Alaskan Cruising Guide 2011

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Upload Sign In Join. Home Books Travel. Save For Later. Create a List. Alaskan Cruising Guide by Lucy Lelens. Summary The Alaskan Cruise is arguably one of the world's most visually exciting travel opportunities. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. For my other ebooks, please go to the end of this book.

Keep in mind that even if you've opted in for automatic gratuities, or are aboard one of the luxury cruises where tipping is included in the upfront rates, you should still bring along a cash stash for additional tips for exemplary or optional services American dollars are gladly accepted worldwide, so come stocked with singles, fives and tens.

These cash tips should generally be passed along hand to hand -- for formality's sake, you might consider sticking money in an envelope envelopes are usually available from your cabin's stationary supply or at the ship's reception desk , though that extra step isn't necessary.

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As mentioned above, we suggest sticking to automated tipping, which can sometimes be prepaid upfront before your sailing even begins, or applied to your shipboard account as a daily or cumulative fee. Personally, we like pre-paying the amount in full, when possible, so a hefty balance statement at the cruise's end doesn't interfere with our post-vacation glow. The bar bill and spa charges can be a buzzkill all by their lonesome! If you feel that this automated service charge should be adjusted -- either increased or decreased -- you should make the request with guest services toward the end of the cruise, once the standard of service onboard has been properly assessed.

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Note that any desired adjustments must be made before disembarking. For any additional tipping, to mark particularly outstanding service, the general rule of thumb is to hand out cash tips on the last day of the cruise.

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Don't wait till the morning of disembarkation, when everybody is in a frenzied transition mode and it might be difficult to locate the staffer you're after. But there are exceptions to this rule, when pre-tipping can be quite strategic. One instance is your cabin steward, especially if you have special requests or require extra service e. A well-placed tip at the beginning of the cruise can do wonders to help ensure that he or she happily obliges.


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Another instance might be a bartender at your preferred onboard bar -- a hand-passed gratuity on the first day of the sailing can go a long way in having him or her recognize your face in the crowd, and remember just how you like your drink. Or, perhaps, there's a window table for two that you have your heart set on in the main dining room -- a nice tip to the maitre d' on day one can help ensure that she or he never fails to have that table waiting.

Room service stewards should be tipped on the spot, as should non-cruise workers like in-port baggage handlers or tour operators on shore excursions. Note that the specific amounts for automatic gratuities vary by cruise line and can also increase for higher-level cabins. What follows below, then, are the suggested out-of-pocket "extras" -- supplemental tips handed out for superlative service or special favors rendered, in order to thank particularly deserving shipboard staff in a way they'll surely appreciate.

Of course, the size of the tip should ultimately reflect the excellence of the service. Note, too, that there are also gratuities automatically and separately applied to some optional onboard services, like drinks at the bar, or spa and salon services. We've outlined those here, as well. Finally, keep in mind that there are some services provided by non-cruise staffers for which tips should also be paid out of pocket -- this extends to port-side baggage handlers, or shore excursion tour operators. The baggage handlers who take your bags at arrival at the port don't typically work for the cruise line but rather the port and therefore won't share in the onboard tip pool.


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When your cruise concludes, if the port workers aid in getting your bags to your car or a taxi, the same amount would be courteous. Among staffers, you'll likely interact with your cabin attendant the most during the course of your cruise. While the automatic service charges will cover their basic gratuities, it's generally considered good form to tip them a bit extra for a job well done, especially if you have made any special requests.

Likewise, if you are in a suite, or aboard a luxury sailing, you may have a butler assigned to your room, in lieu of a cabin steward. Since they typically have more duties to meet bringing trays of tea or hors d'oeuvres, keeping your preferred beverages in stock, shining shoes, etc.

However, given that auto-gratuities are now commonplace, you'll certainly be forgiven if you don't manage to scramble for a cash tip before you've had your morning coffee. Bar service has an automatic gratuity applied on the check usually 15 percent. If the service proves excellent, consider the same at the cruise's end. You usually do not need to tip the maitre d', as he or she is a ship's officer and is paid accordingly, or the head waiter, who is covered in the automatic tip pool. Tour operators in port are usually independent of the cruise line. Tipping is not necessary in kids' clubs as kids' counselors are usually considered part of the better-compensated entertainment staff rather than the tip-dependent service staff , but if your child requires any special attention or if a counselor was particularly good with your children, tipping a few dollars per time the facilities were utilized would certainly be appreciated at the cruise's conclusion.


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Spas will generally add a 15 to 18 percent gratuity to your bill, which is sufficient, though this number can be adjusted if the service was exceptional or lacking. If you find yourself on a winning streak in the ship's casino lucky you! Do not tip the captain or other ship officers -- they are already well compensated, and the gesture would more likely be a source of embarrassment than flattery. Ultimately, it's important to understand that money is not a substitute for saying thank you; in addition to verbally expressing gratitude, consider delivering a handwritten thank you note, if you are so inclined.

One of the nicest ways passengers can show their appreciation is to mention staff by name in the end-of-cruise questionnaire, or to reach out to their ship supervisor to notify them of the staffer's exemplary service. Going one step further, a letter of praise for an exceptional employee to the cruise line's head office can give a real boost to a cruise staffer's career. Share Facebook Pinterest Twitter.

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