I am really sick of hearing all the condemnation around tipping or not tipping. First, the definition of a tip is: a gratuity, a gift neither expected nor required as a reward for exceptional serivce beyond one's normal duties.
A tip is not a salary supplement nor the portion of the cruise fare. Let me state that I worked very hard in college as a waitress. At $2.10 an hour, tips paid the rent and tuition, not my "salary". However, I chose that line of work based on the gamble that I would receive substantial tips.
Now for my gripe/position. I have a job with a job discription. I must do what I contracted to do and I am paid for it. I do not get a little something extra for it at the end of the day or week. Now, when I work above and beyond the duties I am hired to do, I am rewarded with bonuses or some other compensation. I suspect many others have the same experience.
So, why are we so conditioned to tip as a requirement rather than as a gift? Cruise lines can pay their staff the most basic salary because they know passengers will make up the difference. That, is not my fault or my problem. Automatic tipping is a slap in the face. It defys the meaning of a gift. It is presumptious and it is wrong. It is sold to passengers as a benefit. All it does is ensure that the staff will be paid.
Now, I will tip in accordance with my own mind in accordance with the service I receive. I will bestow my gift as I feel appropriate. And, I will not be made to feel like less of a passenger because of it. If it is a requirement, then the cruise lines should include it in the price of the fare just as the luxury lines do. Instead of referring to me as a cruise guest. When is the last time you paid for the privilege of being a guest & then paid your host? I decided a long time ago that I was not going to work myself up into a knot about how much I would give. I bypass all that by sailing on no tipping lines.
However, the issue still comes up there. I have watched and listened to many cruise mates discussing the matter. The bottom line is that while all say they tip and that they tip more for "good" service, its a lie. They tip because they don't want to be thought of as cheap. They tip more for good service & to be thought of "more highly" by others & the crew. As if the crew could care a hoot who you are as long as they get paid. This is not to say that there aren't wonderful people who do their jobs well & make a vacation more enjoyable.
Just look at some of the posts on this board. Reminders that Carnival employees don't get paid. Technically untrue. However, what exactly does that have to do with me? Did I ask them to sign a contract with a cruise line? Did I ask them to leave their home, families, and friends to work for "starvation wages"? Nope, they chose to of their own free will.
Let's see, average dinning room table on a mega ship holds 8. (I'll round up) $4 a day for 7 days, 28 times 8 is $224 a week in tips. $2 (rounded down) an hour 10 hours a day for 7 days $140 plus tips is $364. Factor in room & board included and that the overwhelming majority of the service personnel on the ships aren't US citizens with incomes comparable to ours. Somebody is making out like a bandit.
HAL touts cabin & dinning room staff hailing from the Phillipines & Indonesia. Average monthly salary for a service personnel in either of those countries is roughly $75 per month without room & board. Why else would they take these jobs? Because they are making 10 times a month on the ship than they would at home. The cruise lines know it. HAL isn't the only one. Olympic has Greek staff. Know how much the Drahma goes for against the dollar??? Look at every major cruise line's service staff and see how many golden haired kids from Idaho you see. Not a one. That is my point. We get so caught up in feeling obligated, cruise lines work our fear of approval, and we seek some validation. All the while the service staff, working hard at THE JOB THEY VOLUNTARILY signed on do, make more money in a week than they could in a 2 months back home. Business is good all around.
Personally, I will not be nickle & dimed. I know my post isn't popular & will upset others. Its my opinion and I stand by it. Just take a minute to consider it.