Hi all, I just discovered this message board this morning. It is a great board because the posts are so recent!
I am taking my boyfriend on the Fascination next month for his birthday so expect to see a few more questions from me!
The question I have today is about the option to pay your TA the $30 US per person gratuities when you book your ticket. I haven't seen anyone mention the pros or cons of this anywhere. If I choose this option, will I still have to put more in that envelope that you take to dinner on the last night that I have heard about. Will the various cruise staff still expect tips? Will they even know that I have already paid or will they assume I am not tipping them anything? I realize that tips for alcoholic / paid beverages and other paid service are tipped seperately but I am talking about tipping for the all-inclusive portion.
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Paying gratuities before hand
Carnival does offer the option to pre-pay your tips if you so choose (and on some of the 2 night cruises to nowhere they are automatically included in the cruise fare.) If you don't want to pre-pay your TA, then what you will find is that Carnival will charge your sign and sail card an amount (I believe it is $10 pp per day) to cover the waiter, assistant waiter and room steward. You have the option of keeping that as it is, adjusting the tips upward or downward depending on the level of service you receive, or having the tips removed completely and tipping in the traditional manner on the last night of the cruise.
In addition to the above and the bartenders and wait staff whose tips are included in the price of the drink, I also always tip the person who brings my room service meals to me ($1 or $2 depending on what I have ordered) and MAYBE I also tip the maitre'd IF he does something for me other than stopping by on the last night to shake my hand.
I also tip the porters at the pier who handle my luggage ($1 per bag - I want it to show up in my stateroom! lol), and if you take any of the ship's tours or arrange one on your own, I always tip the person who is giving me the tour - especially if they do a great job.
Post Edited (10-12-02 16:11)
Carnival Breeze with Ray B and Aerogirl 5/4/14!
reply to my own question, who'd have thought! i just read an older post by someone else (i don't remember her name) asking the same question. so let's see if i understood correctly. the option of prepaying with the TA is not necessary as this amount will be automatically added to our sign and sail card on the cruise. however, if we prefer we can tell them to remove this amount and pay the staff ourselves? we've always paid tips ourselves and after reading the message thread for that post i think i will want to give the tips myself.
hey, hune. Another thing to think about in addition to monetary tips are small gifts for your room steward, or waiter/assist waiter, or all three. I think there are some threads on the board where some people plan on giving phone cards and other small tokens of appreciation.
A tip I got on this board was to tip U.S. two-dollar bills for the bartenders and others who get cash tips. You can get them at the bank and when you sit down at the bar for a drink tip the two-dollar bill. Make a big deal out of it and assure the bartender that it is real. The bartender will remember you and give extra good service as a two-dollar bill is something curious and unusual for them. It really worked for us.
I've never heard the part about Carnival automatically charging your sign & sail card if you chose not to prepay your tips. I'm about to go on my first cruise (so I do not have any first hand experience) but it was explainied to meby a Carnival agent that you have the option of prepaying or using the envelope at the end of the trip. While I expect to tip at least the suggested amount at the end, I don't like the idea of having this decided for me. Just sounds weird to me that they'd charge the sign and sail card for something that should be left to the traveler's own discression.
I'd love to hear some feedback / verification about the sign & sail piece. thanks!
Adam, they will automatically charge your S&S when you arrive, but you can go to the Purser's desk and have it removed and tip them yourself the last night. I think in part it was instituted because people get so confused about tipping, and in part because some prefer to just stiff everyone. If you'd rather tip in person, that's fine too.
I chose to leave mine on and gave our waiter a little extra the last night. I'll probably do that with future cruises too, unless someone is just horrid.
Adam, this new feature was only added last January and phased in on most Carnival ships. As mentioned with alternative dining especially, a lot of wait staff were not getting their "fair share" of tips. Some people are different. The automatic charge of $9.75 per day per person takes care of your waiter and assistant waiter and your cabin steward. You are in complete control and have the option of going to the pursors desk and removing the entire charge, lowering a specific amount or increasing the amount. You can also extend additional cash gratuties to the members of the staff that you wish to show your appreciation too. It really has not affected service, so why not give it a try. You won't have to carry extra cash. You can pay it off when you pay your credit card bill also.