My husband and I just returned from a weeklong "Latin Love Affair" cruise on the Sundream, owned by Sunquest Tours. The Sundream was the old RC, Song of Norway, in an earlier life. Although this was advertised as a gratuities included cruise, we all received tipping envelopes on our dressers on the last evening of the cruise. We were quite surprised, to say the least.
Carol Ann Westbrook wrote:
> My husband and I just returned from a weeklong "Latin Love
> Affair" cruise on the Sundream, owned by Sunquest Tours. The
> Sundream was the old RC, Song of Norway, in an earlier life.
> Although this was advertised as a gratuities included cruise,
> we all received tipping envelopes on our dressers on the last
> evening of the cruise. We were quite surprised, to say the
If I'm not mistaken Sunquest sells these as gratuity included, which means the tips should have been paid for in advance, for you.
I would think you should have been given voucher showing this to put in your envelopes.
Likely too late to do anything now, but I'd follow up with Sunquest to see if that should have been the case. I have a feeling u paid twice!
Automatic and/or prepaid tipping has quite a bit of discussion both pro and con it would seem. Many folks like the ability of just having it taken care of and not have to worry about it later and feel that the staff will treat them better knowing they are not going to get stiffed at the end of the cruise. Others, like me, think that tipping is a very personal matter and like to personally hand those we feel are deserving a gratuity to express our feelings. I often think that pre-paid tipping allows those that tend to be lazy to decrease their level of service as they know it is coming to them anyway, rather than increase those that work hard knowing that a reward is automatically coming to them. Another idea that is worth merit is to tip say 1/2 of the recommended amount on the first day in cash and inform them that should their services reflect it, a much larger gratuity will be forthcoming at the end of the cruise. On longer cruises it could even be divided up into segments. I want to reward those that work hard and see no reason to reward those that force their shipmates to carry their slack.
I agree with you both 100%. As long as I use traditional dining, I will continue to pay my tips directly as a matter of showing my appreciation for services rendered. I will be on the Grand Princess this Sunday and my first stop will be at the Purser's Desk to cancel the automatic tipping on my account.
I have already communicate my displeasure with this new procedure to Princess through my TA, by a faxed written message to them and by a telephone conversation with a customer service rep who called me in response to the fax. I was impressed that they were at least concerned enough with customer relations that they contacted me in person. They may not change any policies, but at least they listened to my opinions and duly noted them.
We <u>are</u> the customers and we must let them know how we feel.
Bob "MacTarheel"... who loves Princess cruises and only has few complaints about some minor annoyances.
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 hae 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.
Generally, I don't mind tipping. However, on my last cruise (Summer 2003, Golden Princess in the Med), I was just so annoyed with the way the auto tipping was posted to my shipboard account. There were 3 or 4 withdrawals (eg one each for the head waiter, assistant waiter, steward and I think Matre'd) PER DAY. It really cluttered up my statement and made it very difficult to check out the other items on the bill.
I would much rather they charged my account only once in the following manner:
for x amount of days at $y per day... total $xy.
I really cannot deal with all the little entries everyday and on my next cruise, I think I will ask them to halt the auto tiping for that reason. i will then ask them to add it on in one deduction at the end.
Speaking strictly for myself, I consider a tip to be a "bonus" that I give to someone who has gone above and beyond the expected. When a tip is added automatically, then it isn't a tip, its part of the price. I would much prefer that cruiselines (and other businesses where tipping comes into play) call things what they are. If tipping is required and/or automatic, then call call it what it really is--part of the price. Rather than "adding" it later, just include it in the price up front.
Learning that all tips are pooled actually makes me much less inclined to tip at all the next time around. It was my understanding that when I tipped, I was tipping the person I gave the money to. If that isn't the case, then tipping becomes meaningless to me.
My next statement will not be popular, but it is sincere. I keep hearing that we need to tip because the cruiselines pay their service staff so little. I hear the same thing with regard to restaurant servers here at home. With all due respect, that is neither my fault nor my problem. Salary issues are between the employee and his/her employer.
I, too, work in a service type position, but one in which tipping is never done. I don't make a lot of money either, but that is neither the fault nor the respnsibility of our customers. That is between my employer and me...and is also the primary reason I'm currently job-hunting. :-)
A number of posters on various boards have described passengers who "disappear" on tipping night as "cheap." I strongly disagree. I suspect that these folks may share my views regarding tipping.
There also seems to be a perception among some that people who cruise are wealthy. That may be true for some cruisers, but certainly not for all of us. I saved for years for my first cruise. Because of budgetary constraints, I also made very few purchases on the ship (less than $100 worth) during the 7-day cruise. I'm not cheap; I just don't happen to have a lot of money.
For those who object to either the pressure to tip or to pooling of tips, here's a suggestion: Instead of money, put a nice thank-you note in the tip envelope and explain why you're not tipping with money.
I think I mistakenly posted my response in the wrong place a moment ago. Sorry.
1) I, too, object to automatic tipping. If it is automatic, then it isn't a tip at all; it is part of the price. Rather than call it a tip, I'd prefer that the cruiseline simply add it in up front and show it in their price listings. (Same with other businesses that use automatic tipping.)
2) Learning that all tips are pooled actually makes me much less inclined to tip at all in the future. It was my understanding that when I tipped, I was tipping the person I gave the money to. If that isn't the case, then tipping becomes meaningless to me.
3) I understand that cruiseline staff is paid very little. But that is neither my fault nor my responsibility. That is between employees and their employer. I work in a different industry but do not make much money, either...so I'm job-hunting!
4) For those who object to either the pressure to tip or to pooling of tips, here's a suggestion: Instead of money, put a nice thank-you note in the tip envelope and explain why you're not tipping with money.
I agree completely.
Let`s all start refusing to tip and adding a nice little thank you note instead.
How about starting it at your local restaurant this week?
Also next time you take a taxi or have a bellman deliver your suitcases.
Let`s force those darn restauranteurs and hoteliers to pay a decent wage to their staff. Without tipping and an honest wage instead, the service staf fwill have more incentive to go out of their way to do a good job, right?
i think that it is a wonderful idea to zero out and tip who you want when you want......i feel i am a fair tipper and should have the right to chose my own....would rather not have ship line treat us as children and decide for us.....
Tipping is not tipping, it is in fact a fee, period. And I agree that the "we pool all tips" just makes me less inclined to tip extra to a particular server, perhaps tipping the "set" amount and including a letter of thanks an" commendation" would be a better idea, may-be the staff person could get a promotion easier if they got many of such letters.
If the lines would just raise their prices to truly include the gratuity this problem would go away, as would any kind of decent service. Then cruiseing would return to the good old days where only the well off were on the ship.
I agree !00% with Linda55. My husband and I have been saving for over a year and a half for this cruise. I like to tip for the service provided, if its good you get a tip if not then sorry about your luck. I think once we get on board i will be looking into having the auto tip taken off my sail and sign.
Next up Elation Aug 23 '10
then the Miracle again Feb 7,2011
Be advised that the automatic tips are applied to your S&S account at the beginning of the cruise. This means if you put down a cash deposit for your account the tips are immediately deducted from the balance. Suppose your auto tips are $140 for two people. You make a cash deposit on your account at embarkation of $250. Before you buy the first drink your S&S account only has $110 in it.
I am mystified by this powerful dislike of automatic tipping. If you don't like it, take it off your bill and tip at will. Why try to prevent those of us who love it from having access to this service? The vast majority of folks leave this item on their bill, from what I understand.
As for writing a thank-you note, that's a great idea, but keep in mind those comment cards and other feedback already are what get individual crew members promoted--and fired. There's incentive for good service even with automatic tipping. Just like in any other (non-tipping) job, if you're the subject of enough complaints from customers, or if your supervisor catches you screwing up too many times, your contract isn't renewed. That's pretty simple.
I know that for some people, it's not the automatic nature of the tipping that's the problem, but the amount, which they evidently feel is too high. From extensive conversations with crew members at all levels, I've learned they generally work from 5 or 6 in the morning to between 10 p.m. and midnight, with several hours off during the day. That's seven days a week, 365 days a year, with only one month to a month and a half off (all in one chunk). I think back on the hundreds of little things these folks did, unasked, for me during a week's time. Is $10 a day really too much for that? If I were tipping them individually, I'd leave far more than that--and I do, for great room stewards.
Why don't they call "TIP" simply a "Service fee" and add it to the price? Then I can give really "TIPS" as an extra which must not be in the 15-20% range. Thats how they do it all over Europe.
Question: how does a waiter know that you pre-paid the tip? Do they get an info about evrybody at their tables? My understanding is that I have always the choice of automatic tip and envelop tip.
One more: when I tip on earlier occaisons (day one, in between), will the waiter/server keep this money for him/herself?
Well written Linda55...everything you have stated i agree with. Its time these companies stated to pay their employees a correct, livable wage and not depend on us consumers who line THEIR pockets to do so. I live in Italy and tipping is not widely done, they are paid a decent wage and do their job accordingly and mostly the service is outstanding and its a pleasure to feel that they are doing because they want to and not because they want something from you. I have lived in different countries where tipping is natural thing...but its much nicer to see the pleasure on the persons face when i tip here for good service...automatic tips is a disgrace and the cruise liners should wake up to this fact!!!!
I recently went on a Carnival Cruise, and I was pretty surprised at the audacity of the crew when it came to tipping. There was a "seminar" on the second-to-last night in which the crew told us how much we were expected to tip. Then the envelopes showed up in my cabin...
That's not tipping, it is responding to a direct solicitation. Carnival doesn't want to pay their employees, and instead wants the passengers to pick up the tab in order to fatten the profit margins. Automatic tipping is simply a service charge.
The thing I had the biggest issue with, was the 15% "gratuity" added to every drink purchase, including soft drinks. Good luck getting a bartender to serve you a drink! This is an absurd policy, considering that most people would drink more if this "gratuity" wasn't added to their bill every time.
The trip was part of my honeymoon, and we had the best cabin on the ship. Nevertheless, we had to wait in line with everyone else for 2 hours to board the ship (and disembark for that matter). There were no special elements added, such as free champaign or chocolates in my cabin. The room steward spoke no English. I expected a queen bed, and got 2 twins. So I was irritated from the get go, and wasn't feeling real generous. Carnival is the K-Mart of the high seas, and I wouldn't be caught dead on another one of their ships.
I'm actually a pretty generous tipper, and the best way to get me to tip, is to not ask for it.
will someone give me their opion on how much the crew actually makes each week? i know u cant figure to teh penny, but there has to be a rough estimate. how does the crew figure their budget with all the families they have to send money home to. where have i heard this before??????????? i send my money home to my poor family?
Uh, Marina, despite the fact that people have used the "poor family" routine as an excuse, there actually *are* quite a lot of poor families in the world, and a lot of people working overseas--including on cruise ships--to send money home to them.
Cruise ship crew members work seven days a week straight through for 10 1/2 to 11 months a year, then get a month or six weeks off in one chunk, so they see their families, kids, etc. only once a year. Yes, they have free room and board, but not a lot of time to enjoy it. They don't spend a lot of time "sitting back and enjoying the sunset," as you claim on another thread, because they're working from soon after daybreak until late at night with a couple hours off during the day. If you truly think these folks have it easy, I urge you to trade places with one of them for a while--do enjoy your new career.
Well I think then if you feel that way that they should add in the full cost of the employees to the cruise price, then only the wealthy will be able to cruise and we won't have all the bickering and low life complaints we have now on these boards.
Whether you like it or not Tipping on a cruise ship is part of the cost of cruising. If people refuse to tip then the Price for the cruise should go up, no discounts no nothing.
Tipping is still a good way to encourage the best service and the cruiselines know this. It's obviously incentive based and is a better method of producing good service. I like automatic tipping, so I don't have to worry about it at the end of the cruise but I wouldn't like to see it's replacement in the form of a service fee added onto the ticket price even though as a passenger I consider it to be part of the price.
I talk to the crew members on every cruise, and some of them work 8 month contracts, and some work 6 month contracts. I believe it varies from company to company and from job to job. On one RCI cruise the bartender told me he worked an 8 month contract and was home 4 months, while the salon hairdresser told me she worked a 6 month contract.
On my last cruise our waiter was serving 15 people at dinner. At $3.50 per person, per day, and 2 dinner seatings a night that's 15 x $3.50 x 2 = $105 per day in tips. If he works an 8 month contract that's $105 x 240 days = $25,200. If you annualize this it's equal to $37,800 per year. Since they're free of U.S. taxes consider another 28% savings from taxes so it now becomes the equivalent of $52,500 per year for you and me. And this is if people only tip the suggested amount.
Also consider they're not buying groceries, paying a mortgage, buying gas for the lawnmower, fuel and insurance for the car, repairs to the garage door, fertilizer and weed killer for the lawn, etc.
They work hard, and they work long hours. But it's not as though they are captive slaves working for peanuts.
ive been trying to figure out why they work on a mafia controlled, poor working conditions, over worked , no time to enjoy life cruise ship when mcdonalds would be better, i knew there was an answer hay sailor, they are there by choice, its not a slavery ship. i earned my money to go on cruises, im a home health nurse and let me tell u, its not all about beautiful sunsets either, but there are some that can be enjoyed by all. sorry if i up set u, i just dont think its my job to help support the entire crew of a ship when im on vacation. i tip at my owen discresstion.
>>Also consider they're not buying groceries, paying a mortgage, buying gas for the lawnmower, fuel and insurance for the car, repairs to the garage door, fertilizer and weed killer for the lawn, etc.<<
Right, they're not doing that for themselves, Thomas, because they're living on board. But many of them are supporting whole families at home. As one crew member on my last ship put it (and he was American, BTW), "Some of them are supporting entire villages."
NCL crew members work 10-10 1/2-month contracts, BTW. Or so I'm told by many NCL employees.
Meant also to add, Thomas, that your numbers are based on the fact that most, if not all, waiters pool tips or at least share a portion of them with their assistants, kitchen staff, etc. So that $3.50 a day goes to quite a few people, not just your waiter.
According to the people I've talked to, the tips, where they might be pooled amongst those in the service end, they are not shared with the cooks, or dishwashers, or other kitchen staff. The assistant waiters get tips though, $2.00 pp per day. And the extra cash tips from customers stay with the individual.
"But many of them are supporting whole families at home."..............heysailor.
Guess what, I support a whole family at home too. Don't you? My point is they earn the equivalent of U.S. $52K per year when everyone tips according to the suggested amount. And if they are good, they get additional tips from customers and are promoted to larger groups.
I have never tipped below the suggested amount and only once have tipped only that. I believe they do a great job given their grueling schedule and believe they are compensated fairly.