Q. We are planning a river cruise in Europe. How is tipping handled?
A. The cruise lines usually provide this information on their websites, but in general, tips are not included in the cruise price. In Europe, you may tip in euros, or you may charge tips to your credit card at the end of your trip (except in Portugal). If you elect to use your credit card for tips, they are then distributed among the staff. Tour escorts or program directors that travel with you do not share in the onboard staff gratuities, nor do local city guides and coach drivers. It is customary to tip them separately, in cash. The general guidelines are: program director – €2 per guest, per day; onboard staff – €12 each, per guest, per day; local city guides – €2 per guest, per day; and coach drivers – €1 per guest, per day. There are different guidelines for other parts of the world, including Russia/Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia, and Egypt. Check the cruise line website for these recommendations.
Q. I know I’m very late to the game, but I just joined Facebook. I’ve already been reprimanded by my (adult) children for some things I’ve posted. Can you help me with what not to do? I’m clueless.
A. Sure. Don’t comment on every single picture your kids post. You can pretend not to be stalking them by not commenting all the time. Don’t send friend requests to your children’s friends. If they friend-request you, fine, but not fine for you to be creepy about too much online involvement in your kids’ lives. Don’t post embarrassing photos, or really, any photos of your kids, without their permission. Don’t reveal their news. It’s not yours to share, no matter how great you think it is, or how worried you are about their impending surgery, or job loss, or anything else about their lives. Don’t comment on your children’s friends posts, ever. In other words, this is not the forum for you to parent or force yourself into their lives in a definitely public way and place.
Q. My husband and his brother recently had an argument and aren’t speaking to one another. His brother’s wife, my sister-in-law, and I are good friends and have talked and emailed often, but since the argument, she’s been silent. How do I reconnect with her without putting us in the middle of their fight?
A. It’s possible that you don’t. If she has taken sides and feels she has to be loyal to her husband, there’s not much you can do. If your husband has no problem with your communicating with your sister-in-law, then you can try, suggesting to her that you keep in touch outside of their relationship, but understand that she might not respond. If he prefers that you not do this, as hard as it is or as silly as it seems, you need to let them work out their issues and not put your sister-in-law in an uncomfortable position.