Holland's "tipping not required" policy is successful for the following reason:
There are ships where tipping is required close to the point of being "manadatory, " as in cases where they actually add them to your bill and put the onus on you to have them removed.
At the other end of the scale you have "tipping not allowed" ships, usually at the ultra-luxury scale of cruise lines. This sounds good to the passengers, but my personal experience has been that these crewpeople often slip into less than the best personal service because they know the compensation will be the same no matter whether they give 75% or 100% of their effort.
In both of the above cases the crew has a pretty good idea of exactly how much compensation they will get on every cruise. So the service can vary to great degrees with minimal effect on how the crew will be compensated.
I can tell you that some of the best service I have ever had was on Holland America ships, and I believe it is a result of their "tipping not required" policy. When a crewmember knows in advance that the passanger has the option to give them nothing with no guilt associated, but that a tip may very well be offered if the service is outstanding, they are going to try to offer service above and beyond the call of duty almost every time. And that is the kind of service I have received on many of my HAL voyages.
I believe the system really works well.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
However, I question your observation that service on luxury lines is less than the best and that the service may only be "75-100%". Have you sailed Seabourn lately? I cannot believe that there is better service on any other line; and it is given happily with sincere smiles. Service is NOT lacking or insincere on Seabourn--or RSSC or probably Silverseas, which we have not cruised.
Some lines train their people to look upon service as a career, not as a chance to cadge tips. I wouldn't dream of sailing on a ship where tips are added to my bill, but I will gladly sail lines where tipping is truly included in the fare--and I would gladly sail HAL again.
We have never received less than stellar service on our numerous HAL cruises.
What aggravates me on the other Cruise Lines, is the "speech" you get, both from the Cruise Director, and oftimes the Cabin Steward and Waiter, is the "pushing" for a tip.
We've gotten the "poor me" speeches on every other line, with the exception of Carnival.
The absolute worst was on RCCL. The waiter was practically in tears, begging us for a "generous" tip, as well as an "excellent" rating. He went so far as to tell us that if he didn't get all excellents, he would lose tables, and thus would lose tips!
From what I understand about the tipping being added automatically to your bill, you can have it removed or changed any way that you like.
~~~~~~~Judi in Hamilton NJ~~~~~~~
Wishing You Blue Skies & Calm Seas
I've never been on HAL .... YET. But coming soon!!! Anyway, I think the way tipping is added to your bill and to have tip envelopes pushed under your door the last nite you are onboard is truly obnoxious and as soon as this is done it is an automatic turn-off.
In my opinion, HAL has the right idea with their "No Tipping Policy". The choice in tipping is after all....YOURS to make and is a personal decision.
We will be taking our first HAL cruise on the Maasdam on 12/22. We have previously been on sister lines Celebrity and RCI, and have not felt pressured for tips. Our
waiters, assistant waiters, and cabin stewards have been exemplary, and we tipped accordingly. The maitre'd on the AOS went out of his way to make my wifes's birthday a memorable one, and he got a great tip.
We have heard much about the service on HAL, and look forward to experiencing it firsthand.
Just don't confuse "no tipping" which some lines do have, they are not supposed to accept tips - with "tipping not required." I think that's where some of the crew on HAL gets short changed, by people believing there is "no tipping" - which is definitely not the case.
I, too, love HAL. It is my favorite cruise line. Will be doing a transatlantic on the Noordam in April, 2003. I am certainly not opposed to tipping and feel that it should be at the discretion of the tipper. I am not offended by the envelopes being offered, as I usually forget to pack them anyway. I have met many HAL staff members and 99.9% of them have been wonderful. I am am pleased that HAL remains "tipping not required", but I feel that good service should always be rewarded.
Nice speech, but your logic is faulty. Most cruise ships have some sort of tipping program. Since I started working in ships about 27 years ago (that`s 18 ships with 11 different cruise companies),we always pooled the tips - REGARDLESS OF HOW THE TIPS WERE RECEIVED. Please read that last sentence carefully again.
When we received envelopes of cash from guests, we all put all the money together in a pool and received a cut of the pool, determined by a very complex point system administered by the Maitre d`.
Today, with auto-tipping, the same pool exists with the same point system. We always knew we were getting a tip regardless of what you gave or didn`t give. We still do the same today.
If all the major cruise lines would follow Seabourn`s example, hire European and American staff, pay them a good wage, eliminate the tipping and charge you twice as much for the cruise to administrate the whole thing, we would ALL be much happier. Wouldn`t we Paul????
I agree with Marie, especially those who would rather not tip anyway. There is no cruise line where tipping is required, HAL just chooses to stress the fact. Hope everyone realizes the staff depends on tips to make ends meet and many have families at home who depend on the money to buy food and keep a roof over their head. Nita
I agree Paul! I feel free onboard HAL ship's to tip if it's deserved. What if you went to the same local bistro seven days straight? Would you tip same every day regardless of the quality if service?
To Paul and Nita and Maria......If you are so offended about the pay. Why do you have time to hang out here? This place is for cruise buffs.
Paul... I would agree with you in most respects... it can lead to excellent service.
The two downsides that we see are these. A surprising number of our clients read the "No Tipping REQUIRED" policy as "No Tipping" period. We always have to make a point of advising them that the crew expects to be tipped and most guests tip in similar amounts to what is recommended on other ships. Guests whose travel agents have not advised them frequently get a rude awakening on the ship when they discover that most of their sailing mates plan to tip. It happens frequently and is an on going problem on HAL.
The other problem for me is their not including a gratuity with drink purchases. Fumbling with cash to tip a drink server is a pain and not the best form. We tend to have pre-dinner drinks at the same lounge every night, generally with the same server, and have to remember to go back and find the server(s) on the last night out... and of course they usually are off duty at that time. I much prefer to have the 15% added straight away.
Service levels on HAL are consistently good, as you say. I just wish they'd find some way to make the policy clearer, at least to their first time cruisers. And, I wish they'd do something about the drink tips.
For drinks before dinner or after dinner. I tip them when we leave the table. Just like any bar in the US. You know the prices of the drinks. Tip 10-15% from that. I never wait to the end of the criuse to tip the bar waiter. Tip as you go.....