I have a REALLY DUMB question, so apologies in advance. I know that HAL says no tipping required, but I plan to tip anyway (as I am sure most travelers do). Do the guidelines (as to amount per day) which I have read elsewhere on the boards apply to HAL ships as well? I have read that their staff is better compensated and that is why they have a no tipping required policy. Not trying to be cheap here, just want to do the right thing. Also, we are sailing out of Canada...and here's the dumb question. Do we tip in Canadian dollars or U.S. dollars?
Hi ya Grammy.. I personally think HAL's tipping policy is most confusing. Tipping is never required... but on HAL though they aren't supposed to "peddle" the tipping, it is expected (by the staff). Customary guidelones are the rule ($3.50/ per person/day for dining room waiter and cabin steward.. $2.50/per person/day for asst waiter)
HAL does NOT add tips to bar bills, so at the end of the cruise add in whatever you feel comfortable with to you favorite waiters or bartenders.
Tipping is normally done in US dollars, whatever the itin. I'd love to tip in Canadian dollars, but to tip the equivalent amount I'd need an extra suitcase for the Canadian bills <G>
I have always used the standard tipping rate that most of the industry uses when tipping the staff on HAL ships. Also US dollars is what the standard is and Canadian currency may be very difficult for them to spend/convert.
On our last cruise aboard a HAL vessel we received ther 500 days at sea aboard HAL ships so we use the cruise line a lot. We use a formula that provides a tip, but not as much as we might give on Carnival, Princess, RCI , Celebrity or Crystal. We will not divulge this since the last time we did we were castigated. We understand on HAL ships the room stewards and waiters get a salary of $250 a month whereas on most of the other ships it ranges from $50 to $75 a month so the only waythese can make a living is for tips from the passengers.
Might I take this time to recommend a good reading ?
"death by choclate" What You Must Know Before Taking A Cruise by Ross A.Klein.
It is available from Amazon for about $17 and well worth it. The paperback book has a dissertation on tipping, splitting of tip with others; what the cruise lines withold from the salaries., etc. etc.
No Reply, please
HAL's tipping policy is very clear... but poorly enunciated to the cruising public. In a word, it is a "no tipping REQUIRED" policy... not a "no tipping" policy. By that they mean that they do not recommend tipping amounts... they do not leave envelopes in your cabin the day of the last night out... and they do not add a gratuity to drinks served on board, as most lines do.
People are expected to tip... and the vast majority of guests on board do... in very similar amounts to the other lines. It is truly a pain when it comes to the drinks served. In short, I believe it is an idea that had some good motivation but that, in practicality, just doesn't work well and leads to many misunderstandings.
In short... you tip on HAL as you do on other ships... you just have to find your own envelopes and know how much to put in them... and, you must either tip when you have a drink or, if you visit the same lounge every evening, remember who's been serving you... and remember to tip them.
We just returned from a HAL Alaska cruise on Statendam and this same confusion was heard on board as well. I also feel that it is very confusing. This was our 3rd cruise on our third line and HAL was definitely the best service and crew we have had. I talked to several people on board and heard nothing about HAL service staff being paid more salary. I would find that hard to believe that it would be that different from other lines.
We used base tip policy of $3 from each of us per day for cabin steward, and waiter, $1.50 for asst waitor. We adjust this up or down on an individual basis based on our service. Some boards have higer amts. We even gave a small tip to wine steward and head waiter because we saw them every night and they were always helpful, as opposed to last cruise where we may have seen them once all week.
The great part of the policy is that we were not billed automatically before we received the services, we were not pressured or hinted at even once all week . I do feed sorry for the staff if they receive less tips because of this policy.
My sons both worked food service in high school and college and the stories they can tell will leave you shaking your head. The guidelines given are certainly less than the 15-20% most people currently use at a resturant. And the service makes the cruise what it is.