Seems one of the newest trends in cruising is to automatically bill your tips to your ship board charge cards. Its my understanding, on ships where this is being done, the passengers can request the "pre paid" tips be removed from the charges, and you can tip directly. What's everyone's opinion? Thumbs up, or down, on prepaid tips???
BTW... here's my opinion.
My first reaction to this system was a big thumbs down. As I've given it some more thought, I've become more tolerant of the idea for a number of reasons.
Knowing I have the ablitilty to remove these charges entirely, or adjust them accordingly, still gives me the control of who I'm tipping what amount. At the same time, it possibly reduces the number of times the hard working staff get "stiffed" by unknowing or uncaring passengers. (Ever notice how many empty seats there are in the dining room the last night.)
I normally over tip, because the service usually warrants it, so I'd still be able to have the experience of personally delivering the "over and above" tip to those staff members who earned it. And, knowing it was "over and above" they'd likely be even more appreciative.
Then there's also the selfish side of me.. with the tips going on my charge card I get those wonderful little frequent flyer miles my credit card awards me for my spending <G>
The upscale cruise lines include tips in their fares, and people seem to commend that. Isn't "pre paid tipping" sort of a version of that?
The downsides I guess would be the possibility of irregularities in the tips actually getting to the staff, and the possiblity of the staff delivering less than stellar service, thinking they are getting the tips anyway.
So, after all this rambling, what's my opinion U ask?
I don't mind the pre paid tipping idea. But I would like to see them leave receipts of the charges in our cabins (as they do now, leaving envelopes), and then we could hand them to the staff, which they would then turn in to collect their tips.
Anything put against my charge account without my full acceptance scares me. I understand the total daily amount for the proposed Princess tips is supposed to be less than the recommended token amounts, but I still like to have the control. It is good that I could make the adjustments up or down on my charge, however, am I going to have to scrutinize my bill daily for the facts; good service, did I eat at an Alternate restaurant that day, was the bus boy's service less than acceptable, etc. Sounds like a lot of detail work ahead and I enjoy not having to always be so detailed while on vacation. We will sail the Grand Princess eight weeks from today, so I guess we shall see. I am anxious to hear from cruisers on the new system this month.
Kuki, please let Paul know this is a Good new forum. I have missed his comments.
Yes, I'd have to agree with you with the prepaid tipping. As long as I have the option of taking it off my credit card and paying the amount I think is warranted.
I'm all for the convience of having them taken care of and not worring about bringing cash along just for the sole purpose of tipping.
Yes, I've noticed those empty seats on the last night in the dinning room, for that purpose I can certainly see the cruise lines starting this new policy.
I'm torn about this though I was originally shocked by the thought of not giving the tips directly.
Firstly, I'm still not sure after all the boards I've seen, what the $6.50 is for....just waiter and assistant waiter (more than the recommended $3 + $1.75 per day) or includes the room steward (less than the total $3 + $3 + $1.75)?
Secondly, my husband and I intend to go to the late sitting dinner with the regular waiter and steward but my seven year old will eat at the buffet. Whereas, I will want our tips to go to our waiter and steward, not a big pool of shared monies, my son will be using the services of other waiters....The pooled tip seems more appropriate from him....doesn't it? But if we hand my husband's and my tip to our waiters, they may not think we have considered my son's share though he never attended, but left an empty seat. What a quandry! Any opinions, answer quickly, I sail on Saturday on the Sea Princess.
Hi Kuki: I completely agree with your comments on the tipping. I really enjoy tipping personally. I like to see the smile on their faces when you sincerely
thank them for a job well done. I will always ask to have the credit card charge removed and enjoy the "task" of doing this for myself. It's a part of cruising that I have always known. Just my thoughts. Happy Sailing!!! John F
I'm all for pre-paid tipping. If I could get away with carrying no cash at all I'd be a happy camper. On Princess we used to be able to tip with personal checks. Don't know if we can still do this (Give the waiter, steward, whatever the tip as a check made out to Princess cruises. Princess cashes it for it's employee). I also would hate it if we couldn't adjust the tips up and down. I bought pre-paid tips on my Carnival cruise last fall. It came in the form of non refundable vouchers. I ended up giving everyone the vouchers plus addtional cash because the service was excellent, but if it had been lousy I would just have been out my money, bad deal I think.
I have only one problem with the pre-paid tipping. In the past we have always over tipped our waiter while giving nothing to the Maiter D' (sp?) unless he specifically provided a service to us. I heard they are adding an amount for the head waiter and Maiter D'. It has always irked me that the only time you see these guys is on the last night when they come around with their hand out. Seems like they should be compensated without relying on tips.
Ruth, I totally agree with you. On our Nov. 2000 Sea Princess cruise, we NEVER saw the matre d', yet, in their scheme of things, he'd share the tip. Yet, our head waiter wouldn't and he was at our table every night, made us many a special dish, etc. Far more deserving. Please don't tell me, as it was said in our disembarkation talk, that the Matre D oversees all dining. I've always been told that management (in other areas, not cruising) never gets tipped, so why is it different for the matre d'? It sounds as if he's a manager.
I am totally against prepaid tips. Not necessarily the concept, but more the wording. Do you HONESTLY thing you will not be given a hassle to remove or reduce the amount? Any charge applied to my account that I have to request removal of is a FEE, not a tip. Tips are totally discretionary--including whether one wants to give them or not. Once it's automatic, it's no longer discretionary and no longer a "tip."
I wish the lines would just raise the line and say "no tips". I think it would receive far less grumbling. (I've posted a similar post on the tipping board.) It would also solve the problem of those who stiff the staff.
I also like Kuki's idea of charging to your room and then YOU put the rec't. in the envelopes. YOU have the discretion of who and what to tip. You still wouldn't need to carry cash (agreed, a hassle.).
Personally, I would rather tip on a service rendered basis. I would rather tip the lunch buffet staff that seat me and tip my dinning room waiter for services rendered. Often, I only use room sevice. I generally keep a stack of ones to tip them two or three dollars.
I always tip the appropriate people the appropriate amounts; I generally tip 150% or so of the recommened amount - but only those that exceed my normal level of service. I give my favorite bartender $20 or so at the end of the cruise and the Matrie'D (sp) $20 if he/she makes sure my table is OK.
If the water person leaves me stranded for 20 minutes one night - I evaluate why. If it is two or three nights, he/she gets zilch.
Tips are supplements to income I understand, but they are at the discression of the tipper. For example, on a 7-night cruise last year, our group of ten gave a combined wopping total of $10 to the waiter. The head waiter got $500 - he took care of our group.
Last month, I gave my waiter $130 when the recommended was $90, the waterperson received $20 over the recommended. The staff all received more than the recommended because they rendered services exceeding the norm.
I have "stiffed" many service persons in the past. In fact, I show up at the last night and I proudly hand over my $1 in the envelope That is the way I handle it. Of course, I ship the money due that person to someone else that gave me exceptional service.
I agree with pre-tipping as a concept so that people aren't surprised with the dough at the end of the cruise, but it must have an adjustment policy because some people just deserve $1 and some deserve all the money.
I like to tip the individuals personally. My concern is the open seating and the alternative dining. We will be going on a Renaissance cruise soon and do not know a good way to handle tipping dining room staff. If anyone has a way to accomplish this, I'd like to hear it! I thought about tipping after each meal, but really do not want to carry cash on board.
I'm really torn on this. While I do understand why Cruise Lines are doing this (having witnessed how many people don't show up on the last night) I too like to have control. In the past Carnaival suggested $3.50 per day for the waiter and $2.00 per day for the busboy and $3.50 per day for the cabin stewart. Now with prepaid tipping, they charge $5.50 per day which includes the Head Waiter, and two table waiters, $3.50 for the cabin stewart and .75 cents for the Lido staff. The last cruise we sailed on we hardly saw the Head Waiter until the last night! The $5.50 we would pay to the Waiter and Busboy is now split between three people! I don't like that.
I've heard that Carnival will leave vouchers in your room the last night to give to the dining staff (that's fine), but I still think I will have the tipping removed and tip accordingly. I still think the waiter and bus boy deserve more than the Head Waiter. On the other hand, if its a hassel (with line ups etc) reversing the charge, I hope I can still give additional tips, in cash, to the appropriate staff member.