I just got my cruise info from Princess for a 12 day cruise on the Mediterranean. I read that the $10 pp pd tip will automatically be added to my room account.
We have 2 adults and 2 children (ages 3 & 6), which adds up to $480 for our trip! Considering they are staying in the same room with us and will be eating chicken nuggets for 90% of their meals, I was planning on tipping $5 pp pd for the kids and $10 pp pd for us. My kids don't have the same needs as if we are traveling with an adult couple staying in an adjoining cabin so I wasn't planning on tipping that way. I would rather put the extra money into tipping the kids club attendants since we will be taking advantage of their facilities and I don't think they are included in the general $10 pool, considering they provide a specific service. I'm not one to stiff someone who deserves a tip, but to a certain extent, I believe in tipping in accordance with what you utilize.
For families who've cruised with small children, how have you handled the tipping in the past?
We generally do tip full-price for our kids, for a couple of reasons. First, even though they may not eat in the dining room with us most nights, they _do_ eat somewhere. Second, they still mess up the cabin, perhaps more than we adults do.
In addition to the per-day tipping that gets charged to the cabin, we also tip extra as appropriate. On our last cruise (10-day, Dawn Princess, March), we tipped the cabin steward extra because he taught our 8-year old daughter how to make towel animals, and tipped the kids center people extra because all 3 kids spent most of their waking hours there.
you need to look at it this way. When you go to a restaurant for a meal with your family, do you tip the waiter less because you have kids??? your waiter's job doesn't change regardless of what you order or who is eating. Actually you will find that most waiters are more attentive to kids and their needs.
As for your room steward, its doesn't matter if its adults or children -your kids sleep in the cabin, they use the bathroom, they take showers etc, etc.You could luck out and get a cabin steward who is really attentive to your kids needs, for that i would tip above the recommended amount.
The only time i would tip less than the recommended amount would be if the service was really bad. I use the automatic tipping as a guide - a place to start. Go up for really good service, go down for really bad service.
This topic is a real sore spot for me. I will be going on my second Princess cruise in September as my friend is getting married, and I am bringing along my 16 month old son. Princess does not provide a cheaper cruise price for him and still considers him a third person in the room. Therefore, we have paid over $800 for a 16 month old. He eats like a bird, what could possibly cost $800 ? They really need to review their policies for children under a certain age. If that is not bad enough, he is not even old enough to go to the kids club. And of course the kicker...............they still want a $10 tip per day for him. It is ridiculous ! I have called Princess and although the customer service representative do not have any say in the matter, they all agree with me that it is a ridiculous policy to make a 16 month old pay a third person rate and still be expected to pay a $10 per day tip when they can't even participate in any of the kids activities.
As the tip is optional, we have decided we will not pay.
Don't feel bad if you feel the same way. Maybe if there is enough of us, Princess will change their policies.
Although I have really enjoyed the cruises, it can sometimes feel like a money grab !
Thanks for the replies and your opinions. I guess I feel ambivalent on this subject and I'm trying to firm up my opinion one way or the other.
On the one hand, if we were traveling with teenage kids or 2 other adults, we probably won't cram into one room. If we got 2 cabins, I wouldn't even debate full tip or not. As for tipping in restaurants, tips are proportional to the price of the meal, so the waiter will definitely get less because our kids would eat less expensively than teen kids or other adults. Compare the typical 4 or 5 course adult meal on a cruise to a plate of chicken nuggets, there is a difference in price as well as how hard a waiter has to work running back and forth to get your order on time. Our kids are quiet and shadow us everywhere, so it's not even a matter of making it up to the crew for dealing with loud, obnoxious kids.
On the other hand, the kids are counted as just another passenger "head count" wise and they take up the space that another adult could take, they sit in a chair that another adult could sit. They won't sell more cabins or beds just because there's more kids on the cruise. Seeing it this way, the cruise personnel would be penalized to a certain extent if everybody wanted to tip less for kids.
I agree with LU that if I had a 16 month old who could not participate in most of the ship amenities, I would consider the full price I paid for him more than enough money out of my pocket. The money doesn't go to the steward or waiter, but from a personal point of view, it's a lot of money to pay out when this third person can't even take advantage of the facilities and is probably in bed by 8:00. Since I have 3 and 6 year olds who will be taking advantage of some facilities, I posted this note to get some feedback.
As for the subject of paying full price for kids, most airlines have a policy for not charging for kids 18 months and younger if they do not occupy a seat. For international flights, our kids are charged 75% of the fare, even though they each will have their own seat. It seems for very young children or infants who are joined at the hips to their mom/dad, the cruiselines can cut the parents a break.
Maybe if there's enough complaints, they will change their policy, but I think it will be an uphill battle. I think most cruiselines accomodate families with young children but do not cater to them. They are in a business and have a big targeted demographic of older adults who have the money and time to take multiple cruises. Many feel the elegant, relaxing atmosphere of a cruise is compromised with having more children run amock (sic?), so encouraging more children to sail would go against that demographic. That's all right with me. Business is business, and I'm happy as long as I'm treated fairly along with the other customers when I do sail.
I generally tip both the room steward and the dining room staff half of the recommended amount for my children for all the reasons that you mentioned. As 3rd and 4th person in the room, they don't require much extra work from the room steward. In the dining room, they rarely eat more than chicken nuggets or a hamburger off the kid's menu and often times they don't even eat in the dining room (yes, I know they do eat somewhere, but a slice of pizza on Lido Deck is not worth the same tip as a 5 course meal in the dining room). I tidy up after them both at mealtime and in the cabin so that they won't cause extra work. Of course, if they do make any unusual messes or need any extra services than I add to the tip accordingly.
I also have an opinion. The waiters count on their tips per seat at the table. If your at a table for 8 that seat is his where his tip comes from. You shouldn't punish the waiter because he has kids taking up seats at his or her table and as said before, they probably cater even more to the kids. As for the cabin, I can see leaving less because it's still 1 cabin and 1 bath. I would do the kids tips by envelope directly to the staff and leave mine & husbands as is.
My two cents!! I agree with Lisa on the post above!! This whole tipping thing being included on your stateroom account is one way that the service staff gets their tips. We opted on our last cruise to have the pursers office remove the "automatic tips" from our statement and went back to the old handing the staff the tip on the last night of the cruise. We had excellent service from the wait staff (regular table) and the room attendent. My husband went above and beyond in his tipping. As far as tipping for kids!!!! They state what the tip should be per passenger. If you are not in agreement then do the "old way" and tip accordingly.As stated above when you go out to dinner with your children( at home) and the wait staff go above and beyond to do their best to please you with excellent service I'm sure you tip accordingly to both bill and service wise. I know we do. It doesn't matter how much the kids eat they are still there and are being waited on. I truly feel for the wait staff with some of the children I have seen in eating places. It isn't easy trying to please John Q. Public and I have seen adults who think because they are on a cruise that they can be very demanding to the wait staff. I'm sure they are the same way when they are at home. These people are there to do their jobs and depend on tips!!!! Good service=good tips!! Bad service=lesser tips or none at all. Its your call!!
lpd, my wife and I had the same questions you had before our first cruise with the kids on Princess. We had been twice before without them and knew how good the service was but still we were leaning toward dropping the kids tips by half. Wow did we change our mind fast once on board. I couldn't believe how doted on and spoiled those 2 kids were. They were made to feel special everywhere they went. We went from thinking of halving the tips for them to keeping them on and handing out extra tips and (I don't remember what Princess calls them) thank you cards that Princess provides to point out exceptional service.