Hello clients and friends!

We are getting into the holiday spirit around the office! The decorations are up, the office party is planned, and we are helping travelers make those last-minute vacation arrangements for their "use-it-or-lose-it" vacation time. The first three weeks of December is a great time for cruise deals since many people travel during the holiday weeks but not in the earlier part of the month, something to keep in mind if you are a traveler that can "drop-and-go".
While the cruise fares drop significantly, some things don't change, such as the taxes and port fees, the cost for beverage packages or specialty dining, port transfers, insurance, and gratuities. We strongly recommend that you request an inclusive quote if you want any of these services as part of your voyage.

Many cruise lines are now offering at least one or two free perks when you book, as long as you know what to ask for--that's our job! And if not free, it is our experience that the perks are cheaper when you purchase them in advance instead of on board the ship.
Have you heard the news that many of the cruise lines are increasing their automatic gratuities? In case you are not familiar with this, this is a daily charge assessed by the cruise line to reward the staff on your behalf; while you mostly interact with the servers and the room stewards, the automatic gratuities are also shared with the folks you don't see, such as the prep cooks, the laundry staff, and the maintenance crew.

Something to note: although most cruise lines have a particular amount they charge to your on board account, many of them will allow a guest to increase or decrease the amount of gratuity they want to pay based on the services they have received. Stop by the guest services desk during your cruise if you want to do this.
To help you with your planning, here is what many cruise lines are currently charging for automatic gratuities:

Azamara Club Cruises : gratuities are included in the fares.
Carnival Cruise Line : starting 01Dec18, will charge $13.99 per person, per day, for guests in standard rooms; $15.99 per person, per day, for guests in suites. All of the gratuities collected go to Carnival’s shipboard staff. According to its website, the amount is spread between its housekeeping team, dining team, and other staff.
Celebrity Cruise Line : charges $14.50 per person, per day, for those in standard accommodations; $15.00 per person, per day, for Concierge Class and AquaClass guests; and $18.00 per person, per day, for those in suites. On its website, Celebrity says that collected gratuities are shared between stateroom attendants, dining services staff, and housekeeping staff. Celebrity also adds an 18 percent gratuity to all beverages, spa, salon, and minibar purchases.
Crystal Cruise s: all sailings are all-inclusive, so gratuities for its staff — housekeeping, restaurant, bar, and Penthouse butler staff — are already included in the cruise fare.
Holland America Line : recently increased the cost of its automatic gratuities to $14.50 per day, per person for all guests staying in standard rooms. In 2019, gratuities for suite guests will increase to $16.00 per person, per day.
MSC Cruises: services charges vary by sailing. For the majority of its Caribbean sailings, MSC charges $12.50 per night, per adult; and $6.25 per night, per child over the age of two. The same goes for its South America and FAE sailings. For South Africa voyages, guests will pay $8 per night, per person for adults; and $4 per person, per night for children. Guests on the Grand Voyages from South Africa (Northbound) will be charged $12.50 per night, per person for adults; and $6.25 per night, per person for children. For its Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Antilles, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman cruises, MSC automatically charges 10 euros per person, per night for adults; and half that for children.
Norwegian Cruise Line : assesses $14.50 per person, per day, for standard cabins and $17.50 per person per day for suites and Haven guests. For the Norwegian Sky and the Norwegian Sun, its two all-inclusive ships, to $19.99 for standard guests and $22.99 for suite guests.

Oceania Cruises: automatically adds $16.00 per person, per day, for standard guests; and $23.00 per person, per day, for suite guests. Oceania also adds an 18 percent charge to all beverage purchases, spa services, and specialty dinners.
Paul Gauguin Cruises : all onboard gratuities are included the all-inclusive fare.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises : gratuities are included in the cruise fare for all sailings. The line also offers another option for guests who want to go above-and-beyond for their crew — donations to the Crew Welfare Fund, which is used for crew events, are welcomed at the Purser Office onboard.
Royal Caribbean International : the automatic gratuity is $14.50 per person, per day, for standard guests; and $17.50 per person, per day, for suite guests. Their website says: “A way to reward our crew members for their outstanding service, gratuities are shared among dining, bar and culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.”

Seabourn: according to the website, “Gratuities are neither required nor expected on Seabourn ships.”
Silversea : all gratuities onboard, including all service gratuities except spa, are included in Silversea’s all-inclusive fare.
Viking Ocean Cruises: adds a discretionary hotel and dining charge of $15.00 per person, per day, to shipboard accounts. Those charges are shared among the waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry staff, and others. That fee does not include Viking’s 15 percent gratuity for bar and deck service.
Windstar : the luxury line charges $13.50 per person, per day, for gratuities for all guests. Windstar also adds a 15 percent service charge for bar service.

**Thank you to TravelMarketReport.com for collecting this data!
Thank you for your continued interest in travel and we hope to hear from you soon! Please give us a call at 425-827-5656 or you can simply reply to this email.

Anita Bornemann, Owner
Professional Travel Service, Inc.
Kirkland, WA

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Anita Bornemann
Owner, Professional Travel Service, Inc.
  (425) 827 5656