Mr /Mrs /Ms Ryder-Bibby
Why don't you contact the cruise line themselves and ask what the procedure is on the ship. Mind to tell them you are asking for the procedure for gratuities for cabin and dining room crew that haven't been pre paid,
You can then ask them the definitive version on whether you have to opt out of the payment or opt in.
I can only tell you what happened in May and October last year on the Navigator of the Seas.
Try 0800 018 2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
One other point. Whatever RCI tell you, read the on board form you will get very carefully, to make sure the information given is correct. The form of wording can be, at first sight deceptive
This subject has been covered hundreds of tmes before. The simple truth is that the cruise lines pay a very low wage to your waiter, headwaiter, asst waiter and room steward. Their salary is $50 per month. Quite simply they rely on your tips so that they can make a decent wage, and they send this money back home to their familes back in Philippines or Indonesia so that they can survive too. Bottom line = you don't tip, they don't eat.
So there is no paying of tips 'willy nilly' - you only pay these 4 people a measley £5 pp pd total and everyone is happy. There is no need to tip any one else.
Hi RCI have an automatic opt in policy which the tips are added to your sea pass account you can chose to opt out by going to the pursers desk as soon a you can they will then give you envelopes if you wish to pay that way?We asked the staff and they do get all the tips payed to them and you can give more if you wish?
And to correct Mr Buckley - there are 3 ways to tip on RCI. [a] you prepay the tips when you pay for your cruise fare [b] you pay the tips in cash by putting the cash in the envelopes provided that are addressed to the 4 specific recipients or [c] you request that the tips are added to your on board account. The tips are NOT automatically added - you get a form in your room asking how you want to pay the tips - and you have to sign and return the form in order for the tips to be added to the onboard account.
The OP should also be aware that there is however an automatic 15% gratuity added to any drink or bottle of wine you buy. This is not removable and this is the tip for the bar-staff - again, there is no need to tip extra - athough they do cheekily leave a space for you to do so!
Mr Buckley is correct. The on ship form is one of opting out of the automatic deduction of tips. That is what happened last October and I have just checked the form.
If you don't complete the form for all travellers the recommended gratuities will be automatically deducted from the Sea Pass.
Most people miss the point on tips they are there in effect holding staff to ramson as anyone can opt out and if service is poor some people do. This is how we get such excellent service in 99% of cases (or at least on RCI you do). As for the 15% gratutiy for bar staff they have the same poor pay and provide a high level of service so you stay in their bar (on RCI ships with the exception of deck bar service they rotate each week so they all get a fair crack at the most popular bars). It all works great I think and in most cases we add extra to the recommended tips and DO occassionally add $1 tip to the bar receipts when we are well looked after by certain bar staff.
John of Ryde - on the form I have in front of me it clearly states that I have to complete the names of the people so that the grats are added to the account. Different rules for different ships perhaps.