Gratuities - Discretionary NOT obligatory
Hello I am thoroughly confused about the use of "tip" or "gratuity" by the majority of cruise lines. The actual meaning of the word "gratuity" is a DISCRETIONARY payment, for services provided over & above the requirements of the job. However, for several years there has been an expectancy even requirement to pay a specific sum or percentage to crew members. The advised sum is automatically charged to passengers on-board accounts, although more seasoned passengers have discovered they may request this to be deducted at the end of the cruise, enabling them to decide how much & to whom they wish to give a tip. This year the fashion or sales ploy appears to be to advertise "tips are included" or "free gratuities" often stating the "worth" being a saving! Passengers however are unable to deduct the advised sum so it in no longer discretionary but obligatory! The price paid for a cruise includes overnight accommodation, meals in the restaurant, the use of a bar [sometimes with "free" drinks] plus on-board entertainment, all provided by crew members as part of their duties. No one ever paid me extra for doing my job well, so why do cruise lines expect us to subsidize their wage bill & thereby their crew expecting us to pay more. Surely it is high time that cruise lines pay their crew a just wage & the words "tip" & "gratuity" be dropped from brochures & all advertising on ALL cruises. The cruise price should be made transparent to customers before they pay for their holiday, knowing they will not be expected to pay unwarranted additional costs. There would be a lot less disgruntled passengers travelling & a lot more happy ones. I would appreciate your views & comments to create a conversation & perhaps ultimate agreement with all the cruise lines to re-think this policy.
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