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OBC can NOT be used to prepay gratuities prior to your cruise in order to pay the current rate

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Just got off the phone with Celebrity, and I'm less than impressed with the information I rec'd.  

 

As many of you will have heard by now, the current gratuities rate is increasing effective Jan 6th.  Celebrity has "graciously" allowed guests to prepay their gratuities prior to that date, even if their sail date is after that. What they WON'T allow you to do however is pre-pay the gratuities using existing OBC.  We have a B2B2B on the Summit on Jan 14th, Jan 25th and Feb1.  The first leg included a pre-paid gratuity perk, so that one is not an issue.  The Jan 25th and Feb 1st legs did NOT have a pre-paid gratuity perk associated with the booking, but we did receive a few hundred dollars OBC as part of a promotion for those bookings that would effectively cover the cost of the gratuities.  

 

I tried to pre-pay the gratuities several days ago online, using the "edit gratuities" option in my cruise manager, but it would not pull the $$ from the existing OBC... so when I phoned Celebrity then to explain the issue with that, their response was "Oh for some reason you can't use the OBC to pre-pay the gratuities, just everything else like beverage packages, upgrades, specialty dining, excursions, etc. You can simply use the OBC to pay your gratuities onboard, easy peasy".  Great.  Then this morning I (along with most of you) rec'd the email notifying us of the increase.  Called them again to say that I'm TRYING to pre-pay prior to our Jan 25th and Feb 1st cruises, but it's against their policy? The rep I spoke with, Tracy, confirmed that yes, that's just the way it is.  I do have the option of paying in advance with my credit card, but that's silly... the whole reason I had the OBC to begin with is to use it to pay the gratuities.

 

I realize it's just a dollar a day extra per person, but the actual dollars are not the point here... it's the principle of the matter. There's absolutely no conceivable reason why the OBC can't be applied to the gratuities in advance the same way in which it's applied to everything else. 

 

I'm annoyed by this... but 'll get over it and I'm sure the cruise will be just awesome.  Just wanted to vent a little, and warn others that they can't use their OBC to pre-pay the gratuities to pay the current rate.

 

Rant over... 

 

Happy New Year everyone :)

 

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I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, they should NOT be applying a new charge retroactively to all those reservations made before Jan. 6, 2020. People purchased those cruises with the expectation of paying the gratuities price at the time of booking. This is effectively raising your price after you have bought the cruise. To me this is like buying a car and later, maybe months or years later,, getting a bill for more money. 

 

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Does anyone know why you can't apply Celebrity OBC to prepay gratuities before the cruise (even by speaking directly to X)?  Is it simply a system issue? You can use OBC or credit card to prepay most everything else.

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I'm not sure I would have bothered if trying to save the increase was the reason for the call.  What are they going up 50 cents maybe a dollar a day. Hardly worth the aggravation of calling.

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22 minutes ago, 39august said:

In fact, they should NOT be applying a new charge retroactively to all those reservations made before Jan. 6, 2020. People purchased those cruises with the expectation of paying the gratuities price at the time of booking.

Agree 100%. 

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5 minutes ago, 39august said:

I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, they should NOT be applying a new charge retroactively to all those reservations made before Jan. 6, 2020. People purchased those cruises with the expectation of paying the gratuities price at the time of booking. This is effectively raising your price after you have bought the cruise. To me this is like buying a car and later, maybe months or years later,, getting a bill for more money. 

 

Not at all.  The charge for the gratuity occurs on the day (night) that you're on the ship.  An analogous situation would be if you purchased a car today, and the price of gas went up next year.  It's actually nice that Celebrity is providing the opportunity to pre-pay the gratuities at the current rate. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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37 minutes ago, TFLG said:

I'm not sure I would have bothered if trying to save the increase was the reason for the call.  What are they going up 50 cents maybe a dollar a day. Hardly worth the aggravation of calling.

Maybe not for you.  On a 37 day cruise, it adds up to $74 extra if I read the OP correctly ($1/pp/day).  I guess it's 2 years since they raised the gratuities so they think it's time to do it again.  We're all but finished with Celebrity after the 3 that are booked. 

 

We never get any emails from Celebrity that matter.  Just a reminder to book the cruise where they see me checking the prices.  Never mind that I'm already booked on it.

I believe this gratuity increase is for bookings made after Jan 6, so it will not affect what's already booked if you prepay it.

 

Edited by TeaBag

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44 minutes ago, 39august said:

I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, they should NOT be applying a new charge retroactively to all those reservations made before Jan. 6, 2020. People purchased those cruises with the expectation of paying the gratuities price at the time of booking. This is effectively raising your price after you have bought the cruise. To me this is like buying a car and later, maybe months or years later,, getting a bill for more money. 

 

Not quite, because you have used the auto for all of that time, which would make the billing untenable, since the sailing has yet to take place they are giving advance notice of the change, right or wrong.

 

If the OP's sailing is awhile out, maybe they can add 'pre-paid' gratuities if any of the remaining B's have a price reduction??

 

bon voyage

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There OBC,  their ship, their rules which don’t have to make sense.  It has been that long since OBC couldn’t be used for anything until you were on the ship.

Maybe you can switch your perk selection from OBC to prepaid gratuties.

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This isn’t an issue for Aussies as tips are included in the price so there is no wriggle room.
 

I’m wondering if there is anywhere on the invoices or documentation you receive when booking that states the tip amount you will pay.  

 

I’m also assuming that Suite price increase is more than $1. 

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6 hours ago, jelayne said:

There OBC,  their ship, their rules which don’t have to make sense.  It has been that long since OBC couldn’t be used for anything until you were on the ship.

Maybe you can switch your perk selection from OBC to prepaid gratuties.

That sounds like a practical approach if it works.  Guess the grats  may become a more  valuable perk, esp on a longer cruise.

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Quick question, has anyone ever had the opportunity to 'pre-pay' gratuities using OBC (NR/R) or is this a recent discovery due to the increase?

 

bon voyage

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7 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

Quick question, has anyone ever had the opportunity to 'pre-pay' gratuities using OBC (NR/R) or is this a recent discovery due to the increase?

 

bon voyage

 

I have never been able to pre-pay using OBC.  I have used OBC once on the ship or paid it when settling the account at the end of the cruise.

 

Happy Trails...

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Not that I can remember.  In fact, it wasn't until the past few years that you were able to use Celebrity OBC to book excursions, etc. in your cruise planner.  Before you had to wait until you got on board to use your OBC for excursions.  🍷

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6 minutes ago, keesar said:

 

I have never been able to pre-pay using OBC.  I have used OBC once on the ship or paid it when settling the account at the end of the cruise.

 

Happy Trails...

My experience as well, as I neglected to point out.

 

Thank you k

 

bon voyage

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So if OBC has never been able to be used to prepay the gratuities, and it still can’t be used for this, there is no change, and I don’t understand the OP’s beef?

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I get the OP's annoyance, but considering all that crew do to make our cruises enjoyable I think all this hubbub it much ado about nothing. OP has booked 3 cruises back to back and is fortunate to be able to enjoy that luxury. Since most people tip extra, above the prescribed amount I can't get too excited about reaching into my pocket for the extra $1 pppd. Whether I pay now or later, I'm going to give the room steward and dining staff extra, above the recommended amount anyway. As was said by others it's only in the last few years that OBC was available for use before the cruise and X made that nice change, it's their game and their rules. 

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If OBC can't be used to prepay your gratuities, and you wish to pay your gratuities with OBC, then suck it up and pay the extra bucks once you get on board, that's all.  🍷

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