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Royal Caribbean reviewing tips policy after Brits reluctancy to pay

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    Royal Caribbean reviewing tips policy after Brits reluctancy to pay

    According to the Daily Mail, Royal Caribbean International has found that us Brits are far less likely to 'tip' than our american counterparts.

    Robin Shaw, RCI's vice president and UK MD, put our differences down to the 'huge cultural difference' on tipping between us.

    He said: 'We are evaluating our options. Gratuities form part of the remuneration for our crew and when there is a large contingency of UK guests on board, the remuneration is not at the same level. It is a challenge to us.'

    The US company has encountered the problem as it continues to try and attract new cruisers from Europe and other areas as well as catering for its established American audience.

    Different cultures mean that some passengers from countries without an established tipping policy can see on board gratuities as a negative - this is often the problem in the UK.

    Royal Caribbean is one of the few mainstream cruise lines which still offers a 'cash in the envelope' tipping policy on its ships as opposed to automatically adding gratuities to passengers' accounts.

    He spoke as part of a wider discussion on add-ons cruise companies charge on top of the holiday price for items such as speciality restaurant meals and other extras.

    Mr Shaw also explained that is was almost impossible to offer an 'up front price' saying it was a 'commercial reality' that on board revenue was a way for ships to recover their return on investment.

    Royal Caribbean have allocated more of their ships for UK sailings and next month the company will launch the world's largest cruise ship to date - Oasis of the Seas.
    Robinson Cruisoe, Mrs
    Cruises.co.uk Community Manager




    Please note: I am currently on maternity leave. Should you have any admin queries, please send a PM to Nisha at sea . Thanks

    Robinson Cruisoe, Mrs
    Cruises.co.uk Community Manager


    #2
    We have just booked a 7 night cruise on Adventure of the Seas leaving Malaga for the season's first cruise from there on 26th June 2010. The literature from our agent suggests that the gratuities can either be paid up front when booking - or will be charged to our on-board account. I have said that this being our 12th cruise (20th in total) with RCCL, it will not happen. I reserve the right to fully tip any crew member who gives good service (as cabin stewards normally do) but not to main restaurant waiters and maitre-d if we don't dine there. We prefer the freedom to choose exactly when and what we fancy from the Windjammer and Island grill atop the ship's stern. If "forced" to pay for service not received then it may mean the loss of our patronage, and maybe many more who think the same. If RCCL want bookings from other than USA residents then they cannot expect us to adapt our culture to theirs, especially when (according to Gordon Brown) their banks were mainly responsible for the present economic fiasco.

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      #3
      We have just returned from a Med cruise on the Legend of the Seas and as we booked for My Time Dining we were compelled to pay gratuities up front. On top of that it was obvious that waiters and room attendants were looking for additional tips. We did indeed give supplementary tips to those waiters who gave special service and to our room attendant but still we feel all tipping should be left to the discretion of the passengers and entirely based on service. The Cruise company should pay a reasonable basic wage and not look to us to subsidize a minimum wage by a form of stealth tax and then expect us to give additional gratutity on top.
      We also found that the cost of drinks was astronomical and we were not even allowed to take a single bottle of gin on board with the threat that if we did we would be expelled from the cruise. It is not surprising that the bars were almost empty for the whole cruise. If the prices were attractive they would sell more drinks and even if they made only the same amount of profit they would at least have a happier bunch of passengers. The shore excursions were also outrageously priced and we managed to arrange our own excursions doing exactly the same programme at a fraction of the cost.
      It seems to us that the cruise company is pricing its basic initial cruise cost at a level to make it attractive but then loading costs for tips, drinks and tours to claw back whatever discount they are offering on basic price.

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        #4
        I agree Geoff. I don't know whether Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is considered mainstream but they seem to be doing quite well despite having a mainly UK customer base. Tipping is entirely discretionary - you collect envelopes from reception and hand them to whomever you wish (preferably after putting some money in!).

        As a regular FOCL customer I'm always amazed by reports of all the 'extras' that other cruise lines demand. We've never paid for tenders, shuttle buses, tea or coffee, cakes or sandwiches. In fact on our last cruise we ordered breakfast via the cabin TV every night; it arrived on the dot next morning and we weren't charged a penny. In these circumstances tipping becomes a pleasure not a burden.

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          #5
          We like to decide for ourselves who we tip.
          We feel all cruise staff should be paid a fair wage a tip should be for extra service.
          We find ships that operate this system are much happier & staff stay.
          It is rare that we have not had personal service and have been delighted to tip.
          Our last cruise with Costa compulsory tipping meant poor service from senior staff. The Head waiters and their seniors were disinterested in their jobs.
          The cabin staffs were excellent.

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            #6
            On a recent Baltic cruise on Fred's Boudicca there were shuttle bus charges in Stockholm and Tallinn. In Tallinn we ignored the bus and walked, took us just over 10 minutes.
            But in general I agree with your comments, Dave. Thomson have a similar approach and their service is excellent.

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              #7
              Tips

              The cruise company's need to give a price that includes the tips for the British market then we can moan that we pay more than other countries for our cruises saves a lot of people standing in line on the last night to have them removed from their bill.

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                #8
                Staff salaries

                Over the years, we have spoken with many different crew members about salaries. One thing has always been consistent. The have said that the salary plus tips they earned on board was considerably more than the salary they earned at home. $50 in the US is not the same as $50 in the Dominican Republic for example. A can of Coca Cola away from a tourist area in DomRep was 3p. A police officer earned $30 a month. In a bar away from the tourist areas in Mexico a Corona beer was the equivelant of 6p.
                We met a Bulgarian school teacher who was working as a waitress on NCL as she earned the equivelant of 10x her Bulgarian wages and allowed her to support her entire family including parents and grandparents. That's why you don't find European or American waiters, only those whose cost of living at home is at a totally different level than that which we Brits expect. Also remember that the staff can afford to take 2 months unpaid holiday each year.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by spartan, kent View Post
                  The cruise companies need to give a price that includes the tips for the British market
                  Over the next year or so(?)
                  quoted cruise prices will seem 10-15% higher than they were.
                  Then you'll be happy! ;)


                  Don't ask, don't tell
                  -the tips will be built-in, inescapable!
                  Everyone will be happy. Cruise lines and British pax.

                  .
                  Cruise Ships - Profile Ticker

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                    #10
                    I simply don't get the problem.

                    Fine, all you end up doing is paying more for the cruise in the first place ! And the advantage of that is what ? Other than the crew don't get stiffed by some who don't pay.

                    TommyTV in Stockport - you are surely not suggesting that the crew earn to much ?

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Dave, Whitstable View Post
                      I agree Geoff. I don't know whether Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is considered mainstream but they seem to be doing quite well despite having a mainly UK customer base. Tipping is entirely discretionary - you collect envelopes from reception and hand them to whomever you wish (preferably after putting some money in!).

                      As a regular FOCL customer I'm always amazed by reports of all the 'extras' that other cruise lines demand. We've never paid for tenders, shuttle buses, tea or coffee, cakes or sandwiches. In fact on our last cruise we ordered breakfast via the cabin TV every night; it arrived on the dot next morning and we weren't charged a penny. In these circumstances tipping becomes a pleasure not a burden.

                      Grats Paid!!,
                      Wilba

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Mike , Durban - South Africa View Post
                        I simply don't get the problem.

                        Fine, all you end up doing is paying more for the cruise in the first place ! And the advantage of that is what ? Other than the crew don't get stiffed by some who don't pay.

                        TommyTV in Stockport - you are surely not suggesting that the crew earn to much ?
                        The problem with discounting cruises to such an extent that the cruise lines then have to sting you once on board is that it can encourage "people who shouldn't be on ships at all" ...as reported last Christmas in the UK media when a brawl broke out on board P&O's Ventura.

                        I don't want to sound snobbish, as life is full or all sorts of people and that's what makes it colourful ... its just some people really dont have the social skills to cope with the sorts of people who cruise regularily and mixing them can cause problems and alienate the loyal customers .. after all you wouldn't force people from a social club to mix with people at an opera would you? ... they have different life experiences, tastes and definitions of enjoying themselves.

                        Unrealistic discounting also encorages people to live beyond their means; ;lets face it, whilst good value - cruising "is" expensive and when you then have a lot of add-ons onboard forced upon a captive audience, it leaves them with little option (as I'm sure the cruise lines realise) and people then can end up spending more than they can really afford.

                        As a PADI scuba diver, part of the course is to learn about the next PADI course you can spend your money on which led the trainers to joke PADI stands for Put Another Dollar In...which is a phrase I use for these sorts of incidents.

                        I would much prefer an honest price for an honest cruise; you get what you pay for largely and if one cant afford an honestly priced cruise then you can make a decision about whether or not you can afford it...not be tricked into thinking you can afford it.

                        ..I have no issue with building a tip price into the price i.e pre-paid but have an issue when u do this that there is a little line on all bar bills to tip further and the crew expect more (not in all cases I realise)?!!

                        ..in principle I personally dont agree with tipping, my mother is a nurse .. she is expected to be caring and courteous as part of her job...she does not get tipped for doing her job .. and nor should she .. thats called a salary!

                        Just my opinion :-)

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                              #15
                              In the same way that it is now illegal for UK catering establishments to use tips to supplement their employees earnings, cruise lines should pay their employees the rate for the job. Tips can then be for what the Brits reward which is exceptional service not something that you feel pressured into.

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