CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums

CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums (
-   Tipping (
-   -   We'll never tip again. (

Skippyyyy January 29th, 2004 09:31 AM

We'll never tip again.
Our experience over the past couple of weeks.

Onboard....... A daily amount was added per person to be shared out between room steward and dining room wait staff.

We agreed to this and on the last night of the cruise we gave our wait staff 50% cash on top of the compulsory gratuity, in an envelope with a thank you letter. $160 that was.

The following morning at breakfast our wait staff did not say a word of 'thank you'.
They were (if anything) sullen with us.

We did not give the room stewardess any extra as she failed to do our room for THREE days (until we complained) and then she had the cheek to say to us that she had been struck down with Thai flu and was only half better (which had it been true would have put the entire ship in quarantine). We do not tip liars.

That was on board.


St Thomas. We went to a side alley cafe called Coconuts. We had drinks and lunch. The bill came to $28.40 (including (18% service charge). I paid with two $20 bills. The waitress did not reappear with the change for a long time. Eventually when she did, she peeled off the notes one at a time and slammed the coins down on the table without saying a word before storming off. We did not tip her following THAT.

Fort Lauderdale:-

You have to tip:-

The person who takes your bags off the ship
The person who takes your bags to your transfer coach
The person who drives you to your transfer hotel
The person who takes your bags into the lobby
The person who gives you a luggage check
The person who eventually takes the bags to your room
The person who takes your bags down to the lobby
The person who puts your bags on the coach
The person who drives you to the airport
The person who takes your bags from the coach to the check-in desk

In the hotel itself:-

You're expcected to tip the barstaff who want to gossip with eachother despite them adding an 18% service charge.

Oh and then on top of it all.......... we add all those other service charges and state taxes etc etc etc.

We're fed up with this method of cash extraction. Just tell us the bottom line at the start and don't expect me to carry a wad of $1 and $5 bills.

When we next cruise we may very well look for a Line which stipulates 'Tipping is forbidden'. We'd be happy to get the extra expense and nonsense out of the way.

My message to crusie Lines: Move with the times and pay crew what they're worth.

My message to the USA: You are one of the last countries in the world where tipping is so much a part of life. European people hate this tipping business. It's not good for your tourist industry ,and don't get angry with Europeans who don't tip. They do not do it at home because the staff get paid. If you choose not to pay your staff then don't blame us.

Ps. Tipping could be construed as illegal - as an employee is able to earn money that they do not declare and therefore do not pay tax on. Therefore you are aiding and abetting the comitting of a crime (under UK law anyway).

True Brit January 29th, 2004 10:28 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Afternoon Pete. I assume that you are also British so I just thought I would echo your comments. It always has astounded me that, in th U.S., even if you are sitting on a bar stool and the barman simply pours you a drink from a pump (tap) right in front of you he expects a tip!!! Do be serious!!! Even the Europeans have got this worked out; different prices depending on whether you sit down at a table or drink at the bar.
Just to put your mind at rest I doubt if Inland Revenue is quite that naive. I know that they have arrangements with various employees that they know earn large tips e.g. airport porters, cabbies etc. and charge an assumed amount of additional earnings. Does beg the question of course whether the same system exists in the States and if not why not.
I'm off on the Island Princess in March so I hope that was not your ship! Before then I shall no doubt visit some of our local pubs and enjoy drinking at the bar without paying for the privilege simply the drinks.
Cheers Paul

Skippyyyy January 29th, 2004 10:41 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.

I agree with you - and I also raise the question of:-

Me: 'Waiter, I'd like to order a pot of tea, with cup, saucer, spoon, sugar bowl, and jug of milk please'
Waiter:'Certainly sir. That'll be $1.50 plus 18% gratuity making a total of $1.77'

Waiter arrives back 5 minutes later with all the above.


Me: 'Waiter. I'd like a glass of that vinage champagne from that bottle on the other side of the bar please'
Waiter: 'Certainly sir, That'll be $20.00 plus 18% gratuity making a total of $23.60'

Waiter arrives back in 5 seconds with glass of champagne.

Hence, when we go some places in the US we are told 'We don't do pots of tea'.

Pete :o)

HeySailor January 29th, 2004 11:48 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Regarding tipping in pubs in the UK: Ah, but eventually you have to (at least offer to) buy the barman (or woman) a drink, so it comes out to the same thing, no?

When I lived in Europe, I followed European tipping customs, and when I visit Europe now, I do the same. When I'm in the U.S., I follow American tipping customs. If I were to walk about the U.K. proclaiming the the inadequacies of the British system loudly and at length--or do the same on a U.K.-based Web site--you'd call me an ugly American, wouldn't you?

And you'd be right.

True Brit January 30th, 2004 05:41 AM

Re: Re: We'll never tip again.
Sorry Sailor but you must have gone into some strange pubs when you were over here! It is by no means unusual to hear someone offer the barman "one for yourself" but in my locals it also happens that the landlord offers his regulars "one on the house" By all means feel free to offer your opinion on what is wrong with our system over here; after all that is simply what Pete and I are doing. I assure you that I certainly would not accuse you of being an ugly American! I think that you will find an invitation for anyone to contribute on a U.K. board on Ship Happens website.
Cheers. Paul

Skippyyyy January 30th, 2004 10:27 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.

With regard to your comment:-

'Regarding tipping in pubs in the UK: Ah, but eventually you have to (at least offer to) buy the barman (or woman) a drink, so it comes out to the same thing, no?'

You do not HAVE to (or even offer) to buy the bar tender a drink. This normally only happens after a while when you have become friends. And even then, the bar tender when bought a drink by you actually takes the drink and does not (normally) pocket the cash. So imo it does not amount to the same thing.

and with regard to your comment:-

'If I were to walk about the U.K. proclaiming the the inadequacies of the British system loudly and at length--or do the same on a U.K.-based Web site--you'd call me an ugly American, wouldn't you? '

I think there's a little bit of temper here. I am not walking about the US complaining about tipping. I am posting on a thread which specifically invites comments on the practice of tipping. Loudly and at length? One posting. Web sites might be based in the UK or the US but they are read by people from all over the world. I do not see that just because a web site is US based that it may not be posted to from another country.

No I would not make an unpleasant personal remark and I'm sorry that you insist that you think I should.

Pete :o)

carol January 30th, 2004 10:36 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.

Tipping is also a sore subject with me, however I will never stiff anyone in the service industry. The Grand Princess also has upfront tipping, but in addition to this I gave my cabin attendant a thank you note, along with a 50 dollar bill. In the thank you note he was invited to stay in my oceanfront Fl. condo whenever he had free time. The a.m. I left the cabin he never even said "good bye" or "thank You." I used to tip more than was recommended, but with shared tipping, and lack of appreciation I now only tip the minimum.

Ever notice how friendly everybody is before tips are received, but after tipping rarely a thank you!

Happy Sailing!

Bruce Chafkin January 30th, 2004 09:09 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.


As you do not come from America, you have missed a very important part of the tipping process. America's internal Revenue Service determined a few decades ago that the average American waiter earns gratuities that equal his share of 15% of the company's annual receipts.
Then they told every waiter in America that he/she was required to pay income taxes on that amount - even if he did not actually earn it !!
To this day, every restaurant operator in America is required to report this amount to the IRS, and assist them is forcing the waiter to pay the appropriate amounts in taxes. So even if you do not tip the waiter - or tip him less that 15%, the waiter still must pay income taxes on it. In effect, he loses twice. First he loses out on the tip, and second, he pays taxes on income he did not receive.

Pete January 31st, 2004 05:31 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
All sounds most unfair to me.

True Brit January 31st, 2004 07:12 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Thanks, Bruce, for the info. So it seems that you have the same system as that in the U.K. but the only difference being the way in which the amount is assessed and then collected.
Tha assumption of 15% would be high to us but, if a conversation I had with a couple from Arizona is to be believed, low to them since they are used to paying 20-25% in tips.
Maybe the old "swings and roundabouts" comes into play. This still leaves of course the old black economy ( don't tell the Revenue about all your sales so you don't pay tax ) which I bet goes on to at least the same extent in the US as it does here and the idea of giving a dollar note every time the barman gives you a drink even if it only costs$3 which my simple arithmetic makes something over 33%. No doubt this makes up for the Brits who fail to leave anything.
As it happens my wife and I always leave a tip and, on ships, of at least the minimum amount. We happened to be on Norwegian Dawn's maiden voyage and NCL cut the daily tip charge from $10 to $5. As a result, and also because the freestyle concept meant that we would have different waiters each evening, we tipped in cash to all the different servers and usually $5. Perhaps other cruise lines might take that idea on board since I believe waiters etc. like being handed something personally. I certainly prefer it that way.
I was reading another posting on this board from a girl who had her envelope containing the tip returned to her by the room stewardess since it contained too little! The astounding thing is that the girl added some more thus leaving herself short of cash with which to get home. She had already given as much as she could afford and I bet the stewardess does not return the envelope if the tip is too much! If that happened to me I guarantee that the tip would be reduced if not taken back completely and the stewardess told to return whence she came in no uncertain manner i.e. much stronger language than that.
Enough already. The pub beckons and a soccer match to boot.
Cheers. Paul. See you up there Pete!

jerry berkowitz February 1st, 2004 09:46 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
when in rome do as the romans do .
with the low prices of cruises if the
staff salaries were increased the
cruise prices would have to go up .
we ere on the golden princess in
december . we were chargef $10.00
per day per person for tips .the
crew were unbelievable , and worth
every penny .

Thomas February 2nd, 2004 11:44 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
I'm a restaraunt owner and can speak of the taxes charged to servers who collect tips. If they are audited, they will be required to report their tips as income and pay their tax. Unless something has changed in the last few years, the IRS would systematically assume the server earned 10% of the revenues he/she served that day in tips. Someone above posted 15%, but I don't know if that figure is the current one used by the IRS. I'll have to get my accountant to verify that.

In my place the servers must report themselves what they made in tips. This goes into their paycheck calculations and taxes are withheld from their checks.


MyNextCruiseIsNotSoonEnou February 5th, 2004 09:35 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
I am getting away from tipping above the recommended amounts. The cruiselines understand that most of us are inclined to tip beyond the recommended amounts, so they are in no rush to better compensate these employees. Instead, they'll increase the suggested or pre-tipped amounts in increments. (Remember when restaurant staff were tipped 10%? 15%? 18%? Now it's 20%. Same thing with cruising. A dollar more here and there over the years.) I haven't minded tipping beyond the recommended amounts wherever I've had good sevice in the past, but I'm becoming inclined to stop sending a message to the cruise lines that I'm willing to make up for *any* amout of their shortfall to their employees, that there is no limit to how much I'll be willing to pay in tips, and that I'll be tipping whether the service is good or not. It's become an obligation, not an opportunity.

Thomas February 5th, 2004 02:38 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
You may be right MyNextCruise, but I wonder if most are willing to tip above the recommended amount. I can't say since I've never seen any data supporting this. I can report that my cheap ass brother-in-law won't tip at all. Not a penny. He can't get his 15% bar tab gratuity back and this pisses him off. So I kinda believe that there are many cheapskates on the ships like him which forces all of us to be allocated more to make up for them.

People have to realize the situation the cruiselines have as well. They have to make sure the employees are making enough money to cause them to stay yet keep ticket prices low enough to attract the customers.

It's not an easy thing to do.


Pete February 7th, 2004 10:22 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
QE2 - World cruise......

Some people on this cruise do not buy anything such as drinks or 'services'. This means that some people are subsidising those who do not spend a reasonable amount. The compulsory gratuity charged by Cunard and various other lines is nearly impossible to get out of. So, if they are charging this anyway - why not just add it on to the cruise fare and have done with it? I would say that adding compulsory gratuities is tantamount to window dressing a product. Would you buy a $299 dollar cruise - 7 days, when it's real price is $100 extra owing to compulsory gratuities? That's a 30% hike in the price and to me (if there was such an international law) it would be had up as being unrepresentative. Like :- You can buy this cookie for $10,000 and you get a free car thrown in, thereby avoiding car sales tax. They clamped down on that one.

Re. When in Rome do as the Romans. I'll remember that on my next world cruise. When in the US area - pay those extra tips, but once we get to other parts of the globe we can stop this practice.

The ONE thing that I find the REAL problem..... is that you pay an EXTRA tip over and above what is recommended - and then you don't get a word of thanks. THAT is what really damages the reputation of tipping. You feel that you might as well have burned the money, or worse still, that the money you have just (literally!!) thrown away is not enough - which leads you to think that it's not worth 'spending' money as it leaves you feeling worse than if you hadn't spent it at all!!!!

I feel that the onus lies with those receiving the extra tips to show gratitude for tips, which will in turn lead to people feeling that they have done the right thing to tip.

I refer to my original post.


pg. February 8th, 2004 01:37 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
There is NO excuse for not saying thank you for a tip. I ALWAYS says thank you when I recieve a tip! AND I mean it! I never count on tips, I base my spending habits on my wage so tips are gravey to me. I realize the ships staff count on their tips as income, BUT that does not excuse saying thank you! That is just a sign of a "burnt out" worker, or one with "bad attitude".

I teach my children to say "thank you" and "please" it is just good manners.

Bruce Chafkin February 8th, 2004 01:11 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
You got it right about land-based tipping escalating - but got it wrong about the same thing on ships.
Just 15 years ago the average recommended tip was $18 per person per day. Now the industry average is $10. That's nearly a 50% reduction !!

In the same 15 years, the average cruise fare has dropped more than 50%. Forgetting that those dollars were worth much more 15 years ago than they are today, cruising and tipping are a much better bargain - and far far less expensive than they were just a few years ago. How many other things in your life are like that?????

TokyoRose February 9th, 2004 04:05 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
I never tip ever even in land based attractions. Never once has someone gone beyond what was expected and therefore by definition earned a gratuity. All this talk about how little the ships employees are being paid just infuriates me. Well as the US dollar is worth much more in most of their home countries, and they are getting room and board. The cruiseships certainly are not hurting for employees and no one is forcing them to take their job.

Don't feel bad because you don't tip. The expected practice in this country is WAY WAY out of hand.

HeySailor February 9th, 2004 05:19 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
>>I never tip ever even in land based attractions. Never once has someone gone beyond what was expected and therefore by definition earned a gratuity.<<

Let's see...eating out once every couple of weeks, taking a cab once a month, taking a cruise once a year still adds up to hundreds of service people, both good and bad over the course of a single annum. And never a single one acting above and beyond? Toke, I have to believe you're just looking for a fight again. No one could really be this consistently venomous toward people in the service industry, and no one I've ever met in the real world has ever been as unhappy as you clearly are. I wish you peace, girl.

Skippyyyy February 10th, 2004 07:05 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Which raises an interesting point...........

Tokyo agress that (should she ever find it :o) service above and beyond should be rewarded.

What about if service is below and behind?

I was staying in a 5 star beach front hotel paying over the odds already for service, and when I went to the pool area (attended apparently by bar staff) - the bar staff were more interested in playing 'slap', watching TV, listening to music and chatting to eachother. After five minutes of watching this I approached the bar to place my order. Was I given service? Not as it should have been. I was charged an 18% gratuity. I was then invited to add more to that. Should it be necessary in a 5 star hotel to raise the management's awareness of poor service? Or should staff be on the alert to 'If I am looking after my customers well - they'll tip well'. In their case they knew they were going to get the 18% added gratuity anyway - and that I could do part of their job for them if they waited for me to get fed up waiting.

Which raises the question 'Who was the waiter in this situation?'


True Brit June 1st, 2004 05:39 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
I can only hope that "US Marine Corps" has hung up his boots amongst other parts of his anatomy! Relevance? Bigotry - certainly! "Please do not come over this side of the Pond and rescue us again - we seem to have done reasonably well without you"
Kindest regards (does tongue in cheek work in the U.S.?) Paul

Mazza June 5th, 2004 08:26 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Coming from the other side of the world where tipping is neither the norm nor expected, the thing that I would find useful if a simple list of who you are supposed to tip and how much when we are in the US. I understand cruise tipping, but it's off the ship that has me confused.

I realised while reading this thread that I should have given extra to the shuttle van driver who picked me up at my hotel and took me to the airport when I was in the US recently?

I agree that you should follow local customs with tipping, but it's a bit difficult to do this if you don't know the rules. Can anyone help?

3FOB5Paradise June 5th, 2004 09:41 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
CCL is an american cruise line. They ask that you follow their customs that they have used when creating their line. The ticket cost is lower because your tips give better wages for the waiters if they deserve it.


It's easy to pick up on.
We have 3 standards of gratuity: 15%, 18% or 20%
Most restaurants will automatically add a 15% gratuity for parties of 8 or more.
You are expected to tip only when you think the waiter has done a good job. Tip more the further out of their way they had to go to accomodate you.
In my personal experience:
We always give the Maitre'D a gift because he REALLY goes out of his way for us each time.
Our waiter has had to put up with us for 4 cruises and does everything perfectly, quickly, and doing every special request we ask for. We tip him like most people would tip at the best restaurant for a party of 23 each night :)
Our steward was really sick during our cruise and his neighbor took over, and we tipped him as well. He had to go out of his way to take care of us. He deserved it.

We tip who we deserve, what they deserve. It's up to you. That tends to be the american custom of those who appreciate their service.

pg June 16th, 2004 07:10 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Guess what the ships are not AMERICAN, they are registered under foriegn flags. That is why they do not have to pay minimum wage!!!!! And taxes, well who knows what they pay! They don't pay it to the states !

Canadians also find the Americans tipping a bit out of hand. There are some that actually brag about being " big tippers"!!! UGH!
And since when is 20 % a standard tip, ridiculus, I tip what I want based on service and work invlolved. No I do not tip a waiter at a help your self buffet the same as I tip a waiter at a full service fine dining establishment.

I wish that SOME of the Americans on this board could grasp the fact that the ships are not American, the ports are ( generally) not American and the staff are not American, so therefore the reasoning of " when in Rome " just doesn't make sense.

BTW I believe there were a few other countries involved in fighting during WW2, amazing how SOME of you think you won it single handedly, yes you were the biggest, and may be the strongest, BUT YOU WERE NOT ALONE!!! It was a team effort. Seems to be alot of our boys ended up on a beach somewhere never to come home too!

When you tip for poor service you are doing no one any good. And now all you " I always tip extra up front" types are ruining service for everyone else since staff will become lazy when not tipped extra.

Jane Marlow June 29th, 2004 07:16 PM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Welcome to America.

bicker July 4th, 2004 08:06 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
"I wish that SOME of the Americans on this board could grasp the fact that the ships are not American, the ports are ( generally) not American and the staff are not American, so therefore the reasoning of " when in Rome " just doesn't make sense."

When in Rome always makes sense. You are correct that the ships aren't American, etc. So the basis for the the "When in Rome" statement isn't American-standard. Indeed, it is NOT standard practice in the United States to automatically add tips to bills, as is frequently done aboard ship. However, "When in Rome" we live with this deviation from American-standard. Seems like many non-Americans aren't willing to live with deviations from their standard practices, and instead treat their own personal preferences as sacrosanct.

Here's a American colloquialism for you: "Get over yourselves."

bicker July 4th, 2004 08:10 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
"BTW I believe there were a few other countries involved in fighting during WW2, amazing how SOME of you think you won it single handedly, yes you were the biggest, and may be the strongest, BUT YOU WERE NOT ALONE!!! It was a team effort. Seems to be alot of our boys ended up on a beach somewhere never to come home too!"

I believe the key distinction made is that the United States was pretty safe from any expansionist worried from Germany. The United States would have been better off, from a selfish perspective, to focus its attention solely on Japan. Instead, the United States sacrificed tens of thousands of its own to protect its friends in Europe, something no country has ever done for it.

pg July 4th, 2004 11:02 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Oh my goodness do you believe some of the stuff you say? LOL

The United States got into the war because it was" protecting it's friends" , give me a break , if that was true why didn't they get in SOONER!!!!! SOONER!!!! Didn't they notice it!!LOL
They got in when they realized that an unchecked menace could also affect them!!And believe me the way things were going it was already affecting them financally, Pearl Harbour was the straw that broke the camels back, since they then realized that they were in fact not "safe" and by ignoring any threat to humanity they were only sticking their heads in the sand!Plus they were not exactly enjoying ecnomic prosperity at that time!

I really think this discussion should end, because you obvoiusly live in a different world that I do, and besides I seriously doubt that either of us has spent the real time needed to research the causes and effects of WW2 properly.
I do not think that your country is the greatest place in the world, and (understandbly) you do, I believe MY country is the best( which I doubt you can understand) .

BTW Just out of interest , during your War of Independence against England, did not the French settlers in Canada help you?I may be wrong about that, but I am sure I had read that somewhere?

bicker July 4th, 2004 01:08 PM

Re: Re: We'll never tip again.
"I really think this discussion should end, because you obvoiusly live in a different world that I do"

That much is certain. Rest assured, though, that if your country is attacked, mine will likely be more than willing to rush to your aide, and don't worry: We don't expect you to reciprocate. :-\

pg. July 5th, 2004 01:33 AM

Re: We'll never tip again.
Duh ,of course you will rush to our aid we share the longest running border, like you would want our country occupied by an aggressive foreign force. ? It would't be good for you guys at all now would it, but no, you would rush to our aid SOLELY on your nations tender spot for us. Now we both know the truth in that don't we?
I don't pretend to know everything about politics, but I know that money( and self preservation) run every the show .
There are atroicities occuring in many poor counties right now, why on earth don't you guys rush in there and save those poor african women and kids being sold into slavery ?

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:31 PM.