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Everything posted by citygirl62

  1. My husband and I have booked another transatlantic cruise in April 2022. It's the third time we've booked a cruise because the last two were canceled; one by us and the other one by the industry. I had to ask if I could double up my Cruise Next credits which was allowed. I'm not a betting person so I can't say if this will actually be a go. I never used to think about being stranded in the middle of the Atlantic if I came down with a virus but it's starting to be a factor now, even without Covid. I have until December to get a refund and in that time I'm checking VRBO villas in the south of Italy to decide whether cruising will be just another type of vacation instead or the preferred one.
  2. We haven't been on many cruises so far but the ones we have been on, we tip over and above the gratuities already charged. We do the same when we go to all inclusive resorts. Partly, it's because we do get better service, let's call it an incentive. And partly it's because we both know these people work really hard with long hours away from their families for extended periods of time. I think better service really boils down to HOW you treat the recipient. Making a big production over your generosity usually doesn't work. Discretion does. Being gracious goes a long way, even if you don't tip.
  3. $3 tip for a $15 drink is 20% which is pretty standard. What do you tip when on land?
  4. If you go to a restaurant that has a "two for one" special, how much do you tip on? The actual price of the meal or the hypothetical price? The wait staff is still bringing you two appetizers, two main courses, etc. etc. Their work is not halved because of a special offer. If you only drink 5 drinks a day, don't get the UBP and just pay the 20% gratuity on the actual quantity you drank at the end of the cruise. However, most people DO drink more than 5 drinks when on the UBP. It's akin to an all-you-can-eat buffet where people eat far more food when they aren't paying for it.
  5. Most customers would be very unhappy if all servers were paid a living wage, not just minimum wage, by their employers. That $18 plate of pasta would cost $30 and the $12 burger would cost $20. Most large hotel chains are unionized, at least here in Canada, which is why a croissant and coffee for breakfast costs maybe $15. My example shows that Kentucky is one of the states that allows employers to subsidize their employees wage by using tip credits to pay them a minimum wage. If business is slow and the server doesn't get tips, the employer has to pay them the minimum of 7.25 hr. If service is slamming, the server has to submit their tips so the employer can top up the hrly rate to the minimum.
  6. I was looking at hourly rates for servers in Kentucky specifically because I know servers in restaurants where we have our condo in Florida make more than double that an hour. I think the last time someone made 2.13 hour in Canada would have been around 1965!
  7. My husband used to work in restaurants and bars. He was very good at his job and made a LOT of money in tips. He tipped the busboys who worked his tables and they hustled to clean and set up tables quicker. He tipped the bartenders and they were quick with drinks. He did that even though it wasn't SOP. When you work in a restaurant you are part of a big process. He never tipped cooks or chefs because they make much better money that wait staff. He walked out of restaurants if he found out the owner made servers pool their tips and would take a cut. We drive to Florida a lot and always stop in a restaurant in Lexington Kentucky because they play cool jazz, have comfy banquette tables and an incredible waiter. We were shocked to learn his base pay was $2.13 hr!! I couldn't believe that and checked it out when we got home and it's true. Kentucky is allowed to pay any where from 2.13 hr to 7.25 hr for a tipped employee. It just made me wonder just how much workers on a ship get paid.
  8. My first question is why would you want to get out of paying tips to all the workers on board who are there to make your cruise the best it can be? All tipping to a certain extent is discretionary. You decide whether an experience, whether on land or sea, is deserving of a tip. My personal experience is that most people who inquire about getting out of paying a gratuity are actually planning to bring it to fruition. Like this little scenario that played out in front of me at the service desk once when a man and woman said they wanted to cancel all gratuities because they had brought their own sheets and towels, made the bed themselves and generally tidied up. We always tip extra whether on board or in a resort for good service, even at all-inclusives. With the exception of some egregious circumstances (and I'm not referring to the lack of towel animals or itinerary changes) my philosophy is if you can't afford to tip then don't go on a cruise. Full stop. And just to be perfectly clear, I'm British but have lived for many years in Canada and I know that Brits generally don't tip. It gets a little tiresome when some British people I've met who've traveled all over (not referring to you) still like to use that old chestnut about not being used to tipping. When in Rome.
  9. We did the TA on the Star in April. The first couple of days out of Miami the pool was quite 'refreshing' meaning the temperature of a lake in Ontario. On the third day heading north east to the Azores it was much more comfortable, around 82 degrees. I'm not sure if they heated it or the sun did it. The hot tubs were HOT. Too hot to be comfortable (for me) and that didn't change for the whole cruise.
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