My fiance' and I are fortunate to be taking our very first cruise on Radisson Seven Seas Mariner in April. My question falls within the "tipping" forum in that we want to make sure we understand exactly what "gratuities included" means, but I want to post here as well in the hopes of hearing from first hand cruisers on RSS.
When tips are included in the fare, is it still customary to slip extra cash to individuals for exceptional service? We have encountered some businesses where tipping is not allowed and employees may not take tips under any circumstances. We do not want to put a cruise employee on our ship in an uncomfortable position by offering something they cannot accept because of policy. In the same vein, we do not want to neglect an understood practice out of ignorance.
Please look at the FAQ on the Radisson website. Tipping is included. They recommend that if you want to do more, make a donation to the Crew welfare and rec fund. I have sailed Radisson four times in the last year and have not tipped extra. However, there are some that do tip extra; sometimes just for "out of duty" efforts such as picking up something on shore.
We did not tip extra on our RSSC cruise. The people who ate at a table near us did.
It was graciously accepted. But that was the exception--didn't see much tipping.
I felt the service and staff were outstanding. We added extra notes to the comment cards.
However, I felt that wasn't enough. I got on the computer and wrote a letter to the hotel director with a c/c to Mark Conroy, the President.
I named names, told what each staff memeber had done for us. Terry Breen, the resident lecturer/anthropologist, Joe and Heather Raad cruise and social directors,
room stewards, dining staff. I wrote three pages, single spaced, and gave it to
the purser's lobby about noon of the last full day. Didn't think I would ever hear about it,
but I felt better.
At dinner, the waitstaff and maitra d' came to us thanking us profusely for the letter.
It had been read and a copy passed to each of them. Writing that letter, and having copies placed in their personnel file, meant as much to them ( more, career wise ) than cash.
If the staff does something extraordinary, like shopping for you in port while you go on a shore excursion, then a little extra cash is nice.
But naming names and citing specifics on the comment card, and writing a separate letter to the hotel manager, is also valuable.
By the way, I got a letter from Mark Conroy thanking me for taking the time to write something extra.
I've slipped an extraordinary stewardess an extra $20, but it's really unnecessary. They don't expect it. Better to say glowing things about a service person on the passenenger questionnaire (distributed the last day).