Looks like different lines do different things regarding pooling tips or tipping out. Without a scientific data collection, we probably won't get the answers here.
In any case, I think we're getting away from the point of my response to Marina. (I drifted, too.)
It's a fact that crew members work very long hours, very long months for what isn't a large salary by many Americans' standards, but is a much greater amount than they can make doing most jobs in their home countries. It's also a fact that many of them are supporting *extended* families, friends, neighbors, etc., so those salaries often go toward feeding a lot of people, many more than you or I have on our list of dependents. And it's a fact that many of them face hard decisions about leaving their children for long periods in order to provide a better life for their families.
Now, we can all legitimately disagree as to what our response--if anything--to those facts should be. We can debate whether other people's economic situations are our responsibility or even our business. We can call it a tragedy that people face the excruciating decision of whether to leave their children for 6-10 months at a time, or we can celebrate the fact that cruise lines offer an opportunity for crew members to vastly improve their families' financial circumstances. We can hold a debate on free will vs. determinism. We can say our presence as passengers exploits workers, is an economic boon to workers, both, neither or somewhere in between. These are questions that have occupied humans since day one, and I don't claim to have all the answers. If I knew the universal steps for the delicate dance between freedom and security, I'd be thrilled.
While people of good will can disagree on the answers to (or advisability of even trying to address) all these questions, that doesn't negate the reality of many crew members' situations. To suggest, as Marina did, that ship crews are enjoying one big old sunset-viewing vacation is just silly. But to go on to imply that these people are all lying about their economic situations to garner bigger tips--well, that crosses the line into simple viciousness.
Whether you're Polynesian, Ukranian, or American, it doesn't matter. We all make decisions regarding our lives based upon what is best for us at that moment. I certainly would make different life altering decisions when I was in my 20's than I do now in my 40's. I have been working 2 full time jobs for over 8 years now because I made a decision to accelerate my retirement. I don't have a single day off except for the few days I cruise per year. I work on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years too.
They work on the cruiseships because it benefits them and the wages must be acceptable to them or they wouldn't be there. I agree with you that it is wrong to think it is all one big sunset-viewing vacation. It would also be wrong to think every one of them (not that you did) are leaving kids at home. Some of them are single and do enjoy the money they're making and the countries they're visiting and the months off they have. Would I take a smaller salary to have 4 months a year off? Right now, no! Ten years ago, yes!
Back to the original thought on this post. I like the automatic tipping because I agree to tip the suggested amount, or more, but don't want to have to bother with envelopes. And I would rather not see it added as a fee, I think that would detract from the now incentive based performance.
I have read alot of these posts about tipping and thought I would put my 2 cents in.
First of all, Cruising is available to the more mainstream vacationer then ever before. It is no longer for only the wealthy and well-to-do. Particularly since Sept. 11, people are more comfortable crusing than flying, and generally want to stay closer to their home country. Cruising is also regarded as very safe. However, crusing is also regarded as "all inclusive" which it really isn't, since the cost of tips, drinks (including soda and juice, on some lines it seems) and other things aren't added into the base price. I bet alot of people get sticker shock when they find out how much the cruise is REALLY costing. In a way, it would make sense to raise the sticker price and eliminate the extra charges. But, didn't they start adding on the extra charges so that more mainstream vacationers would feel that a cruise was within their means. So, it is a double edged sword. So, personally, I think that every individual should tip what they find fit for the services provided. If you didn't receive extras (and/or didn't require them) then I believe that a lesser tip than someone who did receive extra service is acceptable.
BTW: When was the last time you thought about tipping the ride operator at your favorite Thrill/Amusement park?? Never, right? Well, from first hand knowledge, the staff at your favorite amusement park works the same number of hours per day and week as employees on cruise ships, and at the amusement park they only get paid ~$6.50/hr. No wonder nearly all the employees there are kids!! Of course, the personal attention is much different, but I thought I'd add a little more food for thought.
The last time We cruised (Carnival) the auto tip was put on our statement. I proceded to the pursers desk and told them that "I" was the person that decided who and how much would get a tip.
We never saw the Head waiter and his tip was included on the statement. I had them remove ALL the gratuities from the statement. I tipped all that earned them'
And what you tipped those who served you all went into a pool, they were not allowed to keep your tips because you had them removed from your account. If you had left them and then tipped individuals in addition they could have kept what you gave them.
I wish people would stop calling the ten dollars a day tips and just call it a service fee then when people tip it would in fact be a tip and the person could keep it.
I have to confess that I haven't read this whole thread. However, on my last two cruises on Carnival with automatic tipping, the service has been good, but not not as fine as I have experienced on RCI ships where the tipping was by envelope.
My concern is that at some point all the ships will be doing it, and additional tips will be expected on the last day. I have always tipped a bit more than the suggested amount, but that will stop should such a situation occur.
"....many of them are supporting whole families at home.....?
Do you tip them less if they are single and confess they are really just doing it for the sunset-viewing? Of course not. You tip them for the service they provide, not for "the reality of their situation." Unless, of course, you're one of the rare few who tip migrant farm workers.
If you read my entire post, you'll see I acknowledge that people can disagree as to whether employees' personal situations are our responsibility or even our business. What I was doing was challenging Marina's outlandish statement that the staff consistently lies about its economic circumstances just to get tips.
And, if you read *my* entire post, you'll see I do not address whether employees' personal situations are our responsibility or even our business. What I was doing was challenging the notion that the staff should be compensated well because of some presumption on our part about about their situation.
If a crew member provides you with good personal service, tip accordingly......whether you presume them to be a wealthy maitre'd or an impoverished assistant waiter who is supporting "whole families." If they don't provide good personal service, let the someone up the chain of command know where they've fallen down, allow them to correct it, and then tip based on your experience. Nothing else matters.
>>And, if you read *my* entire post, you'll see I do not address whether employees' personal situations are our responsibility or even our business.<<
Sorry, but the phrase "Do you tip them less if they are single and confess they are really just doing it for the sunset-viewing?" does exactly that--refer to personal situations. I'm going to say it one more time; there are two separate premises being argued here:
1) On what basis or bases people should tip.
2) Whether cruiseline staff are in the habit of lying about their economic circumstances to get bigger tips.
You're arguing your position on #1, whereas I have been addressing only #2, carefully noting its separateness from #1. Never the twain shall meet in this discussion.
"Sorry, but the phrase "Do you tip them less if they are single and confess they are really just doing it for the sunset-viewing?" does exactly that--refer to personal situations. "
You're quite right. It does just that -- it *refers* to them. It says nothing of whether they are "our business" or "our responsibility." Until now, I had no idea the two could be equated. Thanks for clearing that up.
On our last NCL cruise, we went to the Purser's desk and had the automatic tip cut in half. We then took the half that we had cut and distributed it to our Cabin Steward and a couple of wait staff that served us very well several times. Since NCL is totally freestyle dining and we had different people waiting on us, we left half of the tip in the pool to be split. If the other half that we distributed went right back into the pool, then it still works out the same as if we had done nothing. I don't see how the waitstaff could have had any of their tip removed since we were not at assigned tables. It would have had to have been on the honor system.
As long as the tip is easily adjusted, I don't really have a problem with the automation. Many people say that service suffers, but if the total amount in the pot can be easily increased or decreased, this would promote an atmosphere of teamwork that individual tipping would not.
Post Edited (03-10-04 16:46)
Island Princess 7/74
NCL S/S Norway 6/83
RCCL Song of America 3/87
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam 7/97
Sea Princess 10/01
NCL Norwegian Wind 2/04
Caribbean Princess 9/04
No need to protest. All you need to do is go too the purser's deck and ask for it to be taken off. Tipping automatically is not a ploy, its there to make things easier. You can tip the traditional way if you choose. The problem with that is, some folks are cheap and that is the other reason for the auto tipping. I have cruised 28 times (20 on Princess) and the tips are small compaired to the service we receive.
First of all, let me say we are great tippers! BUT - it is a tip. It should not be automatic. They should price the cruise with a tip included if they have to in order to pay the staff adequately, and not add it on the end.
I am going on Princess 3/27 and I will have the tip taken off. Then I will tip my waiters and cabin stewards what I think they deserve. On the last cruise I was on, our cabin steward was so nice, we gave him $100.00 for a 7 day cruise. He was so happy. We didn't eat in the dining room even once so I felt no need to tip the waiters.
Personally I like automatic tipping like NCL does it. $10 charged to your shipboard account every day. If you are not satisfied with service you can have it adjusted. We always tip a couple of bucks to those that provide extra services like room service.
Joannie wrote: We didn't eat in the dining room even once so I felt no need to tip the waiters.
Although it's not related to tipping, I'm curious why you never ate in the dining room. I ate there 19 nights out of 20 - got room service one night. It's so fun and the food and service are wonderful. I love being spoiled.
We opted out of the auto tipping right away, preferring to tip those we thought deserved it. The next day, we received a letter from the Captain stating "Dining and cabin stewards are required to turn in any tips they receive from directly from those guests who have removed or reduced the gratuities on their onboard bills." HAL has taken away our right to reward those who have given extra service.
This was a 2-week cruise and we changed dining times half way through. Our waiter the first week was friendly, funny, helpful. The second one didn't even bother to introduce himself. He was sullen, slow and definitely in the wrong profession. Had it been a land restaurant, I would have walked out, not to return.
Why should they each receive the same gratuities, based on an elaborate point system designed by Holland America? Also how much of this does the company keep for "administration fees"?
I don't know about administrative fees taken out but by personally praising your waitstaff by name on the critiques they earn the all important points. By the same token you should let them know who you feel shouldn't be in the job. There is probably an assistant waiter out their that deserves a promotion.
Folks can consider a tip whatever they wish. There are no laws requiring the word to be used in one specific way, nor any law that makes other uses of the word illegal. The only thing common with respect to tipping is that it is intended as compensation for personal service. Everything else about it is subject to circumstance. The businesses that wish to side-step any arguments about the word with their customers will use a term like "service charge". However, even then, you'll get the customer who will argue that "it is just a tip" and "should therefore be up to me." They miss the point that the policy is specific: that the charge for service is automatic, isn't up to them to decide, etc. That's not the way it is on cruise ships yet, but who knows what policy changes will be necessitated by changing circumstances.
There are some significant issues at stake. Those servers in the main dining room are there to serve you whether you show or not. They cannot fill those seats with other folks, so if many guests on their tables don't show, they still must rely on the tips from those guests to survive. For that reason, I believe the cruise lines have taken steps to ensure that the tips are still paid, even if the service is refused. Without that provision, there would be no practical way of assuring the availability of the service for those who want it. You can't do micro-yield management on a cruise ship at sea!
If customers rebel sufficiently against this system, though, more cruise lines will be forced to change structure to accommodate. The structural change may be along the lines of some that DON'T reserve space in the dining room, and instead base the capacity of their dining room on forecasts of utilization from previous voyages. As such, sometimes you'll be turned-away or made to wait a significant amount of time for a table for dinner, just like at a normal restaurant. Alternatively, you may need to make reservations or priority seating arrangements to secure you space in the (now smaller) dining room. Another possible structural change involves pricing: They could simply build the tip into the cost of the trip. That's a bit harder to pull-off unless other cruise lines follow-suit, since if they don't the cruise line that does this appears to be more expensive. By the same token, that cruise line could get some mileage out of a "no tipping allowed" advertising campaign.
I don't make any judgements with respect to any of these alternatives or the status quo. To be honest, I have no preference between them. I'd actually prefer a world where the tipping was mandatory but discretionary in terms of the amount, but recognize that that's not practical given that some people won't comply.
So, the point is that the "answer" to the quandary must be one that satisfies everyone, or it isn't an answer. Therefore, it must adequately compensate servers -- give them a significant wage commensurate with current opportunities. It also must satisfy the cruise lines, in that it must contribute to optimal (not merely acceptable) profitability. It also must satisfy a very diverse customer-base.
Just got off of my latest cruise ship.. There is the latest info on tipping.. The cruise lines and all going to the automatic tipping policy where they will charge your account at the start of the trip. Now I know that you all know this.. But here is the big change.. The account will be called a service charge, not a gratuitie, and you will not be able to adjust or remove it from your account like you could before.. Gratuities can be removed, but service charges can not be removed.. Neat trick, hey.. So just add it to the cost when you plan your trip.. They have to have the money becauce that is how they pay the help with out eating in to their profits..
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
Sorry to inform you that you did not have the best cabin on the ship and you didn't get priority boarding because you went on CCL. That still has nothing to do with the service on board the ship. Tipping is a part of cruising, either pay it in cash or have it put on your bill. Either way it still is an added expense no matter how you look at it. If you can afford to reward great service with more money than good, if not give what you can and show your appreciation with the comment card and a thank you!
Dorothy, I have read that too, I believe it refers specfically to NCL. I don't remeber if I saw the link on this board , or on Cruise Critics, but I did see it.
I wonder if they expect a tip on top of the service charge too?
I would like to hear more, cable guy. Where did you get this info? As to pooling tips, you are making a hell of an assumption. I doubt if the couple of bucks I give the person who brings my morning coffee, or the extra twenty I leave in the cabin (if earned) ever gets into any pool but the pocket. Figure the cost of tips into your travel budget and PARTY ON!!!