I was wondering if Princess had gone to the optional practice of being able to add your tips for waiters, busboys, and room stewards to your shipboard account like they are now doing on some of the other lines. Sure saves taking all that extra cash. Also does the Grand have an ATM?
I just don't remember if the Grand has an ATM or not....would be surprised if it didn't. But on most ships you pay a fee of around $5.00 for using the ATM, so getting cash ashore would save some money.
We were on the Grand in May - had a wonderful cruise. We had an outside room on the Caribe deck and really enjoyed the extra size of the balcony on that deck. I was not pleased with the fact that the gratuity envelopes were NOT placed in our cabin by the steward. They had them in 2 large wooden boxes - appropriately indexed and marked at the Purser's Desk but I think that method does a dis-service to the very personnel who rely on their gratuities. I stumbled on it by accident and picked them up thinking I would be getting them in our cabin prior to the final day but wanted to get them lined up early as I had the gratuity money already set aside (squirrelled away as my husband calls it...lol)
I think having it the passenger's responsibility to pick up the envelopes can make people forget, inadvertantly overlook or conveniently overlook in some cases to follow through with the gratuity process. Bad enough on the final night there was a noticeable difference of some empty seats here and there in the dining room which is really too bad for the waitstaff who worked hard all week. We always go by the set standard and will always round up and most times put in $5-$10 extra as we have been fortunate to have had personnel who were very deserving and accomodating. We are also people who are not hard to please. I am sometimes embarrased at the attitude and demands of some passengers who think their stewards are their personal slaves. (A couple on our floor expected the steward to break down the twin beds every day to provide a sitting area and then put them together at night for a king size bed for sleeping! They were quite miffed that this was not going to be done by the steward who I heard explain it in a very diplomatic way) As far as adding tips to your shipboard process - I prefer not letting the Cruise Line know how much the waiter, steward or whomever is being tipped. I think by using this convenience in the long run it might have an adverse affect on the crew. Maybe I'm wrong - but that's just my honest opinion.
I'm in full agreement with your comments about passengers who either don't eat dinner in the dining room or skip out before dessert on the last night of a cruise to avoid tipping the waitstaff. Anybody who can't afford a fair tip can't afford the cruise, either.
On the other hand, I'm quite miffed that any cruise line would be so brazen and so tacky as to leave tip envelopes in the passenger staterooms. In my experience cruising with Princess, there has always been ample notice that tip envelopes were available at the Pursor's Desk.
I can "pro and con" the idea of the cruise line knowing the amount of tips and have not used the vouchers in the past, but there is a significant advantage for purposes of income taxes. With tips paid through the voucher system, the cruise line can report the amount of tips given to each member of the crew accurately. This avoids the problem of taxing authorities like our Internal Revenue Service trying to claim that service personnel receive more in tips than they actually do receive and thereby assessing taxes that are not legitimately owed. Of course this is much more of an indightment of our system of tax collection than of the cruise lines that have instituted the tip voucher system.
Well Norm - as they say there are two sides to every story and certainly different ways of looking at things.....you enlightened me to a point I was not aware of. I have only cruised a total of 8 times...Princess being the latest one and first time cruising with that line. All cruises up to that point always left the envelopes in the stateroom which I thought WAS the normal procedure for gratuities. Somehow I did not realize the policy on Princess and thought it was not the best way to handle the gratuity process in general. Thanks for the info.
No ATM's on any Princess ship. Another thing you can do on Princess is tip with personal checkd. Put each check in the appropriate envelope. Make the check out to Princess cruises who will cash the check for the person involved, another great ideea.
I believe that Kuki is correct on the tax situation. It is the residence of the employee that determines his tax status, not where he earns his wages. Just ask any US citizens who work abroad.
When we were on Princess last year, they offered the option of charging your tips to your onboard account. While I am not sure all of the staff like the idea that the line would have a record of the exact amount of tips they received, at least Princess offers the option as a "positive" one, not a "negative" one. In other words, you, not the cruiseline, decide if this is the way you want to pay your tips. NCL's new policy is a "negative option" where you have to go to them to prevent them from charging your account.
We recently returned from a Regal Princess cruise to Alaska and I asked one of the staff, who depended on tips, about charging tips to our on-board account. My question was: "do you receive the full dollar amount of the tip I designate (and charge to the room), or something less?" The answer from the staff member was: "they charge us $1 per day for their handling of the tips." That, fellow cruisers, means that if you were a couple on a 7-day cruise and you tipped your room steward $42, the folks at the Purser's Desk would deduct $7, resulting in a net tip to the room steward of $35.
Unfortunately, this is not disclosed to the passengers when this method of tipping is offered. As a result, to reward the room steward his/her fair tip the passenger needs to either increase the amount of the tip or use cash.
As most everyone knows, the credit card firms charge a percentage of the total transaction amount to the vendor, so if Princess let the passenger use a credit card there is truly some cost to them.
We have used cash in the past and will continue to do so in the future to avoid the service charge being passed along to the staff and reducing their income.