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R Buck September 25th, 2001 02:50 PM

Tipping Policy
What is the policy for administering tips on HAL? Are they included in cruise price, added on to final statement, or offered as cash at the end of the cruise. We've sailed on several lines before, but this is a first for HAL. Thanks for your info.

Y2C September 25th, 2001 04:24 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Hello R BUCK,

HAL has a "Tipping not required" policy. But they do go on to say that you are free to extend monetary recognition.
HAL does not have automatic tips added. Same is true for bartenders etc, where other lines automatic add 15% to bar bills. I just have $1 bills with me for room service, bartenders and others.
As for the cabin steward, waiter and assistant waiter I tip on the last night, but you need to bring your own envelops or request them from guest relations/pusers desk. They will not have anything written on them as other cruise lines, as WAITER and so on.
Hope that helps,

Tuesday West Coast
Chat Host

R Buck September 25th, 2001 04:35 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Very helpful. Thanks so much. I'll be sure and bring my own envelopes.

Alice F. Coyl September 25th, 2001 06:06 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Although HAL has a no tipping policy, we always tip as though we were on another cruise line. These folks work very hard for us for the time we are on board. True, on your bar bill a 15% is added and to your wine packages 15% is added. But, consider how hard every one else on the ship works. We were told by HAL that they give better benefits to their employees than other cruise lines and that is the reason for the policy. But, when we get on, we always tell our room steward, head waiter and assistant waiter that we do give gratuities for excellent service. And, we always get it. We also make a note of every employee's name who serves us from our room steward to the bar people and at the end of the cruise we write a letter to the Hotel Manager. We mention each employee by name and mention something about how each served us well. We hand it personally to the Hotel Manager. We have been recognized two years later by employees who remember us. One room steward even received Employee Of The Month award for our recognizing his service.

It only takes a moment or two to thank people who serve us. These folks do not make a large salary and work 12 to 14 hour days.


Y2C September 25th, 2001 08:07 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Hi Alice,
Excellent idea, the crew does work long and hard hours. Recognition is worth a whole lot to those that serve the passengers.

Tuesday West Coast
Chat Host

FrankM September 26th, 2001 06:31 AM

Re: Tipping Policy
R Buck,

On the MS Veendam, envelopes were provided in the folder on the room dresser. They can also be had at the Front Desk. The staff won't advise you as to how much to tip, so figure that out before you leave on yur trip. Generally that is (per day) $3.50 for the Room Stewart and Head Waiter, $2.00-2.50 for the Assistant Waiter, $2.00 for the Wine Stewart if you are served any wine at the table and $1.00 per day for the Dining Manager.

How much you tip, or if you tip, is strictly up to you. The service I received on the MS Veendam was the best I have ever received. These staff members were almost like family by the time my 7-day cruise was over. I showed my appreciation by exceeding the above guidelines. They, as well as the other staff members, made my cruise one of the most memorable vacations I have ever had.I am sure your's will be to.


dizyca September 26th, 2001 09:02 AM

Re: Tipping Policy
Alice you state "True, on your bar bill a 15% is added and to your wine packages 15% is added.: I have travelled with HAL exclusivley for 20 years and they have NEVER added 15% to a bar bill. Did you mean to say "True, on your bar bill a 15% is NOT added"?

Alice Coyl September 26th, 2001 01:35 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
All drinks on board include a "hidden" 15% gratuity per our travel agent who cruises almost exclusively with HAL. It wouldn't look good to show a gratuity if the cruise line has a no gratuity required policy. This includes wine packages and all bar drinks. And, I understand this 15% is shared among all the crew members on the ship. Any additional gratuity you leave a particular person is theirs to keep.

If this is not correct, perhaps a representative from HAL could set us straight.

Congratulations for your 20 years of cruising with HAl. We reach our 100 day mark (3 years) our next cruise in October.


dizyca September 27th, 2001 07:53 AM

Re: Tipping Policy
Alice- I think your TA is wrong, but I will ask the Hotel Manager when I am on the ship next month. I have never heard of this.
And Congratulations to you also - 100 days in 3 years sailing. That's a lot of cruising in that short time. I will be 334 for me - don't think I will ever hit that 500 mark to get my Gold medal back - strongly lislike the new medals

ltc September 27th, 2001 04:56 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Guess I am going to sound cheap, but I don't think HAL should promote the idea of "tipping not required" in the manner that they do. And I do think they vaguely promote the idea that it is not required in their media. I have had it pointed out to me when choosing a cruise that this is a plus for me cost wise. I have cruised quite a few times, though not on HAL. I do appreciate just how hard the staff generally works & tries to please, & very often overtip, though I have never undertipped. However, I have always been given the impression that HAL charges a little more for their cruises because their staff is more highly compensated than those of the other mainstream lines. There is another line that I have heard forbids tipping - I think maybe Seabourne or Crystal??? HAL seems to be trying to tap the best of both worlds here. I'd rather just be told tipping is expected instead of this very wishy washy, gray area they seem to have about tipping. I am certain they have great service from all I have read

sail7seas September 27th, 2001 08:45 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
We have sailed many, many times with HAL and they definitely DO NOT add any gratuity to bar bills or wine bills. The TA who told clients that information is mistaken.

We always tip more on HAL than we would on any other cruiseline...the service is better than we receive on any other cruise line.

We always go to the "office' and they have all the envelopes you desire...but they are by request only. At the end of every cruise, there is a big basket (or other container) with envelopes on the office counter and you can take the number you require. They do not distribute them to the cabins.

Gregory Neal September 28th, 2001 02:31 AM

Re: Tipping Policy
"At the end of every cruise, there is a big basket (or other container) with envelopes on the office counter and you can take the number you require. They do not distribute them to the cabins."

They are placed in the MiniSuites and Suites along with your personalized stationary.


fideauxdon September 28th, 2001 08:24 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
I've taken about 5 HAL cruises, and up to now, no "automatic" tips for bar service have been added. I did, however, receive a questionnaire from HAL several months ago in which they asked whether recipients would be against adding 15% to the bar bill. I told them that I'd be all for it, since my wife and I tend to frequent several lounges during the course of a tour, and recognizing several waiters can be confusing.

sail7seas September 28th, 2001 10:14 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
The envelopes found in the leather portfolio when you board in the mini-suites and suites are part of the " personalized letter paper" which is one of the nice extras for these accomodations. These envelopes certainly could be used for tipping if you choose ut they have not been put there for that purpose.

I have always used the personalized writing paper for thank you notes I have written to various crew while abord.

Gregory Neal September 28th, 2001 10:23 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
>>These envelopes certainly could be used for tipping if you choose ut they have not been put there for that purpose.<<

Yes, that's correct. However, I have always just used them for that purpose.

>>I have always used the personalized writing paper for thank you notes I have written to various crew while abord.<<

Yes, exactly. And that's what I've done. I don't just tip them, I also write them a thank you note using the complementary stationary.

Grace and Peace,


don September 29th, 2001 12:49 AM

Re: Tipping Policy

I agree, I agree. I also was told the advantage of cruising HAL was tips were not required and even frowned upon it was part of the fare.

Now I have booked a cruise for my daughter and myself on a limited budget and am faced with being a cheapskate because I have not budgeted for tips.

I wish HAL would be honest enough up front to say tips are not required but if you want the staff to make a living you better tip. Then it puts them on the same level playing field that all other lines are on.

HAL may be the finest cruise line in the world but I am starting out with a bad taste in my mouth about them over the tipping issue.


dizyca September 29th, 2001 09:30 AM

Re: Tipping Policy
Don - who told you that tips were part of the fare on HAL ships and also that tipping was frowned upon? If it was your TA, I think he/she should be set straight.
If you will look at the back of the brochure there is a sections which answers many questions, one being "Who should I tip and how much? It states clearly in there what HAL's policy is.
If you are on a strict budget and haven't included tips, then that is your business. No one is going to put you down for not tipping. That is your perogative - to tip or not to tip. You may find at the end of your cruise, that you have a couple of buck left over and that the cabin steward and dining room steward really do deserve a tip for their excellent service so just give them what you can afford.
Do enjoy your trip and don't worry about the tipping part.

don September 29th, 2001 11:49 AM

Re: Tipping Policy
I found this post, it is long but really good, on another board. The information is reported to come from HAL's CEO. Read it i believe it will clear us much confusion.


Tipping per the CEO of HAL
Here's a few thoughts on tipping on HAL. We got most of this from Kirk Lanterman, the CEO for HAL, during a Q&A on board Maasdam. He was asked about the "confusing" tipping policy. His answer -- summarized a bit -- and with my own thoughts at the end.
There is no policy, or standards. His staff is not to solicit tips. If you feel that they were excellent in their job, and wish to tip them at whatever amount you'd like, you are free to do so. If you want to use industry standards as a base, fine. It is YOUR decision. He pays the staff 6-10 times the industry standard (depending on job and experience). He provides all uniforms, unlike some other cruise lines. He pays their airfare to and from the ship at beginning and end of contract, unlike some other cruise lines. His employees get medical and dental benefits (who knows how much, but I do know they have a dentist on board many sailings to take care of staff).
They are paid 6-10 times the living standard in their home countries, often making them the highest paid residents of their islands in the Philippines or Indonesia. This is before any of them include tips. Many of them take very good care of their families as well as other relatives at home on what they make, and they receive very
generous tips from those who enjoy rewarding excellent service. Excellent is excellent - by any standards.

His words were -- if it comes down to whether a bar staff member is hustling drinks to earn the tips, or helping an elderly lady with her tray, his staff has been trained to help the passengers, not hustle drinks, and they are expected to help. If the passengers then wish to reward their favorites for the excellent help they received on board, then that is their choice. The amount is their choice.

Now my thoughts --

Go to HAL's website. Check out the employment section. You will find this --- "Thank you for your interest in employment opportunities at
Holland America Line - Westours, Inc. Due to labor agreements that the shipowning companies are parties to with unions in Holland, Indonesia
and the Philippines, most of our crew positions are limited to members of these unions. Persons desiring to work on the ships in the gift shops, as photographers, in the casinos or beauty salons, as a masseur/masseuse, or in the physical fitness area need to contact the companies we have contracts with for the staffing of these positions."

Try and find that in many other cruise lines' hiring policies. Union employees -- with benefits, maybe not to US standards but certainly good enough that when you talk to the bar staff or your waiters, you find them with years of employment on HAL. For the most part, they are very satisfied with their conditions of employment.

Incidentally, this closed ship policy may be why many of us get a bit frustrated when the newer ships aren't fully staffed yet, or have some
very new wait staff. The Indonesians and Filipinos have a lock on these positions, and the staffing varies as the new classes "graduate" from
the school. Staff rotates ships, and they do get to put in choices, but they may not always get their first choice.

I find that the way they do business is, for the most part, very smart -- we generally benefit from it. Yes, I have to find my favorite bar staff the last night with something to thank them for all they did during the cruise, with an envelope -- because the 15% wasn't automatically added. What that meant though, was that the bar staff on Lido was always accommodating to our needs, often stopping by to talk and ask if we wanted more iced tea -- and getting it for us. As opposed to our being hounded by bar staff looking to make the 15% tip on alcoholic beverages.

Yes, they have lapses in service. Yes, I have heard the stories about staff members who were definitely trying to get tips (I have also heard that if you say something to management about any instance of solicitation that the staff member is "reminded" that this is NOT allowed.)

We have never been solicited for tips with 43 days sailing on HAL, but we have heard of incidents from fellow cruisers.

It is very difficult at times to for us to even find our cabin steward to give him his tip -- the last night they are running around with the
luggage and they service your room while you are at dinner so we generally have to seek him out in the morning as he is cleaning cabins. The waiters etc. don't hover around on the last night. We have had to go to them usually, although it is easier to give something to the waiter when he gives all the ladies their set of the dinner menus. The assistant waiter and the wine steward have to be approached by us to give them something. I feel that the staff on HAL genuinely loves their jobs, and most do very well at them.

With the huge influx of newbuilds, I have found the staff to be not as polished, but most really try to please the customers. Yes, the newer staff has limited English skills. We just learn how to work within that, and use the dining room supervisors for special requests.

The bottom line is --- you are not required to give some "industry standard" as a substitute for a living wage to the staff. You are free to tip as little or as much as you wish, to whomever YOU feel warrants the tip -- you can carry dollars to tip bar staff, or tip at beginning or end or wherever and however you wish. You are free to give presents as well as or in lieu of money. Many times a special present is much appreciated, such as an interantional phone card.

One of the most important thing to them is for you to mention them "by name" in the customer surveys, or to their supervisors -- as it will help them tremendously in their quest to move up in their jobs, or move into supervisory positions.

I have tipped above "industry standards" on many occasions on HAL, because I felt my service was better from those individuals than I had ever received on other cruises. I also know that I can tip whatever I want if I felt someone was just "Doing their job" -- which has only happened with a couple of individuals. I understand it is MY choice, and that I am not depriving someone of food on the table or a living wage -- they are making that in their contract. The tip, if rendered, is a reward for superior service.

I have yet to find a waiter on 11 cruises who was "worse" that the "best" services that I find in restaurants here in the states. Here where I have to give 17-20% as "industry standard" just to get adequate service.

I have found some very lousy bar staff on lots of ships (so far, not on HAL) and it's a shame that the automatic 15% rewards really bad service. That 15% is most of what that bar server on other ships is being paid, and it isn't based on how well he serves you, but on how many drinks he can hustle.

Bottom line -- I don't mind HAL's policy. I find it gives me the freedom to do what I wish. If the staff was truly suffering from this policy, they can always get jobs on other ships. So far, in
conversations with staff on our cruises, the vast majority of them have worked many years on HAL, and are perfectly happy with their employer. I find it is really lots of fun to unexpectedly tip someone outside the "food chain" just because they made my trip a pleasure. For example, the gentlemen who calls us to dinner with the chimes and who dispenses the little goodies on the way out of the dining room, with his ready supply of "puns" or pleasantries.


Gregory Neal September 29th, 2001 12:11 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Dear Don,

As I said in my email to you, you should do whatever you feel comfortable doing. You're not a cheapskate if you don't tip, and there is NO requirement for you TO tip. I hope you didn't take my email response in which I outlined what I tip on Holland line ships as being indicative of me calling you a cheapskate.

Please, just go and enjoy the trip and don't let the tipping question worry you. And you're NOT being a cheapskate!

Grace and Peace,


sail7seas September 29th, 2001 02:56 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
Don: I find HAL to be perfectly honest about the tipping policy. "No tipping required does NOT mean No tipping Allowed." I don't find it the least confusing. What cruise line can REQUIRE you to tip? If you fail to appropriately thank those people who have made your trip special, does Princess (or Celebrity, or NCL, or RCI etc) not let you off the ship?

Whichever "expert" told you that tipping was frowned upon on by HAL must have a problem understanding simple English.

You will, of course, make your own choices (as do we all) as to whether you wish to tip or not.

don September 29th, 2001 04:49 PM

Re: sail7seas
I understand the concept of giving a tip and not giving a tip. What I am concerned with is the way "tipping not required" is presented.

I, as other who have responded to this question on this board and other have seen print ads from TA who but "tipping not required" right under the advertised price. Thus it give the novice to cruising a sense that the tip is included in the fare.

I know you can tip or not tip. I have never stiffed cabin or wait staff. I do tip extra for any other service I get like laundry, breakfast in bed etc.

All I am saying is HAL should be brave enough to tell us that the tip is not included in the fare and it is not looked upon as salary as it is on other ships. JUST MAKE THIS CLEAR.

I have looked at post from a year back. Tipping was a big topic then as it is now. And the crowd seems to be divided on how to tip. One person told me he has heard that the ship well pays the staff so he give half of the suggested tip other lines suggest. If they, the staff, are well paid then they, the staff, do well. But if they aren't paid well then they suffer. All I am saying is help ones like me who desire the staff to make a good wage understand what I should give so their compensation, salary or salary plus tip is enough to help them live comfortably.

You see I am not looking for aay around tipping. All I want to know is what is a far amount. I work every day and no one tips me. In my work I often work 6 to 7 day a week and never get comp time. Why because I want to serve and make the things better in life. But I don't expect a tip or extra money. When I was hired on I knew what my job description and salary was going to be and accepted it. And have lived with in my means since.

Now does HAL pay the staff enough to live or do they pay them like waitress and waiters state side? If the cruise ship staff needs my tip to exist then tell me. Don't phrase the tipping policy in such a way that it can be interperted two ways.

All I ask is for HAL make it clear.


mindy September 29th, 2001 11:11 PM

Re: sail7seas
We were told -- I don't know if this is true. That HAL pays their dining room stewards and cabin stewards $120 a week-- this info came from one of the Dutch employees. We asked our dining room steward about tipping in the Marco Polo as that would probably be a one time dining experience. He said HAL is aware that the Marco Polo stewards may not receive as much in tips, so they are given an "incentive". The word incentive was his word. He likes the main dining room better as he has a chance to get to know the people.

According to our dining room steward -- the stewards are given 3 month training --7 days a week with hours similar to that on the ship. They are given English langauge training and skill training. Our dining room steward is 23 and has been with HAL for 4 years. He proudly told us that he has been on all the continents! He was delightful!

We felt the service on the Volendam was impeccable and we tipped accordingly.

sail7seas September 30th, 2001 09:17 AM

Re: sail7seas
Sorry if this sounds a bit "touchy" but...I wouldn't want the stewards to ask me what my salary I don't think it is my business to know what their salary is.

As to whether you wish to tip...your decision. You want to tip, I'm sure they will appreciate it. If you wish to be among the few who choose not to tip, your choice. No one will say a single thing to you about it and the service you receive will remain at the same high level....though you'd only be aboard a few hours past the "normal" time to distribute tips and thank the stewards.

sealady September 30th, 2001 08:02 PM

Re: sail7seas
I don't know about the wages on Holland America.. but I have made the aquaintance of a bar waitress on Celebrity... she has stated that she made $32,000 in 6 months half of the tab plus gratuities but she only worked for one cantract...the hours are bad and the pressure great... but she confirmed what I have suspected... they make alot more than I do !!!!!!!!!...

Tim Agg October 1st, 2001 04:33 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
This is off-topic, but I enjoyed the exchange about days at sea. We passed 100 days [in 7 years] on the Noordam last fall, and were awarded the new copper medallion. I insisted on wearing mine through a formal night dinner, and felt that with a little gold braid. a couple more medals and a funny hat, I'd have looked like a stereotypical banana-republic dictator. Cute but a little much. On the other hand, yes it is coming with me next month on the Zaandam. Cheers!

lougee October 7th, 2001 05:24 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
i am presuming that you meant to write that the tips to the cabin attendant of $3.50 per day is also meant as per person. cabin attendant and waiter $7.00
each per day for a party of two. all other daily tips are figured thlis way

pat October 9th, 2001 10:14 PM

Re: Tipping Policy
I have quite a few Filipino friends working on H.A. ships. The bartenders make $200.00 a month from H.A. They pool their tips so the ones working in the background still get some extra money. Because $200.00 a month doesn't go very far in ANY country. And confusing people about 'tipping not required' is only hurting the best thing about a H.A. cruise & that is by far their Crew!. I have asked several of them & they all would like to have the tips added on to the bar bills. This would eliminate ANY confusion as to whether people should tip or not. And for those who say it would change their attitudes or their 'friendly' smiles would disappear, well, that is a sure sign that you just don't know them very well! That is the same as saying that they are only being nice because of money. AND THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE!
If everyone would just tip as they do in any restaurant or bar at home, we wouldn't have this problem. Other cruise lines wouldn't be adding it on to the bill if people weren't 'stiffing' the Crew. Tipping is NEVER required, but it is expected in ANY restaurant/bar on land and it is exactly the same on a ship. No one would ever leave a restaurant where they got good service without leaving a tip on land-WHY DO THEY THINK IT IS DIFFERENT ON A SHIP!
I do fault H.A. for confusing the issue-they should DEFINITELY change their words about tipping. They should be taking good care of their BEST assets. Even if they don't want to suggest an amount, they could at least admit that these wonderful people depend on their tips -as does ANY waitress,waiter,or bartender on land.

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