Here are some questions I posted at the end of my article on tipping. Let's see how you've handled these situations.
How have you handled tipping the dining staff when you've eaten several meals at the breakfast and lunch buffets and at the poolside grills, perhaps given a few bucks to room service staff and paid for the service at the alternative restaurant? Do you think the new pre-paid tipping policies are the way to go?
I guess I have no real hangup over the tip. We went on the Elation at the first of the month and nothing had changed. I tipped the waiter and asst, the same as usual even though we ate on deck one evening. also since I almost never use the main dinning for lunch or breakfast I tip the recomended amount in the envelopes and forget it. I wouldn't mind the tip added if it is pooled to the whole staff as I am being served at some level where ever I chose to eat, and it is my choice.
I think prepaid tipping is not right. The thought will always be there, that the wait staff won't work as hard or do the little extras. The reason i say this is because i have 'experimented'. On a recent cruise i tipped the cabin steward when i first met him the first day. All i asked for were a couple of extra towels, and ice in my cooler. All was done ok except the last night. And i thought it really strange that even though i asked him to fill my cooler, he did not do the extra of keeping ice in the bucket that had a bottle of wine in it. There was either water or nothing at all. It boggles my mind that he couldn't fill up the ice to keep the wine cool. It's ok i took from the cooler and put in there.Also, on several times on my wifes' birthday party i tip up front in good faith, letting the server know it's my wifes' birthday and service declines. The theory here is they think they have all the tip they are going to get, so why put forth the extra effort.
I know i will be in the minority on this and please don't bash me. If i go to the buffets for breakfast and lunch and only eat in the dining room for dinner, i don't tip the full amount. WHY ? because i did not go there for every meal, and i waited on myself. I dont see the harm in it, it's less work for the wait staff if I dont go to the meal. I tip for room service, so for me to tip again for a meal i dont go to is...well...ridiculous IMHO.
I know the wait staff works hard for their money and deserve it and they also deserve a raise, but if i am not there,,,,,im not tipping....
Mary Ann, We have always tipped on board our cruises. In fact, we usually overtip. The reason, extra good service deserves more. ON the Regal Empress, they have a tip box for the crew that takes care of you at the other than main dining room. Works out well. We also tip when we order drinks other than the l5% already added. Believe me it does improve service. We have also tipped some of the staff in other dining areas.
It was always standard, industry wide, and now is more confusing than ever.
I like Holland America and Windstar policies the best -- tipping isn't required.
However, folks still want to know a suggested amount aboard these ships. I asked a HAL hotel manager what folks normally tip aboard these ships. His answer: about half the normal amount. DUH? Normally tips add up to around $56 per person, per week for a one week cruise (steward, waiter, bus boy). So, I guess one could tip half that amount on a HAL/Windstar ship and not be thought cheap.
But I always tip extra when staff does any extra bit. They work so very hard and deal with cranky passengers, they really deserve our gratitude when they go out of their way.
I tip the standard amount even if I have eaten at buffets. Many times the waiters are working there carrying trays and straightening tables so in they are still working. However, if I get bad service, I lower the tip. I don't feel obligated to tip just because the cruise line recommends an amount. I had a very bad experience on the Majesty of the Seas. My cabin steward requested a wakeup call on my phone for 5:30am on the day of debarkation.I had tipped him the day before... the suggested amount but really wished that I could take it back. I have given some thought to tipping half way through and on the last day on a long cruise and on the last morning on a short one. Has anyone done this?
On our cruise, I never ate in the dining room for breakfast or lunch, but always ate there for dinner. I still tipped the recommended amount for the wait staff (plus some because they were great). On more than several occassions I saw our waiter and assistant water working the midnight buffets after having worked the dinner schedule also. So I didn't have any problem tipping the full amount to them even though I dined only 1/3 of the time in the dining room.
I personally don't agree with the prepaid tipping policy. I would rather hand over my dollars to the person who served me because I believe it's more personal and I also have the opportunity to extend my thanks verbally as well. Also, and probably most importantly, I know for sure that this person is getting the money I intended for her/him to have. One question I've never seen answered..and this applies to Carnival and their new prepaid tipping system. Does Carnival get a "cut" of the prepaid tips to cover their costs for the administration and bookkeeping of this new system? For future cruises, no matter which cruise line I travel that has in place prepaid tipping, I will always have these tips removed and then extend my gratuities personally.
I don't know how to tip when we[ my husband ] & I only go to dinner?? We are going on the Zaadam in March & I know we won't eat breakfest or lunch in the dinning room, I belive 15% is a good tip but I don't know how much a meal cost. A tip that everybody says is $3.50 per person & $1.50 for the helper per day, but on a 10 day cruise when you only have dinner thats WAY too much don't you think?? How about a guide?
The guidelines that I have seen are $3.00 for the waiter and $1.75 for the assistant waiter. Even though I usually eat only dinner in the dining room, I usually tip the full amount, probably rounded up to the next multiple of $5 (that is, I'll typically tip the waiter $25 per person and the assistant $15 per person on a seven-night cruise).
With alternative venues for breakfast and lunch, very few ships now maintain formal seatings for these meals. Rather, all the waitstaff share the responsibility to serve all of the passengers, wherever the passengers may choose to eat. The expectation is that if each passenger tips his or her dinner waiter, the tips will average out and the staff will receive fair compensation.
If one eats at an alternative dinner restaurant or orders room service, a separate tip seems appropriate.
I would like to see an article on what really happens to the tips. Is it true that all dining room tips go into a pool to be
shared ?. Is it true that waiters have to "buy" their jobs and
tip their supervisors ?. Is it true that if waiters do not collect their "quota" in tips that they are let go?
What does each cruise line actually pay to the wait staff? We
have heard that on some lines (Carnival) that wait staff get
paid next to nothing and live on only tips??
On Carnival last year, the tips were added to out bill automatically. I asked about how we would be able to give different amounts to different people. They told me that the automatic payments could not be changed, but they could be cancelled. I had them cancel them so that I could tip the people that I wanted to at the end of the cruise. I wondered how service would be if everyone was pre-tipped. The service was great and on one of the last nights of the cruise I went back and had them add the tips back to my bill.
On the last night of the cruise my waiter came to me for his tip. I thought it was odd that he already new that I had taken the tips off my bill. When I told him they were being put back on my bill, he wasn't sure whether to belive me and acted like I was trying to get off the ship without tipping.
I don't understand if you are happy that he phoned you at 5:30am or because your cabin steward forgot to phone you at 5:30am./ If he took it upon himself to phone you -- he did you a favor as most ships want you out of the cabin (after breakfast) by 8:00am.
I am not sure how the question can be realistically determined without refernce to the suggested tipping when there were formal seatings at all meals. I can't remember what was recommedned in the earlier days of crusing. However, if one assumes that the meal was equivalent to about $30 meal back home (not hard to imagine) than a $4.50 to $6.00 tip would be customary just for dinner. So it seems that the recommended dinner tips are primarily focused around the service provided at dinner.
Couldn't have said it better myself "Brneyznfl" I personally think it is none of the cruise line's business what the dining room staff and room stewards receive from passengers. We have not had a cruise yet with bad service.. Some were better than others and we reflect that in tipping extra as well. As hard as they work and the countries alot of the staff comes from I feel the tips they recieve are not only deserved but also a private matter. I am amazed on the final night of dining the "empty seats" in the dining room I have noticed on our last few cruises which I think is terrible. Also some passengers have such an "air" about them and have a condescending way with waiters and stewards. Thank God it is in the minority - or at least I hope so in the few instances I have come across that. When we book a cruise one of the first things I do is "squirrel" (as my husband calls it) the money aside for the tips. By keeping it separate come the end of the voyage it is where I need it and if the situation warrants it - we put extra in as well. We will never allow it to be added to our credit account for them to divvy up how they deem appropriate as I have a real problem with the Line deciding how our money is to be spread around.
We sailed the Grand Princess last year and ate in the two alternative dining rooms for lunch. The extra charge per person was $3.50 which was the gratuity charge as we were told. There was no charge for the food just whatever beverages we ordered which was fine. The restaurants, service and food were excellent. We ate lunch purposely on days we were at sea in the alternative dining rooms as we did not want to miss dinner in our dining room with our friends and other table mates.
We are sailing on the new Radiance of the Seas soon and I was quite surprised to see there is a $20 pp charge. I assumed that to eat in the alternative restaurants there would be a charge for the gratuity only. I would think $20 is too high for a gratuity - but if this type of dining is more gourmet then maybe there must be a nominal fee to pay as well for the opportunity to dine there???
Maybe the $3.50 fee by Princess was too low and that has changed since last year? I am just curious as we have two couples joining us who have never cruised before who were interested in the alternative dining but might not be too keen on paying the additional money. Thanks for any input on this subject.
Your comments are valid, but your logic is faulty. I agree that service on ships generally has gotten worse over the years.
But please read carefully: I have worked on 18 ships for 11 different cruise liines over the past 27 years. The internal tipping policies have been the same on every ship - ALL TIPS WERE POOLED. Please read that last sentence again. Its important.
When you gave me an envelope of some cash, it didn`t stay in my pocket very long. As soon as the last passengers disembarked the ship, all the service staff met at the Captain`s table in the diningroom. We all put ALL cash tips on the table for counting. Then the Maitre d` split and handed the money out to EVERYONE, based on a complicated point system administered by him. Today with auto-tipping, the smae system is in place. The only difference is that most of the cash comes from the Purser`s office. We still pool ALL the money in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. NOTHING HAS REALLY CHANGED. Please read those last two sentences again. They are important.
To repeat, we ALWAYS knew we would receive a tip regardless of service levels. We still do know today that we weill receive a tip regardless of service levels.
Now please explain to everyone how auto-tipping has damaged service levels.
Once again, I agree that service levels have generally deteriorated over the years (I also observe that the quality of guests has deteriorated at the same pace), bu tyoumay be blaming the wrong reasons for the problems that exist.