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Everything posted by karatemom2

  1. Yes, Alaska is a huge family vacation draw for summer cruises. From June through August there will lots of kids onboard from toddlers to teens. Princess offers a wonderful program for the kids onboard and it’s a fantastic family vacation. There will likely be anywhere from 300 - 500 kids below 18 on summer Alaska cruises in our experience of many trips over the past 20 years while our kids were growing up.
  2. Waking up in our lovely hotel in Portsmouth this morning and looking forward to joining you on our cruise on the Sky this Saturday. We also departed from the QE II terminal last year and took an Uber over in the morning arriving around 11 am. They were already allowing people to board at that point so we are sticking to the same plan this year. It was all quite easy and we already have our medallions so hoping for a smooth onboarding process.
  3. We don’t buy the Package and I'm not much of a drinker, but I can guarantee if I did, I would be using it for real live fancy cocktails or nice glass of wine. I can get a canned Cayman Jack or White Claw to enjoy at a barbecue at home! 😂
  4. Personally I love the medallion. Cards were a pain - I rarely am wearing something with pockets so DH ended up carrying it around for me most of the time. Medallion is always with me on my wrist bracelet - don’t have to worry about it. It’s convenient and easy. And we often travel as extended family with our adult kids - we love being able to easily find each other - no more the days of the dry erase board we used to use for messages in the cabin. I pretty much realize that in our modern age we are being filmed, monitored, and tracked as humans and consumers daily so it is what it is. If it makes my vacation easier and more convenient then I’m happy.
  5. This is why we invested in a Princess excursion in Edinburgh. We really wanted to max out our day here and with the tendering situation, even being Elite and having priority, we wanted to make sure we were off the ship and at Edinburgh castle promptly. Once we factored in the cost of entry at the castle and transportation the Princess excursion didn’t cost that much more but it guaranteed us departure on the first water shuttle of the morning and we were at the castle right as it opened before the hordes of crowds. What a great experience - no long line for the Crown Jewels like we experienced at the Tower of London and ease of seeing everything in a reasonable amount of time. This left us the entire rest of our day to enjoy the Royal Mile and shops and attractions there and still have plenty of time to make it to the Royal Yacht Britannia in the afternoon. Something to consider if you want to ensure you are off the ship bright and early!
  6. If you want to have a view of land choose the Port side as you will likely use your balcony more on the way down when you are sailing away from the wind and are more protected. Sailing back up the coast tends to be windier and colder - definitely less optimal for balcony use.
  7. We haven’t seen the coupon books since COVID. I don’t think they are doing that promotion anymore.
  8. There is a traditional Thanksgiving option on the MDR menu, but it is honestly one time where you will get a better meal in the buffet if you want traditional Thanksgiving fare. The sides are hot and and Turkey is carved fresh. You can pick and choose what you want. The MDR serving is dry and blah. And skip the pumpkin pie and opt for another dessert. They just cannot quite figure out good old American pumpkin pie! There will be decorations in the Piazza and maybe a Thanksgiving trivia, but that is about the extent of the observance.
  9. Plenty of taxis available to take you to the top of the rock. We did the Princess tour, but next time I would do it on my own once I saw how easy it was and how many taxi operators were there offering the service.
  10. No candle, but lots of singing! My daughter got engaged onboard a couple of years ago and they brought a beautiful plate of desserts and champagne, including love boat dream. And they sang a love song. Plenty celebratory without the candle!
  11. If you want an amazing tour in Glasgow, check out Discover Scotland. Their tour there was one if the very best I did. https://www.discoverscotlandtours.com/tours/loch-lomond-national-park-stirling-castle-day-tour-from-glasgow/
  12. Yes, a number of fellow passengers from our roll call on our British Isles cruise in 2022 did this. And my daughter and her husband did it last year, disembarking in Florence (Livorno) instead of Rome (Civitavecchia) last year on their honeymoon Med cruise. Just make sure you get it approved in advance and confirm with Guest Services when you board.
  13. Depends on the ship. The newer Royal Class ships have a real blow dryer that is kept in the drawer of the bureau next to the desk. These work pretty well and are comparable to most standard blow dryers. I have medium length, somewhat thick hair and they work absolutely fine for me. Some of the older ships, however, still have the version that basically is attached to the wall by the desk and is very weak at best. Not sure if the Sapphire replaced those in a recent retrofit, but I would try to get the information from someone who has been on the Sapphire recently. Here is a link for a review from someone who just returned from a cruise on the Sapphire. You might pose your question here:
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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:
  20. 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.
  21. 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:
  22. 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?
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
  25. What a shame if true. Take Five is such a great venue. I would hate to see it diminished.
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