Yes, we have done this several times. Can't really say who it was because I don't keep track. But, if someone goes above and beyond their normal duties and does it with a friendly graciousness, I like to say "thank you". And nothing does that like a little extra $$.
I always leave extra for the cabin steward if he keeps my ice cooler filled. The better it's filled the better the tip.
On a long cruise (TA) I'll usually tip the waiters, etc. more.
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I've tipped over and above the auto tip charge on some cruises for service over and above the norm (in my eyes) and then on other cruises the service did not warrant additional tips due to medicore or below standard service provided....
It's a personal decision and there is no right or wrong.
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I figure that on a ship I deserve EXCELLENT service. I almost always mark it that way on the comment card.
If the ship decides to set the standard for an auto tip, then I figure they have made the determination for me. For normal EXCELLENT service, that is what I leave. It is usually less than our total tips were back in the envelope days, but the cruise line sets it so the crew should be satisfied with it.
On very very rare occasions, I have handed an extra $5 or even $10 to some particular crew member, usually not because they went especially beyond EXCELLENT service physically, but because their smiling and helpful attitude was something special.
On one recent cruise, I was appalled that the CD mentioned, not once but several times in his disembarkation talk on the TV, that the auto tip was a "minimum" tip and if you got good service you should be sure to add to it. I thought this was incredibly out of line, and I blasted him on my comment card for it.
What I will do, however, is be sure to mention the name of those who gave extra service on the comment card. I have been told again and again by crew members how important this is to them and how much the senior staff are impressed by a mention on a comment card. In fact, once we had a particularly good dining room team, and I mentioned to the waiter I was going to put both their names on the comment card. The waiter actually said, "Just put the assistant waiter. She is up for promotion, and a mention on a comment card will really help her get it."
That's the way I see it. Now I am going to get my popcorn, sit back, and watch the show ... ;o)
I very much agree with MercedMike --- a mention by name is worth even more than an additional tip, unless maybe you like throwing big bills around.
That said, there have been a few times when I've tipped over the automatic. But my preference is to tip my cabin steward at the START of the cruise. Since I'm often with another woman, it's not unusual for us to request extra hangers; and when they are delivered, I hand over $10 or $20 WITH THE COMMENT that I don't generally tip extra, but I know how busy they all are on embarkation day....
I have never had anything less than excellent service. Sometimes extraordinary service, like the steward who not only refreshed my ice frequently, but made sure I had a couple of lemon wedges on the tray.
We have given extra tips several times. On our cruise on the Carnival Valor...Lela and Edurado our servers in the MDR made the dining experience so much fun we just had to give extra. On our cruise on the Island Princess the stateroom steward made sure our ice cooler was always full and did a great job on our room. Our last cruise on the Norwegian Pearl, we found out that we could have the same people serve us our food everyday if we wished. Budi and Julie went above and beyond in their service, even serving us when they weren't on duty or on standby status so we tipped them a little extra.
I agree with the fact that a tip is for extraordinary service and not just, doing their job. Even though we pay the auto tips, there are times that some of these fine folks make our vacation just that much more enjoyable and deserve the extra we give them.
Women were made to love, money was made to spend. Life is something buddy, you'll never live again.
from the song..."Joe sure knows how to live" by Eddie Raven.
Carribean Princess 07
Carnival Valor 08
Carnival Holiday 08
Carnival Triumph 09
Island Princess 09
Carnival Miracle 10
Norwegian Pearl 11
Norwegian Sun 13
Independence of the Seas Feb 14