If we wait until the last night and personally hand out our tips, how is that done, exactly? (Probably a stupid newbie question.) I mean, I know we take envelopes onboard and address them to the proper staff and then put cash inside, but on the last night of the cruise, do we track these staff down or are they just hovering by the cabin door, or what? We'd like to limit the number of social blunders we're going to make
You will see your wait staff the last evening, they will give you every opportunity to pass them their envelope. Interesting to watch the total lack of class which many exhibit as they bestow their favors. Just thank the guy, wish him well, and hand him the damn thing.
The fellow you've never seen before who follows you grinning broadly is the head waiter. Unless he has rescued you from an impossible table or lit a fire under your table staff, I wouldn't be too concerned about him. Perhaps a verse of scripture in his envelope.
The cabin staff will make themselves available the last afternoon and evening. You probably won't see them the final morning so if you haven't crossed paths, leave the envelope conspicuously on the pillow or dresser. I'm never sure about honor among crew so I like to look them in the eye, thank them and give them their reward.
The short answer: they will find you.
Don't worry about social blunders. You will see enough to make you feel like Emily Post.
I still prefer tipping in person as opposed to the automatic tipping that many cruise lines are now using. Tipping is personal for me, rewards for top-notch service. All you need to do is hand the envelope to your waiter, after your meal, don't forget the assistant waiter/busboy-girl - these are the people who do all the "real" work if you ask me. Leave the tip for your room steward in your cabin the morning you leave.
This very well may be a stupid question, but here goes - If tipping is automatic now will they still make themselves available they have done in the past. My husband and I plan on tipping the last evening instead of the auto tipping.
I recommend tipping a little something before hand, that is on the first night. I always give the cabin steward and waiter a $10 or $20, depending on how I feel, the first encounter I have with them, and ask them for something a little special. A plate of cookies in the room at night, a glass of wine waiting at dinner, for instance.
This gets their attention and allows you to stand out from amongst the other guests they have. It also let's them know you're not going to stiff them. And let's them know you are evaluating their service.
We tip in person and what we do is set the 'suggested' amount aside in envelopes for the cabin steward, waiter, and busboy. We also make sure we have extra to add on the last day. The night before departure we take a minute and add or subtract from these envelopes what we consider proper for the service we received. (Very seldom do we feel it proper to lessen the tip, usually add a good bit). We then take the waiter and busboys envelope with us to dinner and after dinner we thank our servers and discretely pass then the envelope along with out heartfelt thanks and handshake or hug. While leaving the dining room if approprate, (and it usually is), we thank the Maitre D and pass him his envelope when we shake his hand. Remember to make it personal and not just "here" like I have actually seen some do! We also leave the room stewards envelope on the desk in plain view away from any of our clutter so that he/she will see it the last night when they turn down the bed. If he/she short-sheets you then you know they were not happy. <G>
I have always tipped personally. However, on my cruise last April on the Crown Princess when I gave the envelope to my waiter, he had me list my name and cabin number. As I understand it, this is because they MUST share their tips with like staff. I find this grossly unfair to the good ones as opposed to the lazy ones. Still, I believe I'll continue with this policy. I generally do not tip the head waiter who just comes around to say hello and only tip the maitre 'd if he has done something extraordinary.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
I understand that tips will be automatic on the Conquest. What happens if I want to hand a nice tip to him or her directly? Will they still automatically charge me for the tip on my sail&sign?
I also hear that since they've gone to automatic tips, service has gone down hill. I agree with Thomas on setting the scene from the get go. I usually tip right from the start to build a "take care of me and I'll take care of you" type setting.
Disney gives you the best of both worlds. You tell them how much you want to tip whom and they include it in your final bill. You get a card with the server's name and amount to put in the damnable envelope. That way you personally reward but don't have to contend with cash. Disney does not pool tips and your gratuity is added to the server's pay stub with which he/she/? uses your card to verify. Old Walt has always made taking your money an enjoyable experience.
On the afternoon of the last day, there will be envelopes for tipping along with disembarkation instructions. This is on RCCL, anyway.
I hope that I NEVER am forced to do anything other than tip the last night IN PERSON! I think it is best to see that money go directly into the hands of the persons whom have helped make your vacation memorable.
Tipping some ahead of time, how does that work for you?
We have never done that before but actually I was thinking of it for our upcoming trip, as well as the idea of a gift bag for the steward, with a phone card and other toiletries (someone on another thread was mentioning this) it sounds like a real personal nice touch, besides the cash of course.
Speaking of tips. Do you tip and how much the person who delievers room service if you order a meal in your room? I have never ordered this but wondered if I would be expected to tip each time or is this brought by your steward?
Just for fun, look around you in the dining room on the last night "tipping night" and see how many people that were there the previous 6 or 9 evenings aren't there the last. We have frequently seen the most demanding patrons skip the last night's festivities. We sure hope it's not a tip dodge, but we are not that gullible. It's too bad cause these kids (generally) bust there butts for you and work mega hours doing it, for little pay.
I think some might be skipping out but I know when we were on the Disney Wonder, my daughter & I went to the specialty resturant and my husband and granddaughter had room service as she was ill. We gave them their tips the next morning because we knew we would be seeing them. That was the only time though that we didn't put the full amount in. The service and food was awful. Trying to get a drink that wasn't alcohol was unbelievable. And that was only one of the problems.