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Hlitner

Those awful wine and drink prices

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We just returned from a 16 day Pacific Princess Cruise whick served to reinforce my previous thoughts about RCL drink and wine prices. As a general rule, wine prices on Princess were approximately 40% below prices of similar wines on RCL. This was the same with most drinks. Princess also offers a soda "sticker" for $2 per day which gives the passenger unlimited soft drinks. It was interesting to hear some of the British passengers on our Pacific Princess voyage blasting Princess for their "high drink prices." They were truly shocked when I told them that Princess was far cheaper than RCL. My wife and I figured we saved about $25 per day on our drink tab on the Princess cruise vs RCL. By the way,,, we are certainly not RCL bashers (Diamond C&A) and have been on two RCL cruises in the past 9 months.

 

Hank

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Hmmm, that's something to consider for future cruises.

(Our "bar tab" runs about $150 / day on average with RCI)

Stretch

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on the voyager last year i had a 4 digit bar bill and the first digit was a 2

Thank god for miles cards

 

(that did include a horse "purchase" at the horse race :)

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on the voyager last year i had a 4 digit bar bill and the first digit was a 2

Thank god for miles cards

 

(that did include a horse "purchase" at the horse race :)

Yeh, I had a horse on my tab too, but wasn't taking that into consideration. I also bought 3 large bottles of booze in the duty free shop onboard the first night for incabin consumption. As you can see, it didn't hurt their liquor revenue a bit in my case! :D

Stretch

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I just want to thank all of you who have such high bar bills. You help to keep cabin prices down for the rest of us.

 

see stretch now we are useful :D

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I just want to thank all of you who have such high bar bills. You help to keep cabin prices down for the rest of us.

 

You're welcome, it's a tough job, but you know, somebody's got to do it! :D Everyone needs a special purpose in life.

Stretch

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Princess drink prices are lower... but for those of us who drink a lot, Princess bartenders will never do anything more than a measured pour and certainly no freebies. Send a few bucks a good RCI bartender's way, and you'll generally be taken care of. I found I purchased more individual drinks on Princess.

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Princess drink prices are lower... but for those of us who drink a lot, Princess bartenders will never do anything more than a measured pour and certainly no freebies. Send a few bucks a good RCI bartender's way, and you'll generally be taken care of. I found I purchased more individual drinks on Princess.

you are right about that.

 

I tipped heavy on the Grandeur and it paid off ..big time. Not on Princess.

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you are right about that.

 

I tipped heavy on the Grandeur and it paid off ..big time. Not on Princess.

Can you qualify tipped heavy and paid off big time?

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i can i gave a 20 to a pool bartender one time and never surrendered my card unless a boss was behind the bar (at least twice) he then got a 50 at the end

 

AND I STILL HAD A 4 DIGIT BILL

 

DAMN HORSES/CASINO/ONBOARDSHOPS/ OTHER BARS

:D

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Tipping... well the first day I try to get a feel for what will be my "main" bar, and see if the bartender will be there throughout the trip (sometimes the first day schedules are off)... and then I give him an extra buck on my first drink and see if it makes an impression. If it does, then he keeps getting the extras. I tend to tip extra per drink because often there will be multiple bartenders at the same bar, and this spreads the wealth and their goodwill towards me.

 

For the dining room, I hand the drinks waiter $5 the first night to make sure he finds me all the time. Then I give him another bigger tip the last night depending on his service.

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DH and I aren't big drinkers and we were using our buy one get one coupons from the C&A book. We gave the bartender a $5 tip after the first drink and had buy one get ones the rest of the night. They were also the best margaritas I've ever had. I also walked away with several specialty glasses.

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(Our "bar tab" runs about $150 / day on average with RCI)

Stretch

 

Stretch, I am becoming more and more endeared by you!!!

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We have a fairly large family group that cruises every year. There are 4-5 of us who live at the pool bar. First day we pick the friendliest bartender and give him $50. We get best service, freebies here and there. One year I went home with two complete sets of RCI specialty shots glasses (you know, those colored metallic ones). We usually give them a couple hundred at the end of the week. Yes, I've had 4-figure tabs, but a rip roaring good time, as well. And no, we are not the obnoxious loud mouths at the pool that everyone hates.

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Stretch, I am becoming more and more endeared by you!!!

 

Thanks for your support, but I'm already spoken for. ;)

Stretch

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Okay all you tippers I am confused!

We would like to try the pre tipping of a bartenders(s) on our next cruise. We enjoy going to the same bar before dinner each night for martinis. My question is this: in the past we have pretty much sat at a table and were "waited" on by a waitress or waiter who took our order and then went to bar to have it filled. So who am I tipping, a "BARTENDER" or a waitperson?

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Okay all you tippers I am confused!

We would like to try the pre tipping of a bartenders(s) on our next cruise. We enjoy going to the same bar before dinner each night for martinis. My question is this: in the past we have pretty much sat at a table and were "waited" on by a waitress or waiter who took our order and then went to bar to have it filled. So who am I tipping, a "BARTENDER" or a waitperson?

The bartender is the person who's mixing the drinks, guess who I tip??? I did find that on our last cruise, (with a new bar manager on board) that the "freebies" and extra shots in the glass were few and far between. It also depends on how long the bartender has been bartending, the real veterans are more likely to do you favors than the newbies.

Stretch

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I actually don't think the bar prices are too bad. Ok, you get fleeced for cocktails etc. but for a pint of house lager for $3 plus 15% isn't bad. This compared with about £2.20 in an English pub ($3.30). For a monopoly I can't complain..hic!

 

They smack you bum on the wine prices though :(

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Well Stretch,

 

maybe you can become my obe one kanobe (I apologize for the spelling) and teach me all you know about how to make friends with the bartenders on the ships.

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The bartender is the person who's mixing the drinks, guess who I tip??? I did find that on our last cruise, (with a new bar manager on board) that the "freebies" and extra shots in the glass were few and far between. It also depends on how long the bartender has been bartending, the real veterans are more likely to do you favors than the newbies.

Stretch

 

good point stretch

ive also found that 7 day cruises have more liberal bartenders then 3 or 4 day

I have yet to experience 10 to 12 but i could imagine they would be just as good

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Well Stretch,

 

maybe you can become my obe one kanobe (I apologize for the spelling) and teach me all you know about how to make friends with the bartenders on the ships.

I'd be honored but........ as fast as things have been changing, my techniques may not work anymore. Did I mention how disappointed I was when I found out the all the bartenders from our first Brilliance cruise got off the ship as we were boarding for our second cruise?? :( :confused:

We were a couple of sad puppies!!

Stretch

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Stretch, that's awfull!! Were the new bartenders as good as the old ones? I would suppose that it is not the same. Specially since you must have been looking forward to seeing them again.

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It was sad not to be able to see our old friends again, especially when I brought extra "Brilliance Barcrawler" shirts for them.

I'm sorry to say that the new batch of bartenders were nowhere close to their predicessors. It's hard to compete with the likes of Eddie (Sports Bar / Asst. Bar Mgr.), Clayne (Pool Bar), Hugh (Sky Bar), Erik & Arvin (Schooner Bar). The only one left was Rusty in the champagne bar but we didn't go there very much. The one new bartender that showed promise was Kirk (Capt. Kirk) in the Schooner Bar. He was a lot of fun, but the bartenders in the Casino were right out of the book. ( One guy asked for a J&B and water and got Jim Beam! :eek: I did teach Erik how to make a "Beam me up Scotty"... there's no intelligent life on this planet!

We managed though, somehow! :rolleyes:

Stretch

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We are now diamond members of rccl and we always eat at the second seating....now a tip to save on your bar bill.....when you are diamond members 10+ sailings....they have a concierge lounge set up for you and the drinks ( all you want are free!!) in a 2 hour window before each dinner seating..and they don't check if you go to both!!! So on our way back to our room, from the pool (which we always conveniently book close to the lounge) in the late afternoons we always stop in for a few drinks and delicious snacks before the first seating and then a couple hours later on our way to our dinner, a nice glass of wine or two (on the house of course!!) is always enjoyed!! Thus we save a ton of $ as we enjoy a big portion of our drinks on Royal Caribbean!! I know ....shame on us...but they offer so we indulge!!

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Now you can see why some of us bring a bottle or two on board and drink in our suites.

Gene in Birmingham

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Stretch, we just came off the Brilliance.

Erik is at the Champagne bar now. . . he took good care of us too!

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I also bought 3 large bottles of booze in the duty free shop onboard the first night for incabin consumption.

I've always had my onboard purchases "held" for me until disembarkment. How did you get to take it back to your room? Did you buy it onboard or onshore?

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I also bought 3 large bottles of booze in the duty free shop onboard the first night for incabin consumption.

 

I've always had my onboard purchases "held" for me until disembarkment. How did you get to take it back to your room? Did you buy it onboard or onshore?

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MattinFLL... On RCl we tend to get many free drinks since we can use the Concierge Lounge. However.. its hard to justify RCL charging $29 + 15% for a bottle of Robert Mondavi Woodbridge (retail about $4.99) and nearly $40 +15% for Kendell Jackson Cabernet (often sold for about $10 or less retail). 600% mark-ups on wine is not a norm in restaurants or on other cruise lines. Yes, we will continue to cruise with RCL and yes, we will always enjoy wine with our dinners. However, 3 or our last 5 cruises (all within the past 15 months) have been with other cruise lines...and part of our decision-making was driven by RCLs intense "maximize on-board revenue" policy. By the way... on our recent Pacific Princess Cruise (16 days in Asia) the first horse race was cancelled for lack of interest...and the art auctions generally had fewer than 20 attendess (despite free champagne and $1000 art giveaways). The folks on this Asian cruise were very experienced travelers who had little interest in these cruise-line money making schemes. As to the art auctions... Princess does this in-house (as opposed to RCIs use of Park West) and has a reasonable commission structure(which they disclose).

 

Hank

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The prices for drinks and wine are right there with the prices I pay localy at resteraunts and actualy a bit cheeper than the clubs around here. Now, when I go back home to Wisconsin, I'm reminded what the majority of the US is paying for drinks (can actualy get two call drinks and change for $5.00), and realize why some people complain about the cost.

 

I do scout out and adopt a few bartenders at key locations (on our AOS sailing, I don't think my butt left the pool bar stool on sea days except to eat and use the facilities). But, as Strech said, this doesn't always make a difference. On the Monarch, had the BEST Mojito's, but no special service, just good service. :)

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I found the prices on RCCL to be comparable to going out at home. The only thing I have a hard time swallowing is the markup on wine as hlitner says. It's good to know that we get some benefit for the slight markup. I tend to stay true to one bar/bartender. Hubby doesn't drink but spends all his time in the hot tub which I don't care to do as much, so I'm a happy camper when I can find a favorite bar and bartender for my afternoon entertainment and socializing. I fell in love with the two bartenders from the Starquest on my first cruise. I've always tipped extra at the end, but I may try pre-tipping next cruise.

 

SandE.jpg

 

I have a friend who is sailing Princess in a couple of months. I posted a link on their very active rollcall to this link. It will be interesting if they post their take on the whole thing. Maybe they will convert to RCCL when they hear they can get better pours and other perks with RCCL :)

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Hlitner,

you pay $4.99 at a liquor store for Kendall Jackson CabSav? Up here in Canada it's $27!! (Canadian mind you, but that's about $21.00 US.

Ouch!!(nice wine mind you)

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Cherith,

I never said we pay $4.99 for Kendell Jackson. I said around $10 (its actually $9.79 with lower prices when on sale). I do agree that RCL compares favorably with many restaurants. However, I tend to compare cruise lines with other cruise lines. If I were to compare RCL food with a good land -side restaurant......we will not go there.

I do happen to have a copy of the latest Princess wine list (we just got home 2 days ago) and the differences with RCL are substantial. As an example, the Mondavi Woodbridge which is $29 or $30 (not sure of the current price) on RCL is $20 on Princess. As to our local restaurants...I do not know of any restaurant that charges $35.50 ($30 + 15%) for Mondavi Woodbridge. I doubt if they even get that much in Canadian dollars [smile]. I am not whining (or is it wineing..winning etc) but just stating facts. Comparing RCL to a good restaurant or land-side bar is about as valid as comparing RCL to Crystal (no comparison). We love cruising and have been on all of the major cruise lines (except for Costa) and think its valid to compare mass market cruise lines against each other in most categories. RCL is a darn good cruise line.. but they should not be immune from valid comparisons to their competition.

 

Hank

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I agree with that, I think that if they dropped the price of their wine by a few dollars we'd be inclined to buy a bottle every night instead of having one last for two nights. As well as if the price of a poolside drink was dropped a bit we'd be inclined to buy two instead of limiting ourselves to one. . .

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