Tipping for your cruise

John Campbell
4th May 2010, 10:44
I know that this subject has been brought up before but it is now looking that this distasteful habit should be abolished from being a part of th cruising packet.

Some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean are considering making tips mandatory.

“It is an issue,” Royal Caribbean’s UK managing director Robin Shaw says about decreasing tip levels, especially in Britain where cruising is now the most popular vacation choice.

“We are looking at our options. The gratuities are part of the crew’s remuneration package and we need to seek a solution. This could be to include tips in the price of the trip, which would remove the voluntary component, to deal with the shortfall through a company subsidy or to keep things as they are.”
Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise lines currently both charge an automatic 15% gratuity for every drink purchased.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean also both have suggested tip amounts at $10pp/per day and $15.50pp/per day respectively, and both regardless of age. For a family of four on a week-long cruise adds up to $280 on Carnival and $434 on Royal Caribbean.

While the gratuity amounts are currently just guidelines on Royal Caribbean, Carnival goes so far as to automatically charge the recommended gratuities to your sail and sign card (basically an on-board credit card). Carnival allows customers to opt out, but not all customers are aware – since it isn’t clearly stated in their policy.

So what ever happened to the idea of a tip or gratuity being a private manner between a service provider and a guest?

Some say the increase in passengers from countries where tipping is either not-customary or uncommon is to blame for the fees. Others, like the cruise lines, say that employees depend on gratuities as a significant part of their income.

Instead of having automatic gratuity charges, cruise lines need to adjust their pay structure to provide employees with a fair wage that is independent of passenger gratuity. This eliminates the problems with passengers from different countries with different tipping customs, cheap-skate customers, and great variances in employee compensation.

I say its high time that staff were rewarded for their services by their employer and not to rely on the cruisers to top up their poor salaries.
JC

bobw
4th May 2010, 13:13
Princess Cruise Lines (Australia) add $A10 per person per day for tips plus they have a gratuity placed on drinks purchased. One is able to opt out of the tipping charge which I do, as I prefer to tip (equal to the same amount) personally for services rendered. I am not convinced that the crew get their proper rewards in a blanket system. Maybe it's just that I remember a few Chief Stewards from my past purchasing lesser quality food than that allowed for and making themselves a tidy profit!

TonyAllen
4th May 2010, 13:53
Tipping or service charge should only be at the customers discretion and not be relied upon to subsidise wages for a worker.If they can build ships for 600 million then they can afford to pay a decent wage.But of course they employ staff from wherever it is the cheapest and are only too glad to get the job with 3 sqares a day so that they can send money back home.Shipping companys have never changed in their outlook towards staff ,once behind the facade of glits and glamour its the same old same old .Tony

Andrew Craig-Bennett
4th May 2010, 14:47
This bad practice goes back a long way.

Unfortunately, the larger cruise lines tend to market themselves on a low cabin price, a large part of which (around thirty per cent) goes in sales commission.

Thus one very large line can really say that they have never raised their cabin price from US$100 per berth per day. That's really seventy dollars a day to the Line. Now they need to get that modest figure back up to something more than the costs involved by way of on board profit ("OBP" in the jargon) and the set up is geared to achieving this.

Cabin staff wages are well to the south of abysmal, and to be honest I suspect that they may very well be a minus number in practice. What I mean is that I suspect that the practice of paying the manning agent or a member of his staff for a job may be as widespread in the places where today's hotel staff are recruited as it is in the places where today's seamen are recruited - which is to say, almost universal.

So the steward, waiter, etc has to make a living from their tips, after first paying back the "bung" they paid to get aboard in the first place.

The benefit to the cruise companies of this system are that the travel agent's commission is a percentage of the basic ticket price, not the true cost of the cruise, which will probably be three times that.

jimthehat
4th May 2010, 15:12
P&O have always used the brown envelope method and that is the way I would like to carry on,I am off on the Arcadia next month after a 12 month break and i sincerely hope that the company have not changed the system.
sometimes I have paid above the suggested rate and sometimes below,all depends on the service,as it should be!it is interesting to see how many people do not turn up at the last nights dinner so as to avoid paying.
I do agree with earlier posts that the cruise companys should pay a better basic wage.

jim

captain61
4th May 2010, 15:28
P&O have always used the brown envelope method and that is the way I would like to carry on,I am off on the Arcadia next month after a 12 month break and i sincerely hope that the company have not changed the system.
sometimes I have paid above the suggested rate and sometimes below,all depends on the service,as it should be!it is interesting to see how many people do not turn up at the last nights dinner so as to avoid paying.
I do agree with earlier posts that the cruise companys should pay a better basic wage.

jim

I agree Jim I tip more than the suggested rate if they do the job,and the cruise company should pay a better basic wage
I am the one that always said to the bar staff and one for yourself or take for a drink, this has broght some strange looks

R58484956
4th May 2010, 17:25
Cunard has a mandatory US$10 pppd and 15% on top of drink prices, apparently you can negotiate the daily rate, but not widely known.

John N MacDonald
4th May 2010, 17:34
Time those greedy B's that own the cruise lines started paying wages to their crew instead of using tips to pay wages.
It's one of the reasons that I wouldn't go cruising on one of these floating tower blocks.
I've been 3 trips on box boats as a paying passenger and asked the captain what I should give in tips to the steward and cook and the reply was always the same. If you give them $10 they'll be over the moon. Despite being a Scotsman I give them a lot more than that.(==D)

gaelsail
4th May 2010, 17:40
We are looking at our options. The gratuities are part of the crew’s remuneration package and we need to seek a solution.
Tips are tips- rewards for good service. They are not supposed to be part of the crew wages- otherwise they should be included in the price of the cruise. The statement above clearly shows that they are being used to supplement wages.

A new law came into force for the hospitality industry in the UK in (September 2009 ?) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8281191.stm whereby companies are not allowed to supplement staff wages using tips. I'm not sure if this applies to UK managed cruise ships?

My personal opinion is that the stated price of the cruise should fully cover all crew wages. Optional, even advised, tips should be an extra perk for the crew members who have provided a good service.

TIM HUDSON
4th May 2010, 18:34
In my 40 years at sea the cargo never tipped me !

John Rogers
4th May 2010, 19:50
This is my view of the tipping and I cruise twice a year,most of the time its HA line and they ask you to charge the $10.00 per person now gone up to $12.00 to your on-board credit line. The River boat cruises I take on the Rhine and Danube ask for $10.00 dollars a day.
Now this money is pooled for the whole crew,(so they say) I believe in tipping for the good service received from my waiter and cabin steward,however I gripe when they say it goes to the whole crew,what have the deck crew done for me.

John.

Pompeyfan
7th May 2010, 15:54
As I have said so many times on the ships I have worked on when proper passenger liners long before modern day cruising, wingers, BRS, and other stewards depended on their tips. And have cruised over recent years, it is no different today than my era. Stewards are still poorly paid, and unless companies are prepared to pay them a proper wage, then they should not stop tips. The P&O brown envelope has worked well for years. If people can afford to go on a cruise, then they can afford to tip the stewards who work so hard rewarding them for their hard work making their holiday as pleasant as possible. Tipping is also rewarding good service. If you get poor service, they they should not expect a tip which should always be over and above wages poor or otherwise.

David

gaelsail
7th May 2010, 16:35
however I gripe when they say it goes to the whole crew,what have the deck crew done for me.
You wouldn't be on the ship without them...

slick
8th May 2010, 07:22
All,
Not quite on the subject but not far away, this weeks SPECTATOR ( 8May 2010) has an article in which the Author rails against Tourism and in particular and notres a comment about "Super Cruise-Liners" as "Care homes with Lifeboats as their crews call them"
Does that ring any bells?

Yours aye,


slick

GWB
8th May 2010, 07:50
Here in Australia where tipping is not so prevalent there have be quite so heavy arguments with cruise line companies in this regard. I heard PO were forced to cancel the practice of auto charging to your account, while on Aussie based cruises do not know how correct this is. I complained very strongly on the Diamond Princess on an Alaskan trip and they do not like it given every reason why in the end was told this is the thing in USA don't see what that had to do with tipping on ship they informed me they do not do this on aussie coast but think it was bull. I promptly notified credit company I was not paying the 15% and never did.
Also recently when in New York some students refused to pay the gratuity on the bill, they were taken to court and had to pay judge said it was a service charge.
I agree tipping is optional as to the quality of service.

Keltic Star
8th May 2010, 08:31
If you want service, look after the crew, whether on a cruise ship, in a restaurant or a bar or hotel. If not, then be a piker and forget service and be branded as a Euro or Antipodean. Your choice, take it or leave it.

NoMoss
8th May 2010, 10:05
I remember hearing a story (probably myth) about a passenger who tore a high denomination note in half and gave half to the cabin steward at the beginning of the passage and said he would give the other half if he received good service.
In those days £20 was a lot of money.

John N MacDonald
10th May 2010, 10:40
I have no problem with tipping when I get good service. How ever for some company to charge you for a tip as a matter of course, that's a different matter. I have known quite a few folk who worked or work in the catering industry and have heard quite a few stories about management pocketing the tips customers have intended for staff. That makes my blood boil.(Cloud)

gaelsail
10th May 2010, 11:00
I have no problem with tipping when I get good service. How ever for some company to charge you for a tip as a matter of course, that's a different matter. I have known quite a few folk who worked or work in the catering industry and have heard quite a few stories about management pocketing the tips customers have intended for staff. That makes my blood boil.
I agree, it is so difficult to know whether or not the company does play fair with tips. On land I usually discreetly ask a member of staff, perhaps something I should start doing at sea too.

shamrock
10th May 2010, 11:26
Whilst on Costa Allegra I chatted to a security guard about this issue, he had previously worked for Royal Caribbean and we compared them with Costa...

Costa = €6 a day, per person service charge
RCI = $14 a day, per person autogratuity

Costa pool it and share it equally amongst all non officer grade crew, Costa add it over and above the wage & do not take a cut.

RCI pool it and share it equally amongst all non officer grade crew, it supplements the wage and RCI take a 25% cut of the total paid per cruise.

Costa does not allow alteration or removal of the service charge.

RCI do allow alteration or removal BUT your name will go onto a 'Guests that stiffed crew' list posted in the crew mess.

The stiffing list is not only to be found on RCI ships, it has been seen on Princess & Carnival Cruises ships too.

Basil
11th May 2010, 20:29
Although not on a cruise ship, the following is an interesting indication of the attitude of employers to tips earned by their employees:
We'd popped into a Dubai major international hotel for afternoon tea and when the credit card bill arrived it had 15% service added and also a line for gratuities.
After paying the bill as presented, I asked the duty manager to discuss.
He first of all said that 15% of F&B turnover was a very large sum, a statement with which I agreed. He then went on to say that the company only gave the staff 20% of this, i.e. 3%, hence the option to add a gratuity.
Uncertain of the rules in Dubai, I paid up but, at home, I'd refuse to pay the bill as presented and give the waiter a cash tip.

Once saw a customer trouser the tip I'd left on the table. The 'misunderstanding' was quickly resolved. :)

chris8527
11th May 2010, 21:38
Whilst on Costa Allegra I chatted to a security guard about this issue, he had previously worked for Royal Caribbean and we compared them with Costa...

Costa = €6 a day, per person service charge
RCI = $14 a day, per person autogratuity

Costa pool it and share it equally amongst all non officer grade crew, Costa add it over and above the wage & do not take a cut.

RCI pool it and share it equally amongst all non officer grade crew, it supplements the wage and RCI take a 25% cut of the total paid per cruise.

Costa does not allow alteration or removal of the service charge.

RCI do allow alteration or removal BUT your name will go onto a 'Guests that stiffed crew' list posted in the crew mess.

The stiffing list is not only to be found on RCI ships, it has been seen on Princess & Carnival Cruises ships too.

I always authorize the cruise line to add the recommended gratuities to my shipboard account, being under the apparently false impression that the entirety of the amount would go to the individuals with whom I came into direct contact (cabin steward, dining room waiter etc.)

From what you have said about RCI taking a "cut", maybe I should not be doing this; rather, I should tip these staff directly. The downside is that I am then not paying into a pool of gratuities which are then shared with the other members of the crew but who have contributed indirectly to my comfort and welfare on board.

It's hard to know what to do.

John Rogers
11th May 2010, 22:01
You wouldn't be on the ship without them...

Then do you propose to tip the 600 plus crew members most of them never seen or just the ones that gave you good service.

John.

John Rogers
14th May 2010, 22:37
I found this very interesting story about cruise lines,puts a new slant on the pay of crew members.

Check this out.

www.cruisejunkie.com/ot.html

gaelsail
15th May 2010, 10:05
Then do you propose to tip the 600 plus crew members most of them never seen or just the ones that gave you good service.
Good question.

chris8527
15th May 2010, 14:58
Am I wrong in thinking that working/pay conditions for catering crew on passenger vessels were better 40 years ago than they are today?

This is more in response to John's great article in post#24........................................... ..

From what I recall, crew in all departments were paid a decent, not great, but a decent wage in return for something close to a 40-50 hour work week. Overtime pay was a typically a large component of the overall compensation for a voyage and was eagerly sought by most crew.

I don't remember complaints about working hours since anything about the standard was compensated for by overtime pay. And there seemed to be a general attitude of "I'm stuck on this bloody ship anyway...I might as well work and make some money."

Tips for "service staff" were a personal matter between a passenger and the individual crew member and had nothing to do with the company. Those who came in direct contact with the passengers were tipped; those who didn't, were not. But, I'm sure there were back-handers given out to "behind-the-scenes" crew members.

One of the great anomalies of that time was the disparity between the pay-rates for European crew and non=Europeans. I think, for example, that a European steward earned 4 times that of a Goanese.

How did the current situation on cruise ships evolve? Is it solely the result of them sailing under flags of convenience?

slick
16th May 2010, 07:11
All,
Just read read the Cruise Junkie link---- I don't how anyone can "Cruise" with a clear conscience.
Particularly galling is to read of Staff paying for their jobs and Catering Staff paying for breakages which maybe don't occur, as a monthly deduction.

Yours aye,

slick

PAULD
16th May 2010, 17:04
At the end of the day where will it stop, tipping is for when you get a good service, not just automatic because others will eventually jump on the band wagon and you will be tipping/ paying extra [because that,s all it is] to get served in the super market quick queue.Do you tip at home when you go to the pub for a pint

Andrew Craig-Bennett
17th May 2010, 16:47
I found this very interesting story about cruise lines,puts a new slant on the pay of crew members.

Check this out.

www.cruisejunkie.com/ot.html

I would say that is quite accurate. Certainly not over stated.

Jacktar1
17th May 2010, 18:24
This is so very true, when I finally left sea going employment in 1999, the last 15 years as master with a Miami based cruise line, the dining room waiters and bar waiters were still only being paid $50 per month, they depended on tips to make any decent sort of living ! They were on a 12 month contract, with their air fare home paid by the company if they completed their year's service satisfactory, but the company with held the price of their air ticket out of their wages just in case they did not complete their contract !
Back in 1990, the vessel that I served on was leased to another company, with my company retaining the deck and engine management.
The company went bust, I was and am still owed $18,000 in wages !
I filed a claim with the Bankruptcy Court in Florida.....what a joke.......in reallity wages and medical payments take priority, forget it, by the time the scumbag attorney's took their share at each monthly bankruptcy court meeting, the judge would close the session !!! Only in the USA.

jimthehat
18th May 2010, 00:16
All,
Just read read the Cruise Junkie link---- I don't how anyone can "Cruise" with a clear conscience.
Particularly galling is to read of Staff paying for their jobs and Catering Staff paying for breakages which maybe don't occur, as a monthly deduction.

Yours aye,

slick I wonder what planet you are coming from.I can certainly cruise with a clear concience,for me and the wife i pay in tips to the cabin steward approx£46 for 14 days (and the same to the waiter)I was told by a steward that they look after approx 7 cabins so that is over £320 for a fortnight quite a nice little earner which is probably tax free.

jim

slick
18th May 2010, 07:35
Jim,
I was not in possession of all the facts as you obviously are, Carry on Cruising.

Yours aye,

slick

gaelsail
18th May 2010, 13:28
Slightly off-topic but still relevent

One recruiting company's application form and service agreement:

http://www.cruiseshipjob.com/applicat.htm
http://www.cruiseshipjob.com/agreement.htm

How many agencies does a crew member apply to every year before getting a job?

Billieboy
18th May 2010, 17:03
Slightly off-topic but still relevent

One recruiting company's application form and service agreement:

http://www.cruiseshipjob.com/applicat.htm
http://www.cruiseshipjob.com/agreement.htm

How many agencies does a crew member apply to every year before getting a job?

Pay to get a job?

Bunch of thieves, probably Nigerian or Mafia!

KEITH SEVILLE
18th May 2010, 21:07
I found the subject on tipping when on a cruise liner interesting.
Just got back from a cruise with P and O and they gave you a book which advises what you can give by way of a tip.
My 2 restaurant stewards were exceptionally good also the cabin steward therefore I felt they deserved a tip. I felt under no pressure to give a tip and it was left to ones discretion if an individual deserved a tip or not.
The going rate was about 1.6 Euros a day which was reasonable and therefore because there were 2 of us on this cruise we tipped independently.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
20th May 2010, 00:12
Pay to get a job?

!

Show me an Asian or Latin American or East European seaman and I will show you a man who paid for his job. Even if the manning agency bosses are straight, their staff will be lining their own pockets. Not confined to cruise ships.

Ken Green
20th May 2010, 17:35
My Wife and I have just returned from a cruise around U.K.on the "Marco Polo"It lasted 9 days and I was charged NINETY POUNDS on my shipboard account for gratuities. I do wish companies would include tips in the cost of the cruise or better still pay everyone a decent wage!
Regards to all,
Ken

KEITH SEVILLE
20th May 2010, 20:06
Ken

Very disturbing to hear about your shipboard account.
Some companys do this and its daylight robbery!!
P and O thank goodness leave it to the passengers discretion.

Regards
Keith