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Old 05-24-2007, 07:50 PM
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f-mattox f-mattox is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
Hello again, Eytbol8; of course there is no way I can refuse a kindly set-up like that; so here goes--by the numbers:

1. Prego Pizzeria and Trident Grill are included in the cruise fare; Sundaes ice cream is extra. As you mentioned, alcohol is extra, but so are soft drinks. You can buy soda packages that include an insulated cup, but unless you drink a LOT of soda, it's not really worth it. The other extras that come to mind are your gratuities ($10 per person per day on your onboard account); spa and salon services; photos; wine tasting; internet packages; and of course any gift shop purchases. I know there are others, but this is what comes to mind right now. Oh yes, a flower bouquet for the cabin; buy it the first day and it will last all cruise.

2. Princess does not have alcoholic beverage cards like Carnival. They do have daily drink specials and savings on buckets of beer.

3. I have never seen anything about puttling money on your account ahead of time unless you plan to pay in cash at the end of your cruise or you have a card with a very low limit. But I'm sure you can if you wish to.

4. I was not aware the bedding needed to be updated; but you can request the "egg crate" mattress cover. Do this ahead of time through your travel agent or Princess--don't wait until you board; there may not be enough to go around.

5. As I pointed out in our private message, this is an ideal cabin and deck for you and your husband. It is specially equipped for wheelchair access and much larger than the regular BA catagory cabin.

6. We have never done the Ultimate Balcony Dining; but we talked to a couple that, like you, were celebrating a wedding anniversary and did it and raved about it. It looks fabulous. You probably want to do it ON your anniversary, but remember, it can be quite windy at sea; so you might consider doing it in port, even if it isin't the exact day. That would be extra and I would tip those that served me that night.

7. First, let me just say you should never worry about tipping.
Period. It should come from the heart--not the brain. If service is good, it's nice to reward it; if it is not so good, give less; or nothing--but I would never do that without explaining why to the person; they at least deserve to know why they are getting stiffed.

But to your question. During the cruise you tip at the alternative restaurants (we felt $20 was appropriate), the spa and salon (15% of the cost of the service), room service ($2-4 per delivery) and Ultimate Balcony Dining (I would guess 15%). I've never gambled so I don't know what's appropriate there. 15% is automatically added to your bar and specialty coffee purchases.

And keep in mind that the $10 a day is just a guideline; exceptional service should be rewarded accordingly, in my opinion.

8. To be honest, I don't know why they have the beverage proference section in the Cruise Personalizer. I've always filled it out but never received anything in my refrigerator until I reached Elite status, and then it was an assortment, not what I selected. If you book a suite you get a ONE TIME complimentary mini-bar set up. After that they will restock it but you only pay for what you actually use. They do have bar packages you can buy from room service or before you go, such as a 375 ml bottle of gin and three cans of tonic; and you can buy full bottles of liquor at greatly inflated prices.

9. Room service is included at no extra charge. Alcohol, soft drinks and specialty coffees are charged at the regular rate. Regular coffee, tea, milk, juice are included. A small gratuity is expected (for me, $2-4).

10. Everything you need will be provided.

I hope this helps. Congratulations on your fourteen years--this will be a very special way to celebrate it.

One last thought; if your anniversary falls on a sea day, or you decide against the Ultimate Balcony Dining, Sabatini's would be a great way to celebrate. I read one post recently from someone who thought it wasn't worth it, but I completely disagree--we though it was one of the highlights of our cruise.

Happy anniversary, and happy sailing!