How to Get VIP Treatment on Your Next Cruise

Holland America garners a feeling of refined elegance. The timeless ambiance is reminiscent of the bygone days of steamship travel, from the uniforms of our cabin steward to the knowledge about wine pairings provided by our personal table side wine steward.

Compared to today’s mega cruise ships the ms Rotterdam is considered midsize, although there are 1260 passengers aboard.  This reflects the personalized service, the many awards the line displays in the gallery as well as the spaciousness of the staterooms.

Throughout the ship you enjoy museum quality artwork that depicts a bygone era. It’s almost like viewing a curator’s private collection.

Upon embarkation, because of some of the tips below we were immediately upgraded to a Veranda Suite on Deck 9 mid-ship. I’ve sailed a number of times on other cruise lines, but I must say I am impressed with the spaciousness of the accommodations. The complimentary services such as a fully stocked bar, free room service and our cabin steward’s exclusive attention will forever spoil us for any other stateroom class.

Here are a few tips before and during embarking on your cruise:

  • Request your travel agent ask the cruise line to put you on the VIP list as travel bloggers.  Come up with reasons to celebrate (retirement, degrees, business success, or book publishing success)
  • Tip stewards $30.00 on day one.  Tip your waiter $10-20 the second evening.
    Request upgrade. Request to speak with head of guest services.  Stroke them and request upgrade as an afterthought once you get the scoop on the ship’s manifest…i.e. suites available.
  • Join the loyalty program for each cruise line and get a list of entitlements. Check with reception upon boarding to ensure the proper shipboard credits have been applied to our accounts
  • Make a friend with someone in Guest Services. Get to know as many officers by name as possible for invitations to exclusive events. Make friends with the entertainment crew for complimentary drinks and discounts.  The key phrase is “complimentary”.
  • The casino staff is the most knowledgeable about port activities. Use taxi drivers as your official tour guides. Just take along the brochure when in port. Ask the driver how much for a private tour.
  • Sign up for a computer class and surf the internet instead.
  • Visit the flower kiosk.  Buy some flowers over the couple of days, then request day old flowers or get them at a reduced cost.  Adding a 10-20 dollar tip helps.
  • Learn how to play blackjack and poker…to take advantage of inexperienced guests.



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