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havenfan

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  1. The question is whether a non-cash gift can ever be better than the equivalent amount of cash. I maintain that, in this particular set of circumstances, a 19 year old Canadian kids counselor on her first contract who had previously told me that a) she couldn't leave the ship in the Canadian ports because of her schedule and b) one of the things she missed most from home was Tim Hortons, might have appreciated our bringing her a box of Tim Hortons donuts (costing around $5) more than an additional $5 cash tip. Several people (including yourself previously) asserted unequivocally that the cash would always be preferred in every situation without exception. The fact that the donuts or potential extra $5 was in addition to the $50 we also gave her shouldn't change either the question or the answer.
  2. Congratulations. The butler will give you a sheet from which you can select the bottles if you haven't already informed NCL. You can also call the NCL Haven Pre-cruise Concierge desk 1-855-625-4283 (1-855-NCL-HAVEn). They can email you the liquor form and a form with options for your preferences for pillows, water (still/sparkling), soft drinks, coffee, tea and some other things I've forgotten. You can email your preferences back to them. You're still 72 hours from boarding so there should be enough time.
  3. The crew I've spoken with have claimed that they usually only get off the ship every couple of weeks. That they can rarely get more than a couple of hours off at a time during a port call and it's not worth getting off the ship for less than that. There are exceptions such as the headline entertainers and the concierge, but my understanding is that the room stewards, waiters and, yes, kids club counselors don't usually manage a half day off in port every week. What's your understanding and where did you get it from? I think it was a reasonable gesture in that particular situation. And possibly preferable to giving $5, which is the actual point of our dialogue.
  4. Have your 19 year olds spent time working in a job where they were allowed to leave their workplace only for a few hours a month? My daughter delivered the donuts to the counselor within an hour of our re-boarding the ship. We knew where she worked. You didn't just disagree. Your phrasing indicated that I couldn't possibly be right. That your opinion was always right, "every time". That there could never be any nuance in the situation. You may be right. She might have preferred the extra $5 to the "taste of home". But your opinion is founded on considerably less evidence and a whole lot more assumptions than mine. And just because you keep SHOUTING it out doesn't make it true. There you go again....
  5. Where did I say that was the only thing we gave her? We also gave her $50 on the day before disembarkation (10-day cruise). So the comparison is between $50 plus a half-dozen of her favorite donuts, and $55. I'm surprised you think you can channel so accurately a 19 year old girl you've never met. But, apparently, you have perfect insight into the values and preferences of every one of the hundreds of thousands of cruise ship employees around the world at all times, regardless of their situations.
  6. Doughnuts on the ship when she couldn't easily have gotten them for the same amount of cash. This was a 19 year old girl on her first contract who had previously told me that Tim Hortons was one of the things she missed most from home. Not always.
  7. Not always. The kids club counselor who took care of our daughter on a fall foliage cruise to Quebec was Canadian but was not able to disembark at any of the Canadian ports. I believe she appreciated the box of Tim Hortons donuts we brought back more than she would have the cash.
  8. We just did something similar last month, one of our party chose to fly from St Thomas (USVI) back to NYC rather than spend 72 hours sailing. We knew PVSA didn't apply to USVI so we went to guest services the day before the early departure and told them about it. They made appropriate immigration arrangements and all was well. More generally, NCL can't and won't stop someone from leaving a cruise before the final port. After all, you can just get off the ship and not return. However, there can be immigration implications as cruise ship passengers often enter a country on something like a transit visa, not a visitor visa or visa waiver. In some situations you might find that you can't leave the country because you didn't enter it correctly. Cruise lines have to be prepared to handle the paperwork in case of, among other things, medical situations where a passenger is no longer fit to sail. But if they get hit with any sort of penalty because of cabotage laws, they will charge your account for it. You certainly should, but it may take a while before you get through to someone who actually knows the relevant rules. Two of the four NCL Miami reps we spoke with were of the opinion that the Jones Act would cause penalties to be imposed if we left in USVI. They were wrong on multiple counts. As for your specific case of a passenger embarking in one Italian port and disembarking in another on a ship that might not be permitted to carry passengers between two Italian ports, I'm afraid I don't know.
  9. But if only one of you takes the excursion, you only get the $89. Use it or lose it!
  10. It's a nice idea. How often have your butler or concierge had the time for this? I thought they were "on call" literally from 06:30 to 22:30. I know that they have quiet hours in the middle of the day, but I would have thought they were busy throughout the evening/dinner hours.
  11. I'm like some of the other PPs, usually leave $5/day for the room in a hotel. There I tend to leave something every day or two, not just at the end of the stay, since I rarely see housekeeping and don't know if it's the same person every day. I know chambermaids (is there a gender-neutral word for this?) in the US do get "proper" salaries, unlike waiters in the US, but I also know the salaries aren't exactly lucrative and anything extra is much appreciated. Tbh, I'm not completely sure why I do this beyond that I believe that I've been extremely fortunate financially so I feel better when I a) give to charity, b) tip 20% for normal service at a restaurant and 25%+ for "over and above" service, and c) tip room attendants whether I'm on land or on a ship. If you count the number of "I"'s in the previous sentence you'll see that it's all about me, i.e., a purely personal preference. I don't believe there's any societal norm to do the same. Unlike the first 15% for normal service in a restaurant in the US. Or the DSC on NCL.
  12. We normally tip $5/day for a normal cabin at the end of cruise, usually round up to $40 for a 7-day cruise. We've never reduced the DSC. Room stewards have told me that they are usually responsible for 15-16 cabins each. If everyone tipped $5/day/cabin they would get an extra $75-80/day or $2400/month, which would more or less double their wages. Another way to think about it is that a steward probably spends about 40 minutes a day on your cabin (10 hour day divided by 15 cabins). So $5/day/cabin works out to an extra $7.50/hour over what NCL pays them out of the DSC.
  13. The Star did a similar itinerary in the winter of 2016/17, i.e., sail east from the Mediterranean, cruise Southeast Asia and Australia/NZ, before sailing west back to Europe. We were on the Singapore-Hong Kong leg just after it arrived from Dubai. We spoke with several people who were doing a B2B Dubai-Singapore-Hong Kong cruise. Reviews of the Dubai-Singapore leg were mixed. Some of the people I spoke with felt that the disembarkation/embarkation procedures were very inefficient and that the NCL excursions weren't very well curated or organized, perhaps because that was the first time a NCL ship had been in that part of the world for over 20 years so NCL were not familiar with the ports and tour operators. They singled out the experiences at the Indian ports as being particularly poor, but I guess that's not relevant for your cruise. The Star is very similar to the Jade with the biggest differences being that it doesn't have a Haven on Deck 14 and that on Deck 12 the Spinnaker Lounge was replaced with suites. At any rate, here is one review of the Dubai-Singapore cruise, one review of the Singapore-Dubai cruise, and some other reviews that you might find useful.
  14. Sitting in the sun under the transparent roof can be very pleasant. I suspect you won't get as much UV as under the direct sun. Again, only a few chairs will be under the direct sun when the roof is open.
  15. I was on the Pearl just over a week ago. Teppanyaki and Sushi were open for lunch at least some of the days. I think Chin Chin was as well, though I don't know if you consider that a specialty restaurant.
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