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Old 03-14-2013, 11:28 PM   #1021
pennymike
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Did.

Report from Platinum...
On at midnight....ALL Palo/Excursions/Spa booked and done in 20 minutes. Happy Cruisers!

Hope everyone has awesome experiences in getting what they want, if you do DCL excursion. I love how easy to use their website has gotten.

NOW....GOOD night, all!
P.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:42 AM   #1022
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Originally Posted by pennymike View Post
Didn't someone have posted a while back the formal night/semi formal night schedule? I can't seem to find it.....Anyone know? Thanks!
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It wasnt in this thread it was in the June 13th? thread. I believe it was at sea between Rome and Athens but am not 100% certain.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:45 AM   #1023
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Originally Posted by ky71 View Post
Next question - besides Malta, we were thinking to do the port excursions with DCL as we do not want to be late back to the ship. Are we crazy for outlaying that much $$$ vs chancing being late?
We are travelling with another family so total 9px and most guided tours we have researched allow for 8px so we would be in two vans anyway. DCL excursions just look to be the easier option right now. Yes I have the Rick Steeves guidebook and the Passporter Disney Cruise Guide too. I am very concerned that we will be unable to get any of our choices as we are not able to book until 29.04.13 (first time cruisers). What are our chances of getting last minute private tours if DCL's sell out?
Thanks for your advice!
Two of our three first choices from the Rick Steves book were gone in January. Luckily another one was able to hook us up with a fellow tour guide. Probably pickings will be getting pretty slim by then.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:14 AM   #1024
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Originally Posted by pennymike View Post
Report from Platinum...
On at midnight....ALL Palo/Excursions/Spa booked and done in 20 minutes. Happy Cruisers!

Hope everyone has awesome experiences in getting what they want, if you do DCL excursion. I love how easy to use their website has gotten.

NOW....GOOD night, all!
P.
I think the new process is much easier too. We had a couple of times where the page was slow to upload, but to be able to book 10 excursions between the 4 of us and my MIL, 2 Palo ressies (brunch, dinner) and 2 couple spa reservations in 18 minutes, we were very pleased. I loved the DCL confrimation email with all of our excursions and reservations listed, the times and tour lengths.
Here is what we booked and the tour times:

Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze 8:30-5:00
Pisa-Climb the Tower 12:45-5:45; there was an 8ish time offered too
The Best of Rome: 7:15-6:15
Acropolis Sightseeing and Yabanaki Beach Club 7:45-3:30
Ephesus and Aquapark 8:00-3:15
Delos Island 10:15-4:00 (8ish one available too)
Gozo Experience 8:00-4:15

Booked the following for my MIL and she's doing the rest of the ports with us:

Discovering Florence 7:15-5:15
Acropolis Sightseeing and Archaeolgoical Museum with Lunch 7:15-3:30
Best of Ephesus 8:15-2:30

Palo dinner 2nd sea day.... 6 and 7:00 were offered
Palo brunch 1st sea day... all regular times available


Also added a pedicure and manicure this morning for first sea day afternoon and lots of times were available.
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Last edited by Hanover; 03-15-2013 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:16 PM   #1025
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Tipping

Hello,

I'm wondering if anyone knows what is considered a good tip for a private tour? I'm sure it depends on the country. We just booked a private tour in Ephesus (so excited!!! ), and I just want to budget in what would be an good tip for the driver and guide.

Thanks!!
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:49 PM   #1026
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Originally Posted by LovesToRun View Post
Hello,

I'm wondering if anyone knows what is considered a good tip for a private tour? I'm sure it depends on the country. We just booked a private tour in Ephesus (so excited!!! ), and I just want to budget in what would be an good tip for the driver and guide.

Thanks!!
I was wondering this also. Tipping is definitely not the same as in the US. I think some of these tours/guides borderline abuse American's being naive or so used to tipping that some feel weird about not doing it- because many of the companies I quoted put in lines like "gratuities not included" and bolded it. I actually asked my Rome tour company directly, because that tour's base price, not even including the colosseum & Vatican tix, is 600 euros, which works out to a whopping $800 USD! I basically told her I was really impressed with her responses to all my questions so far and ready to book, but the cost was very high and I didn't think I could afford gratuity on top of that. She replied and assured me that tipping in Italy is very different than the US and should not be considered required or necessary. So, I booked after that. I really can't afford to even give another 20 euros for the 2 of us after spending that much. Maybe if the guy ends up doing something really over the top or unexpected, we will, but if we just get what is prescribed in the tour itinerary email and what I've read on Trip Advisor, we won't. I will probably stick to this plan for our other tours as well- only tipping if I get something really above and beyond.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:27 PM   #1027
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Originally Posted by WDW Princess 71 View Post
I was wondering this also. Tipping is definitely not the same as in the US. I think some of these tours/guides borderline abuse American's being naive or so used to tipping that some feel weird about not doing it- because many of the companies I quoted put in lines like "gratuities not included" and bolded it. I actually asked my Rome tour company directly, because that tour's base price, not even including the colosseum & Vatican tix, is 600 euros, which works out to a whopping $800 USD! I basically told her I was really impressed with her responses to all my questions so far and ready to book, but the cost was very high and I didn't think I could afford gratuity on top of that. She replied and assured me that tipping in Italy is very different than the US and should not be considered required or necessary. So, I booked after that. I really can't afford to even give another 20 euros for the 2 of us after spending that much. Maybe if the guy ends up doing something really over the top or unexpected, we will, but if we just get what is prescribed in the tour itinerary email and what I've read on Trip Advisor, we won't. I will probably stick to this plan for our other tours as well- only tipping if I get something really above and beyond.
I agree. We've traveled quite a bit internationally, but we've always done everything on our own, so this is the first time we'll be hiring private guides, and it says the same thing on the info they gave me that gratuity for the guide and driver are not included in the price.

But, I also know from traveling internationally that I agree, tipping is not the same outside the USA, and so that is why I was wondering what the "norm" is for a private guide and driver. When we go to restaurants outside of the USA, we tip if we get top notch service, or the waiter/waitress is just really friendly, or it just feels like the best thing. But, if it's not necessarily top notch service, etc, then we don't tip in restaurants when we are in other countries, or if we do tip, it's only like 5% or less. But, as Americans, it does feel "unnatural" or "rude" to leave without tipping because we wouldn't do that here, even if it was not the best service (even for my husband and me in America for poor service at a restaurant or a service, we tip, but just give 10%, which still seems like a lot for not so great service!). But, we have friends in different areas of the world we've gone to visit, and they tell us they ONLY tip when the service is exceptional. That is the only time they tip. Otherwise, if the service is just what you expected, but nothing above and beyond that, then don't tip. So, we've always followed this rule of thumb from friends we have internationally.

But, in this case, it's our first time hiring private guides and drivers, so I am trying to figure out what tipping rules apply here, so just wondering what other people here have done for those of you who have done Med cruises before.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:12 PM   #1028
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I agree. We've traveled quite a bit internationally, but we've always done everything on our own, so this is the first time we'll be hiring private guides, and it says the same thing on the info they gave me that gratuity for the guide and driver are not included in the price.

But, I also know from traveling internationally that I agree, tipping is not the same outside the USA, and so that is why I was wondering what the "norm" is for a private guide and driver. When we go to restaurants outside of the USA, we tip if we get top notch service, or the waiter/waitress is just really friendly, or it just feels like the best thing. But, if it's not necessarily top notch service, etc, then we don't tip in restaurants when we are in other countries, or if we do tip, it's only like 5% or less. But, as Americans, it does feel "unnatural" or "rude" to leave without tipping because we wouldn't do that here, even if it was not the best service (even for my husband and me in America for poor service at a restaurant or a service, we tip, but just give 10%, which still seems like a lot for not so great service!). But, we have friends in different areas of the world we've gone to visit, and they tell us they ONLY tip when the service is exceptional. That is the only time they tip. Otherwise, if the service is just what you expected, but nothing above and beyond that, then don't tip. So, we've always followed this rule of thumb from friends we have internationally.

But, in this case, it's our first time hiring private guides and drivers, so I am trying to figure out what tipping rules apply here, so just wondering what other people here have done for those of you who have done Med cruises before.
Just wanted to qualify one thing with what I said about re:tipping outside the USA. it depends on where I am (which country), and if I'm in country where I know a tip will help be a month's wage to the person (ie, in some countries $20 USD is a months income), then even at restaurants in this case, I give a a few USD's. It just really is case-by-case, depending on where we are at, which country we are in, etc.

But, with a private guide/driver, I am sure we'll tip, but just trying to figure out how much (especially since we'll have kids... that can always add a little more work, even though they 10 & 12).

A friend of mine who travels all over the world and they do a lot of private guides/drivers when they travel to other countries (and they've been to Turkey, Greece, Italy... and the list goes on), she told me for the 2 of them, for a full day, they give $10 USD to the driver and $20 to the guide for a tip. She told me since we have 6 people, including kids, she might do $20 USD to the driver and $30 to the guide (total, for everyone, so we'd split it between our family and my parents), so that would be just $25 extra for our family for a full day. That is doable.

That is what she recommended. But, wondering other thoughts...

OH, my friend also said that they love USD's, so tipping in USD is better than Euros or the local currency. Is this what you all think, too??
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:35 PM   #1029
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Originally Posted by LovesToRun View Post
Just wanted to qualify one thing with what I said about re:tipping outside the USA. it depends on where I am (which country), and if I'm in country where I know a tip will help be a month's wage to the person (ie, in some countries $20 USD is a months income), then even at restaurants in this case, I give a a few USD's. It just really is case-by-case, depending on where we are at, which country we are in, etc.

But, with a private guide/driver, I am sure we'll tip, but just trying to figure out how much (especially since we'll have kids... that can always add a little more work, even though they 10 & 12).

A friend of mine who travels all over the world and they do a lot of private guides/drivers when they travel to other countries (and they've been to Turkey, Greece, Italy... and the list goes on), she told me for the 2 of them, for a full day, they give $10 USD to the driver and $20 to the guide for a tip. She told me since we have 6 people, including kids, she might do $20 USD to the driver and $30 to the guide (total, for everyone, so we'd split it between our family and my parents), so that would be just $25 extra for our family for a full day. That is doable.

That is what she recommended. But, wondering other thoughts...

OH, my friend also said that they love USD's, so tipping in USD is better than Euros or the local currency. Is this what you all think, too??
Did your friend maybe mean in poorer countries that they love the USD? The only country that isn't as well off on our trip is Turkey, that will happily take our USDs over Turkish lira. I can't imagine why someone in the established countries of Italy, Spain, France, Greece or Malta would want USD over Euros, when 1 USD is worth only 0.77 euro, not to mention the hassle of currency exchange? I'm just saying why would someone there be happy to get a $20 US bill, go have to exchange it for a fee, then end up with barely 15 euros out of that? I know I sure never liked handing over my USDs to exchange for more Euros and then getting less "quantity" value in Euros back- when I studied abroad in Italy by the time I was nearing the end of my trip, I felt like the $20 bills I had left in my wallet were almost worthless! That's how crazy it gets to you, when you deal with such a crappy exchange rate, it makes your mind nuts thinking our money is worthless.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:48 PM   #1030
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Did your friend maybe mean in poorer countries that they love the USD? The only country that isn't as well off on our trip is Turkey, that will happily take our USDs over Turkish lira. I can't imagine why someone in the established countries of Italy, Spain, France, Greece or Malta would want USD over Euros, when 1 USD is worth only 0.77 euro, not to mention the hassle of currency exchange? I'm just saying why would someone there be happy to get a $20 US bill, go have to exchange it for a fee, then end up with barely 15 euros out of that? I know I sure never liked handing over my USDs to exchange for more Euros and then getting less "quantity" value in Euros back- when I studied abroad in Italy by the time I was nearing the end of my trip, I felt like the $20 bills I had left in my wallet were almost worthless! That's how crazy it gets to you, when you deal with such a crappy exchange rate, it makes your mind nuts thinking our money is worthless.
Sorry... yes, that is totally what my friend meant!! I wasn't specific. In poorer countries where the USD is worth a lot, so like in Turkey, tipping in USD they gladly take USD's (I was talking to my friend specifically about Turkey). I didn't mean to type in countries where they use Euros... my brain is so overloaded with all our planning for this trip! I meant to just say "local currency", and yes, only in places where the USD is worth more than the local currency. Totally agree that in established countries in Europe, the Euro is what you tip in, for sure! Definitely!

I know.... the exchange rate is def not in our favor in countries that use the Euro!!
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:54 PM   #1031
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I can book my shore excursions next month, and I can't remember, but is it 12am east coast time or 12 am in whatever time zone you live in? Thanks for any help with this, I just can't remember.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:06 PM   #1032
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I can book my shore excursions next month, and I can't remember, but is it 12am east coast time or 12 am in whatever time zone you live in? Thanks for any help with this, I just can't remember.
It's 12AM EST, so you can start booking at 9PM the evening before since you are on the west coast. That is what I always do.

We can start booking on March 30, which means we will actually start booking at 9PM on March 29 since we are on the west coast (which is nice... don't have to stay up till midnight or later to start booking).
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:42 PM   #1033
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What do most teen boys wear on formal night?

Hi there!

Paid in full! Yeah!!

I wanted to know what other teen boys will be wearing on formal and semi-formal night. I know many teen girls like to dress up but fewer boys do. My son outgrows his suits so fast it barely seems worth owning one. He outgrows the dress shoes even faster. At more formal family events, he has worn shirt, tie and black sneakers. Do all the boys wear suits, ties, dress shoes?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We will get what he needs but I did not want to buy it and then find out all the boys did not wear it.

Thanks, Dorothy
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:42 PM   #1034
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Here is what we booked and the tour times:

Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze 8:30-5:00
Pisa-Climb the Tower 12:45-5:45; there was an 8ish time offered too
The Best of Rome: 7:15-6:15
Acropolis Sightseeing and Yabanaki Beach Club 7:45-3:30
Ephesus and Aquapark 8:00-3:15
Delos Island 10:15-4:00 (8ish one available too)
Gozo Experience 8:00-4:15

Booked the following for my MIL and she's doing the rest of the ports with us:

Discovering Florence 7:15-5:15
Acropolis Sightseeing and Archaeolgoical Museum with Lunch 7:15-3:30
Best of Ephesus 8:15-2:30
Thanks for all the information - especially the times.

I have to say I am surprised by the Delos Island timing from 10:15 - 4:00. The description on the DCL site says it was only 3.5 to 4 hours. I really wanted to get a walk in around the town and the windmills after the excursion - with lots of time to spare. Do you recall if the 8ish one was also 6 hours?

Hmmmm.....makes me consider going on my own a little more and catching the first ferry both ways.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:32 PM   #1035
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dress code....

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Originally Posted by dormouse7899 View Post
Hi there!

Paid in full! Yeah!!

I wanted to know what other teen boys will be wearing on formal and semi-formal night. I know many teen girls like to dress up but fewer boys do. My son outgrows his suits so fast it barely seems worth owning one. He outgrows the dress shoes even faster. At more formal family events, he has worn shirt, tie and black sneakers. Do all the boys wear suits, ties, dress shoes?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We will get what he needs but I did not want to buy it and then find out all the boys did not wear it.

Thanks, Dorothy
I have no personal expertise on teen boys' dress code, since my DH and I travel alone, but I can vouch for the fact that as long as they look presentable, it's all good! We had table mates on our last med cruise who were not expecting this trip (Mother and late teen/early 20's age son....the older daughter "surprised" them with an 11 day DCL med cruise while she was finishing up some big time school commitment in France or England). They only had clothes with them for visiting the daughter/sister at school, but were perfectly appropriately dressed for everything: He had black jeans and black tee shirt, and pretty much managed every night to look fine; she had a pair of black slacks and black shirt/blouse and added a scarf for 'formal' nights. Don't show up in cut offs and wife beaters and you can rest assured you will be just fine! JMHO.

P.
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Penny & Mike
04/2004 - 4-Night Bahamian Cruise, Wonder. 07/2006 - 7-Night Caribbean Cruise, Magic. 07/2007 - 7-Night @ WDW - Yacht Club Resort. 12/2007 - 7-Night Caribbean Cruise, Magic. 08/2008 - 4-Night Bahamian Cruise, Wonder and 3-Night @ WDW - Wilderness Lodge Resort. 04/2009 - 7-Night Caribbean Cruise, Magic. 07/2009 - 7-Night Caribbean Cruise, Magic. 12/2009 - 7-Night Christmas Eastern Caribbean, Magic. 08/2010 - 11-Night Mediterranean Cruise, Magic. 12/2010 - 11-Night Christmas Cruise, Magic. 08/2011 - 5-Night Bahamian Cruise, Dream, 08/2011 - 4 Night @ WDW - WLV and AKV. 12/2011 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean, Magic. 07/2012, 2-Nights @ BWV & 7-Night Western Caribbean, Fantasy. 07/2013 - 12 Night Mediterranean Cruise, Magic. 12/2013 7-Night NYE Eastern Caribbean, Fantasy. Up and coming: 08/2014, 7-Night Western Caribbean w/Jamaica, Fantasy then 07/2015 12-Night Northern Europe, Magic.


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