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Is Tipping Getting Out of Hand?

Written by: Rita

If you ever want to stir up some controversy, just start a “tipping thread” on any one of the cruise message boards.  You are almost guaranteed to have one of the longest, most contentious threads on the board.

But let’s examine this issue in depth and share our feelings on it in a healthy spirit of debate.

I have no problem with tipping service people.  While I think tipping has gotten out of hand in our society today, I do realize that there are certain service providers whose income depends on tips simply because custom has always dictated that a good portion of their compensation would come from tips.  In other words, if I don’t tip them then they wind up losing money by serving me simply because their employer will not pick up the slack.

My feeling with tipping is that it was always meant to be something additional, and not a part of the service person’s regular compensation.  Should not the service person be making a basic wage and the tip be added onto the top, as something extra for going above and beyond in providing service?  Shouldn’t the tip represent an acknowledgement that the service provided went beyond what the customer would expect and be designed as an added reward?

I think this has always been the goal of a tip, but in our society its purpose has become corrupted.  Today, we have “tipping guidelines” … i.e., what is “expected” to be an appropriate amount to give the service person for any transaction.  In the case of our cruises, it’s the $10 or $11 per day that is charged to our onboard accounts, and the 15% added gratuities that are tacked onto our bar tabs.  But what happens if we don’t feel we’ve gotten good service?  In past years, you just didn’t tip that service person and the matter was solved.  Hopefully he learned a hard lesson when he didn’t get a tip out of the transaction, and hopefully that will encourage him to do better the next time.  But today, it’s far more convoluted than that.  If we have a lousy cabin steward who makes no effort to improve over the course of a week’s cruise, despite “gentle” reminders from the passenger, we now have to go down to the front desk and wait in a long line to get his tip removed from our bills.  On some cruise lines, that may actually be impossible to do if they have the tip classified as a non-removable “hotel service charge.”  In the case of other cruise lines, yes, we can remove the tips, but then have to put up with the dirty looks we’ll get from other passengers at the purser’s desk, not to mention from the purser’s staff themselves.  It seems like it is just a whole lot easier to leave the tip on there, despite being totally dissatisfied with the service.

Then percentages have changed over time as well.  True, one could argue that the economy is different today, and of course, the percentages of what would be considered an “appropriate” tip will change.  But think about it.  In many cases, why should it?  If I go into an expensive restaurant and order a meal, today that meal might cost me $50.00, over a $100 for me and my dining companion.  In a past era, that same meal would have maybe cost $50 for the both of us.  Well, a 15% tip back then would have been about $7.50.  Today it will be about $15.00.  I think my tip amount has certainly kept pace with inflation.  But no.  Today we are told that an appropriate tip would be a MINIMUM of 20%, and in many cases as high as 25%.  Now the cost of a meal out is gonna cost me over $100, plus $20 to $25 for the tip.  For some folks, especially those struggling in this economy today, that often means they can no longer afford to enjoy an occasional meal out.  And the worst part of this is that the tip almost doesn’t even seem to be tied to the quality of the service any longer.  We find ourselves leaving that big tip even when we are generally unhappy with the level of the service we have received.

I am saddened by the fact that when we take a cruise, we are often made to feel that we are being cheap if we “decline” to tip anything over and above the daily gratuity charged to our accounts.  We are told that if you can’t afford to tip, then you shouldn’t be on the boat to begin with.  Well, wait a minute.  Something’s wrong here.  The cruise line is the one telling me that $11 per day is an “appropriate” tip amount to cover the services of my cabin steward, waitstaff and certain behind the scenes people.  Now you’re telling me that I should tip even more if the service is “satisfactory.”  Wait a minute here.  I work hard for a living too.  Keep increasing the amount of the tip that I should be “expected” to give, and pretty  soon I’m no longer gonna be able to afford to take a cruise.  Is that fair?  I’m just a working stiff same as these cabin stewards and waiters.  My money doesn’t come easy and I don’t even get tips.  My employer pays my salary.  Shouldn’t the cruise lines be paying more of these peoples’ salaries instead of relying on me to do it?  I’ve already paid for my cruise.  Now I’ve got to pay their salaries too?

And another thing.  The cruise line tells me that $3.50 a day goes to my cabin steward team and $3.50 to my waitstaff team.  Well, okay.  Now where does the remaining $4.00 a day go?  Well, they tell me, that goes to a lot of the “behind the scenes” people you don’t see, but who make your cruise experience special.  Really?  What? Those people aren’t paid?  Shouldn’t it be the cruise line’s responsibility to pay the people who do that “behind the scenes” work?  Why should I be getting involved in that?

And that’s another thing about tipping.  At one time tipping was confined to certain jobs, purely front-line service workers — waitstaff, housekeepers, and the like.  Now it seems like everyone’s got their hand in the “endless” tip jar.  Everyone wants a piece of the tip pie … be it on a cruise ship or in our daily lives at home.  I go to the Dunkin Donuts and mosey up to the counter to get a cup of coffee.  I place my order and the ordertaker fills it.  I have not been waited on in the traditional sense.  I am standing in a line at a service counter waiting to get my cup of coffee.  But yet, there’s a tip jar sitting there in front of me.  I’m supposed to tip?  For what?  The person is filling my order.  He’s not giving me that cup of coffee for free.  I’m paying him to fill my order.  So, why the tip?  I don’t understand.  If I sit at a table and a waitperson comes up to me and takes my order, and then brings it to me … that’s different.  I am being served and if that service is acceptable, I should tip him something.  But in the case of the going to a service counter and having the wait person merely fill my order — pour my cup of coffee from the urn and collect my money — then I’m sorry, but I’m not tipping him with anything more than a smile and a thank you — something that I should be getting from him, but often am not.

And how about some of the other people you would never expect to have their hands out for tips …

For example, have you ever cringed when the dining room manager or “matre ‘d” made his rounds of the tables on the last night of your cruise?  You haven’t really had many dealings with him on the other six nights, but now on the last one he is coming around, making nice and holding his hand out to accept the tips?  Have you ever wondered why you are tipping him … a management level employee?  Aren’t tips supposed to go to the service workers?

In the same vein, I like to occasionally engage in “extreme” experiences.  Trust me, these experiences are not cheap.  I took an aerobatics flight down in Florida on a couple of occasions.  We’re talking at a price tag of over $500 bucks here.  Imagine my shock when I see a “discrete” plaque posted on the instrument panel in front of me … “tips are never expected, but definitely appreciated.”  What?  I am gonna tip a “professional” now?  You mean to tell me that at a $500 price tag for this experience, the instructor pilot (who, by the way owns the company) is not making a nice take on the deal for his time and expertise?  And another time, in Hawaii, I decided to go for a tandem skydive.  Again, this experience is not cheap.  Something like $250 for the jump; another $150 or so for the video and stills … not to mention the tee-shirts and all that other good stuff.  As I am handing over my credit card to the helpful lady at the service window, she “politely” asks what kind of a tip I want added to my total.  She tells me that it is “appropriate” to tip my tandem instructor $20, and give the videoflyer another $20.  Wait a minute.  These people are “professionals,” are they not?  Don’t they get well compensated for their time and trouble.  If I WANT to tip these people, that should be my choice, shouldn’t it?  What’s next?  Will I soon be expected to tip my doctor, my dentist and even the pharmacist who fills my prescription?

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying here that I am against tipping.  I am just against “forced” tipping, or tipping that I am “expected” to do.  I am also against tipping people who are already compensated at a very generous rate of pay based upon their status as a “professional” service provider.

To me, the decision about whether to tip, how much to tip, and whom to tip should be mine.  It shouldn’t be something I am “shamed” into by custom.

So, how do you feel about this issue?  Have you sometimes tipped because you felt you had to, and not because you felt the tip was earned?

Have you ever tipped someone that you really felt shouldn’t be collecting tips — such as a management or technical employee who is already well-compensated, or at least should be?

Have you ever refused to tip someone and then been made to suffer embarrassment because of it?

Let me know your thoughts on this.  I think they could be very enlightening.

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Comments

Comment from Paul Motter
Time April 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

Rita…

I agree – tips ised to ne discretionary and given for good service. In general, I believe that tipping is a legitimate practice as long as i know going in I am expected to tip for good service. But I do also resent the concept that you ar expected to tip even if the service was not good.

A tip should reflect the level of service you receive. It is actually a big responsibility to access how much a tip should be. You can’t be picayune or judge people unfairly.

You should use things like “there was just something about him” or “he didn’t smile when he talked to me.” You have to go by how well the job was done.

But if you have a legitimate reason for believeing the job was qbsolutely not done to the minimum standards you should be allowed to reduce the tip without feeling guilty.

However, by the same token, if someone goes beyond the call of duty and gives you extra special service you should be fully prepared to give the MORE than the minimum amount required. Freedom to tip works both ways.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time April 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

Excellent post! Tipping has indeed gotten totally out of control. The “auto tipping” policies used by most mainstream cruise lines, while convenient, have also placed all the hassles you mentioned in place – having to see the purser, long lines, dirty looks, etc. Thus the cruise lines can tell the employees they will get their tip money (or at least part of it) and not have to worry about standing around in the passageways on the last night waiting for envelopes to be handed over. Why not just raise the cruise fares to cover the salaries? Well, then that upsets the pricing shell game where the new cruiser thinks their $499 deal is all there is to it.

I tip well when service is above par. Sometimes excessively so. But I come from a background where tip money often put food on our table so I know something about it. The glad handing headwaiters and maitre’d's who show up one or twice to do profound things like remove shells from shrimp and lobster do indeed annoy me.

Everyone wants a tip these days. My personal favorite at home is my pest control service. They always seem to schedule a service appointment just before Christmas, and come to the door with a greeting card in hand and the expectation of a tip even though they get both a salary and a commission.

It is simply crazy.

Comment from Trip
Time April 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I remember on my 1st HAL cruise. at the cafe by the pool, there was a man handing out trays, he asked our names, and remembered them all week. On the last day, he handed out little dutch hats, that he painted, have a safe trip home..This was someone who would not be tipped, but was by many, including us.)

We tip according to the guidelines..I have added on, and, subtracted when we thought it needed to be adjusted. No guilt feelings at all….head houskeeper, never, and, maitre d, once or twice….the guidelines could soon have, an envelope with the Captains name on it..we better watch out:)

Comment from Rick
Time April 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm

I too share the common opinion on ”forced” tipping. Last year on the Crown Princess, I experienced service that was less than stellar and even
overheard some staff joking about how they were getting paid regardless of the level of service provided.

I wonder how many people know that the word tips is an acronym meaning, ”to insure proper service” but I fear that has long since fallen by the wayside. Some of the service industries attitude on land is no different in that often times, service in a restaurant can be spotty at best, yet we are expected to tip based on the price of the meal and not the service provided however, sadly this is a situation that is not going to dimish over time and may in fact already be out of control.

Comment from cookie
Time April 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm

We have been cruising since 1972 and we always have given more than the suggested amounts. I must say however that giving personal envelopes to valued employee’s for there hard work is much prefered by us. We feel staff on recent Princess cruises have done the minimum to provide quality service for passenger needs. Again this is a recent trend, but we don’t think this auto tipping helps passengers get good service. Lets face it …most just leave the auto tip and poor servers are still rewarded for poor service same as

Comment from Frank Church
Time April 24, 2009 at 7:36 pm

As an Australian, we are not accustomed to tipping and it comes as quite a shock to first times travellers out of the country. They hate the idea for a start and they have no idea of how much to tip. We are used to being paid a fair wage and doing a good job. Apparently not so on the cruise ships. Regardless of the quality of their expected service, they will still get a tip. Unless I embarrass and inconvenience myself by having to wait in line and complain. Which may even cost someone their job or promotion, instead of a few dollars for having a surly day.
I have travelled extensively but never on a cruise. I still go to Malaysia and Thailand almost every year and there, basically only Americans tip. I have occasionly tipped taxi drivers for helping with bags etc only sometimes to be given the reasonable tip back as it offended them. Fat chance on a cruise ship.
If we HAVE to tip on a cruise, then we should be able to say where that money it to go and in what proportion.

Comment from Rita
Time April 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Trip …

I hate to say this, but if the matre ‘d was dependent upon my tip money for his next meal, he’d starve.

Sorry, I’m a union person through and through. The matre ‘d (often called the dining room MANAGER) is a management employee and should be getting compensated for that. I don’t tip management … I don’t tip “professionals” such as the person who mentioned her pest control services provider. I tip service people and service people only.

When I was on a recent Carnival cruise … a group thing where tips were paid upfront … yeah, upfront … I got an envelope in with my disembarkation paperwork … “something for the Matre ‘d.” LOL … I put a note in there … “thank you.” That’s it.

Call me cheap if you want, but I’d rather save the buck or two I would tip him and give it to the guy or gal who takes good care of me and makes a crap wage in return.

Comment from Kuki
Time April 25, 2009 at 9:20 am

If the cruise lines were to pay their hospitality staff a “fair” wage, where tips were indeed just a bonus for great service, the cruise fare would have to be that much higher.

After 30+ years in the hospitality industry I know that’s just the way it is. You have to be able to make a profit!

For example, why do you think hotel rooms are expensive?

The current system most frequently used on ships, of automatic tipping, is really a minimum… $70-80 for seven days of service from a number of different staff members is truly pretty darn reasonable.

If the service is brutal you do have the ability to remove the tips. If it was included in your fare you have no means to reduce that amount.

I’d opt to have no tipping, where everything is upfront and included. However I think most would like to have a say.

I think people object to tipping because they are too used to not tipping at the drive-thru.

If you’re eating out 3 times a day on vacation anywhere but on a ship the tips for the day would certainly add up to more than the cruise line’s minimum guidelines.

Heck you’d likely spend close to that on gratuities for dinner alone.

As for the DR Managers/Maitre D’…. only if they do somet special service directly for me.

Comment from kennyg
Time April 25, 2009 at 2:19 pm

To all:

In cruising you just have to step away from the tipping concept and just think of it as a part of your cruise expense that has been broken out as a separate line item. This is truely how the staff are paid.

Now, you do have the ability to adjust this for faulty service.

In a way it is almost like a reverse tipping situation.

It seems to work and “Union Rita” should not complain.

The bottom line is, companies have to make money, and employees need a livable wage. No matter what system is used, your cruise will still cost you the same in the end, end of story!

Comment from Fireba11
Time April 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I watched the MSNBC show called Cruise Inc. I was very suprised to find that the average worker makes $2500.00 per month. I think that this is more then fair compensation when one considers that they get Housing, Food and the like included in their wages. I realize that our “Tip’s” are what gives the crew their wages and that is a shame.

Rita, Your blog is right on here. I too hate to be forced to tip. The biggest rub to me is the automatic 15% grat. that is added to my bar drinks. Talk about tip fraud! The maitre’de has never gotten a tip from me and never will just for the reasons you stated above.

If given a choice of being able to take a cruise but not tipping compared to not taking a cruise because of tipping, I am sure you know what I am going to do. Oh, and don’t get mad at me for sneaking beer onboard either. If they would drop that 15% grat at the bar I wouldn’t have to sneak it on.

Pay a person a decent wage and quit making the vacationing public do your dirty work for you.

Comment from Rita
Time April 26, 2009 at 12:14 am

Kenny,

I hope I haven’t given the wrong impression … I am certainly not against tipping. I am just against tipping certain people, and against tipping whether I like it or not.

To me a tip is a discretionary amount given when someone earns my appreciation by giving me service that goes above and beyond. I feel that these days … and not just on ships either … the tip has become something that’s expected. I also think that too many people have their hands in the tip jar … people who should be getting a liveable wage from their employer. Some of the people today who expect tips is outrageous and especially on the ships, there are people in the tip pool who would never be in there in similar land-based positions.

That’s where my argument comes in. I have no problem tipping my waitstaff for good service, nor my cabin steward. But when you ask me to tip Joe from the laundry, or Juan, the baker’s assistant, now that’s pushing things too far. Would a kitchen worker on land be sharing in the waiter’s tips? I kind of doubt it. Only direct service people share in those … such as the restaurant hostess and perhaps the bus staff.

As for the Matre ‘d … that’s a whole ‘nother story. He is a management level employee. As such he gets certain perks on the ship. He gets a better salary. He also gets the perks that accrue to a management level employee, such as more generous shore leave, etc. I don’t feel management employees should have their hands in the tip jar. That jar is for the service workers who bust their humps every day … hauling trays piled high with plates, cleaning my table, bringing my coffee and dessert or whatnot. Yes, if the matre ‘d does something way out of the ordinary for me … then may, just maybe … I might consider giving him a few dollars. But, as a matter of course, “Union Rita” says no way.

Comment from Ron
Time April 26, 2009 at 8:21 am

I think a lot of the problem has to do with confusing a tip (or “gratuity”) with a service charge. A mandatory or pre-paid tip isn’t a tip–it’s a service charge, as for example the 15% “gratuity” added to drinks. Prepaid tips, or “tips are included” is an absurdity dreamed up by the hotel industry. Thus, for a tip to be a tip the tipper must have absolute discretion in how much to tip or whether to tip at all. In the case of the cruise lines, they have combined elements of the tip with elements of a service charge and called it a “gratuity” which it isn’t. For first time cruisers this results in understandable confusion and resentment when they realize their ticket price does not include the bulk of the remuneration for the service personnel. This resentment is then magnified when they discover that the extra tip they gave Armand in the dining room got pooled and distributed to the entire food service staff, so it really didn’t benefit Armand. Even the service staff is affected– I have noticed a drift by them to the effect that the tips are now an expected service charge, and that an extra, additional tip–just for them–is now expected. I think that’s where the “additional tip” line of the drink tickets come from.

I think the cruise lines would be better off either calling the charges what they really are–service charges– or rolling them into the price of the cruise and leaving tips entirely at the discretion of the public, without the suggested or recommended amounts. Perpetuating the fiction of “gratuitities” seems to me to be doing more harm than good, but apparently the cruise lines feel it’s profitable for them to re-invent words. The idea of calling them gratuities because you can “adjust” them is just bogus and silly–you opt to give a tip. If you have to “opt out”, then again, it’s not a tip. Incidentally, in the United States tips and service charges are handled diffenently as far as tax withholding is concerned, so the distinction is important. How or what the service staff is paid is of no concern to me–that’s the cruise line’s business and I don’t get involved in that. How much or whether to tip is my business, and I don’t want the cruise line involved in that.

Comment from Rita
Time April 26, 2009 at 8:38 am

You know something, Ron … I give NCL a great deal of credit. At least they call their “tips” what they truly are … a hotel service charge. From what I understand, the daily charge to your account is NOT removable.

I agree 100% with everything you say. I too get annoyed that I am tipping what I believe is my cabin steward … for a job well-done … but in reality when I tip him via the auto-tip added to my account, he has to share that with every Tom, Dick and Harry in the Housekeeping department, including probably the Head Housekeeping who, like the Matre ‘d, shouldn’t be getting a nickle.

I think if the cruise lines wanted to be honest, they should do what NCL does … label their tip as a mandatory hotel service charge which compensates all eligible employees in certain departments. Then, if the passenger CHOOSES to slide someone something extra individually … maybe because that person did something to really make the passenger’s cruise experience pleasurable … then any monies given to that employee should be HIS and HIS ALONE. If he chooses to slide a few bucks to his assistant, that’s up to him. But he should not be required to split that extra tip with anyone.

An even better idea is to just add the service charge into the base cost of the cruise fare … like is already done now for some of the longer, more exotic voyages where the cruise lines advertise “gratuities are included.” That covers basic tips for all parties the cruise line wants to add in there. Then, if I decide to spread some money around, I spread it only to those employees who made an impression on me and on the quality of my cruise experience.

Like I said … I’m not against tipping. I’m just against forced tipping as well as having no choice who has their hands in the pocket of the person I choose to give that tip to.

Comment from Ron
Time April 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

Rita, if I were to hazard a guess, I would guess that the reason for continuing to handle tips in this manner is their calculation that the financial hit is less by continuing the fiction than by doing something like NCL is doing or even rolling them into the cruise fare. Since I don’t have visibility into their financials, there’s no way to know whether this is valid or not. I do not agree, however, that service personnel compensation is peanuts or that cruise line margins are so slim that prices would skyrocket if that did change. Some information does occasionally leak out. Several years ago Carnival disclosed in a article that their profit (not revenue) exceeded $150 per cabin per day. Whether that is still true today is not known, but I can’t help but think that margins are affected more by unpredictables such as fuel costs and food costs than by fixed costs such as wages for service personnel. Anyway, none of us sit on their boards, so we have no insight into their reasoning, or to what extent gripes about tipping influence ticket sales. I do think that the whole debate stems from what one considers the “default” behaviour–for tips, the default is no tip. A tip is then added at the discretion of the tipper. For service charges, the default is to require the compensation. I have never been to a restaurant where a “tip” was added and then I had to option to “adjust” it or “opt out”. It just wouldn’t make sense. A gratuity must always be gratuitous, if that makes sense.

Comment from Bill
Time April 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I now consider the “auto-tip” part of the cruise fare just like the taxes. I take it into consideration when comparing rates.

Comment from Mike M
Time May 3, 2009 at 6:04 am

I agree that tipping has gotten a bit out of hand. I do not tip a guide or excursion provider if they are the owner, unless they do something I feel is above and beyond the scope of the excursion or service. I will tip an employee of the owner. I strongly believe that the owner should price their service to receive a reasonable profit and not rely on customers paying more for their service. An employee is only receiving a percentage of the cost or an hourly wage.

I also have a hot button where message board readers will post that they always give their steward or dining room staff a $20 or $100 up front with an indication that more is to come if they give them good service. I find this irritating because it gives a first time cruiser and others the idea that an up front tip is expected and even required or they will receive poor service if they don’t drop the cash up front. I believe that most people who make this claim are actually bragging or stretching the truth.

I have spoken with enough housekeeping staff and hotel directors to come to the conclusion that the service staff are now doing equal or better in terms of tips then they did before automatic tipping and “service charges” were put in place. The number of people who stiff the service staff is far lower now than it was ten years ago.

My rule of thumb has always been that if someone does more than I expect then I will tip them accordingly.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Older Party
Time May 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I agree too…tipping used to be for exceptional service but that is not the case today. Many things have changed for those in the service sector, including IRS rules, as well as a company’s inhouse rules for tipping (many now pool and share tips). Unfortunately, salaries have not kept up with the cost of living because of all the greed based companies that want the consumer to pay a portion of their employees wages … at least that’s how I look at it.

Case in point. I helped create the gondola program at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. When we first opened, the gondoliers made close to $25 per hour, were not allowed to take tips, and had health benefits. The executives at the Venetian decided that, if we would allow tipping, they could lower the gondoliers rate of pay to $12 to $15 per hour (they removed their benefits too). The production company I worked for at the time said no to that, so we lost the contract. We wanted the program to be authentic and seamless. We knew that if the talent was allowed to take tips, they would start pandering for them and sure enough, this is exactly what happened. If you’ve taken a ride on the gondolas at the Venetian in the last 5 or so years, and you’ve tipped your gondolier, you’ve helped pay his salary and in so doing, have helped The Venetian’s profit margin.

I’m always tipping because I’m always traveling. It’s gotten tiresome indeed but I understand without my tip, these people would not be making ends meet. It’s the unfortunate truth of compensation in the service sector now a days.

Comment from laura
Time June 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

just come back form ncl sprit to bermundathere were 12 of us 6 kids under 14 the tips were so much these kids ate in the buffet resturants were not getting served my brother got his of his bill and pay them by him self so did alot of people the food was bad the service was bad they follwed us a round pushing drinks on us and at 15 % etra we took some stuff with us i think the tips should be added into the crusie no surpize at the end when you get your bill if you donnot know about the tipping its a shock we are looking to crusie again but we are looking real hard at everything that person was right we will be tipping the captain to drive the boat something has to change

Comment from cirquskid
Time July 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Is that you “Blue Skies” :0) I hear you on the topic of tipping. I have one of those old tipping cards that’s based on 15% & 20% that I’ve been using for years and I use it religiously and rarely go over 15%. I worked in the customer service industry for over 30 years and I got to tell you, I am extremely critical on poor service. If it’s something that I think management should be aware off, I will bring it to there attention but as a rule if I get what I perceived to be poor service, my tips will be proportionate to that service and I probably won’t come back. In situations where the tip is included like on Cruise ships, I may not like it but hey, it’s part of the package but I’ll be dam if I’ll add insult to injury and give them more for mediocre service. As for the Maître d’ , if I had to ask for assistance with something and he responded, he should be tip with something commensurate to his performance. As for that “If you can’t afford the tip, you shouldn’t be on the cruise” jazz , I don’t think I need to tell you where they can shove that one. See you for sail away on the Rotterdam in March.

Comment from Robbie Fields
Time September 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm

When cruising was largely for the well heeled crowd, those stiffing the help were offset by very large tippers.

Well that crowd died off and the cruise lines grew and grew and we all know what happened. The quaint, nuanced
“Tipping Not Required” policy on HAL became unworkable, as nuance passed right over the clientele’s heads.

Now that pooled tips are the norm, I actually believe that service attitudes at open seating dining have improved. Service personnel are constantly monitored and graded by their overseers rather than by the passengers.

So rather like any ship’s kitchen, if management is performing at less than par, you will soon notice it.

I know that Costa embargoes the ANZAC crowd from booking anywhere other than the .au site, as their fares MUST include pre-paid gratuities.

The day that I am made to feel that a stated service charge is insufficient to warrant professional service is when I take my business elsewhere. Yet I have always been one to reward truly excellent service with additional gratuities, but not on a New York level of 25-30% added which I find patently absurd.

Comment from Paul
Time April 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I had a long talk with our cabin steward aboard a Carnival ship last year. He told me that he must pay to have the trash desposed of from your room ,by the crew and he must also pay to have your towels,linens etc. washed. Out of his pocket. That means Carnival does not have to pay these behind the scenes people no more than a room and their food. What do you think about that?

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