Hi we went on our first cruise three years ago on the oceana, that was to the carribean. she is a lovely ship and you will enjoy everything about her. as to tipping, when you first get on board and go to reception to register your credit card, just tell the receptionist that you want the automatic tipping removed from your account. and then at the end of your cruise you can decided who and how much you want to tip and give it directly to the staff. this is usually your cabin steward and regular waiters at your dining table. and anyone else you would like to tip who has looked after you during your cruise. enjoy your cruise. we are going on the oceana in four weeks on a med cruie and are really looking forward to it.
With a cruise booked for the freedom dining option, can you still remove the auto tipping, and decide on the occasion whether to tip?
P&O recommends that the rate for tipping should be £3.75pp per day this you can adjust if you so wish.
Yes will pay a service charge on all your pourchases in the bars etc and wines at dinner/lunch times. You will also be given on the last but one night of your cruise three envelopes for the tips for your cabin boy, two waiters at you table, there is a suggested tip rate which you will find in the brochures and usually works out at about £5 per day. We usually tip in either sterling/euros and normally works out at about £150.00 on each cruise. You will not handle cash for any purchases on board they are always charged to your cabin with your cabin card and the service charge is automatically included.
P&O do not make a 15% service charge on drinks as do other cruise lines. As has been quoted the rate suggested is £3.75 per person per day. This is divided between your cabin steward and your waiter. Your waiter shares his tip with the assistant waiter. Of course if you wish you can tip anyone else who you feel has given you exceptional service. It is only if you have opted for Freedom Dining that a tip is put on your account (which you can remove if you wish) and this is because on Freedom Dining you will not have the same waiters each evening.
The following is extract from the P&O website on tipping:
"First of all, please do not worry about it. Who, when and how much you tip is at your discretion. Tips are usually given in cash at the end of your holiday to your stateroom Steward, Restaurant Stewards in the Club Dining restaurants, and to any other staff who you feel you wish to reward. The amount you tip is entirely up to you although, as a guide, we recommend a total amount per person (aged 12 and over) of £3.75 per day, which covers all staff who have looked after you during your holiday. The only exception to this is for passengers travelling on Oceana and Ventura who have opted to enjoy the flexibility of Freedom Dining as, with this style of dining, you may be seated at a different table and served by a different waiter on each occasion. We will therefore add an automatic service charge of £1.60 per passenger, per day to your shipboard account for the Restaurant Stewards. You will, of course, be able to increase or decrease this charge at your discretion by visiting Reception at any point during your cruise. You can also tip any other staff, including your stateroom Steward, as you feel appropriate. Further details of who and when you should tip can be found in your stateroom."
So basically if you have opted for freedom dining they add the automatic charge, unless you request otherwise, or if you are on Club dining then you will tip as normal.
Contrary to what Lewis says, in my experince P&O do not put a service charge on top of the drinks prices, as far as I am aware the service charge is included in the price.
This is fine if you are referring to dining, and cabin staff but there is usually a service charge added to your account for other purchases in the bars etc, which is not inlcuded in the prepaid items.
As I have already said there is no service charge added to any drinks you buy in the restaurants or the bars on P&O ships. I know this is the practice on some lines but it is not the case on P&O.
I have spoken to a friend of mine who has recently been on a cruise on Oriana, and he has confirmed that his final bill showed no service charge for drinks, etc.