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What Is A Travel Style You Just Can't Wrap Your Head Around

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21. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1056 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Yes cruising splits into some very distinct markets, part of which is marketing to different nationalities.

Here in Britain many people warn me against accidentally booking a cruise for the American market. Our cruises in the Caribbean tend to fly into Barbados, or sometimes Jamaica or Dominican Republic, and sail from there avoiding US territories, this is to avoid the hassle of US immigration. Sometimes our cruises are also marketed to Scandinavians or Canadians, never Americans.

I've also been warned that American market cruises go to fewer ports, with the focus for many being to avoid the onshore gambling restrictions rather than actually travelling anywhere, so days at sea are common. In our market the only sea day in the Caribbean will be the day after arrival as you shake down and get over a long flight.

Other cruise lines market purely to the French or to the Germans, though Costa mix it up and consequently announcements are in 5 languages and take hours, and the entertainment has to be kept to language-free stuff.

Someone mentioned Cunard being stuffy. Many cruise companies are restrictive, from the view of someone who just wants to use them to access the destinations easily. Dress codes and fixed dining times are common, as is misrepresenting the price by adding daily tips automatically. I've found 3 cruise lines which don't do any of this nonsense: Thomson, Ocean Village (now defunct) and P&O Australia. Slowly the cruise industry is modernising, but I guess it is more profitable the way they pitch it.

22. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 666 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

The warning for Americans is not to book a primarily European focused cruise line - because of the ubiquitous smoking on the ship. Most of the mass market lines that go out of the US restrict smoking indoors to the casino or the cigar lounge and outdoors to certain deck areas. You can't even smoke in your cabin. It took quite a long time to get to that point, and I foresee that it will take much longer in Europe. In 1964 when my train went into Italy the border people asked me if I had anything to declare and asked specifically about cigarettes. I said I didn't smoke, and the man did not believe me. (or at least he acted like he didn't believe me)

The tipping thing is apparently a sore point with some, but because cruising appears to be so cheap, the cruise lines operate on a very thin margin and they have to meet expenses in some way. If they paid the crew minimum wage (as determined by US minimum wage), they would be losing money. the cruise lines that eliminate tipping have to charge more. So you pay one way or another.

23. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1056 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Interesting. All the British cruise lines I'm aware of now limit smoking to one or two locations on the open deck, and as you say for America there is no smoking allowed in cabins.

Re tipping, yes the cost is the same either way, but one way is advertising a deceptive headline price and the other is honest. I appreciate this is a widespread thing in some places so less of an issue for some.

24. Posted by Teoni (Respected Member 492 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Personally I would rather the cost up front. When looking into cruises I read about this cruise ship tip and it does seem a bit wierd. Normally when you tip it goes directly to a person but with the cruise ship, how is it distributed? Who gets what portion? Is it really going to cruise ship employees or does it get sent further up the food chain? It just feels dodgy like they're trying to hide it and you can't opt out though apparently you can minimize it but it does seem like compulsory fee so why not be upfront about it and add to the price.

25. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 666 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

In some cultures tipping is traditional and it is not seen as dodgy. Waiters in the US restaurants are not paid minimum wage (which is low enough) and the employers report the wages as if they get the amount to make up to minimum wage as tips. This allows restaurants to lower the price of food.

Its similarly a tradition to tip the cruise ship employees. On some cruise lines, you get envelopes to put the money in and you give the envelope to the people (cabin steward, waiter, maitre d') . Some cruise lines say what percentage goes to which employees and there is a small amount for those behind the scenes people (kitchen workers, ship cleaning people).

Personally I just do the automatic tips and then I give an extra $20 to the cabin steward if I think he deserves more, and also to the waiters if they've been good. On the cruise around Australia, the Australians at our table tipped on the first day, and we had very good service from the waiters on that cruise.

26. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Teoni

Personally I would rather the cost up front. When looking into cruises I read about this cruise ship tip and it does seem a bit wierd. Normally when you tip it goes directly to a person but with the cruise ship, how is it distributed? Who gets what portion? Is it really going to cruise ship employees or does it get sent further up the food chain? It just feels dodgy like they're trying to hide it and you can't opt out though apparently you can minimize it but it does seem like compulsory fee so why not be upfront about it and add to the price.

American cruises tend to follow the tipping culture of north America & there is very little difference between tipping on a cruise or in a restaurant in America. In restaurants, the tips might go to the individual or be pooled .. the tipper usually has no idea how the money will distributed. There may be a fixed service charge as well.
So - if you don't tip in North America the employees are almost working for you for free as they are paid (legally) below minimum wage. It is not the workers fault that America has a tipping culture. But it is your choice .. you have that choice to reward better service.

The tipping practise on American cruise lines that I have been on like Princess cruises is to add a fixed daily amount to the on-board charges. The amount is distributed among staff excluding officers & such like. So crew who you would never give a tip to like a cleaner, benefits from this, There is the option to have this daily amount removed & give tips in cash to whoever you want or to not tip at all.

However, my understanding is that Princess Australia does not have the daily fixed amount & no tip is expected. Naturally, the Princess Australia cruise would be more expensive than the rest of Princess cruises to cover the crews wages & there is nothing to stop you can tipping if you wish

I have a friend who works in a very junior position on Holland America cruise line & she hates being assigned to a cruise out of Australia because so many Australians remove the tip & she gets a third of the pay she gets when working out of say Alaska.

I dislike the tipping culture but live in Canada so I tip. It would be very wrong not to. I think it boils down to 'when in Rome do as the Romans do'.

In Canada, sales taxes are not included in most prices either but you cannot avoid paying those at the check-out.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jul-2017, at 08:54 by hasbeen ]

27. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Teoni

Personally I would rather the cost up front.

And I seem to remember on one cruise that I pre-paid the gratuity .. there must have been a reason but I don't remember.

I also hear people complain that drinks are not included in the price of cruises ( although even that is not true on every cruise ) but usually there are packages to purchase & this essentially makes them inclusive. To me that is better than paying an inclusive price & then not drinking anything. Like the tipping it allows for choice.

28. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1056 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Quoting hasbeen

In Canada, sales taxes are not included in most prices either but you cannot avoid paying those at the check-out.

I can't get my head around why this wouldn't be regulated. The price displayed should be the price you pay. In the UK this is covered in consumer law.

29. Posted by hasbeen (Travel Guru 1260 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Andyf

Quoting hasbeen

In Canada, sales taxes are not included in most prices either but you cannot avoid paying those at the check-out.

I can't get my head around why this wouldn't be regulated. The price displayed should be the price you pay. In the UK this is covered in consumer law.

It is regulated .. Canadian law.,

Also - to complicate it further, every province has it's own version of sales tax with differing rates .. & Quebec's sales tax taxes the Federal sales tax.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jul-2017, at 10:26 by hasbeen ]

30. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 666 posts) 48w Star this if you like it!

The reason taxes are not included in the prices in the US and Canada is that the taxes are different in every local. I am supposing that in the UK, things are more uniform (?) But here, there are state, county and city taxes on various things including lodging, food and fuel. In some places fuel has different taxes when it is for commercial fishing boats than it does for cars or private yachts. In the past, the taxes on food were different if it was eaten in the restaurant or if it was take-out. Taxes on groceries were more if it was a non-food (luxury) item. It would be impossible for a manufacturer to set a price for some widget and have it include all the taxes - if they tried it would be very overpriced some places and underpriced in others. So they print the price (say $6.85) on the wrapper and the taxes are applied at the cash register.

Interestingly, when I shop in the commissary (on a military base) there are no state taxes on the food, and the commissary does not mark up the food the way a civilian store would do, so the base price of the food is the cost that was paid to purchase the food, and the cost of the store (heat, paying the cashiers) is added as a percentage at the register. And we tip the people who bag the groceries as they are volunteers and are not paid by the commissary at all.

As for Princess in Australia - I was on the Dawn Princess for an Australian cruise. This ship did primarily cruises in that area and the passengers are mostly Australian. They still had the per-day/per-diem tips.

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