15% tip for good service is acceptable (I paid a lot more for some of the great service I got). The waiters(waitress) live on this. I only got uncaring serive once and I asked for an other waitress and got it.
BTW, going to the bar makes the bartender your waiter.
Hey, you're on a cruise. Relax. Enjoy. And, figure the tip is part of the price of having this great experience.
But, you should write the company and voice your opinion. That's the American way.
All of the crew speaks english to some extent...some more than others, but it was never really a problem conversing in any area of the ship.
As for ground excursions, we didn't do any, but they did mention when we inquired about one excursion that they would make sure they had a guide who could speak english if any of us decided to go.
I may have answered my own question. While waiting for the tender to take us back to the ship, most of the people visited the duty free shop and stocked up on good liquor bargains. All the packages(and clinking bottles) went through the x-ray machine and nary a bottle was confiscated.
Perhaps the shipping lines use some discretion in enforcing their policies.
I should start a thread comparing them...
Aunt Betty's ...really, I'm not bragging, I posted my recent travels because I can help with questions about the area, activities, rentals, ect.
Does it have to be just cruises? should i list each individual island by port of call?
I will admit cruising is the best way to see many different islands (9 on my last cruise). The problem is the time at each is limited and depending on the excursion you may not see much of it. It goes against the nature of an island vacation mindset of taking things slow, to cram a whole island into a day. Multiply that by 9 islands and a cruise can become a blur of tropicality.
It is a great scouting tool and after seeing a little I can tell which islands I'd prefer to spend a week or two on. sortta like Aunt Betty's is a nice place to visit but would you want to spend a few weeks in her backyard?
so far i dont know enough about most islands in the caribbean to want to visit very long, though I did feel comfortable with st thomas, grand cayman, and barbados. I'm starting to run out of new islands to visit without going to tahiti...so i will repeat visit some and take a taxi tour to see more of culture and sights.
To get back to topic.... I think the Alchahol policy is there to keep people honest, it didnt look like it is strictly enforced. I mean the plastic pint bottles dont set off the sensors and unless your falling down drunk i don't think they do random searches...they have 2000 people to check in a few hours, and i would hope security would be looking for guns and knives not alcahol. Everyone else shouldnt care, after all they are there to make sure you enjoy your vacation.
Wise2u, there are a couple of answers to the "island dilemma" - where you can't tell one from the other without the t-shirt.
One is to take a cruise that avoids the islands. There are a number of cruises that do that. Mexican Riviera cruises leave LA or San Diego and work down the Baja to Cabo, Matzalan, Acapulco, etc. You get the same benefits - good climate, a trip at sea, but a whole new world of shore options - visits to silver mines, mexican cooking classes, whale watching, etc.
Another option would be a Panama Canal crossing. On one of our cruises the only island was Aruba, but with stops in Panama, Guatamala, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Another option - which will cost about $500 in additional air fare - would be the Mediterranean. Again, same benefits - weather, sea, etc., but really great ports - such as Barcelona, Cannes, Venice, Istanbul, and Alexandria.
good options...I was thinking of a european or med tour...great way to see italy or greece without having to drive there...
a canal transit would be fun if it was a large ship where i wouldnt get bored with the extra days...
I'm saving alaska for when i get older and can afford the cruise/train/lodge tour. I hope it's still as nice...and maybe cheaper by then.
west coast mexico holds little appeal from what i've read...being from the southeast, a northern us/canada trip in the fall is more tempting...
I'm not sure why there are few southern trips to Bermuda...all out of nj, ny, and ne ports...doesn't it make more sense to sail from the closest port like Jacksoville? I only found one sailing from Fla and it was expensive...my wife has been many times to its pink sand beachs and it's on my list of close islands left to see. Land accomodations are expensive as hell so crusin is the way to go, i see they move from one port to another multiple times during the stay there...what's the deal with that?
Hawaii is best seen a few days at a time on multiple islands. A cruise can give you a taste but when i go that far I want to stay a few weeks. and unless you sail ncl you get to spend a couple of days going to see fanning island..yawn. A condo through vrbo.com is the best way for those islands.
I still have many places to visit and many cruise lines to try. thanks for reminding me of all the places yet to try, thank god for options