Gratuities, why oh why, oh why??

If I had a pound for every client who has called me today about the increase in the cost of Gratuities announced by P&O yesterday I wouldn’t be writing this, I would have retired to a life of luxury on a tropical island. P&O has really put the cat among the pigeons by not only increasing the cost of Gratuities slightly but they have renamed the system too. Apparently this is now called the ‘Service Reward System’, another thing that has confused guests – what has changed? Nothing basically, just a small increase in the cost. Can they still remove Gratuities from their on board account? Yes.

As a company we like to keep our clients up to date with new developments so we emailed all of the people booked with P&O yesterday to let them know about the changes and the fact that they will be in place from 27th March. This has generated a flurry of calls with the main question being ” Can I remove my Gratuities from my account?”. Clients can still do this by visiting Guest Services when they board the ship and then they will be provided with envelopes on the last night of the cruise so that they can tip who they want to in person.

Now P&O are not unusual in this, most of the cruise lines allow guests to remove Gratuities. My question to you is, can you imagine the queue at Guest Services on embarkation day? What a nightmare! It creates extra work for the staff on the desk and it must be extremely frustrating for the guests themselves.

Isn’t it about time that Gratuities were scrapped? Increase the cost of the cruise to cover them, pay the staff a higher wage, and just let guests tip who they want if they want – I am sure many guests would still be happy to do this as they want to reward the excellent service they receive, and let’s be honest, the staff do work so very hard don’t they. I am all in favour of tipping and like to tip in person, see above our lovely Cabin Steward Junior when my friends and I cruised on Adventure of the Seas a couple of years ago. What a star he was! We pre-paid tips and left him another handsome tip in the cabin.

It is such a bone of contention that I really do think it’s time for the cruise lines to make the change. River cruise lines do not charge Gratuities, it is not expected and is completely up to the guest if they wish to leave a tip. This makes life so much easier for everyone believe you me.

What do you think? Are you in favour of scrapping Gratuities for once and for all? Let me know.


Happy Cruising Folks!