Jump to content
,

TA for a River Cruise?


Travel R
 Share

Recommended Posts

6 minutes ago, Coral said:

I just googled and found a CC article with tips (it is not dated) and it seems more reasonable now that the Euro and dollar are equal but at the time, my river cruise tips were almost double what I paid on ocean cruises.

 

Thanks.  Seems about equal with ocean cruises.  RCI is now about $15/$18 US depending whether you are in a regular stateroom or a suite.

 

I thought Europeans didn't like to be tipped 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tipping does not come naturally to us, it becomes much easier once we’ve been used to say Canada or the USA. It’s not a case of not liking being tipped, what employee would turn it down and we always ensure that any tips go to the staff before tipping. It’s now also much easier when you can add it to your card bill.

When Scenic first went all inclusive it was really a no no to tip extra but now if you feel a member of staff has gone above and beyond there is no problem. 🥳

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We always pre-pay our tips, it's not much, and then give euros to the ones who were directly interacted with us. We've even treated on of the tour bus drivers to a (non alcoholic) drink one day, we stopped at a cafe after wandering around town and he happened to be at the next table. He was quite interesting to talk to, and told us he worked pretty much year round as he drove for the main company, not just the river cruise division.  The fact that he was a big F1 fan helped break the ice, as I happened to be checking on qualifying. 🙂

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Travel R said:

I do not know enough about the pay structure on river cruises, but would have thought that staff such as cruise directors would be making enough salary not to be requiring tips. But what do I know?

Cruise Directors on river cruises are not paid a salary – those tips are their entire income.  [Except obviously on lines like Scenic that include all gratuities in the fare.]

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Canal archive said:

When Scenic first went all inclusive it was really a no no to tip extra but now if you feel a member of staff has gone above and beyond there is no problem.

 

We are the same way. Have been doing the pre-paid gratuities since it was instituted. But have been tipping the stewards and wait staff additional at the end of the cruise. How much depends on how much they have gone above and beyond.  When cruising in Europe, it is a good way to relieve oneself of all the excess Euros (or other denominations) I had at the end (with US $, if necessary). I also leave great reviews and mention the stewards and wait staff by name during the post-cruise surveys -- Do cruise lines send those as well?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Daisi said:

We always pre-pay our tips, it's not much, and then give euros to the ones who were directly interacted with us. We've even treated on of the tour bus drivers to a (non alcoholic) drink one day, we stopped at a cafe after wandering around town and he happened to be at the next table. He was quite interesting to talk to, and told us he worked pretty much year round as he drove for the main company, not just the river cruise division.  The fact that he was a big F1 fan helped break the ice, as I happened to be checking on qualifying. 🙂

 

 

Cool story, I am sure the driver enjoyed being appreciated.

 

However, I am more of a closed-wheel fan myself (and had done some street racing in my youth).

 

But we can still be friends.

 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Cruise Directors on river cruises are not paid a salary – those tips are their entire income.  [Except obviously on lines like Scenic that include all gratuities in the fare.]

 

Thank you for the clarification.

 

Question: For the lines that do not allow for auto/pre-gratuities, how are the gratuities paid out?  Do they hand out those white gratuity envelopes, or is there a way to still pay electronically? I hated the envelopes, it meant needing to take out cash pre-vacation, then holding onto it until the end of the cruise.

 

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Travel R said:

 

Thank you for the clarification.

 

Question: For the lines that do not allow for auto/pre-gratuities, how are the gratuities paid out?  Do they hand out those white gratuity envelopes, or is there a way to still pay electronically? I hated the envelopes, it meant needing to take out cash pre-vacation, then holding onto it until the end of the cruise.

 

Thanks

While I prepaid my gratutities on my Avalon Irawaddy cruise, everyone went above and beyond when I was using a cane due to a sore knee. I was able to add the tips to my account, and pay by credit card. (This only works if you are tipping everyone in general; for specific people you would need to tip in cash.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Canal archive said:

It’s possible on your after cruise report with Scenic to mention staff who have given exceptional service and on a couple of our cruises encouraged.

 

On ocean cruises, the post-cruise survey is very important to the staff.  Their promotions, salaries, and even being re-hired are somewhat directly related to these surveys/reviews and important to call out those that went above and beyond by name. [I usually take a photo of the name of the name tags (or name placards on the tables) to make sure I spell the names correctly) - this past cruise, our steward gave us a business card.

Edited by Travel R
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Travel R said:

 

 

Question: For the lines that do not allow for auto/pre-gratuities, how are the gratuities paid out?  Do they hand out those white gratuity envelopes, or is there a way to still pay electronically? I hated the envelopes, it meant needing to take out cash pre-vacation, then holding onto it until the end of the cruise.

 

Thanks

 

 

We sail with Avalon, and they provided us with vouchers saying our tips were pre-paid. The last night of the cruise, envelopes were left in the cabins, and we put the vouchers (and some extra Euros) in them. Then we tracked down those who we wanted to give extra to do do so with a big thank-you. The crew were all great, even the behind the scene ones - one day we were sitting out front as we were coming into port, and watched the guys getting the lines out for tying up. They were great and very patient answering my husband's questions, and really made us feel that we weren't bothering them. We also had one of the sous-chefs who was responsible for preparing soup on the bus with us one day (as well as some others). I mentioned that I had really liked one of the soups and the next day they had it again.,  I think it was the only one repeated.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, Canal archive said:

If I like any particular item from the galley I ask for the recipe so I’ve built up quite a memory file not only from river cruising but around the world.

This actually was a soup I make at home....pretty close to what I made, and one of my favourites. I grew up with a Mother who cooked from all over the world, and I do the same. Easter dinner this year was all Hungarian, while my sister made a Scandinavian Christmas dinner for us.  It's been a tradition in our family since I was to young to say I didn't like stuff. 🙂

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/2/2022 at 4:13 PM, Canal archive said:

With the latest scenic walki talki thingamys they are loaded with tours of the various towns so biking with them is far more straight forward and you don’t need to do the organised tours. 

3677DBDB-49B8-4B73-83A9-0BCCCEE961B1.jpeg.316b86c1b885cfa25320befda35fefa9.jpegCouldn’t resist 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/3/2022 at 4:39 AM, Travel R said:

 

Interesting.

Probably the same with Tauck.  They charter their ships, complete with crew from Scylla. Only the CD and the 3 Tour Directors are Tauck employees.  There is no diminishment of quality of service and it all seems pretty seamless.  If one has any sort of problem with ship’s staff the CD can be your liaison.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Daisi said:

they provided us with vouchers saying our tips were pre-paid. The last night of the cruise, envelopes were left in the cabins, and we put the vouchers

 

I like that. For those that do not know, on ocean cruise ships the fact that you paid or did not pre-pay gratuities is on the sheets the stewards have with them.  I know this by happenstance. On the not so rare occasion when I was waiting for my DW and DDs, I was waiting out in the hallway and one of the sheets was out on one of the carts. Being curious (or nosey, depending on how you look at it), I took a look at the sheet and there was a column for gratuity (the column was headed Grty or something similar, so it is possible that it could have been something else, but others on CC have confirmed this).

 

Personally, I like to give them the cash not within the envelope. Also, sometimes they give you the envelopes after dinner on the penultimate evening and for the wait staff I would rather give it to them on that evening - you never know what might happen - the dining room is crowded and you may be seated with another waiter far from yours (the MDRs in some of these ocean ships are huge - and one cruise I was even moved to a different floor). The room steward is not an issue, you can just leave it in the room (and in that case, within the envelope).

 

2 hours ago, Daisi said:

We also had one of the sous-chefs who was responsible for preparing soup on the bus with us one day (as well as some others). I mentioned that I had really liked one of the soups and the next day they had it again.,

Very nice customer service. Yes, I agree, he deserves an extra tip for going above and beyond!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Travel R said:

 

Personally, I like to give them the cash not within the envelope. Also, sometimes they give you the envelopes after dinner on the penultimate evening and for the wait staff I would rather give it to them on that evening - you never know what might happen - the dining room is crowded and you may be seated with another waiter far from yours (the MDRs in some of these ocean ships are huge - and one cruise I was even moved to a different floor). The room steward is not an issue, you can just leave it in the room (and in that case, within the envelope).

 

Very nice customer service. Yes, I agree, he deserves an extra tip for going above and beyond!

 

On Avalon, all tips are split between all the crew, I think that is standard for most river cruises. So we gave extra for all the crew, then felt that those who we interacted with everyday deserved a more personal thanks.  Our problem was, when we wanted to give a bit to our wine steward, he was off on holiday....which impressed me, as it was the last day so I thought he would have been needed for help with disembarkment and embarkment. His sister was our server, so we gave it to her. We had a lot of family on our cruise - our cabin attendant did the whole level with his twin, and the Housekeeping manager was engaged to my favourite sous-chef!  

 

Can you tell we sat at the back of the bus for all tours, so got to meet a lot of staff we normally wouldn't. 🙂

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Daisi said:

This actually was a soup I make at home....pretty close to what I made, and one of my favourites. I grew up with a Mother who cooked from all over the world, and I do the same. Easter dinner this year was all Hungarian, while my sister made a Scandinavian Christmas dinner for us.  It's been a tradition in our family since I was to young to say I didn't like stuff. 🙂

 

 

That sounds awesome!

 

Although I do not cook as much these days, in a previous life I was a chef in a restaurant for a few years. However, during my life in the publishing industry the past 30 years, I occasionally led the prep and cooking at homeless shelter (sponsored by my company), and have been the executive chef for charity food events for up to 200+ people. When family comes over for a big dinner they do not know what to expect - the only thing traditional about my holiday meals is that they are never traditional (which drives some of my family crazy). Such as the year I did not serve the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving. Technically, I made Yorkshire pudding using the drippings from the turkey breast I cooked, but did not serve.

 

I can talk food all day, but I'll stop myself, but will stop myself and try to limit it to cruise food.

 

Although I have researched the topic, and have heard very varying opinions as to which river cruise line has the best food. Although AMA seems to usually rank first, if not second on most lists.

 

Knowing that food is subjective, for those that have been on more than one line, which do you think serves the best food?

Edited by Travel R
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Daisi said:

 

On Avalon, all tips are split between all the crew, I think that is standard for most river cruises. So we gave extra for all the crew, then felt that those who we interacted with everyday deserved a more personal thanks.  Our problem was, when we wanted to give a bit to our wine steward, he was off on holiday....which impressed me, as it was the last day so I thought he would have been needed for help with disembarkment and embarkment. His sister was our server, so we gave it to her. We had a lot of family on our cruise - our cabin attendant did the whole level with his twin, and the Housekeeping manager was engaged to my favourite sous-chef!  

 

Can you tell we sat at the back of the bus for all tours, so got to meet a lot of staff we normally wouldn't. 🙂

 

 

So being on a river cruise is really like being with family!

 

I have not seen a sommelier on a mainstream (ocean) cruise ship in many years.

 

 

Edited by Travel R
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding food, all I can tell you from my subjective experience is that food on Tauck and Uniworld is okay, not memorable but never outright terrible.  On the oceans I’ve also cruised Crystal and Silversea and can say the same.  As evidenced by my moniker, you could say I’m a bit discerning.  On any of these lines an outstanding meal is the exception rather than the rule IMHO.
 

Regarding tips, wow, sounds so complicated and makes me feel even better about sailing only on all-inclusive lines. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Daisi said:

Can you tell we sat at the back of the bus for all tours, so got to meet a lot of staff we normally wouldn't.

 

I find it fascinating that the staff were able to go on the tours. The only time I would see staff off the boat was occasionally at one of the local restaurants.

 

I am a talker, so will talk to the staff, when they are not busy (and not just being polite).  One morning on my last cruise I went to the outside seating section of the buffet. I was the only passenger out there eating a pastry and coffee after my workout (it was unseasonably warm the week we were there, but still a little cool in the mornings). The staff member that  was assigned to that area was just standing there, so I engaged in some conversation, so we talked about 20 minutes until I had to go back to my room to take a shower for our sit-down breakfast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Gourmet Gal said:

Regarding food, all I can tell you from my subjective experience is that food on Tauck and Uniworld is okay, not memorable but never outright terrible.  On the oceans I’ve also cruised Crystal and Silversea and can say the same.  As evidenced by my moniker, you could say I’m a bit discerning.  On any of these lines an outstanding meal is the exception rather than the rule IMHO.
 

Regarding tips, wow, sounds so complicated and makes me feel even better about sailing only on all-inclusive lines. 

 

I appreciate your honesty.

 

I gotta tell ya - as a newbie reading all of the articles on river cruises, they all talk about how fresh the food is, how many times it is F2T(with the galley crew going ashore to buy local ingredients), and how there is usually only one dinning room (with a business casual attire).  Most also tell how good the food is, or do not mention that fact at all. Those that do rave about how good the food is are usually businesses marketing towards potential river cruisers.

 

Food, I thought, was always going to be very good (especially compared to the mainstream ocean cruisers).

 

This is food for thought.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I have made contact with a TA

 

I have made contact with a TA that specializes in river cruises.  We are going to meet via phone in a few weeks when they return from a river cruise.

 

  • They have been on almost two dozen river cruises themselves (besides ocean cruises).
  • They have multiple different certifications (major and minor ones) [the agency is made up of two people]
  • I checked them out on the web - positive feedback/reviews on various 3P websites, and A+ on BBB site.
  • In our brief email exchanges (and the material on their website) they seem very detail oriented (I am the same, and find that characteristic to be a positive, especially for this)
  • Their website includes some very good information about river cruising (and of course includes testimonies, etc. - but they are not going to post anything bad about themselves, however, there are many positive reviews on there)
  • They are also based in the US, so (I believe) would understand what we would be looking for (rather than let's say a UK-based agent).
  • They responded within 24 hours - and in our limited communication, they seem great.

 

I am probably getting too involved in this already, but: Is there anything else I should look for (or look out for), and any questions I should ask them during our initial call?

 

[I don't know if my first river cruise will be on the Rhine or Danube, but I do know that if we like it, my second river cruise will be on the Nile.]

 

 

Edited by Travel R
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: Experience more Co-op Holidays
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...