When you check-in ask then if not then, then go to the Purser's office and they will delete the charge by giving you a cabin credit if you have paid this at the time of booking then you can deal with the tips as you wish by cash on the last night.
You're going to have a very busy last night running round to find all the waiters that served you through the cruise! Your suggestion only really works on the traditional dining lines - when I always remove the charge from my account and pay by cash. I wouldn't do it on NCL though - they're very clear that it's a service charge and it's contractual (not a recommendation as on other lines).
I don't agree with the issue raised by Mr Taylor he posed a question and the answer given. I agree with the up front approach I have not yet found on the cruises we have been on that we have had any problems with any service. However on the last night you are only dealing with your cabin staff; waiter/assistant in the main diningroom where you ate and the Mairtre'd and they are all easy to find. The other waiters in the bars; pool areas etc all see their tip with the 15% service charge added to the cost of your drinks/purchases. I agree tipping is part of the trend set by our American passengers, but I would rather see the staff paid a fair wage but then the cost of cruisng would rise beyond many peoples pockets particularly with the current credit squeeze. The reason many lines have introduced autobilling on tips is so many passengers and the British are regarded by many as the worst for not tipping, but others may disgree.
I totally agree with the bit about fair wages, but sadly that's not going to happen any time soon.
As I say, on other lines your suggested approach is fine. But on NCL you are very unlikely to have the same waiter every night.
I agree, but the Chair of NCL did say I think in 2007 that he felt they should be waged but the other cruise lines were not prepared to support the idea. Their Freestyle approach makes that statement difficult to believe given as you say you rarely see the same waiter so autobilling for tips would seem much unfairer on the staff than you dealing direct with them at the end of your cruise.
If i have prepaid these fees up front then how do any of the staff know that i have ....as i dont wanting to be paying twice.
They will be advised you have opted for this, so they know come the last night their envelope will just be a formal card saying unless you add a bit to the card and perhaps if service was exceptional you might want to add a bit extra cash, they can't afford not to offer good service as their work is evaluated and if not up to scratch they will not see their contract renewed.
Hi! If I can pick up on your last couple of lines of comment! I fail to see the commonly quoted argument of paying the staff a fair wage would put the cost of cruising out of reach of the masses. The cruise companies want $10 a day off us to pay the staffs wages. Put that into the ticket price & it's hardly noticeable on the cruise cost. Don't mention service charges, tipping or any other charges, & everyone of their staff would be better off because no one is bucking the system, a more importantly no one is telling 'us' how & whom to give 'our' money to. If anyone can give me a good reason why A: It would not work & B: Why it should increase the cost of cruising by more than £40 a week max.
The current earnings they get from the cruise company is around $3,000 per year plus their tips and the reason autobilling is coming in is because many don't tip. If they were to be paid a fair wage then the $3,000 figure would have to to up to $20,000 and that is only £11,000 per year, put these equations into the costs and not difficult to see how they would soar. The fact they will work for $3,000 plus tips is a reflection on them and the fact many of their costs are met by the cruise line like food and laundry to name two and the fact they don't get much in the way of time off to spend any monies they get. One advert I came across suggested earning including tips would be hoped to be in the region of $24,000, but I doubt that would be an average but it does highlight the idea that the costs could be high but again all statistics !!
Sorry to go on about this but I really feel you, along with others are missing the picture here. The cruise lines want $10 a day off us to pay the staff wages. If a cabin stew gets the recommended $3.50 a day x 2 person per cabin = $7 a day x 7 days a week = $49 x 16 cabins he cleans a day = $784 x 40 working weeks a year = $31360 + $3000 basic pay = $34,360 per annum. This is lottery money in their homelands, it’s the stuff dreams are made of & this has been achieved by simply adding in $10 a day into the cruise ticket price. How can this possibly make the ticket price soar. If I’m missing something here please advise me accordingly.