Tag Archives: cruises

Are they getting bigger or smaller?

Ships that is!  A listing of the new ships coming on stream for 2016 is an interesting read.  In the past few years the trend was the bigger the better.  Back in 2010 the Oasis class of ship by Royal Caribbean boasted a capacity of up to 6296 passengers.   That’s just slightly less than the population of Banff or Innisfail.  Imagine!

Well I don’t have to imagine actually. I was on one of the inaugural sailings of the Oasis and you know – it wasn’t that bad!  For someone who doesn’t like crowds (me) I found that the ship was very well planned with smaller spaces throughout.  The problem is to me it doesn’t feel like being on the sea.

So what’s the smallest cruise ship you can go on?  No – I am not talking about this?

There’s no place to put the champagne!
THIS is what I mean by a small cruise ship.  And oh did I tell you it is all inclusive.  Yes Darling!

The Tere Moana is owned by Paul Gauguin Cruises and hosts just 98 people.  Imagine that – like having your own private yacht or being a guest of Jackie O.  Those were the days!

Other smaller cruise ships are those included in the expedition class such as the Stella Australis based in Patagonia.  This is a small ship equipped for exploration but still offers all the little luxuries on board.

And remember – it’s not all about what happens on the ship (although hopefully it stays there) – it’s about what happens when you are off the ship…. as in ….
Swimming with the rays

Being prepared

And having fun on those shore excursions

It’s all out there waiting for you folks – BIG and small…

Have you reached the tipping point?

When it comes to paying for service how do you feel about that?  Do you feel that you have paid enough already for the hotel / cruise / dinner that you don’t really need to start shelling out cash left right and centre?  There are some countries where tipping is not expected – such as Australia and the Cook Islands to name just a couple.  There are also cruise lines (such as Silversea) and hotel chains (such as Sandals) where tipping is expressly discouraged.  The reason for this is clear – they want their guests to be  totally relaxed the entire vacation and not feel that they have to walk around with a bunch of small denomination notes for tipping.

Service people very often depend on tips to make up their income.  I do believe that tipping is an expression of satisfaction with a service well provided and I hate the feeling I have on some cruise lines (who will remain nameless) that I actually have to tip this poor Filipino or Russian because the cruise line is paying them such a miserable salary.

Having said all of that I sometimes cannot believe how mean people can be when it comes to tipping.  Go on a tour and watch the people climbing out of the rear exit of the bus to avoid the driver and tour guide.  Shame on you people!

I have no cash

I have no cash

Of course then you do get the other end of the stick.    The over-eager, super-friendly server who wants to be your best friend for a whole week.  We had one such person on our Seine river cruise a couple of weeks ago.  Don’t get me wrong.  He was brilliant.  He knew everyone’s name and remembered it.  He knew what drinks people liked.  He was proactive, prompt and pretty damn creepy.  He had a smile like the dog who wants some treats….

smiling_dog

No…. he was worse than that.  Sad thing is I felt sorry for him and we probably tipped him more than anyone else.