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Old July 30th, 2004, 08:22 AM
George in NY
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Default Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Just announced that the SERVICE CHARGE imposed on a mandatory basis a couple of weeks ago on Hawaii NCK ships has now already been extended to ALL NCL ships. That didn't take long.

George in NY - no longer sailing NCL on principal once again after sailing Dawn twice in recent months.
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Old July 30th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

George:

This is true and I am personally mad as hell about it. The service charge is being implemented on Internationally flagged vessels, next June. It is also being added to the onboard account and passengers have no option to remove it. Therefore, everyone will have a charge on their onboard account even if they don't spend anything on the cruise and tip in cash.

If they are going to implement this mistake it should be a line item on the invoice and not on the onboard account.

I personally am going to voice my opinion on this to NCL management. If they want to raise the cost of a 7 day cruise by $70 then increase the cruise price by this amount.

I am also concerned that they are trying to sell this as "It's for the staff." but will not elaborate on actually how or where it's being used.

Take care,
Mike(Who really sees Stars influence coming into the picture.)

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Old July 30th, 2004, 10:27 AM
venice
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

I read on another site NCL's rational for doing this..Very interesting what their logic was ! Basically the article indicated the following
-gives them immediate feedback from the customer while on the ship if there is a problem and thus gives them the opportunity to fix the problem or address the staff at the time of the incident
-staff is told that since they now have a higher base wage, they should not expect tips from the customer for average service (thus in NCL's mind this will cause the staff to provide outstanding service)
-95% of their guest never change the automatic charge
-NCL claims that the guest who claim they want to tip in cash (if they make the change) in fact do not tip the staff at all or less than the recommended amount (don't ask me how they knew that unless they did follow up with the staff after the guest departs)

I suspect other cruise lines will be watching this trend closely
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Old July 30th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Venice:

All of those sound like excellent reasons but they just don't pass the sniff test. NCL is also very vague on how the additional service charge is going to be allocated.

I do believe that the majority of people who do have tips removed from their account actually do not tip. Sorry to those who actually do tip. I have spoken with service personnel and all have said that they the "stiff" rate has dropped drastically on lines where automatic tipping was implemented. Many passengers also feel that service levels have dropped. Both are subjective.

What I have a major issue with is that the service charge is added to the onboard account and the passenger cannot have it removed. This makes it part of the fare. It is the same as "Port Charges" or "Non-Commissionable Fares". They should be included in the total cost of the cruise and not added to the onboard account. If someone has terrible service they have the right to have tips removed from their account, they also have the right to have the tips removed and tip in cash and yes, if they want to be cheap they have the right to stiff the hard working staff.

I do think this is a mistake by NCL and I sadly see other cruise lines following unless it negatively effects sales. I would just like to see them charge an additional $140 and have no tipping on a seven day cruise.

Take care,
Mike

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Old July 30th, 2004, 01:03 PM
venice
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Mike, I agree with you 100%..The problem is going to be the first cruise line that does it will be at a distinct marketing disadvantage because the others won't follow. It will have to take a federal mandate like what happen with "port taxes" to force the cruiselines to follow truth in advertising.

A "great" deal of $xxxx of dollars is not a deal when you start adding up all the additional cost. It makes the higher end all inclusive cruise lines a more reasonable value for your dollar

NCL puts a nice spin on what they are trying to do but I would almost favor going back to the old days where you paid a higher upfront cruise cost, but did not have to pay for alot of things at the back end. It will continue to be harder to plan your budget for a cruise (as most people do) if this process goes on
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Old July 30th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

This issue has been hashed over on all threads for the past 2 weeks or more. Let's face it, for those who are upset there are zillions of other lines out there, my guess is it really will not inpact the industry that much and as we all know NCL is a pioneer company on many issues. They were the first to do 7 day Caribbean cruises, the first to add a private island, the first to introduce freestyle, the first to sail out of New York year around, the first to add an automatic $10 per day so we wouldn't have to deal with those messy envalopes and getting exact change, the first to introduce dining around in Bermuda, the first major line to be flagged America and now this.

To me it makes absolutely no difference. If you have traveled Europe, Asia or Bahamas you know this is their custom. There is an automatic 10 or 15% service charge. Why is this so different? For the life of me I can't understand the uproar~

NMNita
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Old July 30th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

I see it as boiling a frog. You can't boil a frog by dropping it in hot water. You have to put it in cool water and gradually increase the temperature until the frog is boiled. The frog becomes used to it and won't jump out. It's the same with additional charges. People become used to it and they are told it's for one thing when it is really for another and they pay it. At the end of the day they still end up paying tips plus the same amount to the cruise line for the privilege of being their passenger.

If the cruise line needs more revenue, raise the fare and don't try to sugar coat it by saying it's for "better customer service". I don't buy it.

I do understand the uproar.

Take care,
Mike

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Old July 30th, 2004, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

It's the same ten dollars a day either way. Not much of a tip in todays dollars. It is the same as the recomended tip 10 years ago and fares were higher.

On the 5 % that opt out. two points. It is an average. It could be 20% on the Sea and 1% on the Dawn. Hard to keep a crew happy when the pool is missing 20%.

As far as those that opt out not tipping in cash I understand where that comes from. It is true that some just decide they paid enough I am not going to tip. But undserstand if you tip your cabin crew in cash and opt put they have to turn it into the pool.

The first thing NCL is going to check when you opt out is if you tipped the sterward with cash. What do you think they are going to say.

Why reguire them to turn it in? To prevent a mass hustle on the ship. Cabin crew becomes your best friend, they tell you they don't get fair share of pool and please tip in cash, you do and opt out, they don't report it, they get your tip plus an equal share in the pool. This short changes the honest crew members and it is downhill from there.

When you pull the tip it goes against the crew as a whole not those that you want to impact. A fixed fee and the problem goes away and you are free to drop a little extra on those that go the extra mile. A tip is tip again

It is not perfect, I understand why, and if it will keep freestyle alive and that is important to me.
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Old July 30th, 2004, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

"On the 5 % that opt out. two points. It is an average. It could be 20% on the Sea and 1% on the Dawn. Hard to keep a crew happy when the pool is missing 20%."

Hmm... why would you expect to see such a difference? Do all the cheap passengers book certain cruises? (maybe the ones with low fares?) Or maybe, the crew on the Sea (just an example I don't really have any reason to say anything bad about the Sea staff.) didn't give good service and the ones on the Dawn did? In that case wouldn't it be fair for one crew to get more tips?
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Old July 30th, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

I'm also not buying into this "service charge" being for the benefit of the passengers. They do tell you that you can still tip if you feel the need to. That's always been the way, you tip when you want to! They also do not tell you upfront where this money is going. It does not all go to the crew, that much I do know. Soon it will be business as usual and you will be asked to tip the staff and the service charge will remain. This has nothing to do with tipping, you watch.
Jim

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old July 30th, 2004, 09:11 PM
steve3
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Default Freestyle tipping?

As a practical matter I think that it would work best on a free style dining cruise. I for one would not want to reach into my pocket every single night.
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Old July 30th, 2004, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Jim, I normally agree with you on about everything, but not this time. Do I love the idea of not controlling my tips or whatever you want to call them? No, but also realize this is the custom in many countries. Because NCL is a company owned by Star out of the Pacific Rim may account for the change. Then again, it may be a new trend. I just can't get worked up over this when it's close to a year away.

NMNita
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Old July 31st, 2004, 07:00 PM
Whiteknight
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

I don't see any problem with the tip being automatically added to the bill. Even if someone employed by the cruiseline doesn't meet your expectations, there are others who do and since the tips are shared, it seems only fair the tip should be given. Those men and women work long hard hours for very little salary and are deserving of the tip. We all have bad days and cruiseship employees are no different. When we have a bad day, our boss doesn't cut our earnings for the day, so why should we penalize all those people trying to improve their place in the world just because someone fell short one day. I may not agree with the reasoning the cruiseline presented, but I still think those hard workers are deserving of the tip.
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Old July 31st, 2004, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

"They also do not tell you upfront where this money is going. It does not all go to the crew, that much I do know. "

I agree with your sentiments. We do not know where or how this money will be handed over to the crew.
My suspicion is that NCL intends to use your' tip' ( service charge/ resort fee) as a big stick to control ( manipulate) the crew.
You think you are giving the 'tip' (service charge ...etc.) to the staff who provided good service while you were on your cruise. NCL (in my opinion ) thinks that by holding this in a fund for 'vacation pay' they have a way to coerce the crew to complete their contract time, evn if NCL has mislead/lied to them about the terms of that contract.
The crew , in my opinion, will be told that unless they meet whatever arbitrary conditions NCL sets, they will be cut off from all that money that they earned through their efforts for the cruisers, on the POA.

Personally I tip to reward service that I personally have received on my cruise. It is up to NCL to treat their crews well enough to make them want to stay. I would not appreciate having NCL withhold what to me is my tip money (whatever NCL tries to call it) in order to give them more leverage with the crew.
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Old July 31st, 2004, 11:28 PM
Carol Pullen
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Default Re: Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

My concern would be that over time, given that the charge is not specified as a tip, there will be many people tipping at the end of the cruise, not realizing they have been billed for this and over time you will see people tipping in cash at the end of the cruise. The service charge just becomes more revenue for the cruise line. The next step would then be to
take this cash tipping, and make the employee's pool that money.

Carol
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Old August 1st, 2004, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Carol:
That is the point. People will tip. People still tip on Pride of Aloha plus they are charged the the $10 per person/per day service charge. It will become as meaningless as the HAL "No tipping required." Tipping is never required but it sure was expected.

Take care,
Mike

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old August 1st, 2004, 10:58 AM
davzabigpatsfan
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Can members of the crew accept tips if they are given directly to the person ?? I always like to tip the server I have in the dining room. This is my first time going "FREESTLE".
I hope hard working staff can be rewarded in addition to the "service charge".


3 weeks/MAJESTY
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old August 1st, 2004, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

The $10.00 per day charge on POA is a resort fee. This is not a gratuity. NCL claims the resort fee is for employee benefits and does not go directly to the employee in cash.

The crew still expects tipping to take place in addition to the resort fee.

Let's not get the resort fee and mandatory tipping mixed up.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Can members of the crew accept tips if they are given directly to the person ?? I always like to tip the server I have in the dining room. This is my first time going "FREESTLE".
I hope hard working staff can be rewarded in addition to the "service charge".

Yes they can and with a big smile

Keep in mind if you remove the auto tip crew members are required to turn in cash tips. No double dipping. The cabin crew would be easy to identify but not sure how they would be able to check with wait staff.

The current model for for all NCL ships (not the same on NCLA) is a auto $10 tip that goes into the pool to be shared by all crew that tradtionally shared in the classic last night envelopes. In May of 2005 this fee will be mandatory but in all cases the crews and NCL's expectation is that you can and should directly reward those that go the extra mile.

In some ways a tip is a tip again not a requiremnt to make sure the crew mambers make a living wage.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

This sounds lile the slippery slope. The mandatory resort fee is being explained that for the all American employees, our laws mandate certain benefits that would not have to be paid for, if using foreign staff. I had it explained that the resort fee will help cover those costs. That part seems logical to me but when you begin to expand this to all cruises, the explanation looses some merit with me and I see it as just a way to raise the price of your cruise, without being completely up front about it. What benefits will the foreign staff be getting that they do not have now, when this goes into effect fleet wide?

Carol
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Old August 1st, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships


(((( NCL's expectation is that you can and should directly reward those that go the extra mile. ))))


My expectation is that I will not tip anyone on my upcoming POA cruise. They can take the "srvice charge" that I'm paying and give it to the crew.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Why would you have to change your sheets? Do you change them at home everyday? Hotels, from 5 star on down as weill as cruise ships do not change sheets everyday anymore. They haven't for many years.
NMNita
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Old August 1st, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships


Nita,

I seem to remember some reviews of this ship where beds were not made at the beginning of the cruise and the passengers had to do it themselves. Next thing you know we'll have to launder the sheets from the previous passengers ... or else sleep in filth.

And it amazes me that of all that was said in that post, you only chose that single line to talk about.

They are not getting another dime out of me. If someone else gets shortchanged, then that is NCL's fault and their problem. Maybe if people don't give the extra money, then crew members will revolt and do somthing about it. NCL obviously doesn't care about customers.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

The new fee is a "Service Fee" not mandatory tipping or a resort fee and it is added to the onboard account. I fear that it will become the same as "port fees" in that the true meaning of what it is becomes lost.

NCL is still allowing their personnel to accept tips and it will become similar to HAL's "No Tipping Required" policy. Their service personnel did have a higher base wage but passengers were still expected to tip. They even posted the recommended amounts.
On Radisson you don't tip and they don't accept it. Granted, you are usually paying 2 - 4 times more for a Radisson cruise, based on a similar type cabin on NCL.

Don't get me wrong I have no problem with tipping or even with having your recommended tips going to your onboard account and giving more, in cash, to individuals you feel deserve it. The issues I have are that people are basically going to just end up spending more for the cruise and still be expected to tip. I also feel that the people who should be receiving this "Service Fee", the service personnel, are the ones who are going to be short changed. They may see a portion of it in some manner but I doubt they will receive the full benefit.

At the end of the day we'll just have to see how the market, personnel and other cruise lines take it. It may be a blunder or a new revenue producer. I actually see it as being both.

Take care,
Mike

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Old August 1st, 2004, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

If this is in fact "tips included with fare," that is fine. Radisson, Seabourn, and Silversea all have tips included in cruise fare. No one can deny that these lines suffer from inferior service because tips are already included. I applaud NCL for trying to reach the same point. Add tips to fare (or onboard account, makes no difference) and tell passengers that no tipping is expected as tips have already been paid.

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Old August 1st, 2004, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Dalwhitt, that's my point< I can't argue about something I haven't witness nor should you. I picked that line because beds are not changed daily. As for beds not being made, I have seen this of very rare occassions but you are right. As for having to change sheets yourself, my question was why do you have to change your sheets daily? You know quite well what I meant as the person responding looks for an argument daily!! Read the last reviews on the POA: quite encouraging I think.

NMNIta

PS let's stop the binkering for awhile!!!
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Old August 1st, 2004, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships


Hi Nita, I saw nothing in that posting about changing sheets daily. In fact, the word daily is not in the post.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

Does anyone know if the service fee is supposed to replace tipping?
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old August 1st, 2004, 11:18 PM
Carol Pullen
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Default Re: Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

I would not have a problem, if NCL, would just say we are increasing the cost of your cruise and this money does not go to the employees.

If I assume this new charge is for tips and it is not, I short change the cruise staff. If on the other hand, I assume that the staff does not benefit and they do, then I resent that i have double tipped.

For the most part, my husband and I are big tippers because we really appreciate the work that service personnel do, but in this instance, because it is my money, I want to be an informed consumer and I want to know where my money is going and who is benefiting from my "fees" tips.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Mandatory tipping ALL NCL ships

"On Radisson you don't tip and they don't accept it."

"If this is in fact "tips included with fare," that is fine. Radisson, Seabourn, and Silversea all have tips included in cruise fare. No one can deny that these lines suffer from inferior service because tips are already included. I applaud NCL for trying to reach the same point. Add tips to fare (or onboard account, makes no difference) and tell passengers that no tipping is expected as tips have already been paid."


On NCL I think it has been made pretty clear that while NCL says that no tips are necessary they "do not discourage" customers from tipping 'worthy' crew members.

In my opinion this approach is quite diferent from that of Radisson, Seabourn etc. I think it is likely to lead to passengers feeling the need to tip in addition to the 'service charge' and so ultimately just end up adding to the price of the cruise.
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