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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-24-2007, 05:00 PM
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Little background: My husband and I will be taking the Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles on the Golden Princess in October. This will only be our second cruise, as we took a weekend cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada over 4 years ago on Carnival. We are excited to be getting the chance to get on bigger cruise ship this time. My husband is disabled, confined to a wheelchair - but pretty darn independent in his chair . I am sure that many of the answers to the questions I will have here have all been answered in various different threads, my apologies and I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my thread . I also know I can call Princess directly and ask them some of these questions, but sometimes it's better to go to the people who have first hand knowledge or have experienced it themselves .

1. Aside from alcohol purchases, casino, excursions, bingo, specialty dinning (Sabatini's, Sterling's, Specialty Coffee Shop), etc., what other expenses should I expect on the cruise? For example, I believe the Golden has a pizzeria, and burger/hot dog grill, and ice cream bar - are those all additional $$ or included?
2. Does Princess offer drink (alcohol) cards you can purchase? For example, previously Carnival had drink coupons you could order ahead of time and use for alcohol drinks.
3. Can you put $$ ahead of time on your onboard account?
4. Does any one know if the bedding has been updated on the Golden? Can you request those egg crate padding things from Princess? It would be extremely beneficial for my hubby to have a little extra padding on the bed due to his disability.
5. We are in room (Caribe Deck I think) BA Category Room C304. If that a good deck to be on?
6. We were thinking about doing the Ultimate Balcony Dinning thing one night to celebrate our 14 wedding anniversary. Anyone have experience with that? Is it worth it? Do you tip the people that come in to do that or is it included in the general tipping charge you pay for?
7. With regards to tipping, I know this topic is debatable and a personal preference- but will ask anyways. Do I not have to worry about tipping at all until the end because of the automatic tipping charge? So, what I am really asking is do I have to worry about tipping during my days I am there each time I get food, drinks at the bar, or service, or is it really okay not worry about that and tipping because of the automatic tipping at the end?
8. With the cruise personalizer that they offer on-line, one part asks for what kind of drinks you prefer. I read somewhere that they will put a small stock of the drinks you prefer in your room once you use the cruise personalizer. Question is, are you charged by consumption of what they put in your room, or you get charged for all/whatever they put in your room?
9. I know they have a smaller room service menu, correct? Is whatever you order off of that room service menu included in the prince of the cruise? I read on another thread that she ordered coffee each morning and at the end was charged for it.
10. If I order wine from the special occassion form and ask for it to be in the room when we arrive, do they provide a wine bottle opener in the room with the wine?

I think those are all of the questions I had for now. I am really trying to save for the appropriate budget for this cruise, as you may have been able to tell from my questions. We really don't get out on too many big vacations like this. Again, I appreciate you time in reading and responding to my thread. I know I will get a response from f-mattox . He is a great resourse and has such a wealth of knowledge. Happy cruising to all of you !~
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-24-2007, 05:00 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4
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Little background: My husband and I will be taking the Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles on the Golden Princess in October. This will only be our second cruise, as we took a weekend cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada over 4 years ago on Carnival. We are excited to be getting the chance to get on bigger cruise ship this time. My husband is disabled, confined to a wheelchair - but pretty darn independent in his chair . I am sure that many of the answers to the questions I will have here have all been answered in various different threads, my apologies and I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my thread . I also know I can call Princess directly and ask them some of these questions, but sometimes it's better to go to the people who have first hand knowledge or have experienced it themselves .

1. Aside from alcohol purchases, casino, excursions, bingo, specialty dinning (Sabatini's, Sterling's, Specialty Coffee Shop), etc., what other expenses should I expect on the cruise? For example, I believe the Golden has a pizzeria, and burger/hot dog grill, and ice cream bar - are those all additional $$ or included?
2. Does Princess offer drink (alcohol) cards you can purchase? For example, previously Carnival had drink coupons you could order ahead of time and use for alcohol drinks.
3. Can you put $$ ahead of time on your onboard account?
4. Does any one know if the bedding has been updated on the Golden? Can you request those egg crate padding things from Princess? It would be extremely beneficial for my hubby to have a little extra padding on the bed due to his disability.
5. We are in room (Caribe Deck I think) BA Category Room C304. If that a good deck to be on?
6. We were thinking about doing the Ultimate Balcony Dinning thing one night to celebrate our 14 wedding anniversary. Anyone have experience with that? Is it worth it? Do you tip the people that come in to do that or is it included in the general tipping charge you pay for?
7. With regards to tipping, I know this topic is debatable and a personal preference- but will ask anyways. Do I not have to worry about tipping at all until the end because of the automatic tipping charge? So, what I am really asking is do I have to worry about tipping during my days I am there each time I get food, drinks at the bar, or service, or is it really okay not worry about that and tipping because of the automatic tipping at the end?
8. With the cruise personalizer that they offer on-line, one part asks for what kind of drinks you prefer. I read somewhere that they will put a small stock of the drinks you prefer in your room once you use the cruise personalizer. Question is, are you charged by consumption of what they put in your room, or you get charged for all/whatever they put in your room?
9. I know they have a smaller room service menu, correct? Is whatever you order off of that room service menu included in the prince of the cruise? I read on another thread that she ordered coffee each morning and at the end was charged for it.
10. If I order wine from the special occassion form and ask for it to be in the room when we arrive, do they provide a wine bottle opener in the room with the wine?

I think those are all of the questions I had for now. I am really trying to save for the appropriate budget for this cruise, as you may have been able to tell from my questions. We really don't get out on too many big vacations like this. Again, I appreciate you time in reading and responding to my thread. I know I will get a response from f-mattox . He is a great resourse and has such a wealth of knowledge. Happy cruising to all of you !~
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 05-24-2007, 07:50 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
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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!

Rick
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 05-25-2007, 04:41 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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OP - Have a great time on your cruise, especially celebrating your anniversary!

Tipping at the Sterling, Crown Grill, Sabatinis, etc. - I thought the tip was included in the extra per person charge we pay for eating at these restaurants?!? Of course, if the food and service are truly exceptional, then a small, extra tip to suplement the already included tip would be appropriate.

Here's a fairly comprehensive list of what's included and not included:
INCLUDED
1 Art Auctions (unless you buy something)
2 Beverages: Coffee, Hot Tea, Iced Tea, Water (NOT Bottled Water), Milk & Juice (for breakfast only)
3 Children's Program (though it is nice to tip the staff)
4 Dancing
5 Food in the Dining Room, the Buffet, the Grill (Trident) and the Pizzeria (Prego)
6 Ice Cream in the Buffet area around 3:30 PM, and in the Dining Rooms at Lunch and Dinner
7 Lectures/Talks
8 Lending Library
9 Sports activities including the gym, paddleball/basketball courts, mini golf, shuffle board & chess
10 Movies in the Princess Theater
11 Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) (on select ships, not on the Golden)
12 Pools, Hot Tubs, Saunas and Steam Rooms
13 Room Service Food (from the designated room service menu, and it's customary to tip a small amount)
14 Shows and Lounge Entertainment
15 Trivia Games
16 Views from the Skywalkers Nightclub
17 Your cabin

NOT INCLUDED
1 Alcoholic Beverages and Sodas (including lemonade)
2 Art Auction Purchases
3 Bottled Water
4 Casino and Bingo
5 Computer Classes
6 Crafts (some might be free)
7 Digital Photo Processing and Burning Photos to CD
8 Future Cruise Sales
9 Golf simulator and Arcade Games
10 Ice Cream at the Ice Cream Stand by the Pool (Sundaes)
11 Internet Usage
12 Medical Consultations and Treatments
13 Photos (they take a zillion of them, but you don't have to buy them)
14 Pizza Delivery (only on select ships, not on the Golden)
15 Room Service Beverages (other than coffee, water, hot tea, iced tea, milk and juice in the morning)
16 Room Service Specialty items (canapes, ultimate balcony dining, glacier viewing breakfast)
17 Sanctuary (only on select ships, not on the Golden)
18 Shops and Boutiques
19 Shore Excursions
20 Some exercise classes (Pilates, spinning, etc.)
21 Spa and Salon (Beauty Parlor & Barber) Services
22 Specialty Coffees and Freshly Brewed Regular & Decaf Coffee from the Bars and Lounges
23 Specialty Restaurant Cover Charges (like the Sterling Steakhouse & Sabatinis Tratatoria)
24 Tips/Gratuities
25 Wine Tastings
__________________
Todd
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 05-25-2007, 09:56 PM
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Posts: 4,740
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Eytbol8, which sailing in October will you be on?

I just booked the October 6 sailing for my wife and a dear friend of our family who just passed her final class and will be getting a college degree--at 60!

If you are on the same sailing, I know they would love to meet you and your husband. And my wife is familiar with the ship and could be a good resource for you.

Rick
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 05-27-2007, 09:11 AM
BJS BJS is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 124
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quote:
3. Can you put $$ ahead of time on your onboard account?
4. Does any one know if the bedding has been updated on the Golden? Can you request those egg crate padding things from Princess? It would be extremely beneficial for my hubby to have a little extra padding on the bed due to his disability.5. We are in room (Caribe Deck I think) BA Category Room C304. If that a good deck to be on?


3. Yes you can put $$ on your account ahead of time once on the ship, meaning before final billing, but you would only want to put what has already been billed and possibly the $10/pp "automatic" tip which you know will be charged should you not remove it from your shipboard account. Print outs of your shipboard account can be obtained as frequently as you want.
4. Unfortunately the mattress where the worst we've had on any Princess ship, last week, and the egg crate mattress is a good idea. We never looked under our mattress but some one else did and found a serving tray which had been placed there to try and alleviate the sway in the mattress. He called the room steward and showed it to him and a new mattress was delievered that day. On deck 11 we had the "new" duvet, bottom sheet and pillow cases on our bed but some on deck 12 had to request them.
5. Caribe, deck 10, is a great deck to be on but for your need the handicapped room on any ship is what you want to look for. All the decks have elevator access so the deck is only secondary except where the balcony is larger if you want a balcony cabin.
__________________




Future cruises:
Star Princess - Dec. 2007-Rome- TA
Crown Princess- May 2008 TA & Baltics
Pacific Princess-Nov. 2008-Holy Land & Egypt
Diamond Princess- Apr. 2009 Asia- Bangkok to Whittier
Past cruises:
Golden Princess-2007-Alaska
Sea Princess-2005 Canada/New England
Diamond Princess- 2005 Mexican Riviera
Star Princess- 2004 x2 Med. Venice to Barcelona/ Barcelona to Rome
Dawn Princess - 2004 x3- Southern Caribbean
Grand Princess- 2003 x2 W.Caribbean/ 2004 Panama
Sun Princess- 2003 Mexico
Tahitian Princess- 2003 Tahiti & Cook Islands
Royal Princess- 2003 x2- British Isles / Norwegian Fjords & Iceland
Island Princess- 2003 Panama Canal / 2007 Hawaii
Sky Princess- 2000 China & Orient
Sitmar's Fairwind - 1979 x2- Caribbean/Panama Canal
-------------------------------------------------
HAL-Amsterdam- 2004 Alaska
HAL Ryndam - 2001 x 2- S. America
------------------------------------------
Viking Spirit/Pride -2006 Budapest to Amsterdam
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-27-2007, 05:18 PM
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Hi Rick,

So nice to hear from you, I knew I would . We are on the October 13th sailing out of Los Angeles (San Pedro I guess it really is). All the wheelchair accessible rooms were sold out on the earlier sailings. It would have been nice to meet up with your wife and close family friend. Thanks for that offer. Why are you not sailing with them as well?

Thanks to all those who have replied so far. We really appreciate it.

Warm California regards!
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 05-28-2007, 07:38 AM
f-mattox's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
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What a shame to miss you by one cruise.

I really wish I was able to go but I am still working and have a fixed number of vacation days per year and our Baltic cruise next month will max me out for this year.

Have a wonderful trip and please keep in touch.

Rick
 
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