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I have raised the issue of being charged a daily rate for gratuities with Celebrity (UK) and they say it cannot be changed prior to your cruise. You apparently can ask when on the ship for the charge to be reduced if you feel the service is not as expected. I have contacted Simon Calder (the independant travel writer) who has today (8 March 2009) highlighted this on the BBC breakfast news show. He is also raising it on BBC radio 4 'You and Yours' show at 12 - 1pm tommorrow. I for one will be asking for it to be removed so that I can decide what gratuities to pay. If this is a service charge being made then Celebrity should be including it in their advertised prices so that people know exactly what the cost of their holiday will be. The holiday my wife and I have booked would cost us about £550 extra if we have to pay the expected gratuities.
I am of the same opinion, and I will also ask that it be removed. I have emailed Celebrity twice about this issue and they have not even had the courtesy to reply.
You will open up a nest of vipers with this, but it did incite me to look at an 'American Site' as to Celebs new policy & it does appear to be causing controversy, even amongst the biggest tipping nation in the world. The biggest gripe appears to to be the 'additional staff' portion, plus the fact that amounts can only be adjusted upwards & not down for poor service....By all accounts you will have a fight on your hands......Wilba.
Where does it say that it can only be adjusted upwards? Surely they cannot insist on compulsory tipping, if so, basically you are giving gratuities for a service you haven't yet received which surely cannot be right!
I neither make the rules, condone them or necessarily agree with them, but if you look on the biggest cruise site that discusses these matters, you will see the references that I have merely passed on. Don't think for one minute they 'cannot insist on compulsory tipping', Costa already have this in place & are firm about non reversal of this rule. I believe it's only a question of time before more lines follow suit.......Wilba.
And they can't implement this soon enough. If the Brits have a problem with this then there are other forms of holiday's they can take. Like Anonymous from Wales says, freedom of choice. These rules are in place for a reason. The Americans by and large have absolutely no problems with them, so to me this speaks volumes about the British mindset, and it ain't good....
This can not be right and if it is then it is unacceptable and I may have to consider cancelling my booking. I would never deal with any business who would attempt to take away my freedom of choice. In addition, I would make a point of telling anyone who will listen about such extortion.
These cruise lines have no right to demand or expect that their customers subsidise the wages they pay their staff. A gratuity is NEVER a "given" and don't get me started about the fact that I don't get tips for my work and I work at the very least as hard as anyone else! Even in my younger days working at McDonalds, we were not allowed to accept tips! No, I'm sorry, tipping is still a choice ... MY choice and no one is going to take that away from me!
I must admit we pay in advance as we have never had bad service on any cruise ship, if there has been a problem I have spoken to the appropriate person and it was sorted. The para does say can be adjusted to your requirements[my words], but if you don't want the $1.25 for additional staff you can zero it out. So speak with Guest Severices, but do it politely then if they don't play ball then press it with the Purser's office. Looking at my cruises with Celeb coming up we have paid £180 or around $250 for the two of us on a 14 night cruise in suite and given my maths which have never been good it looks a good deal.
We experienced this tipping policy on the Solstice last week and to be honest it didn't worry me that much especially as on this ship there are so many staff who serve you in one way or other it only seems right to share the tips round a little more. The only thing I would say is that I didn't like the fact that because they are taken automatically off your sea pass account there is not obligation on the staff to actually thank you at the end of the cruise. In other words it is taken for granted unless you particularly ask your state room attendant if they received their gratuities, in which case they then thank you. Its a bit inpersonal.