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Changes coming for Carnival ship heading to Australia

Fed up with cruise lines that automatically add gratuities to your bill? You might want to sign up for industry giant Carnival’s new voyages in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald today reports Carnival plans to do away with automatic tipping on the Carnival Spirit when it heads Down Under in 2012 as it “Aussifies” the ship.

“Tipping is not part of the culture for Australians, and we respect that,” the Morning Herald quotes a Carnival executive as saying.

Carnival director Jennifer Vandekreeke tells the news outlet automatic tipping requirements are the number one cause of complaints Carnival gets from Australians sailing on its vessels.

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The Morning Herald says Carnival also is making other changes to the way it operates the Carnival Spirit as it gears up for its first season of sailings in Australia, including adding a barbecue, more draft beer, more lamb on menus and better coffee.

“American coffee is awful,” Vandekreeke says. “The second-most complaints we get from Australians are about the coffee.”

The 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit will reposition to Sydney, Australia in October, 2012 from its current home on the West Coast of the USA. It’ll sail 8- to 12-night voyages to the Pacific Islands as well as 13-night trips to New Zealand. The line expects a large percentage of customers on the sailings to be Australians.

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