Each December I work on continuing education for the coming year. I've brushed up with Silversea, as well as adding Silversea Expedition Cruise Specialist to my resume. Where would you like to go? Do you consider yourself more of a Careful Traveler, or an Adventurous Explorer? If adventurous, then an expedition cruise is for you!
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Thursday, October 25, 2012
It’s All About the Food!
Choices abound! Choices galore! Choices, choices, choices! With newer cruise ships, it's all about choices! One evening you might enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the main dining room while another you opt for your ship's casual dining restaurant or one of the ship's specialty restaurants; and yet another you might enjoy the choices inside your own stateroom thanks to 24 hour room service.
Regardless of how or where you choose to dine, you're sure to a seemingly endless selection of entrees, appetizers, salad, soups, sides and desserts every time you sit down. Did you also realize that here's virtually no limit on what or how much you order? But just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food doesn't mean you'll come home out of shape; as more and more ships offer low-calorie, spa or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as those on the regular menu. Watching what you eat has never so much fun!
Not only do you have choices in where you eat within the variety of fabulous food and restaurants, a growing number of cruise lines are now allowing guests to choose their own dining time. Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept with their “Freestyle Dining”, which has been well-received by guests loving the freedom to dine whenever and wherever they like. Six-star lines such as Regent and Silversea also leave the option of dining time up to guests. Princess' “Personal Choice Dining”, Holland America's “As You Wish Dining” and Royal Caribbean's “My Time Dining” are now available in addition to their traditional dinner seating.
Traditional dinner seating, however, with the same wait staff and table companions each evening, has not gone the way of the dinosaur, and is still available on most cruises, and remains a favorite among new and past cruisers alike.
No matter what line or itinerary you choose, you’re bound to find the dining choices to be an amazing part of your cruise vacation.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The subject of gratuities can and often does provide much angst among travelers. How much should I give? To whom should I give to? Do I give to one and not the other? How should tips be given? Many cruise lines provide travelers with the option of pre-paying their gratuities when booking, some do not. If you feel this amount needs to be adjusted, whether increased or decreased, arrangements can be made onboard the ship, generally at the end of your cruise. Tipping guidelines vary slightly between the individual cruise lines, and are usually detailed fairly well once onboard.
On most ships, plan on tipping your room steward about $3.50 - $4.00 per person per day, and an equal amount for your dining room waiter, with half of that amount for the busboy; tip the maitre d' or dining room captain only if you ask for special favors or table-side service - $5 to $10 is normal; tip bartenders and wine stewards approximately 10 to 15% of your bill, however many cruise lines will automatically add the amount directly to your bar or beverage bill. Be sure to check your bill to see how it is handled.
Tips for special services such as salon & spa treatments and room service are left to the discretion of the guest, depending on services rendered.
Gratuities are generally placed in envelopes from your cabin's stationery supply, and passengers on cruises of 10 days or less will tip at the end of the cruise. On longer voyages, you might find that tipping weekly is the norm.
Please note that most luxury cruise lines discourage tipping, including Azamara, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, and Swan Hellenic. Crew members on these lines are paid at a higher rate than other cruise lines, and therefore are not as tip dependent; therefore many will outright refuse the gesture when offered by travelers.