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oskarNZ

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About oskarNZ

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Zealand
  • Interests
    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    The Disney of a few years ago when it was much cheaper.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bonaire or the Greek Islands.

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  1. Unless it’s changed again in the last year, they’re included with Celebrity. We cruised around the Southern Caribbean and paid in NZ dollars. Our gratuities were included and therefore couldn’t even be chosen as a ‘free’ perk. I thought it was now the same with Royal Caribbean, but I could be wrong.
  2. Same. It’s easier just to factor them into the overall cruise cost right from the beginning. Many cruise lines, when booking through an .com.au or .co.nz version of their website, include the gratuity in the fare anyway as they know those of Downunder don’t like looking at them as an extra expense. I’m one of those people, so prepay them whenever they’re not included.
  3. Where I live, it infuriates the rate paying residents no end that travellers can save thousands to get here, but as soon as they arrive they tighten their purse strings at the expense of the locals or the environment (For example, they won’t pay for official camp grounds where they can usually purposefully set up rubbish, laundry and bathroom facilities, because they argue that they are too expensive). I fully believe that travel is a luxury, and it is our responsibility to do it conscientiously and in line with local customs and beliefs. If money is a barrier to that, we simply save for longer or cut back on unnecessary luxuries. I know tipping is a horrid custom that most kiwis and Aussies deplore, but it is a custom none-the-less, and one those servers rely on to earn an honest living. What will happen if you stop the tips: essentially you will be expecting people to work for you for way less than minimum wage.
  4. I had a particular interest in onboard activities and despite all the “everything costs extra” comments, the lack of concrete examples was ironically reassuring. There are still mainstream cruise lines I’m keen to try (the info about Royal Caribbean was particularly useful) so in that respect, this thread has been useful.
  5. You may not be able to open this link as it’s a NZ publication, but if you can, it’s worth a read. http://instructionalseries.tki.org.nz/content/download/41214/459731/file/SJSL-L4-Te-Tiriti-o-Waitangi-spreads.pdf It’s from a school journal (a free publication for NZ school children). This one is aimed at kids in the roughly 10-14year old bracket, but I would argue that it explains the Treaty (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) better than pretty much anything else I’ve read. The debate now revolves around how many Treaty settlements are needed before we leave the mistakes of history in our past and move on. This is what polarises people. From everything you’ve said, I think you will fit just fine here in NZ. I hope you have a wonderful trip. Which places are you visiting?
  6. I love National Parks and these usually provide me with my best value vacations. However, I agree that for all a cruise offers, most mainstream lines are still very good value for money. Plus it’s such a relaxing, enjoyable vacation choice.
  7. Maybe that’s more of an Australian thing as many Kiwis don’t mind discussing politics at all (unless it bores them). I love talking politics and would probably moan much less now, given that I really like our Prime Minister for the first time in ages. In saying that, you should tread lightly around the Treaty of Waitangi as it creates many strong polarising views here in NZ. I identify with both my Māori and Pakeha (white) side and would happily discuss the rights and wrongs of our past and present from both a historical and somewhat more ‘middle of the fence’ perspective. But know that there are many strong opinions and history has done a lot of people wrong, so it could be a subject you wait for others to bring up. Also, do know that not too many NZers like your president or gun laws. If a discussion about politics begins and shifts to your country, there is a chance this could come up. I only say that as it’s probably best to avoid political conversation at all of this might make you uncomfortable.
  8. I just did a google of “adding cabins during refurb” and the first two posts were about Princess and Carnival. A poster above mentioned NCL and like the previous poster, I know for a fact they have done it to Celebrity ships and are continuing to Edge-ify the Solstice class by adding suites. Dig and you shall find. Regarding prices, I agree that during the early days of cruising, Cruising was only for the very rich, but in the last 13 years I have only seen them go up and the really impressive specials become fewer and further between. My first cruise was 7 days for 500pound p/p (we were living in London at the time) and it included return flights which usually would have been close to 150-200 on their own because it was during school holidays. My second ocean cruise was NZ$150 pp ($US100) for a 4 night cruise, again during school holidays. Granted that was a mega special during an unconventional sale, but I doubt I’ll see a special like that again. I did a Disney cruise approx 5 years ago and it was affordable for my family. Their prices have skyrocketed beyond even being able to comprehend them anymore. Regarding my one and only river cruise, China have opened their doors a lot more to the world since then and it’s not as cheap as it once was. I also remember a time when specialty restaurants were about $20. Now many are charging $50+ I know there will be examples to the contrary, but I would still argue that the overall picture is of an increase.
  9. Yes, or head to Aoraki/Mt Cook in the winter. The Hermitage may not have the glamour of a castle, but the view outward is to die for.
  10. Pretty much what has been said about Australia also applies to NZ. I’ve copied below a comment I wrote yesterday for an American traveller. Have a wonderful trip. COPIED POST: I can quite honestly say that I’ve never tipped in NZ and don’t intend to anytime soon. I always tip in the States as it’s part of your culture, but it’s not a practice I like or want to see become commonplace in NZ, so I stand firm against it becoming the norm here by not tipping. That’s not to say that you won’t come across situations where it seems like it might be expected. This will mainly be at touristy activities and in touristy towns (eg Queenstown) where they are so used to getting tips from overseas tourists that it’s sadly starting to become expected (for example, you might see a place on the bill where you can add a tip if you want). While I (and probably the majority of kiwis not in the tourism industry) will hope you don’t tip, the server will probably be hoping you do. Here’s the thing, no one can tell you what you should do, as only you can decide whether to support the immediate picture or the bigger one. However, can I suggest that if the pull to tip is so strong, you’ll be overcome by guilt if you don’t tip, perhaps compromise by just tipping a little bit (eg a few dollars) or even better, tell the server they were awesome and you’ll be leaving a good review. Lastly, because NZ is mostly a cashless society with people paying for everything by card, you will not find many restaurants bringing you the bill in a folder for you to leave cash at the table. At most restaurants, you walk up to the till at the end of your meal to pay. I will usually glance briefly at the total to see it’s right and if there’s a bit for tip (again, becoming more common in touristy areas), I conveniently act like I haven’t seen it and hand over my card to pay. You will not get a server in NZ pointing out the tip part and reminding you to add to it. If you do - definitely DO NOT tip them. I hope that helps.
  11. Oh dear. Just when you think the (mis)direction of Cruise Critic posts no longer surprises you.
  12. I would agree with this. However, my thinking is focused on how incredibly important it is that we bring up children who respect the bodies and well-being of others. What happened to this child is horrific. The more we blame the girl’s parents or the ship, the more we minimalise the actions of the perpetrators.
  13. I can quite honestly say that I’ve never tipped in NZ and don’t intend to anytime soon. I always tip in the States as it’s part of your culture, but it’s not a practice I like or want to see become commonplace in NZ, so I stand firm against it becoming the norm here by not tipping. That’s not to say that you won’t come across situations where it seems like it might be expected. This will mainly be at touristy activities and in touristy towns (eg Queenstown) where they are so used to getting tips from overseas tourists that it’s sadly starting to become expected (for example, you might see a place on the bill where you can add a tip if you want). While I (and probably the majority of kiwis not in the tourism industry) will hope you don’t tip, the server will probably be hoping you do. Here’s the thing, no one can tell you what you should do, as only you can decide whether to support the immediate picture or the bigger one. However, can I suggest that if the pull to tip is so strong, you’ll be overcome by guilt if you don’t tip, perhaps compromise by just tipping a little bit (eg 5% instead of 20%) or even better, tell the server they were awesome and you’ll be leaving a good review. Lastly, because NZ is mostly a cashless society with people paying for everything by card, you will not find many restaurants bringing you the bill in a folder for you to leave cash at the table. At most restaurants, you walk up to the till at the end of your meal to pay. I will usually glance briefly at the total to see it’s right and if there’s a bit for tip (again, becoming more common in touristy areas), I conveniently act like I haven’t seen it and hand over my card to pay. You will not get a server in NZ pointing out the tip part and reminding you to add to it. If you do - definitely DO NOT tip them. I hope that helps.
  14. Oh shush. Head on back to the billibong; your billy is boiling.
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