Quite a few lines are now doing gratuities in advance and Celebrity are not alone, others include NCL. If you pay in advance then you have covered all the main staff you will be delaing with. That is your stateroom attendant/assistant and your waiter and their assistant. There a few minor payments covering the maitre'd in the restuarant and the housekeeper. All the other staff in the bars; duty free shops; hairdressers etc there is an added 15% when you sign of the payment. In some instances we have had a number of staff we have given extras to at the end of the cruise, but you will be given an envelope to hand to all the above mentioned persons on your last night but if you have prepaid before or during the cruise and you can agree to gratuities being added to your stateroom account the said staff will know. It will not alter their attitude to you as it is their job to look after you and make sure you have an enjoyable cruise.
There is no financial benefit in paying upfront, just a personal choice you make (most don't). No additional tipping is required unless you wish to 'add' a little extra. If you use room service it's traditional give a couple of dollars to the busboy who brings it to your cabin.
There are those on this site who will throw a wobbly and say things like we should not be paying tips and give varying reasons but paying tips is the system used and your question is valid. If you feel that by paying them now it will be one less thing to think about later and the dollar rate at $1-90 to the £1 is a good one and not liable to change more than a few cents between now and May then pay it. If you feel that you would like to see whether you get good service and the justification warrants the suggested amount wait and pay it to the guys and gals concerned at the end of the cruise or have it added to your seapass account. Don't listen to the ones that say "you don't know where the money actually goes" or "I don't pay tips on principle" they are only looking for a reason to be stingy. Go with the system and make up your mind as to which is best, pay now or wait and pay later. There are other tips (15%) which are added to drinks bills etc. and they will be included in your seapass account and many people give the odd dollar for room service but that’s all. I would warn you that this is one of the most emotive cruising subjects so be prepared to read a lot of nonsense from people who won't answer your question. regards .... Neil.
Well said Neil I couldn't agree more and I never can understand these people that make such a fuss about tipping. The most important thing that Keegan of Liverpool should worry about is knowing that he has picked a fabulous cruise and a fabulous cruise company. Try Michael's bar and just hope Perry Grant is on board as if so you are in for an entertainment treat. Also if you wish to push the boat out (excuse the pun) book the Celebrity tour in St Petersburg which takes you to the Hermitage in the evening and then to the Winter Palace for the ballet - it is restricted to about 50 Celebrity guests and quite literally you have the Hermitage to yourselves and they also have a champagne reception - it is something you would never forget. Why bother about tips when you can do such wonderful things, which after all is why you go on holiday in the first place. I despair at all tose people that seem to miss the wood for the trees and only seem interested in how they save money by smuggling booze aboard or not tipping or avoiding organised tours. Instead within your budget just have a great time !!
Although I agree with everything you've said about Celebrity, your comment about 'avoiding organised tours' is not because some of are trying to save money. The thought of being herded like sheep in a 60 seat motor coach is the last thing some of us want on holiday! Private Tours may be lower in cost, but a damn site higher in pleasure value.
I have just returned from baltic cruise and I booked 2-day Comfort tour with Alla http://alla-tour.com/ - cannot praise them highly enough and at $325pp for a full 2-day interary for just 11 people in Mercedes 16 seat van - it was a lot more comforable and enjoyable. You do NOT need a Russian Visa if you book with registered Russian tour agency which she is. I am happy to share port experinces if you want. We had early entry to Hermitage and hydrofoil transfer back from Peterhof palaces and gardens which saved a lot of time. Back to the tipping question - I always prepay as it makes my bill at the end of the cruise look smaller!
Thanks for your comments - we will book the Hermitage and the ballet. We think we have got the message re tipping. Now we know it goes to the right people we are happy.
Do not tip in advance, either have it added to your bill or have the gratuities removed and only tip whoever you feel has given good service.
Totally disagree..... You do NOT tip anybody and everybody who have given 'good service' - the tips should only go towards 4 people -there is NO NEED to tip anyone else. You tip your waiter, asst waiter, head waiter and room steward, Full stop. I always pay the tips in advance purely to get it out of the way for budgeting purposes. You do not suffer any degredation of service just because you have prepaid, and the staff DO know who have prepaid and those who have not...the level and quality of service is just the same.
You only tip these 4 people because they do not receive a salary and rely on tips for their income. Everyone else on the ship receives a salary and therefore does not need a tip. If you add the tips to your on board account the ammount still only gets split between the named 4.