Extra costs on cruises

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Dec 21st, 2001, 08:46 PM
  #1
marg
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Extra costs on cruises

I'm an Aussie thinking of taking an Alaskan cruise in 2002. Friends have recently returned and tell us that they had about $600 (for tips and port fees) deducted from their credit card on boarding the ship although the ship was advertised as 'no-tipping'. As they were not expecting this, it left them a bit short of spending money. Is this normal procedure? With the low Aussie dollar, we need to know what extra costs may be involved before we commit ourselves.
 
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Dec 21st, 2001, 11:41 PM
  #2
LizF
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Another Aussie here: You can do nothing about the port costs but you can find out how much they will be before you buy the cruise. I was on Norwegian Wind cruising up in Alaska in August and they did note on the information that they would deduct $whatever per day and put that on your account for tips. However I went to the cruise office and had that removed because if I am going to tip I will do it when and where I see fit and not have someone else in my pocket dishing out money.
Take a tip from me though - if you are going to do an Alaskan cruise take the 10 day cruise as I didn't feel that 7 days was not long enough and also have your agent book you into the Rochdale on Robson ( I think its the Rochdale or Rosedale) as its a self-contained suite hotel and they will allow you in early which is a wonderful bonus after a very long flight. Its nice too to be able to just cook something light in the suite too. Also there is an Internet cafe around the corner which only costs about $2 for 15 mins. Try and avoid the cruise Internet cafe' by either waiting till you get into port or by buying Telstra's pocket e-mail gismo which I can tell you is far cheaper than using the cruise cafe even after you have taken the price of the item.
 
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Dec 22nd, 2001, 02:04 AM
  #3
Paul Therault
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Hi Marge,

There are many variables. You definitely should talk to your travel agent.

Will you include shore tours? Do you drink alcoholic beverages? Are you going to take any inland tours by bus and train where food definitely not included?

I could tell you that port charges are incuded in your cruise price and not extra. On-board charges are just for tips and the tipping policy is printed in the back of the cruise brochure.

Paul
 
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Dec 22nd, 2001, 04:38 AM
  #4
Melissa
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I have alway pre paid my port charges, so check with your agent to see if you can. that makes life so much easier. Also, you do not need to tip if you don't want to, but I usually tip $3.00 US per day for each the waiter, assistant waiter, and maid. I am a Canadian, and I think our money is worth around what your is. Drink add up, I found they came to around 4.50 US which it think was around $7.00 Canadian. Shore excursions can run anywhere from $20 to $200 US depending on what you want to do. When you are in Vancouver though, you should find your money is better.
 
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Dec 22nd, 2001, 11:17 AM
  #5
Donna
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I was on an Alaskan cruise 3 years ago and had a charge of $745.00 to my shipboard account, this is for one persons drinks, shore excursions, and for a couple small things I bought on-ship and this did not include tips, you HAVE to tip its not a choice.
P.S. I'm not a big drinker.
 
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Dec 22nd, 2001, 12:04 PM
  #6
Gail
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Shore excursions on Alaska cruises can be quite expensive, but they are well worth it. If you're going to take the time and effort to go to Alaska, be prepared to shell out some big money to really see Alaska.
 
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Dec 22nd, 2001, 01:16 PM
  #7
LizF
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Paul - Port Charges ARE NOT sold as part of the cruise in Australia.
You don't get the cruise brochure until you have paid for the cruise so you have not consented to it before you buy. Ergo there is not a contract and so you are at liberty to have it changed.
 
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Dec 23rd, 2001, 03:11 AM
  #8
Paul Therault
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Very interesting to hear that Liz. Thanks for the info.

Now I am curious. I will talk to some TA's I know in other countries to see if it also applies.

Paul
 
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Dec 23rd, 2001, 05:18 AM
  #9
Theresa
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I always expect to pay about $100/per person in tips. You can pay less but I always tip extra because these people work so hard and most of them have families at home they are trying to support.

As far as other charges - my bill never goes over $100 for my expenses on the trip outside of tips. I drink a few drinks, take a few tours and buy a tshirt or two - that is it.

Though I agree - Alaska tours are more expensive!
 
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Dec 23rd, 2001, 12:47 PM
  #10
LizF
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Just to keep the record on track Paul - I didn't mean that the Port Charges could be changed just the tipping arrangements. Made a boo boo there!
I think though that the US has to make a decision as to whether it wants o/s visitors or not to help kick start the tourism industry. Because the US$ is very strong against most currencies it is not an attractive destination for most people now and therefore every $ can count in the determination of a person's final destination. Where you can say that " its only $xxx for so and so in tips" that is twice the amount for most of the rest of the world in comparison because of the exchange rate and that stacks up badly in terms of costs.
However if you feel that you don't need o/s visitors then be truthful about it and say that you only want us "on your terms"
 
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Dec 23rd, 2001, 11:03 PM
  #11
Paul Therault
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Gee whiz Liz, don't say that. Most Americans know Canadians are wonderful friendly people. Just look at what they did for us Americans in NF on that fateful day in September. I have sailed to Canada 5 times and I just love the welcome Canadians give the passengers.

It is sad that your dollar is worth so little. It must make you feel the world is turning upside down.

Hope someday soon things will turn around.

Paul

 
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Dec 23rd, 2001, 11:11 PM
  #12
LizF
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au - means Australia Paul. It not just Canada that has a bad $ in comparison to yours. Its not that our economy is bad, it's not, it just that the exchange rate is appalling. Those waiters get more than the average worker does in countries other than the USA.
So don't pick on us for being, what you call stingy but think perhaps that some people have saved a long time for their cruise and to them the amount of money paid in tips is a terrific amount and in comparison to the cost of the trip is way and above what is acceptable.
Different strokes for different folks!
 
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Dec 24th, 2001, 04:48 AM
  #13
Theresa
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I may be the bad person here by saying this:

If you plan to sail a cruise such as Princess, RCCL, Celebrity, RCCL, Carnival, etc - Plan on tipping the recommended amount in the brochures assuming that service is fine.

Because a foreign dollar is worth less is no excuse for tipping less than the recommended amount. If you can not afford the tips, maybe cruising is not the best type of cruise for you. There are several other vacation options that require less tipping.

Though for an example - last time I took a land vacation in the US to NY, I spent more than $100 tipping just for dinners. So the amount is not "unreasonable". NYC is an expensive city so the tips were high. Because I was in that city - I tipped accordingly to that city's standards. I did not tip the amount that my meals would have cost me in the midwest.

Of course there are exceptions to tipping the recommended amount (poor service) but this is rare.

There are a few cruiselines that do not require tipping but they are more expensive then the main line cruises.

BTW - I realize that the majority of posters of this topic from Australia just want to be aware of the tips. For more information - ask your TA what all is included and what is expected once on the ship.
 
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Dec 24th, 2001, 12:46 PM
  #14
John
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Terese: As tipping is not expected in Australia, and in fact they look at it as begging in a way, why should you expext them to be aware of it on ships outside of their waters. If most countries can pay their staff proper wages then why expext the world to jump through the hoops that America has made - particularly as these cruise lines are not short of money!!!!!
Remember this WE NEED ALL AND ANY VISITORS TO THESE SHORES WE CAN TAKE AND I FOR ONE WELCOME THEM WITH OPEN ARMS AND THANK THEM FOR COMING AND SUPPORTING THE USA IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES. There are plenty of nicer places to go to and we could loose these people if we impose restrictive and expensive ideas for them. Better that we have people getting back to normal in the US than making sure that someone from another country, working on a cruise ship that won't pay them a good wage, gets an inflated wage through tips. Have you ever thought that perhaps our tipping could do with a look at and perhaps its getting somewhat outdated?
 
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Dec 24th, 2001, 01:54 PM
  #15
Theresa
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I stand by my statements.

Also - on every cruise brochure I have looked at, there is a statement about tipping. Also when documents arrive - there is a section on tipping. No one should be surprised that tipping is required on these ships.

Also, cruiselines are struggling right now. They do not have a lot of extra money.

I guess cruiselines have a choice - they can raise your cruise cost $100 a person to cover wages and salaries for wait staff and room stewards or they can allow you to tip. They have chosen to go the tip route.

I tip where I am supposed to. If I go to a country where tipping is not the custom, I do not tip. On cruise ships - tipping has always been the norm and is the only income these workers have.

If you do not wish to tip, spent 2-3x the cruise amount and go for a higher scale of cruises such as Seaborne or Radisson that does not require tipping. Believe me - you will not be paying any less for this cruise but if it makes you feel better about not tipping - go for it.

I can not imagine going to a nice dinner and not putting down a 15-20% tip. That would be rude. So is not tipping on a cruise ship.
 
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Dec 25th, 2001, 10:05 AM
  #16
Kathy
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I have traveled all over the world on land trips and have taken many,many cruises. The important thing here is to know ahead of time what is the norm and acceptable way of tipping. No need to get angry, just be informative. I for one, always tip the recommended amt as i feel the tips on a cruise are a fraction of what it costs to tip hotel, restaurant and excursion staff on a land trip. Do the math. But then when in a country which does not encourge tipping, as their staff is salaried, I do not. Like everything in Travel, learn and research before venturing off.
 
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Dec 25th, 2001, 12:55 PM
  #17
LizF
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OK - message to all Americans who may come to Australia.
If as you say you always tip for good service then why is it you never tip in Australia? Its not that the service is not good, no, and in my establishment the guest book comments and return visitors speak for themselves. My staff always go the extra mile for our guests and never have I seen a tip left for them from a Canadian, English or American. Actually the only time staff have got tips, and they have been good ones, is when an Australian has left it. So it seems a little strange to me that if you are so worldly wise about tipping then why is it that you don't tip here? So you might understand a little that when I go overseas I don't feel the urge to tip when it is not recipricated because we do acknowledge good service here. Oh and bye the way I have worked in all areas of the hospitality industry over the years and that includes waiting on tables.
 
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Dec 25th, 2001, 03:28 PM
  #18
Sara
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This goes back to acting properly where you are visiting.

Before I go on a trip - I research what I need to do to act properly in the culture. If it means tipping, I tip - if I am not supposed to tip, I don't.

In every cruise brochure - it states that tipping is "strongly recommended".
 
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Dec 25th, 2001, 06:37 PM
  #19
marg
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Thanks for all the replies. What has thoroughly confused me is that a cruise line can advertise 'no tipping policy' and then charge passengers an amount for tips.
Australians realise that the American wage system is different to ours. I gather in USA wages are low and customers are expected to make up the wages by tipping. Here in Australia, wages are generally good and tipping almost non-existent.
 
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Dec 25th, 2001, 07:49 PM
  #20
Theresa
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Marg -

I believe the only mainstream cruiseline that says "no tipping" is HAL and from what I understand - that is confusing because people do tip and some expect it. The other mainstream lines (RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, Carnival) state that tipping is recommended and here are the guidelines.

As far as wages for restaurants in the US - they are very low (below minimum wage) for waitresses - they count on the tips.

On the ships - that is another story. They do not have to comply with U.S. laws. I believe that the large majority (if not their entire) income is based on tips.

There are a few ships where tipping is not required but frankly, I can't afford these ships.

For a 7 day cruise - plan on spending about $65 per person for tipping if you go by the recommended amounts. Plus any automatic tips on drinks (15%). I have always tipped more because I have been lucky enough to have great service.
 
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