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Your cost of "non-included" dining is going up...


cruisedoctor
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Princess has found a way of increasing YOUR cost of dining in a SPECIALTY or CASUAL DINING restaurant, without raising the cover charge.  In the past, the cover charge included the gratuity, (although you could leave an additional amount if you felt the service warranted it).  That is changing, as an 18% service fee will now be added to "a la carte paid food" NOT part of a Princess Plus or Premiere Package.  Here is the notice sent to the travel agent community today.  

 

onboard_ship_icon.pngWhat's new on board

Gratuities now added for a la carte paid food & beverage items

To better align with the rest of the cruise industry, Princess is adding an 18% service charge to all paid food and beverage items and experiences, including specialty and casual dining. This would apply for guests who book with Princess Standard fares. Guests sailing with Princess Plus or Princess Premier, however, will not incur the new charges on items included in their packages, such as casual dining, premium desserts and specialty dining (Premier only). Just another reason it pays to Plus (and Premier)!

 

 They make it sound like this isn't going to effect the passengers with the Plus or Premier packages.  But, it does if those package holders exceed the number of meals that are included in their package. 

 

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Just looking for clarification - it says for all paid beverage items.  Wasn't this always the case?  If you bought a drink without a package, were you not automatically charged a gratuity as well?  I assumed we were, so if not, I guess I have been stiffing the servers for the past few cruises.

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2 hours ago, memoak said:

And so how will this apply to first dinner embarkation night for full suites ?

The new Gratuities are for food and beverage ‘charges’ for Standard fare passengers or Plus who have used up their allotted Casual dining experiences.

 

Non package passengers have always been charged the going gratuity rate for beverages, so it appears Princess is just being consistent with adding the gratuity to food purchases like the casual dining and specialty dining where it was previously included in the cover charges.

 

As there is no ‘charge’ to the suite passengers for their first night specialty dining there is no gratuity to collect. This is consistent with the wording that Premier package passengers will not be charged a gratuity for their 2 specialty and unlimited casual visits. 

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6 hours ago, startedwithamouse said:

Do you ever leave a specialty restaurant without leaving a tip?

Yes - never left one yet. I thought that the staff in there were part of the "pool" who get the Crew Appreciation.

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Princess does not say where this 18% service charge will go .... server or Princess?  My guess is to Princess.  The pandemic really hurt them and they had to borrow lots of money.  I think they want people who pay standard fare to upgrade to a package even if it is not beneficial to the customer because it IS beneficial to Princess.  I think there are enough passengers who do not get their money's worth with the packages so Princess makes $$ on it.  

 

For me, I'll stick with standard (don't drink nor drink coffee) and just not bother with Alfredo's or Crown Grill.  Oh, and watch out because I bet next year the price of packages will go up!

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16 minutes ago, dickinson said:

 I think there are enough passengers who do not get their money's worth with the packages so Princess makes $$ on it.  

I really believe it's obvious, especially on port intensive cruises. 

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This is the current gratuity list as taken from the Princess website today (just posting it here so that it is easier to compare it to the "new" crew appreciation and service charge policy when they actually get around to posting it):

 

Crew Appreciation and Service Charge Policy

The “Crew Appreciation” is a daily amount for each guest that will be automatically added to your onboard account for your convenience, to recognize the efforts of a wide variety of crewmembers who contribute to the experiences of all our guests.  The crewmembers eligible to receive these funds work in various departments, many of whom rotate among different ships, throughout our fleet of ships. The amount of the Crew Appreciation will be based on stateroom category, as set out below:

Stateroom Category Daily amount per guest
Interior, Oceanview and Balcony US $16
Mini-Suite and Reserve Collection US $17
Suites US $18

We pride ourselves on excellent guest satisfaction and our onboard team is available to immediately address any concerns you may have about your cruise. In the unlikely event you remain dissatisfied for any reason, the Crew Appreciation is subject to adjustment, at your discretion, at any time during the cruise up to the time you settle your onboard account prior to disembarkation. If you do not choose to adjust this daily charge while on board, your payment becomes final and nonrefundable.

A nonrefundable Service Charge of 17% - 18% of purchase will be automatically added to optional purchases of beverage packages, drinks, dining room and specialty dining, private group functions, and other elected products, services or amenities provided to guests that are not included in the Cruise Fare.  The Service Charge amount is based upon the service/product purchased and is applied as follows:

Service/Product Service Charge
Specialty Dining 17% (included in total cover charge)
Specialty Food Items 17% (included in total item charge)
Drink Packages 18%
Drinks 18%
Corkage Fee 18% (included in total charge)
Private Group Functions 18% (of total cost)
Spa Services* 18%

* Service Charge payments for spa services are not pooled for the fleet.

If you pre-paid the Crew Appreciation and/or Service Charge as part of an all-inclusive or other applicable package: (i) the payments are bundled into your fare; (ii) the payments are nonrefundable from the time of purchase, except as part of the cruise fare, which refund shall be provided in accordance with our cancelation policy; and (iii) no additional amount will be added to your onboard account for the Crew Appreciation or for those Service Charges covered by such package.

All of the Crew Appreciation and Service Charge payments made by all guests on all ships in our fleet are pooled, net of credit card transaction fees. The pooled funds are distributed throughout the year in the form of compensation, including bonuses, to crewmembers fleetwide who interact directly with guests and/or behind the scenes throughout every cruise, including those in the Bar, Dining, Entertainment, Housekeeping, Guest Services, Galley and Onboard Revenue areas.

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Is this effective immediately? We sail a week from today. These up-charges seem never-ending. Nothing we can do about it, but it is disappointing. 
If it is added to the 360 dinner we just booked, I think we will cancel. That would translate to an additional $54!

Edited by hllwdcruiser
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9 minutes ago, hllwdcruiser said:

Is this effective immediately? We sail a week from today. These up-charges seem never-ending. Nothing we can do about it, but it is disappointing. 
If it is added to the 360 dinner we just booked, I think we will cancel. That would translate to an additional $54!

Any yet people will still pay the increase. Just watch.

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10 hours ago, cruisedoctor said:

Guests sailing with Princess Plus or Princess Premier, however, will not incur the new charges on items included in their packages,

Kind of says it all. Increase the "value" of the packages so more get them. Will they then eventually eliminate the standard fare so plus will be the new standard package? We will see. 

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8 minutes ago, Musky Ike said:

Kind of says it all. Increase the "value" of the packages so more get them. Will they then eventually eliminate the standard fare so plus will be the new standard package? We will see. 

I doubt they'll eliminate the standard fare since it's used by many people for initial comparisons when deciding which cruise line to book. Once the decision is made to sail princess, it becomes easier to upsell them down the line. Just look at the "upgrade program" they introduced a year or so ago. They've got people to actually think of it as an upgrade when in fact it's an upsell in disguise, which make they feel better about it.  😄

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