Gestures of courtesy

We were due to sail on the Olympia Explorer round trip from San Francisco to Hawaii on Jan. 5, ’04. In December, before Christmas, our travel agent phoned to say they did not believe the ship would sail due to bankruptcy of the ship owners, a subsidiary of Royal Olympia Cruises.

On Jan. 8, a representative of Royal Olympia phoned and profusely apologized for ruining our trip. He assured us that the full amount we paid would be put back in our credit account before the end of the month. A week later we had our money.

We were very glad to hear from him. Most companies don’t bother with such a personal matter.

I would like to remind ITN readers that no matter what the cost, NO ONE should cruise without taking out insurance. Insurance is very costly as you get older; we are 95 and 96 and cruise three or four times a year. We pay $681 for insurance for the two of us for each cruise (of any length).

Another matter I would like to comment on is tipping aboard cruise ships, reported on in the January ’04 issue, page 2. We were appalled to read that some tip their bartender (when his tip is already on the bill automatically) but do not tip their room steward who makes the bed and sees that clean towels are there twice a day, not to mention doing other chores. To us, it is inconceivable.

On some ships we have tipped the butler more than the room steward because he was constantly at our “beck and call,” but to not leave anything?! I think those people should stay home.

San Francisco, CA