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SUSANITA

There is a 15% gratuity charged for bottles of wine with dinner!

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I just wanted to make you guys aware that if you order a bottle of wine with dinner, you will be charged a 15% gratuity on that bottle. This suprised me, as it's the first time I've ever been charged an extra gratuity for wine ( I figured I was already tipping my waiter, and this would fall under his normal "service", but I was wrong!). We ordered a bottle of wine (on Mariner), and were charged almost an extra $6 for gratuity. The more expensive the wine, the more gratuity, obviously. I've never been charged a gratuity for wine on any other cruiseline.

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This reminds me of a comment my brother made to me about his first RCCL cruise this past February. He's a long time Princess cruiser and has a certain bottle of wine that he orders in the dining room every other day. (Each bottle lasts for two dinners.) He liked his cruise - said that there were some things Princess definitely did better but his only major complaint about his RCCL cruise was that the same bottle of wine cost him $11 more each time than on Princess. That's a pretty big difference considering this is not an expensive bottle to begin with - just an average bottle of wine available on a cruise ship dining room menu. Anyway, not trying to start a 'which line is better' thread - I've never cruised Princess so I have no first hand knowledge but I thought that was an interesting observation. Maybe the gratuity was part of that difference.

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I thought I read here on this board that there is an automatic 15% gratuity on all for-consumption beverage purchases aboard ship. Isn't that the case?

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bicker - As far as I know, yes. Same as if you'd bought a mixed drink, or a beer, or an aperitif at dinner. If it's a beverage and you pay for it, 15% gets added, regardless of when, where, how, what.

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I thought I read here on this board that there is an automatic 15% gratuity on all for-consumption beverage purchases aboard ship. Isn't that the case?

 

Except those drinks are brought by someone who's job is to take your order and run and get your drink. Susanita's point is that on RCL the wine is handled by your waiter not the bar man/woman. I would have assumed the 15% would not be charged as my weekly tip would have covered the wine order too. :confused:

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Okay, now I'm really confused. What you're saying seems to be the opposite of what MGoBlue2 said. :confused:

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OK, here's the thing. If you order a cocktail at dinner, or in a bar for that matter, you get charged the 15%. If you were to buy a whole bottle of wine or liquor in the shops you would not. So I suppose the OP was looking at the order of a bottle of wine with dinner as a "bottle" and not a "drink". If you think about it, it makes sense. If you ordered say 4 glasses of wine instead of a bottle, you'd pay the 15% on each one. If not consumed in your cabin, you are going to pay gratuity, period.

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I know that on at least one of our cruises that the gratuity was already included in the price quoted on the wine list. I'm not sure which line that was - sorry I know that doesn't move the discussion along much. Is it Carnival that does it that way Susanita? Can't remember.

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My experience with Carniva is, no..they didn't charge you a gratuity when you ordered a bottle of wine at dinner.

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Okay, now I'm really confused. What you're saying seems to be the opposite of what MGoBlue2 said. :confused:
I think what Auntie is saying is that, like SUSANITA, she would have assumed the gratuity wouldn't have been charged, not that it actually isn't.

 

I know they add it to the Wine & Dine package, I would be really ticked if they charged me 15% when I bought that, but didn't charge it when you bought wine by the bottle/glass.

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Bicker, it might help you a little to know that in the dining room, when you order wine your waiter and assistant handle the order. All other alcoholic drinks are handled by the bar waiter (who is different than you regular waiter). They will have a bar waiter go table to table asking if you want drinks. From what I see eveyone saying, there is no problem with the 15% when the bar waiter takes the order, but in the case of wine when you standard waiter takes the order, the tip should be included with what you are already tipping them. I agree.

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The wife and I are 'tweeners. One glass of wine may not be enough, but one bottle would likely be too much. How much of a hassle is it to store an unfinished bottle of wine? Is this a commonplace thing to do?

 

Thanks.

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You can order a bottle and if you do not finish it they will store it for you and you can use it on other nights at dinner. They do it all the time.

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We were on the 09/12/04 sailing of the Mariner. We had early seating for dinner and the ship was a little late leaving port so we were still docked when our dinner rolled around. The DW and I got a bottle of wine for dinner and not only were we charged the 15% gratuity, we also had to pay sales tax. I assume this was because we were still docked. By the time dinner was over we were sailing and when we got the receipt to sign at the end of the meal, that's when we noticed the sales tax. That does make sense,I guess, and had we known ahead of time about the tax I doubt it would have influenced our decision. It just wasn't something I'd ever seen or noticed before.

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rchauv,

 

Just tell your waiter you want to split the bottle between two nights. They will store it for you and it will be available for you the next night. We often do this as we are just like you a couple glasses but not a whole bottle.

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Like the above poster, we were also charged sales tax on our wine, but we were most definately out to sea by that time. So, our $30 bottle of wine with tax and 15% gratuity was actually almost $38. (This is the same bottle we can buy at home for $12). It's not that I minded the gratuity so much, it just suprised me due to the fact on my previous cruises, if I ordered a $30 bottle of wine, my receipt was for exactly $30.

 

Also, just so you know, later in the week I tried to order just a "glass" of merlot from our bar waiter as he was taking the tables beer order, and was told that he could not get me wine, that would HAVE to go through our waiter. Since when are waiters also bar runners? Only on RCI have I seen or heard of this.

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To me it´s realy simple it´s a drink that you have o pay for and they clearly state 15% grat. added to all drink orders automatically, so why not for the bottle of wine?

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It may seem simple to some, but on every other cruise I've been on, I've paid 15% gratuities on drinks but NEVER on a bottle of wine with dinner. It was suprising to say the least. I suppose that all of you that cruise RCI frequently expect this 15% gratuity to be charged on bottles, and you would be equally suprised if you sailed another line and they didn't charge it??

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It may seem simple to some, but on every other cruise I've been on, I've paid 15% gratuities on drinks but NEVER on a bottle of wine with dinner. It was suprising to say the least. I suppose that all of you that cruise RCI frequently expect this 15% gratuity to be charged on bottles, and you would be equally suprised if you sailed another line and they didn't charge it??
My surprise would depend on the lines policy regarding adding gratuities or not.

But well that´s life always expect the unexpected.

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After reading this thread, I may 'officially' bring wine on board for them to store. If I purchase 7 bottles of wine (at approximately $15.00 apiece and bring them onboard, I will be charged a corkage fee (I think about $10.00 per bottle?). So, a week's worth of wine will cost about $175.00. Each night, we'll take the unfinished bottle back to our room to finish at our leisure.

 

This will be a significant savings and I get bottles of wine I like. Purchasing a bottle of wine with dinner each night would probably cost around $40 per bottle for their 'cheap' stuff (now that I have to include gratuity). That's a cost of about $280.00.

 

I've never done this before, but it's looking better and better the more I think about it.

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After reading this thread, I may 'officially' bring wine on board for them to store. If I purchase 7 bottles of wine (at approximately $15.00 apiece and bring them onboard, I will be charged a corkage fee (I think about $10.00 per bottle?). So, a week's worth of wine will cost about $175.00. Each night, we'll take the unfinished bottle back to our room to finish at our leisure.

 

This will be a significant savings and I get bottles of wine I like. Purchasing a bottle of wine with dinner each night would probably cost around $40 per bottle for their 'cheap' stuff (now that I have to include gratuity). That's a cost of about $280.00.

 

I've never done this before, but it's looking better and better the more I think about it.

Assuming they still offer the Wine & Dine packages (one bottle per night prepaid), you can save about 50% off RCI's regular per bottle price if you get one of those. Prices may have changed, but when we got it in January it was $109 (+15%) for seven bottles of their 'cheap' stuff.

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My surprise would depend on the lines policy regarding adding gratuities or not. But well that´s life always expect the unexpected.
Good point. I always try to let my expectations be governed by what I'm promised, rather than based on past experience.

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Forget logic, forget *fair*, forget *normal*, forget *what-other-lines do* -

 

On the Voyager this past summer, I brought my own bottle of wine, and they charged the *&$%*@^&$ gratuity on the CORKAGE FEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Carol

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MerionMom, No way!! They charged you a gratuity on a corkage fee???!!! I would think that the corking of a bottle of wine would fall under the regular gratuity that you are already paying your waiter (and yes, I still think that bringing a bottle of wine to the table should fall under the regular gratuity, as it does on most other lines). As a matter of fact, I thought the corkage fee basically "was" the gratuity!! No wonder the waiters want to have control over the wine situation, they can make as much in wine tips as they can in regular tips. In some cases, they are literally twisting their wrist for about 30 seconds, and making 8 U.S. dollars, nice.

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MerionMom, No way!! They charged you a gratuity on a corkage fee???!!! I would think that the corking of a bottle of wine would fall under the regular gratuity that you are already paying your waiter (and yes, I still think that bringing a bottle of wine to the table should fall under the regular gratuity, as it does on most other lines). As a matter of fact, I thought the corkage fee basically "was" the gratuity!!
Yes, that's exactly what *I* was thinking, and I was shocked into speechlessness. (which, if you know me, is a MIGHTY RARE turn of events)

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That would be very hard to explain: What is the service being paid-for with respect the corkage fee itself? Sounds like someone made a rather strange mistake.

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Is Royal the only one that has the waiter handle the wine? I thought on NCL & Carnival that the bar person handled all alcohol in the dining room?

 

Seems pretty "cheap" of RCL to tack on a gratuity on top of the corkage fee. As Susanita stated not too much effort involved in twisting that cork out of the bottle that they should get $11.50 ($10 corkage $1.50 tip) for taking the time.

 

Glad we left the wine in the room and enjoyed it before dinner.

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Susanita: I know you usually cruise Carnival and this post got me curious. We have always been charged the 15% gratuity on a bottle of wine with dinner. I am a pack rat and a lush I guess, so I just went and pulled out our receipts from last October cruise on Carnival. YES the 15% gratuity is charged on a bottle of wine at dinner. Maybe you just over looked it before? :o

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No one is whining. This is a board to post info about cruise related topics, correct? If I was suprised at the added gratuity, them I'm certain others have been and will be as well. I'm not complaining about tipping, we tipped the bar waiter $2 extra every single night, on top of his 15% gratuity, lest you think I'm cheap. I just don't feel that an $8 gratuity is warranted on a bottle of wine that is already marked up 200% and served by my waiter that I am already tipping well. And a gratuity on a corkage fee? Puh-leese.

 

Hi SS, nope, I'm certain that a gratuity was not included on our fee on our Carnival cruises.

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Just got off the Enchantment and noticed for the first time,the little sign in the cabin............the one that tells you how much the soda and bottled water costs you?? Anyway,it says they add a 15% gratuity to that too!!!!!! Imagine that,opening a can or bottle in your cabin and paying a tip for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Now thats CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:eek: :eek:

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Well, boy do I feel hosed, because we were charged, and had a bottle of wine each night with dinner. I wonder if it depends on who or how they ring it up?

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I can see charging gratuity on soft drinks in the cabin... after all someone provided the service of provisioning the cabin with them. I'm still amazed, though, at charging a gratuity on what is basically a gratuity, and still convinced that it was a mistake made, rather than standard practice.

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I can see charging gratuity on soft drinks in the cabin... after all someone provided the service of provisioning the cabin with them

I disagree. Keeping the fridge stocked with overpriced water that I can get onshore for .99 cents per bottle but am paying $2.50 or more for falls under the category of "steward responsibilities" which I am paying for in my regular tip. I don't mind paying an additional tip for extra service (one night the steward helped me with an emergency dry cleaning issue, I tipped him extra $5), but to tip 15% to put a bottle of water in my fridge? Ridiculous.

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Hmm... I'd love to see an official description of the steward's responsibilities that include keeping the minibar or its surrogate stocked. I enjoy have more documented resources to refer to. :D

 

Seriously, Linda Garrison says that the responsibilities of the steward is to, "clean and do daily maintenance of the cabins and general housekeeping."

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Daily Maintenence of the cabin also includes stocking the fridge and filling the ice bucket. I'm sure that RCI wants the stewards to stock the fridges, they make a darn good markup on anything in there.

 

I know this seems redundant, and i'm pretty tired of my own thread by now, but these "extra" gratuities all over the place really add up, and others should be aware of it. In my opinion, most (if not all) of them should be covered under responsibilities that I am already tipping for. But, whatever!

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Good cruising to all:

 

Here is a solution - Do NOT buy alcohol on cruises!

 

Deny the cruiseline revenue! By doing so, you are telling them that a) the auto 15% gratuity for undefined service is NOT acceptable and b) tax on top of gratuity is robbery. If enough people do this, the cruiselines will have to adjust.

 

There is so much discussion on "nickle and diming" - well each of us has control over how much we are "exploited" by the cruiselines. As Ann Landers said many times - "No one can abuse you without your permission".

 

I maintain control over my expenditures but not purchasing anything extra on my cruise other than shore excursions. You can do what you like, but, it is not logical to complain about this or that if you choose to continue to purchase on board items KNOWING that the cruiselines are increasing the costs.

 

An alternative view for consideration by the good CC folks

 

ABoatNerd

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I also am surprised at a gratuity being charged for consuming one of the soft drinks from the cabin fridge. I liken that to purchasing one from a vending machine and having to deposit extra specifically allocated for the guy who loads it. I also agree that if it's part of the steward's cabin duties it should be in the gratuity we're already paying. No whining here (!!) - I don't buy them in room anyway so it doesn't apply to me but it still seems odd.

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Susanita....I think you said it yesterday. I have never even thought about this but had I thought about it I would assume a 15% gratuity would be added automatically for the bottle. Yes, I would have been surprised if I happen to be on a line that didn't charge it. But as RCI is all we sail, I would have never thought about it.

 

As far as the gratuity vs. the corkage. I am not a big wine connoisseur (sp?) but my understanding is the corkage fee is a "restaurant charge" not a "tip". In local establishments that we take our own, we have to pay a corkage fee. This is not a tip but a fee the restaurant charges for the "use" of their opener, glasses, washing of glasses, etc. Not to mention the fact that the server is taking time to do this that they could be serving someone else. This "counteracts" the loss of income to the restaurant that they would have had if you had bought the wine from them. I have no problem in paying the gratuity on the corkage fee too.

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