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Everything posted by perakcruiser

  1. Lower deck? And after stretching all new magnifica cabins will probably be Fantastica, more of the older in front and back will be Bella
  2. I hope one day all countries in the world will reach a level where these ridiculous "taxes and fees" are not allowed to add to the price. I love the Europeans for this.
  3. Yes, but the question is "Is Costa following UK law with this procedure or not?". Do you not have the "final price" rule like the other Europeans? Then why don´t the cruise lines not charge you these port taxes? Or do they? I suspect a little bit that Costa is breaking UK law like they did in other countries before, but nobody sued them so far 😄
  4. Just go with the MSC excursion as you arrive 1pm. Certainly you can buy many excursions also at the chaotic port area when you go off the boat, but as everything else, it is not cheap in Jamaika. Room for negotiations maybe is limited when it is 2pm and they know you need to go immediately 😉
  5. They did. Go to the German website and use Google Translate. Or to make it short "Servicegebühren inbegriffen" means "Service charges included". As it is required by German law. My brother sailed Costa last year with a booking from the German website, he also had a drinks package included and his final bill was zero. Prices in Germany and most other developed countries 😉 have to be published including taxes and all other parts, thats why they call it final price law. I am a little bit shocked that the UK is not following this as I thought it is a place with exemplary consumer protection. If the EU should bring anything to all countries in the world that it is this final price law. Everything else is just customer cheating.
  6. How many times in your life you tried to exchange a $2 bill in Indonesia or the Philippines? Probably never, but you tell people here that you know exactly how it goes, great! Certainly you can exchange a bunch of small USD or EUR bills there also. Only these two currencies of cause. Somebody who has do it more often will also have the money changer of his trust (we all have here in SEA, also me in Malaysia), and will get a very good rate from them also.
  7. The Airport area is by far the worst choice. Hotels in Rome are quite cheap compared to other cities so we always stayed in Rome close to the railway station. But why not spending the day in Rome and move in the evening to Civita, no bad plan either. You need to check the prices, on days with no cruise ships Civita is of cause much cheaper, I dont know what happens to the prices the day before a big MSC ship departs.
  8. Very funny, it was MSC who sued Costa in Germany a couple of years before for exactly this. Certainly Costa lost and then changed to abolish the charge completely and include it in the cruise price. It did not know that they did not do this in UK also.
  9. Well if it is included in the price as with Costa* and MSC UK, then I would not call it a "mandatory DSC" anymore, as it is not visible and as you say with P&O it is just a part of the cruise price. Same with this mysterious port taxes some nationalities have to pay. I never heard of the lines "CMV" or "Fred Olsen" (funny name), but certainly they also cannot break the law. There is just one "trick", do not sell your cruises "officially" in these markets, just use global webpage so you only need to follow the law of the place where the company is based. Genting Cruises is doing this, they can force all passengers to pay service charges. *Costa defintely cannot add a "mandatory" service charge to the accounts, if they not collect it with the stated cruise price in the catalogue it is purely voluntary. Very surprised to read that UK law doesn´t protect customers from companies changing the "final price".
  10. MSC will never ever disclose, they never did and never will do. One thing that is sure, they changed the system all the time during the last years and especially after the all inclusive drinks packages went popular. And the true answer if you ask staff on board how much they get from the DSC is "I don´t know". I would not bet that ANYONE including the captain (who don´t care anyway) on board knows the system exactly, these decisions are made in Italy and Switzerland. But you can indeed expect that the DSC goes to the staff. How you want to handle this? The DSC goes to hundreds of people, you want to give your waiter and room steward $200 each and all others nothing? Well, that is the reason why cruise lines don´t like individual tipping and ask not to do so. With all this discussions don´t forget one thing, the staff on cruise lines are not unhappy and low paid people, it is still a dream job with extraordinary high salary for so many.
  11. It is very simple, MSC and all other European cruise lines cannot call it "Gratuities", this would be totally illegal as by law they cannot collect Gratuities from their guests. Same with the port fees or port taxes they cannot collect from the guests from these markets. The DSC is already on the verge of being illegal, they solved this in the way that guests can delete this "suggestion" and the cruise lines are not allowed to ask any question about WHY. Some years before guests only could delete by giving a reason, certainly MSC was sued for this and lost. In Europe most cruise lines already have abolished the DSC and Gratuities completely (or never had it). MSC seems to have removed it in not so price sensitive markets like UK or Switzerland, but they are probably for a good reason afraid to do it in the main markets like Germany. Selling the cabin 140 Euro more expensive can make a difference.
  12. It is only 50 meters. When you get off the ship you are almost inside already. The area itself is quite big, but honestly speaking, I found it totally horrible and would stay on board if I would dock there again. Stopp, I forget, there is free Wi-Fi! Yes, Costa Maya was the only stopp with free Wi-Fi in the Carribean, OK, in this way it is a good place to leave the boat.
  13. I am not giving up, even it is so tough 😄 The Daily Service Charge goes (in some not published way) to the staff, the 15% on board service charge goes to the company. So for the staff it is totally umimportant if you pre book your drinks or buy on boards.
  14. On trips with a lot of tender ports the tender priority is a great thing. On trips with no or only one tender Gold is almost useless indeed.
  15. So sad, Corsica is really a great highlight and a "special" thing. As is Cinque Terre of cause. If you want to do the real hiking between the villages you have to go by yourself. Head to the railway station as early as possible, bring enough water. Very challenging, but so much joy to do. If you are not that fit, then better stick with the excursions.
  16. This certainly depends on the nationality again. While there are maybe some nationalities that cannot modify, most can of cause. For example it is quite common for families travelling together in two cabins, that the DSC is deleted for one cabin and doubled on the other, so that the person with the highest amount of Voyager points can reach Gold or Black faster. Cutting down 50 percent is certainly also not uncommon. Who told you this? Maybe bar staff lurging for tips? 😉 Either it is a lie, very new or only on specific sailings. Certainly on European or Asian sailings it would be a desaster for bar staff if they would been removed from the DSC with almost zero tips for them. But certainly it is possible that MSC realized that on US sailings the bar stuff gets tips, so they reduced there other earnings for fairness reasons. Very simple rule in many countries, what is included in the final price cannot be removed, what is not, that cannot be collected by force, no matter it is a service charge or port fees or whatever.
  17. If you have a car and love pasta, you should really consider to visit Gragnano. Also on the Amalfi coast consider the hike „Sentiero Degli Dei“, so amazing. Cannes, nothing special to do, but a nice city walk. Palma, there is a quite nice shopping mall very close to the port. Otherwise Palma is a classical stay on board stop if you don't want to do any of the excursions.
  18. Then prepare for a couple of 15% surprises more. And certainly the salaries on all European and Asian cruise companies are much higher, otherwise they would get no staff. Very simple, US boats low salary, high tips, Non-US high salary, no or low tips. At the end it ends up same same, because the cruise companies know the numbers very very good.
  19. You still refuse to understand that the DSC is not the 15% service charge on board. Second, you should understand that MSC is a European company, staff is not living on tips, but on salaries.
  20. No real news, MSC had the "pillow menu" with a wide choice of pillows already in 2014. Maybe you just did not ask for it at that time. But indeed typical MSC "cruise and learn" style, not everything is black and white, you just need to know.
  21. Because it is expensive and it is already almost eliminated from MSC 😥 I do not see many chances to save it, but if you were lucky to enjoy on your last cruise, please tell them! On our last cruise on the Sea view there was zero classical music or opera so we cut down the DSC 50% and also told them how disappointed we were.
  22. The daily service charge is not the 15% service charge for on board services. MSC has a bonus reward and incentive system for the staff that is connected to the daily service charge in some way.
  23. No discounts on these products just because the sailing is coming closer. Almost always more expensive on board. The only thing worth waiting is the cruise fare itself, if you are flexible then you can hope for a very good last minute offer in case the ship is booked not so good.
  24. Should be no problem at all. And the railway station is just a very short walk from the ship.
  25. I don't know where this idea is coming from that the 15% charge for services on board is going to any staff member. This belongs to the company and goes to the company. And it is a main reason why the cruises are so cheap 🙂 But certainly you are right, how the crew is paid will probably remain undisclosed and a mystery. And the system changes all the time anyway, now with so much more tipping US pax on board, MSC surely has changed already.
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