I only gave "MY" unbiased review of the experience I had "2" weeks ago not "Last summer". I booked the cruise through Carnival, I was NEVER asked about prepaying gratuity, I was never asked about luggage tags either, both turned out to be a suprise. I also didn't feel the need to ask whether the rooms were air-conditioned or not, this is 2009.
While others may have had a wonderful experience and thought it was great, I'm sorry I did not, as I stated in my review I may have been spoiled since I worked my way down the ship chain instead of up. The food was AWFUL, I don't know what you had on your cruise whenever you took them.
It was requested to share our experiences on the Holiday, I did just that. I don't feel like I need to be poked in the side and laughed at b/c I shared my experience and didn't have "delicious Reuben sandwichs".
On the Conquest in 05 we were given envelopes for the gratuity to be placed in, Fact, not "I think". I had no problem with the gratuity being what it was, the staff were great and at the low wages they are paid deserve everything they can get. Some of my family members were traveling on a limited budget and we were not aware of the added in charges (some of them did cash deposits, I ended up loaning money).... of which they were not allowed to remove or adjust.
Rethinking being a part of this forum, when I can't even state facts without "When I sailed it was magnificent 2,3,4 years ago". My cruise was July 9-13 2009.
I've booked the Princess cruise through Costco, so it will leave Carnival out of the loop, although my complaints still stand with Carnival. Live and learn.