I will be taking my first cruise with HAL in May 2005 to Alaska.
I have read with interest the discussion on this thread about tipping.
I agree that any change that HAL might make that affects the service is a negative and will eventually drive the customers away. This is evident by the remarks above that some will not crusie with HAL again until this problem is corrected.
I agree it is good to discuss such problems and to make sure everyone has the correct information.
My question is:
Has everyone that feels the new policy has negatively affected the
service they receive let HAL know how they feel by sending
correspondence to the HAL HQ so that the people making the
decision will get overwhelming on what the customers think?
It seems to me that HAL is using the "gratuity" given by grateful passengers as a means to subsidize their payroll rather than pay their hard-working employees (who made their cruise line what it is by the way) a decent wage. If they expect me to allow them to line their own pockets with more money at the expense of people that have no decent choice of employment other than work for a cruise line, they are going to be coming to a rude awakening. I not only plan to boycott their cruise line – and that goes for all of their lines because it is only a matter of time before they expand this practice – I plan to make every possible person I know aware of what they are doing. While that may not sound like much of a threat, since I am only one person, it is surprising the number of people you will ultimately reach.
I've just been reading all your comments about gratuities.
We're just back from our very first cruise and it was on the Westerdam (Rome to Barcelona). Because it was our first cruise, and being canny Scots, we sounded out some of our fellow passengers about the tipping policy to see what was the fairest method all round. Most said they were going to cancel the automatic deduction and tip individually. We however decided to stick with the $10 per head so that the staff behind the scenes got something too. At the Disembarkation Talk, we were told that of the $10, $3 went to the cabin steward, $3 went to your waiter and the remaining $4 was split between the rest of the staff and it did sound quite fair, so we were happy at that.
We found the crew on the Prinsendam to be excellent, only too happy to serve you. From my experience, I have not found the crew to be any different from when it was the old way and we gave what we wanted. Of course there was a huge amount of passengers not tipping at all when the policy was so blurred. Travel agents sold the cruises as a "no tipping ship" and people took them at their word. I do think the crew are probably better off this way.
I know a number of cruise lines do have the same tipping policy, Princess is one and when we were on the Tahitian Princess in March, we had wonderful service as well.
Obviously hdr, you will be boycotting all of Carnival's Cruise lines because I think this is the tipping policy on all their ships.
Until we sail on the Tahitan Princess - Tahiti to Hawaii
Until we sail on the Nautica - HongKong to Athens
HAL caused this situation by initiating the "no tipping required" policy many years ago. Most people tipped, some people didn't - that will never change, no matter how much we discuss it.
I've sailed with HAL at least a dozen times, both before and after the "automatic tipping" policy. I just returned from the Volendam a week ago and kept the charge on my account, AND tipped the cabin steward, waiter, assistant waiter and a few favorite bartenders extra. They said they did not have to pool tips if I was leaving the charge on my account.
I admit it did cost me a bit more than usual in tips for a 10 day cruise, but I rationalized that it was 10 days I wasn't driving and spending over $2.00 a gallon for gas!
In the big scheme of things, we should all be grateful that we can cruise at all - the miniscule percentage of the world's population that will ever cruise should be kept in mind and we should pass up a "Starbucks" and a bottled water or two a week and give thanks that we can help someone.
i don't want to get in trouble, but i do want to make a quick clarification... there are two tipping pools on hal ships. the bar is separate from everything else. your tips on each bar purchase are included in the purchase. no further tipping for that staff is necessary. if you do decide to tip individual bar tenders, waiters, waitresses, general staff, etc., they individually get to keep 100% of what you hand them. that's the easy part.
the 10 dollars per person per day is for everyone else. basically out of the pool of what is given into the pool throughout the ship (including if people go to the front desk and add to the $10 pp/pd) 30% will go to the cabin stewards, 30% to the restaurant staff, and the other 40% will go "behind the scenes". if you decide to take your $10 out of the pool and instead hand the cash to the staff that serves you, they have to turn it in to the pool. (there is a computer-generated list of what cabins have left it in and what ones have taken it out, and employees can get in lots of trouble if they withold anything.) if, however, you decide to leave the $10 in AND hand money to your servers, they get to keep 100% of the "extra". if you decide to do neither (which, believe it or not, some people do), the entire pool is just reduced, but the percentages stay the same.