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Posts 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. 

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  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. 

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  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! 😂



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  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. 

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  5. 1 hour ago, Ranchi said:

    Tendering in to South Queensferry you will have a number of options: Princess tour ($$$ but you may get the expertise of a guide & perhaps quick/ included entry into, say the castle;) Get a shuttle bus into Edinburgh ( run by Lothian Transport I think it’s about £12 single - but you can check that.) You can then plan your day & wander yourself. One point, although they have bus priority lanes the journey can be slow.  The option we picked was rail from Dalmeny station - a short uphill walk from the tender drop off. I think we were £9 return last summer. Fast, quite frequent and no hold ups. There is a signposted footpath. If you have walking difficulties then I would not suggest this. 
    once in Edinburgh a trams day ticket is about £3.50 (I think) 

    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!

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  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. 

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  7. 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. 

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  8. 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.

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  9. 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!

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  10. 3 hours ago, smilesntravels said:

    Thanks for the info!  I was starting to be 'okay' with having an inside cabin, but I'm not.  It looks like there's one chair and the bed.  So if I want to come back to the cabin for a little while to watch the Olympics, no sofa is what it looks like or if we want a quick room service meal then the two of us would have to eat it in bed?


    So, is Glasgow considered the highlands?  I was thinking it was a little further north, starting around Invergordon?  Since we haven't been to Scotland yet, I was thinking Glasgow would be one port where we could not do an excursion and maybe walk around and go to a pub for some local food and watch the games?  I did click on your link!  I saw that Busybus also has a good excursion for Holyhead.  Would you recommend not just walking around in Glasgow (port) and doing an excursion, instead?  Maybe we could just walk around in Edinburgh instead.  

    If you want an amazing tour in Glasgow, check out Discover Scotland. Their tour there was one if the very best I did. 


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  11. 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. 

  12. 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:



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  13. 2 minutes ago, Teechur said:

    The "envelope days" kept me away from cruising for decades. I like to know what a trip will cost me upfront. I would never remove gratuities and also tip generously on top of it. If the cruise lines included the gratuities as part of the fare, it would be an improvement. 👍

    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. 

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  14. 4 minutes ago, alwalaska said:

    Although Princess has never officially said this, I've been told that removing the crew service fee or whatever they call it from your bill will reflect poorly on your cabin steward, dining attendants, etc.  I would suggest deciding between plus and standard based on whether or not the other benefits are worth the added cost to you and pay the gratuities (included or on your own) and then decide if there are people that you want to pay an "extra" something to. 

    I do really wish all of the cruise lines went back to the envelopes at the end of the cruise rather than a mandatory fee, but that does leave out the behind-the-scenes people. Or, just up the cruise price by $21/day or whatever the rate is and do away with these extra "automatic" fees.


    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.

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  15. 2 minutes ago, junglejane said:

    Thanks! Also DD & her husband care more than the rest of us about premium drinks. If we book their cabin with the Plus Package can they later upgrade it to Premium, or just pay an upcharge on a per drink basis?


    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.

  16. 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.

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  17. 3 minutes ago, memoak said:

    Yes but wages in restaurants are very low some all the way down to the minimum allowed by law. There is no deception. Many restaurants now just raise their prices or add the gratuity to the bill so people will pay tips. I assume no one who objects to tips on this thread ever goes to a specialty restaurant since there is now a 18% tip added. If any of you do frequent these restaurants then I assume you know you are being hypocritical 

    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. 

  18. 2 minutes ago, Interestedcruisefan said:

    So you purely worry about total cash spent rather than whether passengers are misled into spending it


    So if you aren't concerned about at what stage you spend it


    What's wrong with a transparent upfront cost ? 


    Rather than the cruiseline calling it something that it clearly isn't?


    You understand how it works most do not?


    Do you want others to be misled?

    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:

  19. Just now, ldubs said:


    It will increase the fares for those who typically cancel the crew appreciation.   

    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. 


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  20. 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:

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  21. 1 minute ago, Torfamm said:

    I couldn't agree more.  The simplest thing would to just add $16 or $17 per day to cruise fares.

    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?

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  22. Just now, Interestedcruisefan said:

    Yes just because it's happened and they've got away with it for a long time in the past doesn't mean they should continue to get away with it


    Businesses are under lots of scrutiny nowadays and it's just some do the right thing before others do or they are forced to do with legislation at some stage regardless



    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?

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  23. 12 minutes ago, Torfamm said:

    Actually it's not how it works.  We often don't know who we are tipping at restaurants.  Many times tips are shared among various staff who we may never see or pooled and shared among all employees. The division of those tips is not necessarily based on good service.


    In the US the amount people most commonly leave as a tip, is based mostly on a percentage of the total of their check than on service received.  For example, if someone purchases a $10 meal, a normal tip might be around $2 or $3 or if someone feels generous or gets exceptional service, maybe $5.  For a $100 meal, the tip is expected to be in the neighborhood of $20. What a server receives in tips depends much more on what customers order than the service they provide.

    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. 


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