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Drinks Package ease of use?

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We have purchased the premium drinks package for our upcoming cruise on Reflection and having read some postings on their use i would appreciate any helpful tips. Wine by the glass seems easy but have read postings of pax having difficulty with service in the dining venues, i.e. "we got our first drink during the second course" "wine waiter was busy did not get more than one glass during dinner" any tips guys?.In bars this does not seem to happen never seen many complaints ..thank you John/Trish Craven ,,,UK

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we've cruise without, with classic, and with premium drink packages.

In our experience service DOES NOT change due to your choice.

Yes, sometimes you might have to flag down a sommelier and sometimes they are very attentive. It depends more on their workload in other words.

I see no reason to worry, you should be able to stay hydrated.

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I've had trouble getting drinks in the martini bar during peak hours. Just because of huge crowds.

 

I've also had issues getting served in the MDR. I'd say ask for a bar waiter or for some wine ASAP. I know some folks at our table just requested from the bar waiter that they get their "regular drink" when they came in or even if it could be waiting for them. Some of the time it was there, some of the time it wasn't.

I've had dinners where my wine glass never got close to being empty, and other times just the opposite. I guess my tip would be to be persistent and if you have traditional dining perhaps you could request a standing order for the first drink of the evening (if there is a regular drink you prefer). Might work. Might not. Doesn't hurt to try.

 

EDITED TO ADD: I don't think having the package or not made any difference in this case. It was "too many orders and too few servers." Package or not was inconsequential.

Edited by bighairtexan

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This is another topic I've been considering as a first time cruiser.

 

The wife and I have indulged on the Premium Drink package for our upcoming cruise and I've been looking through the Celebrity site that charges a 15% service charge for the package, but I don't see any mention regarding gratuities.

 

GRATUITIES NOT INCLUDED

 

1. Are gratuities included within the premium drink package cost?

2. If not, what's a typical gratuity given per drink on board?

 

GRATUITIES INCLUDED

 

3. If gratuities are included in the package, did you feel that the bar staff would service non-package holders over those with the package?

4. Is it typical to tip in addition to the package to ensure you are served promptly?

 

Sorry for all the questions, I couldn't find the answers when browsing Google or through Cruise Critic. :o

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Bar staff doesn't know if you have a package until they take your card. In my experience, they don't care (no service difference). I don't tip additional for individual drinks (some others do), but I sometimes will give a cash tip to a good sommellier or bartender towards the end of a cruise.

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This is another topic I've been considering as a first time cruiser.

 

The wife and I have indulged on the Premium Drink package for our upcoming cruise and I've been looking through the Celebrity site that charges a 15% service charge for the package, but I don't see any mention regarding gratuities.

 

GRATUITIES NOT INCLUDED

 

1. Are gratuities included within the premium drink package cost? yes. The 15% service charge IS the gratuity.

2. If not, what's a typical gratuity given per drink on board?

 

GRATUITIES INCLUDED

 

3. If gratuities are included in the package, did you feel that the bar staff would service non-package holders over those with the package? No, not at all

4. Is it typical to tip in addition to the package to ensure you are served promptly?with barkeeps & waiters I see on a regular basis, I include a dollar or two as an additional gratuity -- maybe every other 2 or 3 drinks they serve me. I feel this gives them an extra incentive to wait on me in a timely fashion.

 

Sorry for all the questions, I couldn't find the answers when browsing Google or through Cruise Critic. :o

 

Hope this helps.:D

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This is another topic I've been considering as a first time cruiser.

 

The wife and I have indulged on the Premium Drink package for our upcoming cruise and I've been looking through the Celebrity site that charges a 15% service charge for the package, but I don't see any mention regarding gratuities.

 

GRATUITIES NOT INCLUDED

 

1. Are gratuities included within the premium drink package cost?

2. If not, what's a typical gratuity given per drink on board?

 

GRATUITIES INCLUDED

 

3. If gratuities are included in the package, did you feel that the bar staff would service non-package holders over those with the package?

4. Is it typical to tip in addition to the package to ensure you are served promptly?

 

Sorry for all the questions, I couldn't find the answers when browsing Google or through Cruise Critic. :o

 

The 15% service charge is the gratuity. This is also added to individual drinks when purchased without a package. There is an option without a package when you sign for a drink to tip above the 15%.

 

You can tip above and beyond the 15% with cash, if you have the package. Plan on bringing singles with you if you plan to do so.

 

Service is not dependent on drink package vs no package. It is based on how busy a particular server is. In the dining room for example it may be more difficult due to more demand. Grab a drink on your way into the dining room and letting your dining steward know that you would like to order a bar drink/glass of wine can expedite service.

 

In lounges/bars service should not be an issue, but again, if they are very busy there may be a wait.

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If the bar is busy it may take a little extra item to be served, no different than anywhere else.

 

I have found that a good attitude and treating the staff with respect also helps.

 

Never had any problems with service except for those rude passengers that get to the bar after me and want to get served first.

 

Drink up 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

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Hope this helps.:D

 

Good advice. A well placed and regular tip can pay huge dividends over the course of a cruise. I've found this true on every line we've been on.

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I found at all the bars, that once the bartender found you had the package, they didn't even need your card after the first couple of rounds. So no service difference. I also usually find a bartender I like, and provide a nice tip on the first night which may help.

 

Bar service in the MDR is unpredictable with or without the card. On our last Summit sailing in April, we were in a large group (large table of 12). Once the sommelier knew we all had the package, he was leaving the bottle on the table. Once night, everyone had a different type of wine. At one point, I think we had 10 bottles of wine on the table. And again, a nice tip doesn't hurt.

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We had the premium package once. We only ate in the MDR one night on that cruise and had very poor service from the sommelier. Did not even show us the available wines, just pored a Cab that we did not like so we were not too concerned when it took a while for him to refill the glass. We just went back to Cellar Masters after dinner and ate in Blu or the specialty restaurants the other nights of the cruise.

 

Mary Lou

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I found at all the bars, that once the bartender found you had the package, they didn't even need your card after the first couple of rounds.

 

 

You need to be a little aware of the 'no need for your card' issue. On Eclipse in may, we had one erroneous MDR wine charge and our family next door had two. The Wine Waiter had obviously confused the card numbers and we got charged for someone elses drinks bill. Guest Relations removed it but you need to check your account.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I'm an operations guy who spends a lot of time programming POS systems (cash registers if you will...) and observing the way people work....

 

I suspect that when X had bar staff taking orders that guy (gal) would run off to a bar someplace and make or ask for the drinks to be made and bring them back, leaving waiter to deal with food orders only.

 

Waiters just took food orders and would run to the kitchen and grab the orders when it was time to serve. No need to really enter detailed information on a cash register as far as table number and seating position, just follow their handwritten order slip and assemble the tray with the meals and place them in order of the handwritten slip. In essence, no need to create data on a computer in such a manner as others could understand and use it, they handled themselves.

 

Now I see staff spending more time at the cash registers in their cubicles and wonder if they are trying to get used to a typical restaurant way of serving, learning how too enter table orders by table and seating position.

 

I wonder if they have yet set up a service printer at a bar so the waiter can enter a drink oder in the MDR and the order spits out at a service bar and a runner has enough information on the order slip to deliver the drink to a table and seating position....

 

A lot of training and changing of the way things have been done....

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You need to be a little aware of the 'no need for your card' issue. On Eclipse in may, we had one erroneous MDR wine charge and our family next door had two. The Wine Waiter had obviously confused the card numbers and we got charged for someone elses drinks bill. Guest Relations removed it but you need to check your account.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

Great advice. We did have that issue on Summit one night. It seemed that the server entered several beverage purchases in at once and I think the system requires a certain number of minutes between purchases if you are on the package. So we got charged for something that should have been free. I always monitor the onboard account each morning to check for anything unexpected. That would be the tip I would pass along since it is alot easier to get your bill corrected mid-cruise than on the last morning.

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Great advice. We did have that issue on Summit one night. It seemed that the server entered several beverage purchases in at once and I think the system requires a certain number of minutes between purchases if you are on the package. So we got charged for something that should have been free. I always monitor the onboard account each morning to check for anything unexpected. That would be the tip I would pass along since it is alot easier to get your bill corrected mid-cruise than on the last morning.

 

As to my post just before yours, I watch how they enter things, the POS system does not automatically comp free drinks., they have to go thru several extra keystrokes to mark the sale as part of a package and therefore no charge. More than likely they just forgot to do those keystrokes when entering the batch of sales. Otherwise why bother printing the free package or affixing a sticker to the SeaPass card. Watch them, they always squint to read the package code on the card when entering an order, proving they just can't rely on the swiping of the card. It's why I now prefer a sticker on my card to the pre-printed package type, makes it easier for them to realize....and less chance for error.

 

many people post success in getting multiple drinks at the same time (such as a drink and water) or getting a drink at one bar and another 5 minutes later at the next, so the "system" is not enforcing the time between drinks rules at all. Also many know that all their dinner drinks get rung at once in MDR and usually come out free as expected on a single chit, though some are billed, likely due to operator error, not system enforcing a set of rules.

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If the bar is busy it may take a little extra item to be served, no different than anywhere else.

 

I have found that a good attitude and treating the staff with respect also helps.

 

Never had any problems with service except for those rude passengers that get to the bar after me and want to get served first.

 

Drink up

 

100% this.

 

During Cocktail Hour the Martini & Molecular Bars (and The Pool Bar during the daytime) are the high volume / most popular spots.

 

Our solution to this has been:

 

(a) find another Favourite Bar for "rush hour"... No shortage on the Ship (infact on he S-Class Ships the Passport Bar is just steps away from the Martini Bar, across the Grand Foyer)... And on M-Class Ships Cellarmasters was just steps away from the Rendezvous-vous Lounge

 

And / or

 

(b) make friends with a Favourite Bartender. Cultivate a relationship (and that doesn't necessarily mean BUY one)

 

As MICHED said above...

 

Having a good attitude & treating Staff with respect also helps... Start a convo. You have to remember these guys & gals are people too. And unlike you far from home for a week on a fun vacation... For them this is a job that takes them far from home for months at a time. Away from family, loved ones, kids. Genuinely talk them up, and you'll discover a real genuine person wanting to ensure you have a great vacation... Not some uniformed robot serving drinks, food or room service / housekeeping.

 

As for the DR...

 

We found that early on each night "our table trio" (Head Waiter, Asst Waiter & Sommelier) would greet us as we arrived... The Waiter at our table, but the Asst Waiter & Sommelier perhaps as we walked thru the DR on our way (they at other tables, or Enroute to one). We would smile, say hello. And sure enough they'd be at our table in no time.

 

The trio was intuitive, they quickly caught on to what our needs were... And we were never disappointed, and many times surprised when the went the extra mile when we least expected it

 

Again I attribute some of this to our laid back & friendly manner with them... "Good Evening Mr Jones, how was your day"... Was quickly replied with a sincere "Oh gosh, you can call me by my first name - Jack. And we had an excellent day ashore. How was your day?"

 

And so it goes

 

We also on occasion have paid our Grats upfront (added onto our Account BEFORE Final Payment). So that bit of business is over & done with... And one less thing to have put on our SeaPass Account.

 

The Grat Staff are told by Guest Services who has prepaid and who hasn't.

 

The Crew then is very aware that any extra money given to them by you is for extraordinary service (such as tipping extra for a drink when you have a Bevvy Pkg)

 

We tend to extra tip. Sometimes it is a wee bit along the way for something special / extra... But we also extra tip at the end of our cruise to those who went above & beyond to make the time exceptional / memorable for us.

 

IMO service on Celebrity has been top drawer...

 

Sure their might be a few duds here & there. Our Head Steward on The Summit did his job to the letter... No more, no less, and with no real presence or enthusiasm. Not anything I could complain about to Mgmt... So I did not. For all I know he may have gotten bad news from home that week! He got his due Grats, but no extra. I didn't stiff him just cause I didn't have a more warm & fuzzy relationship with him. He did his job. On the other hand, the Asst Steward who was far more engaging & intuitive to our needs... Like the time he saw us coming down the hall with tons of stuff, and ran ahead to open the door... (just one example) he got a nice extra tip in a Thank You Card when we left.

 

People are people the world over in my experience... Life is what you make of it, and how you treat one another. Period

 

We truly come away from our cruise having met a new group of people that touched our lives be they fellow Pax or crew. Some Friends we see here ashore... And some Friends we hope to greet again when we are at sea onboard another Celebrity Cruise

 

Hope this helps,

 

Cheers!

Edited by Sloop-JohnB

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I wonder if they have yet set up a service printer at a bar so the waiter can enter a drink oder in the MDR and the order spits out at a service bar and a runner has enough information on the order slip to deliver the drink to a table and seating position....

.

 

We were on P&O a couple of weeks ago and this is what happened there.

 

DS being a bit of a computer security geek got talking to the drinks waiter about how his system worked. Turned out it was a wifi network who's only security was an easily discovered password. It would have been easy for someone with not a great deal of knowledge to alter their bar bill!

 

We haven't had problems getting drinks in the MDR on Celebrity, biggest problem was getting them to stop pouring!

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We had the free classic drinks package on our recent Eclipse cruise and had no problems. Bars were sometimes slow but we tended to go at very busy times - just before dinner - so really just to be expected. We were always served.

In the MDR we had exceptional service. Our wine waiter was at the table almost as we sat down. Even though I always had my favourite wine he did ask if I wished to taste before pouring. As the meal went on my wine glass was never empty - I had to ask him to stop.

Checking your account is very easy on the TV. We had no problems but with so many on board I am sure mistakes do happen. Service desk will sort this out very quickly

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We've just returned from Equinox and upgraded classic to premium. We observed no difference between those who had the card and those who didn't. The crew get their tip regardless (via the billing system as we didn't tip. I think sometimes a tip is used as a bribe when the service charge has already been applied). We loved our package. If the service is slow in the MDR it's because they are busy. But we had no problems.

 

One thing I really liked was that wines ordered by the glass were allowed to be tasted before poured. So you could change your mind. That doesn't happen in Australia. The glass arrives poured.

Edited by Pushka
z

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We have purchased the premium drinks package for our upcoming cruise on Reflection and having read some postings on their use i would appreciate any helpful tips. Wine by the glass seems easy but have read postings of pax having difficulty with service in the dining venues, i.e. "we got our first drink during the second course" "wine waiter was busy did not get more than one glass during dinner" any tips guys?.In bars this does not seem to happen never seen many complaints ..thank you John/Trish Craven ,,,UK

 

All good info provided here. The only things I would add are:

 

* For MDR, I typically get the best service with fixed dining. The sommelier gets to know right off the bat that I enjoy my wine, and especially because I have the package, may want to try different wines by course, etc. They also can give really good advice, learning your taste as the cruise progresses, which helps build the relationship. Doing the select dining when it is a different person by night and they always seem a bit more rushed, I've had less good service (not necessarily related to the package, just less good overall).

 

* As for tips, yes, it's included in the package. Personally, I don't tip extra each time, because part of the perk of the package is speed. I do absolutely do an old-fashioned, thank-you tip to people who were consistently great over the length of the cruise. And as important, I jot names down throughout the cruise and include as much as I can in the survey at the end. Good and (rarely) bad.

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All good info provided here. The only things I would add are:

 

* For MDR, I typically get the best service with fixed dining. The sommelier gets to know right off the bat that I enjoy my wine, and especially because I have the package, may want to try different wines by course, etc. They also can give really good advice, learning your taste as the cruise progresses, which helps build the relationship. Doing the select dining when it is a different person by night and they always seem a bit more rushed, I've had less good service (not necessarily related to the package, just less good overall).

 

* As for tips, yes, it's included in the package. Personally, I don't tip extra each time, because part of the perk of the package is speed. I do absolutely do an old-fashioned, thank-you tip to people who were consistently great over the length of the cruise. And as important, I jot names down throughout the cruise and include as much as I can in the survey at the end. Good and (rarely) bad.

 

Totally agree with both your comments. We got the worst drinks service when we went Select dining. We pay our tips upfront but give extra for excellent service. Even more important - make sure you get the names of staff who give excellent service and put it in your report. On our last cruise we were given a card asking - how could we make your cruise better? I also used this to thank and name those who made it wonderful as the new online report goes direct to head office.

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On tiping, do you need to make sure you have small $/Euros on you or are there change machines please?

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we've cruise without, with classic, and with premium drink packages.

 

In our experience service DOES NOT change due to your choice.

 

Yes, sometimes you might have to flag down a sommelier and sometimes they are very attentive. It depends more on their workload in other words.

 

I see no reason to worry, you should be able to stay hydrated.

 

 

Same here. Service has always been very good for package. We never ordered drinks in MDR so can't speak to this. At the beginning of cruise we were asked if we'd like something from the bar. Already had drinks before so said no. Sommelier may take a little time to get to our table. Sometimes after the first pour she would leave bottle on the table. If I poured second glass or more she would be over fairly quickly to finish pour. Said she needed to pour but but was always very pleasant. With classic or premium wine glass was never empty unless we said no more was wanted.

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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On tiping, do you need to make sure you have small $/Euros on you or are there change machines please?

 

Since Celebrity ships main currency is USD, that is preferable to the staff to receive.

 

Sent from my Samsung Note 2 on the T-Mobile 4G LTE Network

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