes, marked "For Waiter", "For Cabin Service" etc. The suggested tips, for my husband and I on a 7 day cruise, came to about $150, broken down basically to $50 for the waiter, $50 for housekeeping, $20 for busboy, $20 for cabin assistant, and $10 for the Maitre'd. We happen to have received excellent service from all of the ships crew, so we happily increased our tips. I just figured $50 for the waiter who had brought us a 6 course meal every night for 7 nights didnt seem quite enough. Certainly the tip for one dinner out at home would have been more than what he was getting per night. Also, we had occasion to mention a special dish to the Maitre'd, and the following day, that dish was brought to every guest at our table. It was a nice touch and certainly worthy of an extra tip. As far as the Sommellier, Celebrity adds 15% to the price of the wine (and all bar drinks) as a gratuity, so no added tip was given to him. We did give a small tip to one bartender who had repeatedly given me the Diet Pepsi during the trip. All tips were given directly to the employees who had performed the service, in cash, and I am certain the cruise line has no way of tracking these payments.

With regard to the daily activities, Celebrity also gave a daily listing to us each evening after dinner for the following days activities, describing the times and venues for each activity. Although this was helpful for the most part, I spent time at the art auction (thinking there would only be one, turns out there were 3) and missed the Martini-tasting (which only occured once during the cruise). It might have been helpful to know that the Martini tasting was a one-shot deal (pun intended) so I could have arranged my day to maximize all the events I wanted to partake in.

Just for general information, as I had always wondered, our final bill leaving the ship was about $600.... that included our wines, a visit to the spa, drink purchases, small gift shop purchases and various token expenses. Tips were in addition to this figure. Of course, individuals who drink more or shop more (or less) would have varying bills at the end of their cruise.


[This message has been edited by flyerwife (edited 09-04-2002).]
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Old Sep 9, 02, 8:48 pm
  #15  
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Princess is blowing smoke about being the only cruise lines to have a license to buy directly from the artists. Any company can purchase from any artist any time it cares to go to the trouble. But many people fall for that.

As far as tips are concerned: I prefer to tip the employee in person, but I am entirely aware that they have to kick back to their supervisors who aren't in direct contact with passengers. Sometimes I give an envelope as well as a separate tip in hand (and in private) if I feel it is appropriate.

If you really want to be confused: read Holland America's 'no tipping policy'.

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