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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. I always hated the envelope situation as well. There was a weird subservience feeling to it and it was just awkward. Love knowing my crew appreciation is automatic these days and extra tips to anyone I choose is based on heartfelt extra thanks and appreciation and is received in that way as opposed to what prior felt like almost a class system that was weird for both giver and receiver.
  2. Respectfully, can I ask why? If you are paying the same amount via any method - whether it be through envelopes, daily CA charge, or added to upfront cruise fee does it really make any difference how the sausage gets made? I'm not being argumentative, just truly trying to understand all of the angst from some people around this issue. The cost is the cost - and except for those people who use the opportunity to remove the charges since Princess still allows it - for the rest who pay either via a package, or alacarte, or in advance, or onboard, or with OBC what is the big deal around how it is paid and how it is allocated? I don't analyze how my dollars are split up when I go to a restaurant and pay the bill, service fee, or tip. I don't try to figure out at the grocery store how much of the amount I'm paying for my eggs goes to salaries, overhead, rent, etc. When I stay at a hotel and tip the bellboy or housekeeper a few dollars for services, I don't spend a minute trying to figure out how much of the daily resort fee goes to paying their salaries. So why this intense concern with where our cruising fees go - the Princess website spells it out - it is spread among all cruise salaries. End of story. I guess I'm just a little mystified by the constant attempts to analyze this longstanding cost of cruising. If you don't like it - guess what, you can still remove it although I don't support that. Most just factor it in to the cost of their cruise and move on. And if you want to tip extra for great service above and beyond you still can. Much ado about nothing really.
  3. As long as it is just the two of them in one cabin together, they can certainly upgrade to Premium if they feel it is more advantageous to them based on their preferences.
  4. No, the Plus Package will be the same benefit and price for both of them since they both will have to purchase it, but the girlfriend will get the non alcohol version, meaning she will only be able to order non alcoholic beverages or mocktails with her medallion. Your son, being of age will be able to order any alcoholic beverages he chooses with his medallion using his package.
  5. Many restaurants here in LA simply add it on to the bill now, no ifs, ands or buts. You dine there - you pay it. And people do without a second thought - and generally add a bit more over the included 15 to 18 percent.
  6. Once again, who is being mislead. Princess spells it out as clear as day in the explanation. Where is the confusion - seems pretty straightforward to me. The “Crew Appreciation” is a daily amount for each guest that will be automatically added to your onboard account for your convenience, to recognize the efforts of a wide variety of crewmembers who contribute to the experiences of all our guests.  The crewmembers eligible to receive these funds work in various departments, many of whom rotate among different ships, throughout our fleet of ships. The amount of the Crew Appreciation will be based on stateroom category, as set out below:
  7. Correct. Frankly I don’t care how they charge me - I would pay the charge either way. It’s the very people here complaining and who remove the CA, protesting that the crew should be paid a living wage who will feel the cost increase when it is inevitably made a mandatory charge or added into the fare. Right now enough people honor the system that those who remove the CA charges do so without any consequence. But eventually I imagine if it tips too heavy in that direction the cruise lines will just adjust pricing accordingly and force everyone to pay an equal share because it will be mandatory. And then I imagine people will complain about that too.
  8. And for anyone saying it’s not “transparent” I don’t think Princess could make it more clear. It is spelled out in black and white! The “Crew Appreciation” is a daily amount for each guest that will be automatically added to your onboard account for your convenience, to recognize the efforts of a wide variety of crewmembers who contribute to the experiences of all our guests.  The crewmembers eligible to receive these funds work in various departments, many of whom rotate among different ships, throughout our fleet of ships. The amount of the Crew Appreciation will be based on stateroom category, as set out below:
  9. But in reality, why is that different then just charging that same amount as a daily crew appreciation? The cost is the cost - it comes out the same. if you don’t object to paying the daily service cost, what difference does semantics make? Whether it is in the fare, or added to the fare as an onboard expense?
  10. You do understand that by altering the business model to eliminate the crew appreciation pool service charge, your cruise cost will not change. Those dollars will just be allocated in another way - either via higher cruise fares or mandatory service fees? So I guess my question is - what is the big difference here that some are expecting the cruise lines to make? The money will be collected to pay the crew, regardless of whether in the fare, service charge, or optional crew appreciation? So if you realize this is going to ultimately be the cost of cruising, why are the semantics of how it is charged so triggering for some?
  11. This is absolutely correct. Years ago in college, my husband was a server. Every evening he would cash out his tips and settle up with his behind the scenes colleagues per the restaurant guidelines. A set percent of his tips went to to hostess, busboy, and chef. It’s an extremely common practice. in terms of this entire debate, it’s a fruitless effort in hand wringing. This type of pricing with crew gratuities is a historical norm in cruising. It’s part of the cruise line culture. If you find it so onerous, maybe choose other travel options. Ultimately this crew appreciation piece has evolved into what a hotel would class as a service or resort fee. They charge these fees and you can’t remove them. I think the cruise lines need to go the same route - either make a mandatory service fee or add it to the fare. And then those people who normally remove it and yell about the fact the cruise lines should pay their staff a proper wage can either be forced to pay up or vote with their feet and vacation elsewhere.
  12. What a shame if true. Take Five is such a great venue. I would hate to see it diminished.
  13. We did our 360 experience on a formal night, so everyone in our group was quite dressy. But on non formal evenings smart casual would be fine. There is no dress recommendation for the event.
  14. We used EC Minibus last year. We did a transfer that visited Stonehenge on the way to Southampton and on our transfer back to Heathrow after the cruise we visited Hampton Court Palace. Another company that provides the service is International Friends. We used then the year prior for a transfer to the ship from our London hotel that stopped at Windsor Castle on the way. Here are the links: https://www.internationalfriends.co.uk/london-heathrow-to-southampton-via-stonehenge.html https://www.ecminibus.co.uk/blog/portfolio/shore-excursion-central-london-via-stonehenge-southampton-cruise-terminal/ You can also check Viator: Southampton Excursion: Pre-Cruise Tour from London to Southampton via Stonehenge https://www.viator.com/search/5528PRTLON_STSO?mcid=64243
  15. Here’s a link through Viator. You are in small buses. Chilkoot Wilderness and Wildlife Viewing https://www.viator.com/search/37841P6?mcid=64243
  16. Another good option for Stonehenge if you are on a tight schedule is to combine it with your airport transfer which is what we did last year using EC Minibus. Worked great to get us off running and fight the jet lag on our arrival since we were determined to make the most of our time. We had about a two hour stop there on the way to our Southampton hotel.
  17. I know from following your thread on the Alaska board how much time, planning, and anticipation went into this cruise. I hope it exceeded all your expectations. Thanks for sharing your review!
  18. Ditto this. You will be there at an optimal time to see brown bears feeding on salmon. Lots of eagles too. It was one of our favorite excursions in Haines.
  19. Thank you! Those were all taken with my IPhone. You should see the shots my son in law got with his really fancy Nikon. Stunning!
  20. The cruise referenced here is 7/26/24 - not July of 2026. I could see how you might get that from the title. But it will be during the Paris Olympics.
  21. If you decide on a balcony, try to choose one on the Starboard side. That’s the land facing side for most of the cruise. We were blessed with great weather on our cruise with just one day of rain on our last precruise day in London and a bit of rain in Edinburgh - which only added to the ambiance! We enjoyed really lovely sailaways on our balcony with some nice castle spotting opportunities. Be sure to bring a pair of good binoculars. My son just finished up three years of law school in VA last year and we enjoyed visiting him while he was there. It’s a beautiful state.
  22. We absolutely loved our British Isles cruise with Princess - one of our best ever cruises! We did have a balcony and definitely enjoyed it. Although it’s a port intensive cruise, you do hug the coast quite a bit so having the balcony, especially heading in and out of ports was nice. We had a beautiful view of the White Cliffs of Dover on the sail by. That being said, given how port intensive this cruise is, we did use our balcony less than on some other cruises. We don’t really drink much alcohol at all and don’t drink coffee, so for us Plus just isn’t of interest. We just buy what we want when we want ala carte onboard, pay our gratuities in advance, and get 1/2 off our WiFi because we are elite. That works great for us, but if you enjoy a few cocktails each day or specialty coffees and like the casual dining restaurants, Plus might be nice for you. It definitely gives that all inclusive feel. Personally I would pick the balcony, but you might get a better experience with Plus depending on how much time you think you would spend on your balcony. The ports are amazing. We primarily did private excursions so I’m happy to share what we did: Guernsey: (private guide Jackie Ward) Castle Cornet WWII Sites and Museum Cobh: (Princess tour) Rock of Cashel Dublin: (Princess tour) Glendalough Monastic City Avoca Woolen Mill Christchurch Cathedral Belfast: (Odyssey Tours) Giants Causeway Dunluce Castle Titanic Museum Liverpool (tour to Wales) : (Busy Bus tours) Conwy Castle Snowdonia Park Pontcysylite Aqueduct Invergordon: (private tour Dougie MacLeod) Dunrobin Castle Cairn Liath Falls of Shin Dornoch Cathedral Glasgow: (Discover Scotland tours) Sterling Castle Doune Castle Village of Luss Loch Lomond Trossachs National Park Edinburgh: (on our own with Uber) Edinburgh Castle Royal Mile St. Giles Cathedral Royal Yacht Brittania Le Havre: (Overlord Tours) Omaha Beach American Cemetery Bayeux - for Cathedral and Bayeux Tapestry Honfkeur Hope this provides some inspiration - you will love this cruise! Edited to add: We ended up cruising during the last summer Olympics and to be honest, you don’t get much of it. NBC is not one of the channels offered and mostly you will be able to grab highlights via MSNBC news. If that is a super big priority for you, you may want to look at alternate dates. My DH is a big Olympic fan and he was very disappointed to miss a great deal of the coverage on our cruise.
  23. This is a lovely idea, and I concur that it’s spectacular and the one place in AK we have spotted moose, but given that MIL is disabled and in a wheelchair it could be pretty challenging unless one of them could push her chair on the trail. It is paved. But still might prove difficult. If you just want to get a nice overview of Anchorage, the trolley tour is a low key way of seeing the city highlights. The Native Alaska Cultural Center is an interesting place to visit as well.
  24. While renting a car can be great and we have done it a number of times in Skagway, I wouldn’t recommend it for a first or only trip. The train really is a unique experience that can’t be duplicated by driving yourself. Also, truly seeing the sights and getting your bearings to really understand what you are seeing the first time is so much better with a guide. Then on subsequent trips driving feels familiar.
  25. Personally I look at Glacier Bay as more than just “glacier viewing”, which yes, you can get at other glaciers. They are all spectacular in their own way. What I appreciate about Glacier Bay is the full national park experience, the abundant wildlife, the natural beauty everywhere beyond the glaciers you see. It’s a full meal!
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