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  1. #21

    Gratuities

    To clarify gratuities are entirely at the discretion of the guest. From December 2010, the recommended amount - 4 per adult guest, per day, to be divided equally between the Cabin Stewardesses and Restaurant Waiters (on Full World or Around South America cruises, the amount reduces to 3 per adult guest, per day) - will be added automatically to guests onboard accounts towards the end of the cruise, but can be varied, or cancelled, at Reception, at any point in the cruise, should guests wish to do so. Any guest is at liberty to tip members of staff personally, if they wish to do so, and envelopes for this purpose will be available at Reception.
    Regards Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Head Office, Ipswich


  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    23
    Quote QUOTE: View Post


    Until now, Fred. Olsen have always been known for (and a lot would say admired for) not charging automatic gratuities, but it looks like they've had a change of heart...

    "At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, we are proud of the overwhelmingly positive feedback that our staff on board receive for the quality of the service they provide. Traditionally our passengers like to show their appreciation by means of a tip at the end of the cruise. We are aware, however, that some guests find this process a little embarrassing. Therefore, in response to feedback from past passengers, from Dec 2010 a gratuity charge will be added to guests on board accounts. This will be a set 4* per adult, per day and will be shared between the respective Cabin Stewardess and Restaurant Waiter (and through them to other members of the team)."

    *this amount can be varied upon request via Reception on board.

    Do you cruise with Fred. Olsen? What do you think of automatic gratuities - is this good news, or bad? Will you miss the envelopes?
    I was somewhat dismayed to receive the letter from Fred Olsen recently outlining the gratuities system.

    Am I the only person who believes that tips are given for very good service and not as a matter of habit despite the service?
    I am only too happy to tip when in a restaurant if the waitress has been genuine in her/his attitude to serving our table. If the service is rushed or without any interaction then it does not deserve tipping. The same applies to hotel maid service or cabin service.
    This goes for ashore and onboard. One thing I find rather annoying on board some ships is the 'fawning' behaviour from some staff who believe this will ensure the tip at the end of the voyage. It has the opposite effect on me. Being attentive and polite is totally different.

    I feel that Cruise Lines should pay their staff a good enough wage for them not to expect automatic tipping. ( Last time I looked we were not living in the US). I was told by a crew member who was a friend that the tips are what makes the wages viable as most send their money back home to their families.
    This is appalling as it makes the passengers responsible for 'topping up' the wages.

    I would prefer the price of future cruises to include the tips. Then no one has to be concerned, the decision is if they wish to take the cruise at the advertised cost.

    On the topic of FO charging 2% for settling the onboard account - where does it all end? If you use a credit card for the cost of the cruise it is the same. They have also recently taken away some of the discounts to Blue and Silver Oceans Members.
    Unluckily I booked our 35 night cruise in January 6 months ago. Since then these alterations have come into play - I can no longer get 5% off pre-booked excursions or on board spending.
    The cruise itself was quite expensive, but the incentive of those reductions were taken into account - alas no more!!


  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    4
    This has been discussed quite extensively on the 'Cruise Critic' Forum:

    Included gratuities - Cruise Critic Message Boards

    Now it has emerged that Fred Olsen has had a change of mind and according to the FO website, (yesterday) is reverting to an OPT OUT/ OPT IN policy.

    http://www.fredolsencruises.com/Abou...Cruise-Guide/G

    Those who want to tip the cabin stewardess and waiters personally, can do so. Those who want gratuities added to their onboard account can opt to do that instead.

    So it's back to your choice how to you tip and how much.

    Problem solved!

    Last edited by sky_lark, Midlands; 26th November 2010 at 10:20 AM.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,367
    I think it's important to provide feedback on changes of policy so I sent this to Fred Olsen's customer relations department and marketing director:

    I note with interest that an official statement has been made regarding FOCL's gratuities policy on the Cruise.co.uk forum (on which I'm an active member and known for my strong support for Fred).

    I also note that, in theory, nothing has really changed regarding your tipping policy. It's simply that the onus is now on customers to remove tips (should they so desire) rather than to give them. I'm sure the overall amount collected will increase - as was, of course, the intention - and that staff will benefit accordingly.

    I would, however, have preferred an alternative approach. I believe the time has come to raise your prices, to pay staff an appropriate wage, and to get rid of gratuities as a means of topping-up wages. I feel that however the new policy is presented, it will appear to many as a surcharge that wasn't mentioned in the headline price of a cruise.

    The change in policy will not prevent us booking with FOCL in future, but it does take you down a notch in my estimation - which is a shame.



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    4
    Well said, Dave-Whitstable.
    It would be interesting to know what FO's reply is.


  6. #26
    ShipShape, Coventry Guest
    Quote QUOTE: View Post
    I was somewhat dismayed to receive the letter from Fred Olsen recently outlining the gratuities system.

    Am I the only person who believes that tips are given for very good service and not as a matter of habit despite the service?
    I am only too happy to tip when in a restaurant if the waitress has been genuine in her/his attitude to serving our table. If the service is rushed or without any interaction then it does not deserve tipping. The same applies to hotel maid service or cabin service.
    This goes for ashore and onboard. One thing I find rather annoying on board some ships is the 'fawning' behaviour from some staff who believe this will ensure the tip at the end of the voyage. It has the opposite effect on me. Being attentive and polite is totally different.

    I feel that Cruise Lines should pay their staff a good enough wage for them not to expect automatic tipping. ( Last time I looked we were not living in the US). I was told by a crew member who was a friend that the tips are what makes the wages viable as most send their money back home to their families.
    This is appalling as it makes the passengers responsible for 'topping up' the wages.

    I would prefer the price of future cruises to include the tips. Then no one has to be concerned, the decision is if they wish to take the cruise at the advertised cost.

    On the topic of FO charging 2% for settling the onboard account - where does it all end? If you use a credit card for the cost of the cruise it is the same. They have also recently taken away some of the discounts to Blue and Silver Oceans Members.
    Unluckily I booked our 35 night cruise in January 6 months ago. Since then these alterations have come into play - I can no longer get 5% off pre-booked excursions or on board spending.
    The cruise itself was quite expensive, but the incentive of those reductions were taken into account - alas no more!!

    Is your logic not a little adrift here?

    You say you will only tip when service warrants it, and you go on to explain that for you the bar is set quite high. Fair enough.

    In the next paragraph you say that tips should be included in the base price, so that ''people don't have to feel concerned''.

    Obviously, you can't know that the level of service will meet your requirements before you board, so which is it? Tips for good service or tips for all whatever the service?


  7. #27
    ShipShape, Coventry Guest
    Quote QUOTE: View Post
    I think it's important to provide feedback on changes of policy so I sent this to Fred Olsen's customer relations department and marketing director:

    I note with interest that an official statement has been made regarding FOCL's gratuities policy on the Cruise.co.uk forum (on which I'm an active member and known for my strong support for Fred).

    I also note that, in theory, nothing has really changed regarding your tipping policy. It's simply that the onus is now on customers to remove tips (should they so desire) rather than to give them. I'm sure the overall amount collected will increase - as was, of course, the intention - and that staff will benefit accordingly.

    I would, however, have preferred an alternative approach. I believe the time has come to raise your prices, to pay staff an appropriate wage, and to get rid of gratuities as a means of topping-up wages. I feel that however the new policy is presented, it will appear to many as a surcharge that wasn't mentioned in the headline price of a cruise.

    The change in policy will not prevent us booking with FOCL in future, but it does take you down a notch in my estimation - which is a shame.

    I quite agree that the time has come to pay fair wages and to end the charade of tipping, I just don't agree the cruise lines should get the 'free' option of us paying for it.

    Holidays are probably one of the very few areas where the market does know best, since at no level is it a requirement for anyone; it's an out-and-out luxury. That said, the market has determined a price level for cruising that the cruise lines are content to offer and we are content to purchase. This level is established with the cruise lines knowing full well their costs.

    In what other area would we encourage a supplier to charge us more so that they can properly discharge their obligations to their staff? It really is a PR masterstroke by them to get the consumer sympathising with the suppliers' costs.

    Luckily, as I say, this is an area where market forces really do work as intended. If one of the operators raised their prices substantially in order to raise wages, they would very quickly lose business to those that hadn't. It's simple economics and nothing to do with being fair.

    Last edited by ShipShape, Coventry; 26th November 2010 at 02:08 PM.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,367
    Quote QUOTE: View Post
    I quite agree that the time has come to pay fair wages and to end the charade of tipping, I just don't agree the cruise lines should get the 'free' option of us paying for it.

    Holidays are probably one of the very few areas where the market does know best, since at no level is it a requirement for anyone; it's an out-and-out luxury. That said, the market has determined a price level for cruising that the cruise lines are content to offer and we are content to purchase. This level is established with the cruise lines knowing full well their costs.

    In what other area would we encourage a supplier to charge us more so that they can properly discharge their obligations to their staff? It really is a PR masterstroke by them to get the consumer sympathising with the suppliers' costs.

    Luckily, as I say, this is an area where market forces really do work as intended. If one of the operators raised there prices substantially in order to raise wages, they would very quickly lose business to those that hadn't. It's simple economics and nothing to do with being fair.
    Hi ShipShape

    I agree with most of what you say - and especially with your third paragraph. It's only the last bit that I'd question...

    What does a 14 night Caribbean cruise in January cost? There's no answer, because the price will depend on a great many factors. All I can say is that I'd look very favourably on any cruise line which makes it clear that gratuities are neither required nor sought. Not only would I make allowance for that when working out the cost of the holiday, but I'd be relieved not to have to go through the tipping palaver or seeing automatic charges added to my account in a rather sordid attempt to get more money from me!

    Regards


  9. #29
    ShipShape, Coventry Guest
    Quote QUOTE: View Post
    Hi ShipShape

    I agree with most of what you say - and especially with your third paragraph. It's only the last bit that I'd question...

    What does a 14 night Caribbean cruise in January cost? There's no answer, because the price will depend on a great many factors. All I can say is that I'd look very favourably on any cruise line which makes it clear that gratuities are neither required nor sought. Not only would I make allowance for that when working out the cost of the holiday, but I'd be relieved not to have to go through the tipping palaver or seeing automatic charges added to my account in a rather sordid attempt to get more money from me!

    Regards

    Hello Dave

    I think from reading other threads we're probably on the same page as far as tipping is concerned, but it's a pleasure to discuss all the same.

    I think the problem comes when we conflate two quite distinct issues; tips and crews' wages. They're only connected issues because the cruise lines tell us so (and make us feel that such is the case).

    We really do have to be a bit hard-nosed about all this, and I'm afraid it's not concern for the crew that drives this debate, but the age-old fear that someone else is getting a benefit denied to me. If I tip but you don't that's unfair. After all, if helping poor communities is our aim, then there are much better ways of doing it than tipping those very few who have already found (at least partially) a route out of the poverty.

    I can't think of another term that has become so disconnected from it's root as ''tips/gratuities'', to the point where we've seen such a grotesque concept as ''auto-grats'' emerge!

    oh well, it's nearly the weekend.
    SS


  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12,967
    Images
    6
    Quote QUOTE: View Post
    ...I can't think of another term that has become so disconnected from it's root as ''tips/gratuities'', to the point where we've seen such a grotesque concept as ''auto-grats'' emerge!

    oh well, it's nearly the weekend.
    SS
    Maybe if it read 'auto service charge' folk wouldn't get in such a tizzy about it.

    An observation, not an opinion.


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