Required Increased Tipping On Cruises Ups Your Total Cost

Many cruise lines keep raising what once was a voluntary tip choice by passengers. By tradition, if and when service in your cabin, at dining tables and bars was adequate, you could choose to tip 10 to 20% of the bill. Or if dissatisfied, leave nothing at all.

An example of required tips, now calling them gratuities, Norwegian Cruise Line is raising the required tip per-day for cabin service from $13.99 to $14.50. Other cruise lines are issuing similar rules. The same applies to Norwegian onboard bar purchases, automatically applying 18% to those bills. When booking your next cruise, find the real amount of out-of-pocket charges that will be added to the advertised price. Ask your travel agent to tell you the actual cost you’ll be required to pay.

Hungary: Beautiful Budapest on the Danube PDF Print E-mail

Budapest, Hungary

Cruise ships face weighty problems: Heavier passengers PDF Print E-mail

Fat man

Maybe it’s the all-you-can-eat buffets aboard, but according to the U.S. Coast Guard, cruise passengers today weigh an average of 185 pounds. That’s 25 pounds heavier than those who sailed in the late 1980s.

This may seem to be just a problem for the passengers’ health, but the USCG report says it has more consequences. Larger ships with thousands of passengers may sail with 100,000 pounds of extra weight, affecting fuel costs.

Additionally, there are legal limits to the weight ships can carry, which cuts the number of paying passengers allowed on each cruise. To meet expenses and profit expectations, booking charges have to be increased.

So, if your bathroom scales show an extra 25 pounds or more, and you want to go to sea, consider knocking off the extra weight. Then maybe you can proudly call yourself a biggest cruiser loser.

Las Vegas: Not quite show-it-all swim pools PDF Print E-mail


It couldn’t be more descriptive, but the recently-opened pool at The Artisan Hotel in Vegas called Naked isn’t quite that. Actually, it allows guests, locals and tourists to swim wearing only bottoms.

The Artisan, a non-smoking, non-gambling boutique hotel about a mile from Las Vegas Boulevard, has just one of Sin City’s several topless pools for adult-only swimming. There’s also Bare, the pool at The Mirage on what is now aptly called the Las Vegas Strip.

Also on the Strip, Caesars Palace has the Venus, and in the Beach area at Mandalay Bay is the private Moorea. Additionally, Beach Club 25 is located on the 25th floor of the World Tower at the Stratosphere Hotel.

Sarasota: Elephant movie reminds of circus history PDF Print E-mail

Circus elephant

If you’ll be in the Sarasota, Florida, area, stop in to visit the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Museum. It’s a fascinating look back on the early circus days. A popular new movie, “Water For Elephants”, is bringing more focus on the wonderful era before TV, when people actually took the whole family to see the clowns, tigers, trapese artists and elephants.

If you want to stay awhile, check out the Courtyard Marriott Ringling Museum. It offers a package that includes a room and two "Member For A Day" Ringling Museum passes, for prices ranging from $129 per night.

Four Seasons Hotel grows fresh harvests on the roof PDF Print E-mail

Fruit and vegetables

The downtown luxury hotel in Atlanta GA has an extensive garden on the roof that provides seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs for its Park 75 Restaurant. Hotel guests can enjoy their meals knowing they’re getting the absolutely freshest ingredients.

The garden is pollinated by bees housed right next to the vegetables and fruit growing on the roof. The hives provide honey to the hotel chefs for many desserts and other cooking menus.


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