if you use the alter dining on the grand princess do you tip at the table? we have always used our assigned table, and tipped at the end of the cruise. we don't plan to eat there that much this time..any suggestions?
This is an interesting topic that shows up fairly often in cruise discussions. And with so many cruise lines now offering so many alternatives to the dining room I think it becomes more difficult to answer.
One arguement goes... If you're assigned a table in the dining room, and don't use it, and therefore don't tip your servers there close to "recommended amounts" they end up short people at their stations, and therefore short in their tip envelopes at the end of the cruise.
The flip side of this.... If you tip your servers in the alternate restaurants, and also tip your dining room servers the "recommended amount", you can end up with a sizeable amount of $$s spent on gratuities.
Possibly this is why some cruise lines are now offering pre-paid gratuties.
I've heard of some people who, for various reasons, say they aren't going to eat in the dining room at all. In this case the solution seems simple. Notify the Maitre D that you won't need a dining room assignment, and only tip the staff in the alternate restaurants.
However, I think a solution in a situation such as you describe, where at times you're using both is more into a grey area.
Not sure what would be fair here. Maybe we can get an informal poll going here to see what everyone thinks is fair? Well?????
Kuki/Paul. Maybe you could inlist the advice from a reastaurant manager on one of the ships that have the alternative venue, such as Princess or Celebrity. It certainly does raise questions among all of us but especially first timers.
I believe the answer is this... you should "tip" your waiter in the dining room the recommended amount because he was "there for you" (don't get me started on that old joke about my wife!)
In the alternative dining restaurants you will be given a bill that is in itself a service charge. You don't need to add anything to that for a tip.
The real question in my mind that no one ever seems to agree on is room service, tip or no tip? I say no tip, but many others disagree. My argument is that a ship is supposed to be a cashless society, and if you have to fork out currency in the middle of the cruise then something isn't right. In addition, nowhere in ship literature is it stated that a tip is expected for room service even though they DO recommend tips for regular services.
I was rather surprised to see Costa tacking on a 4000 lire service charge for room service on the Costa Atlantica! (thats almost $2!). But I also heard they take it off when we Norte Americanos board the ship in the majority in the Caribbean.
At the Italian and Southwestern restaurants, they charge an addition $5 per person gratuity charge. I only tip the waiter/bus boy in the main restaurants for the number of evenings I've actually dined there.
On Grand Princess, the former buffet becomes the Bistro at night, IMHO, the best alternative restaurant on the ship. There are never many people there and the food is really cooked to order and is delicious. The only time I ever got my favorite rare salmon (other than teeny little Clipper) was on Grand Princess in the Bistro. We always tipped a couple of dollars since the wait staff there worked very hard and deserved it. I am using pre-paid tipping for the first time next month on Carnival and will let everyone know how I like it. Right now my opinion is, if you don't want extra tipping, don't use the alternative services. If you don't care (like me), then tip. The long hours and hard work on cruiseships is brutal. My conscience wouldn't let me have fun if I deprived someone of what I think they deserve.
Carole. I agree totally with the fact that those guys and gals earn our tips big time.
However, I still prefer to tip the traditional way, at the conclusion of the cruise, tipping for service RECEIVED, not aticipated. More of an incentive to give exceptional service (which I've almost always gotten anyway). Just my thoughts.