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Tipping on Cruise Ships - general overview

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    Tipping on Cruise Ships - general overview

    Tipping on Cruise Ships
    Tipping practices vary greatly amongst the cruise lines today, ranging from a required added service charge to no tipping at all. It is very important that you know the policy of the cruise line before you cruise so you can budget accordingly. When planning your cruise, check with your travel agent or the cruise line about the tipping policy. Often the recommended tips, which run from about $10 to $15 per passenger per day, are published in the cruise brochure or on the cruise line Web page. The cruise director will also remind passengers (sometimes over and over) about how much and who the cruise line recommends you tip.

    Most tips on cruise ships are really service charges, which is one of the reasons why cruise lines seem to be moving towards adding a flat fee to your onboard account rather than make the tip amount entirely optional. New cruisers need to realize that most cruise lines do not pay their service staff a living wage, and tips or service charges make up much of their compensation. In order to keep the advertised price down, passengers are expected to subsidize the service staff through these added service charges or tips.
    All tips used to be given to the stewards and dining room staff on the last night of the cruise. Envelopes were passed out to the passengers and you presented the cash tip to the steward in the cabin and handed it to the wait staff at dinner. Some cruise ships still follow this policy, but others add a flat fee per day to your onboard account which may or may not be adjusted downwards, depending on the cruise line. If the fee is required and cannot be adjusted downward, it is a true service charge, and is no different than a port charge. Most cruise lines add the recommended service charge to your account, and you can adjust it if you think necessary. Personally, one of the things I love about cruising is the excellent service and wonderful attitude of the crew. I've never understood people who did not think the crew deserved at least the recommended service/tipping charge.
    The last few years, cruise lines have moved away from traditional tipping for two reasons. First, as cruising as become more international, cruise lines recognized that many passengers from western Europe and the Far East were not accustomed to tipping. It was easier to just add a service charge to the bill (as is done in most hotels in Europe) than to educate the passengers. Second, many large cruise ships have added multiple alternative dining rooms and have moved away from fixed seating times and tables. Passengers have different wait staff each evening, which makes tipping more problematic. Adding a service charge to be split amongst all the wait staff is easier for all, although the top cabin stewards and dining staff probably make less than they used to since the service charge is split into more pieces.
    Many cruisers wish that all cruise lines would adopt the "no tipping expected" polices of upscale lines such as Cruise West, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, and Silversea. However, it looks like the service charge concept is here to stay. Below are links or information on the tipping policies at some of the major cruise lines.




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    #2
    Julialoves2cruise has gone to the trouble of writing this excellent piece - and no one has commented yet.

    Perhaps there are just too many threads on the topic and anyway they inevitably result in verbal punch-ups!

    I think the problem is that there are several strands to the issue of tipping which usually get impossibly tangled. In fact although I've read dozens of comments on the subject I find I've got more questions than answers.

    For example: Why do people tip at all?

    Is it because some cruise lines admit to paying their staff so little that customers feel obliged to make up their wages? Do people go along with this situation when they make other purchases?

    Is it because they like to reward 'exceptional / excellent' service? If so, what does this mean? How does such service differ from the service required by the job description?

    Or is it because tipping is part of the etiquette of cruising?

    Whatever a person's reason for tipping (and it may be more than one), it would be so nice if they were to state simply: "This is what I do, and this is why I do it," rather than presume to tell others how they ought to spend their money. ;)

    Regards

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      #3

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        #4
        My main issue with tipping is that each lines has a different policy, and sometimes even within a single line the policy varies. This means that as the consumer you have to engage with a good TA who either will know the 'current' policy, or go and find out for you, allowing you to at least gauge more accurately the likely overall cost of the package. I am also somewhat confused as to why the policy varies depending on the departure port and the itinery. Why some VAT charges, who decides what %age, is this listed in the brochure?. Some its 15% on drinks, some its 15% on all on board purchases and on others no 15%. I am developing the opinion that this is a deliberate attempt by the cruise lines to make the situation as confusing as possible and hence when trying to compare prices between different lines you invariably have to second guess some elements of cost, such as drinks prices, trips etc. Finally, whilst past experience can be drawn on to help you with the cost fo drinks etc, it does not stop the line putting the prices up just before you get on board!!

        ps Great original piece Julia
        Last edited by VinnyTurner, Dukinfield; 11th December 2009, 02:21 PM.
        sigpic

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          #5
          I have no problem with fixed/compulsory tips or whatever they are currently called, I allow this in my cruise bugget for that cruise.

          Where I do have a problem is the newish 15% to 17% added to drink prices.

          On a recent cruise I spashed out on a bottle of Champagne for our Anniverary, the service charge for collecting and removing the cork was E15, yet the day before for an average bottle of wine I paid just E3.30 for the same service.

          If the fixed gratuities are allegedly for the whole crew to share, why this extra charge?
          Cruising is like;

          Being in The Garden of Eating

          Comment


            #6
            Champagne Cruisers

            Originally posted by tenpin, Basingstoke View Post
            I have no problem with fixed/compulsory tips or whatever they are currently called, I allow this in my cruise bugget for that cruise.

            Where I do have a problem is the newish 15% to 17% added to drink prices.

            On a recent cruise I spashed out on a bottle of Champagne for our Anniverary, the service charge for collecting and removing the cork was E15, yet the day before for an average bottle of wine I paid just E3.30 for the same service.

            If the fixed gratuities are allegedly for the whole crew to share, why this extra charge?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by tenpin, Basingstoke View Post
              I have no problem with fixed/compulsory tips or whatever they are currently called, I allow this in my cruise bugget for that cruise.

              Where I do have a problem is the newish 15% to 17% added to drink prices.

              On a recent cruise I spashed out on a bottle of Champagne for our Anniverary, the service charge for collecting and removing the cork was E15, yet the day before for an average bottle of wine I paid just E3.30 for the same service.

              If the fixed gratuities are allegedly for the whole crew to share, why this extra charge?
              Very good point.


              Again, good point.

              Comment


                #8
                Yes it was a nice bottle at E101, the wine inside was rubbish,

                never mind I decided the wife could pay for it and I deducted it out of housekeeping.

                Back to plonk next year for our 25th.
                Cruising is like;

                Being in The Garden of Eating

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by tenpin, Basingstoke View Post
                  Yes it was a nice bottle at E101, the wine inside was rubbish,...
                  E101? Riboflavin? Neat?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Dave, Whitstable View Post
                    Julialoves2cruise has gone to the trouble of writing this excellent piece - and no one has commented yet.

                    Perhaps there are just too many threads on the topic and anyway they inevitably result in verbal punch-ups!

                    I think the problem is that there are several strands to the issue of tipping which usually get impossibly tangled. In fact although I've read dozens of comments on the subject I find I've got more questions than answers.

                    For example: Why do people tip at all?

                    Is it because some cruise lines admit to paying their staff so little that customers feel obliged to make up their wages? Do people go along with this situation when they make other purchases?

                    Is it because they like to reward 'exceptional / excellent' service? If so, what does this mean? How does such service differ from the service required by the job description?

                    Or is it because tipping is part of the etiquette of cruising?

                    Whatever a person's reason for tipping (and it may be more than one), it would be so nice if they were to state simply: "This is what I do, and this is why I do it," rather than presume to tell others how they ought to spend their money. ;)

                    Regards
                    i agree with your comments regarding tipping when the amount you are charged is extra and is mandatory then it is nothing more than a hidden extra
                    so why not include it in price of the cruise! that would then take away all the confusion
                    but then again would make the cruise seem to expensive

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Looking at the prices for Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silverseas they are really luxury class with costs to boot so I doubt many of their clients would notice, but if you take P & O; Princess; Royal Caribbean; Norwegian Cruises and Celebrity their prices are much lower even if you add in the gratuities !!
                      Bill Byth
                      sigpic
                      Website

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Jo.

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                          #13
                          I disliked the 15% on Costa just because the bar staff were so downright unpleasant and rude (In Italian or English it didn't matter). Would love the option of being able to cross it out and initial the change everytime I got duff service just to prove a point!
                          We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.sigpic

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Shelledpea, Stalybridge, nr Manchester View Post
                            I disliked the 15% on Costa just because the bar staff were so downright unpleasant and rude (In Italian or English it didn't matter). Would love the option of being able to cross it out and initial the change everytime I got duff service just to prove a point!
                            The service since these manatory fixed charges have been in place has dramatically dropped in some bars. yet HO does not accept this fact.

                            On Princess in June I did mamage to remove $1.58 (at Reception) for bad service in one bar, first I waited at the bar for service while two servers chatted, then was given two bottles, no glasses, then after asking twice for a receipt, had to wait again while he served three other guests.

                            But quite honestly, it was not worth the effort, after spending twenty five minutes argueing with Purser.
                            Cruising is like;

                            Being in The Garden of Eating

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by tenpin, Basingstoke View Post

                              But quite honestly, it was not worth the effort, after spending twenty five minutes argueing with Purser.
                              I understand, but if we all did it every time do you think they would sit up and take note?
                              We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.sigpic

                              Comment


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