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01 Aug 2012
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Take a cruise with a difference
 

With the weather slowly warming and the days beginning to get longer what better time to start thinking about your next Cruise Holiday. Carnival Spirit has amazing prices for families, as well as onboard spending money of up to $300 this Christmas or get in early to book your family interconnecting rooms for Easter School Holidays 2013. If you'd like to venture a little further Azamara are offering FREE Flights on selected Asian Itineraries. This sale starts today and is limited to the first 200 bookings only so don't delay - Call 1800 121 187

One of the most frequently asked questions our team of consultants get by both first time and repeat cruisers is how tipping & gratuities work onboard a ship. There are a lot of variations between local and international ships and this is why we have decided to cover it in this week's feature. Be assured that your consultant is here to answer your questions regarding tips & gratuities when booking your next cruise holiday.

 
Highlights from this edition...
 

Spring & Summer Savings

Cruise the South Pacific on Carnival Spirit this October & receive up to $300obc per cabin or relax cruising through Asia in November with Princess Cruises, from only $94/day. Explore Fiji aboard the Pacific Pearl from Sydney with $100 OBC & all meals, kids clubs & accommodation included from only $103/day. Limited cabins are available!
Click to view »

Carnival Spirit Family Holidays

Carnival Spirit offers even more for families this Xmas & the 2013 Easter school holidays, with incredible savings PLUS up to $300/cabin spending money per cabin. Enjoy the South Pacific or relax sailing down to Tasmania. Don't delay though as family interconnecting cabins always sell fast! Call our team on 1800 121 187!
Click to view »

Azamara Free Flights to Asia

Enjoy FREE flights from all major capital cities on the below Azamara Asia Voyages, when you book an oceanview stateroom or above. Experience boutique wines with lunch & dinner, longer stays, more overnights, shuttle service to & from ports & complimentary self-service laundry. Valid on the first 200 bookings - Call 1800 121 187
Click to view »
Spring & Summer Cruise Savings from $94/day
6 OCT 2012
ex Brisbane
9
NIGHTS
Island Adventure Cruise
Pacific Dawn
from $1,457
($161/day)
Up to $100 OBC
Kids 1-2 & 7-17yrs
Cruse Details
28 OCT 2012
ex Sydney
11
NIGHTS
Pacific Islands Cruise
Carnival Spirit
from $1,098
($100/day)
Up to $300 OBC
All Kid Spaces
Cruse Details
9 NOV 2012
ex Sydney
14
NIGHTS
Fiji Adventure
Pacific Pearl
from $1,449
($103/day)
Up to $100 OBC
All Kid Spaces
Cruse Details
26 NOV 2012
ex Bangkok
18
NIGHTS
Australia & Asia
Diamond Princess
from $1,699
($94/day)
Up to $75 OBC
All Kid Spaces
Cruse Details
*Prices are in AUD per adult twin share & subject to availability. Other conditions may apply
In the Spirit for a family holiday?
 
14 MAR 2013
ex Melbourne
7
NIGHTS
Long Coastal
Cruise
Carnival Spirit
From $830
($119/day)
Up to $200 OBC
Cruse Details
16 DEC 2012
ex Sydney
11
NIGHTS
Pacific Islands & Fiji Cruise
Carnival Spirit
From $1,458
($133/day)
Up to $300 OBC
Cruse Details
21 MAR 2013
ex Sydney
12
NIGHTS
Pacific Islands & Fiji Cruise
Carnival Spirit
From $1,577
($131/day)
Up to $300 OBC
Cruse Details
27 DEC 2012
ex Sydney
12
NIGHTS
Pacific Islands & Fiji Cruise
Carnival Spirit
From $2,337
($195/day)
Up to $300 OBC
Cruse Details
*Prices are in AUD per adult twin share & subject to availability. Other conditions may apply
Azamara Free Flights to Asia
 
20 FEB 2013
ex Singapore
14
NIGHTS
ex Singapore to Hong Kong Cruise
Azamara Journey
Outside from $3,999
($285/day)
FREE FLIGHTS*
Cruse Details
20 MAR 2013
ex Beijing (Tanggu)
14
NIGHTS
ex Beijing to Hong Kong Cruise
Azamara Journey
Outside from $3,999
($285/day)
FREE FLIGHTS*
Cruse Details
6 MAR 2013
ex Hong Kong
14
NIGHTS
ex Hong Kong to Beijing Cruise
Azamara Journey
Outside from $3,999
($285/day)
FREE FLIGHTS*
Cruse Details
3 FEB 2013
ex Hong Kong
17
NIGHTS
ex Hong Kong to Singapore Cruise
Azamara Journey
Outside from $4,999
($294/day)
FREE FLIGHTS*
Cruse Details
*Prices are in AUD per adult twin share & subject to availability. Other conditions may apply
Tips & Gratuities
 
Tips & Gratuities Explained
Recently we ran a website poll asking the question: "How much should Aussies tip?" and got these results from 824 of your answers...

1. Let the cruiseline decide & charge me
(20 @ 2%)
2. Let me decide from the service I get
(282 @ 34%)
3. None, they should pay staff properly
(522 @ 63%)

So it is not surprising that the cruiselines sailing in/out of our waters are quickly modifying their policies to suit. As the only cruise agency in Australia invited to sit on multiple cruiseline advisory boards, your feedback to us has really helped to formulate their policies in areas that are needed, as we have seen already.

But to be fair, all options in our poll had their own merit, so to clarify how it works in practice, the following article was commissioned especially for this newsletter, written by our resident (and much travelled!) cruise ship editor - "Doctor Dave" - based on his recent experiences, and is a good read:

Tips or gratuities are payments, as a matter of social custom, for personal services. Customs vary with country, and on the high seas they vary between cruise lines. Not to pay a tip when it is the custom is viewed as poor manners, so travellers accept the need to factor in gratuities as part of their travel expenses.

How does tipping work? Where service staff are paid low wages, tips are expected to supplement income as, for example, in North America. When wages are higher (such as in Australia) tipping is not necessary. Alternatively, some countries (as in parts of Europe) and businesses levy a gratuity or service charge (around 15%) that is distributed amongst all service staff, including behind-the-scenes workers. So, which system is best? There is no agreement: The happy traveller adjusts to prevailing customs with a smile.

Some up-market cruise lines state 'no gratuities are required or expected'. Nevertheless, check out the actual practice before your cruise, or at the Reception Desk, and budget accordingly. A cruise line may vary its rules on gratuities from country to country. For example, some lines include tips in the fare when sailing Australian waters, but add gratuities on their other itineraries. You'll find the fare has simply been increased by around $11 per day, because the cruise line knows this is more acceptable to Australian travellers than paying a tip. Some cruise lines accept pre-paid gratuities, otherwise it will be added to your account on the day you disembark.

Service charges for bar accounts and spa treatments are not considered gratuities, and are invariably added to your cruise account. Also note that for all onshore tours tips are payable according to local customs.

Are all tips passed on to service staff? On a recent Holland America cruise, this writer has a chat with our cabin steward, who described his new family home in Java – no longer leaky bamboo walls and roof, but brick – bought with two years' savings. Back home this would have taken him 25 years! So he assured us that HAL distributes all tips to the service staff, who repatriate their savings to their families back home.

Finally, if ever in doubt about your own cruise, just ask at the Reception Desk soon after boarding what their policy is. On many ships you can determine your own method of rewarding varying levels of service - and just like discounts, they are always appreciated!

What would you have tipped Manuel?
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