Good question. I assume it's the same as on all the other RCI ships - you can have the tips added to your Sign & Sail Account or give the crew cash in envelopes the 'old' way. Maybe "Jenny" will post. She just returned from the Monarch. ???
The tipping guidelines are the same on all of their ships... it is based on a per day amount for your waiter, ass't waiter, and cabin steward... $3.50/day each for your head waiter and cabin steward...$2.00/day for your ass't waiter. These rates are PER PERSON for each member of your party.
Beyond that it is suggested to tip the head waiter $2.50 - $3.50 (total for the trip). Some do, some don't.
On all cruises, you can ask guest relations to add these suggested amounts to your sea pass account, however they do not advertise this fact on shorter cruises - but you can still do it. When you do this, you are given vouchers for each crew member you will be tipping to put in the tip envelopes you give to the crew. They turn them in for the cash.
If you have been given great service, you can add some cash to the envelope. Also, when doing the vouchers, the head waiter tip is automatically included. Some people don't like it, but I figure the guy is probably earning his $2-3.00 from having to deal with us members of the public so I don't mind.
All drinks are automatically assessed a 15% gratuity. If you ask the maitre d' for a favor such as switching tables, you should grease his palm like you would in a restaurant.
If you order room service, I would give the guy delivering the tray a buck or two.
The crew doesn't necessarily "turn the vouchers in for cash". They have to wait weeks (up to 3 weeks sometimes) to get a PORTION of the tip you had charged to your Sign & Sail Card. The cruise line takes out a sizeable fee for "administrative charges". For this reason, we prefer to tip in cash.
lady Jag... I used to work for tips so I am very sure to tip and tip well and make sure the right person gets what I want them to get. I asked my cabin attendants on the first two cruises I did with RCI if they got the full amount, and if they minded the vouchers..both said yes to the full amount and no to minding the vouchers. When the amount was added to their check depended on where they were in their pay cycle.
Maybe they were just being nice to me since I had also thrown in a lot of cash with the vouchers.... but are you absolutely sure of your information?
RCI recently stopped offering their alcohol cards because the crew disliked them so much (they didn't get tipped when people used them)....which indicates to me that RCI listens to their employees... so if the voucher thing were a true problem, not sure they'd be doing it.
I hate carrying a lot of cash with me and hate waiting at the purser's desk to get proper change... so I would really hate to think that something so convenient was a detriment of any kind to the hard working crew...
Thanks for the information. I was curious if they used "auto-tipping" or envelopes. And by the way, please forgive the typo in the subject line - it should have been "on" rather than "of" (sure hope the Monarch doesn't "tip") :-)
Yes, I'm sure of my information. They are charged an "administrative fee" out of the tips that are charged to a passenger's account.
Also, the bar tenders DO get a tip when you buy an alcoholic card or soda card. It is automatically added to your bill when you buy them. It's only 15% though, so if we go to a particular place to get Diet Coke a lot, we slip the bar tender a little extra in cash at the end of the cruise as a 'thank you'.
The tips for all those cards are pooled and then split among the crew. Consequently, they don't get much and I can see why RCI would cancel the alcoholic cards.
I think the point here is that the crew gets what you intend them to get. It irritates me that the crew is charged a fee for tips that are intended to go directly to them. It's like United Way. You send them $100 for a charity and they keep 75% of that for 'administrative fees'. Yeah, right.... I just figure it's better to give them cash if you can. If it doesn't work for you for some reason, by all means, charge them. The main idea here is that they ARE being tipped and I'm sure they appreciate it, no matter how they get it! :o)