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Old August 3rd, 2009, 09:49 AM
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Default The Confusing Area that is Tipping !!

Hi again, we are half way through our pre registration thingy online and have come to the setting up of the Sign & Sail Card. I have read many confusing sentences about tipping and would like to know how most people handle this. Statements like 'Beverage purchases: A 15% gratuity will automatically be added to the bill which the guest may adjust appropriate to the service received.' are not helping. I thought I had a handle on this issue but am now even more confused. As I understand it a certain amount will be added to our bill to account for tips. BUT any beverages will always carry a 15% levy, yet I now read I can change this if I want. I have read that we can stop the automatic service charge going on to our account and then tip who we want with the amount we feel is deserved. I have also seen in the gallery a picture of an email sent to staff effectively reminding them of who has opted out of automatic tipping. I wonder if that makes the staff work harder (if thats possible) or just makes the staff feel they will do less than their best for those that have opted out. I guess overall I am asking how best to deal with the issue of tipping?
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 09:58 AM
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Hope this helps.

You will have daily tips added to your Sign & Sail card of $10/day per passenger. These tips go to your room steward and your dining room server and assistant.

Additionally, any bar service - alcohol or sodas will have a 15% gratuity added to the bill. Get a 1.00 coke (if there was such a thing) pay 1.15. These purchases, also go on your Sign & Sail account. No additional tipping is necessary.

There are some other areas where you might consider tipping. If you get room service you should probably tip, this would be cash. If you have a spa service you should probably tip. Also have some cash to tip those who provide you services ashore.

Enjoy.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:28 AM
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Sounds about right to me....
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:28 AM
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GeorgeandBev....not to worry, the cruise lines have made the whole tipping process very simple for the passengers.

Carnival automatically charges your Sail & Sign account for gratuities for dining room and stateroom staff (it is currently $10 per guest per day). These gratuities are split up between head waiter, assistant waiter, lead room steward, helper, etc. The only person not receiving a piece of this pie is the Maitre d' and bar staff. The Maitre d' can be tipped separately (if you so desire), they will leave an empty envelope in your stateroom prior to the last night for this purpose. I tip the Maitre d' a minimal amount unless he has gone above and beyond and that has never happened on any of my sailings. The automatic tips charged to your Sail & Sign account can be adjusted (up or down) at any time by paying a visit to the Purser's desk while on board. The service on any cruise ship I have sailed has never been so bad that I was prompted to remove my tips but I know people that have. Service has been so great that I usually leave an additional tip at the end of the cruise for my room steward and wait staff.

As far as beverage service is concerned at any of the bars located on the ship and in the show lounges, an automatic 15% tip is added to your bill (this includes canned soft drinks)...you do not have to leave an additional tip...lots of people don't realize that the tip is automatic and leave an additional amount which is totatlly unnecessary unless service is outstanding.

The only other person you should probably tip (in cash) is for room service. I always make sure I have $20 or $30 in singles set aside specifically for room service tips ($2 is the average tip, I believe). Tipping other cruise line staff is at your discretion such as the musician at the Piano Bar, etc.

Maybe that memo you refer to is posted to prompt the wait staff to make an extra effort but then again, there are lots of cruisers who don't believe in tipping at all.

Bottom line, the service gratuities are automatically charged to your account and my opinion is that the staff works very hard for them. The gratuities added to your beverage purchases are automatic also but if you don't drink a lot or bring your own, it's a moot point. We only adjusted our beverage bills once when we cruised with a large group and kept the waiter very busy one night, he was great, so we tipped him a little extra.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Some people also tip the Porters and Maitre D'. I normally leave the auto tips on and don't try to adjust the tip at the bar. At the Captian's Cocktail party I tip the waiter. Oddly enough more of these free drinks make there way over to my table.

I have had such good service that I have added a little extra for the waiters and the cabin steward. I have never had bad service on a cruise ship, so I have not tried to decrease the tips. I hope that helps.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 11:08 AM
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4 cruises so far (and 2 more in the next 6 months) and we have yet to have any reason to decrease the $10 that Carnival takes out for each day.
(like the service everyone else seems to have gotten so far also)

I always meet our room steward on embarkation day and ask for bathrobes (if they aren't already in the closet) and for him to please keep my cooler filled with ice all week.
I then usually tip him a $10 or so for getting my beverages frosty as quickly as possible.
3 out of the 4 cruises, the room stewards service was so exceptional, I also left another $20 at the end of the cruise.

Just keep some ones in your cabin to tip any room service you order and tip your waitstaff as you feel.

If I find a good bartender at a bar I frequent all week, I tip him above the automatic 15% and amazingly, no matter how busy things get all week, my drinks get refreshed before I take my last sip, the entire week.

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Old August 3rd, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_rd
Additionally, any bar service - alcohol or sodas will have a 15% gratuity added to the bill. Get a 1.00 coke (if there was such a thing) pay 1.15. These purchases, also go on your Sign & Sail account. No additional tipping is necessary.
If I bought the unlimited soda card, will the 15% be applied for every soda I ordered?
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:13 PM
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dude_hdt, no the tip is included with the price of the card.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Have never had any reason to take away the auto tips and of course have left alone the 15% on anything from the bar.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:20 PM
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No, they don't charge a gratuity on soft drinks obtained thru the card but maybe those fees are already built in. Be aware that if you purchase one of these cards, the soft drinks will be served in a cup...you will not get a full can of soda. Figure out how much you will spend during the duration of your cruise to see if it is to your benefit to purchase the card. Unless you drink a lot of soda, I personally don't think these cards are worth the cost but that's just my opinion. Bring some soft drinks on board and replenish your supply at the different ports, pack an insulated mug and fill it up and take it with you wherever you go, on and off the ship.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Yes They add the gratuity on when you buy the card. So you never have to pay each time you get a soda.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:38 PM
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They have made tipping extremely simple. All you have to do is nothing. The tips added to your S&S account and bar tab is all that is necessary or expected. In many cruises I have never had service so poor that I would even consider removing tips. As stated room service should be tipped on delivery. It is also customary to leave a little something for the Maitre D' on the last night in the envelope provided. If some individual has provided exceptional service you can give them something extra in cash but that is your choice. 8)
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 02:34 PM
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I agree with all of the above, except tipping the maitre d. As someone else stated in another thread, they are management. They get paid well and we don't tip them unless they do something for us personally that is above and beyond their job requirements.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:21 PM
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Thanks everyone, that just about straightens things out in that area for us. I think we will probably do what is advised - leave well alone - unless someone stands out either good or bad. On another slightly linked area - how much do these 'soda cards' cost?
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgeandbev
Thanks everyone, that just about straightens things out in that area for us. I think we will probably do what is advised - leave well alone - unless someone stands out either good or bad. On another slightly linked area - how much do these 'soda cards' cost?
Last time I cruised 2008 they were about $6.5 per day. So a 7 day is about $45. My hubby and I shared one.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 08:11 PM
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Marty,I agree with the maitre'd......unless he has gone over and above, this is one of the waitstaff, most people don't tip...
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 09:59 PM
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I also agree with not tipping the Maitre D. That position is definitely pushing upper management status so companies tend to take care of them well. Now if I were to need their service in straightening out dining arrangements etc... then a tip is certainly called for.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:12 PM
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Tipping for room service is 2/3 dollars...we waited over an hour on our last cruise....it's hard to say, but ask how long before you hang up....
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