Got the following excerpt via e-mail. Found it interesting. I did not copy the whole e-mail but the more important part.
For many years, the gratuity policy aboard Holland America's ships has been "No tipping required". I believe that most passengers took that to mean "No tipping, period", while others felt that they were still expected to tip for excellent service, and did so.
We have just received notice of a change in this tipping policy. Here's the announcement Holland America is sending to folks booked on upcoming cruises:
"Exceptional service is part of the Holland America cruise experience. Because you are our guest, it is our goal to make sure you receive the finest service possible. And we have made it easy for you to reward excellent service on-board.
A gratuity of $10 per guest per day for dining and stateroom services will be automatically added to your shipboard account on a daily basis. We are confident that you will find the service on-board exemplary and, should you wish to make adjustments, you may do so at the end of the cruise by contacting the front desk. A 15% service charge will be automatically added to your bar charges and dining room wine account."
The new gratuity policy will be effective with the following sailings:
Amsterdam: May 9, 2004
Maasdam: May, 9, 2004
Noordam: April 29, 2004
Oosterdam: May 15, 2004
Prinsendam: May 7, 2004
Rotterdam: May 5, 2004
Ryndam: May 7, 2004
Statendam: May 9, 2004
Veendam: May 16, 2004
Volendam: May 5, 2004
Westerdam: April 25, 2004
Zaandam: May 12, 2004
Zuiderdam: May 1, 2004
Radiance of the Seas May 2, 2004
Constellation Sept 7, 2004
__________________ Ready to Steer towards another cruise
Thanks for the post Steve. That should clear things up.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
Holland America is now truly a member of the Carnival family. I really don't mind the policy of tipping on the shipboard account, but how long will it be until the cruiselines urge extra tips in addition.
The cruiselines already do urge you to leave extra tips in addition to what they've charged to your account. My husband was just fuming after being treated to their little talk which strongly urges everyone to leave more than just the recommended amount which we felt was on the high side anyway. We have no problem with tipping but we do have a problem with being told to tip and how much. We found that although there was already 15% added to our drink orders, the waiters still hung around waiting for an additional tip, which we didn't give because I think 15% is adequate to bring me a drink. This just shows how they encourage even more tipping.
If "tips" are indeed the 'Prepaid" variety or the "added daily to your shipboard account", it's more like a service charge than a tip. For cryin' out loud...just add it into the cost of the cruise under the "nondiscountable amount" (some cruiselines refer to it as "noncommissionable amount"). Then it will be PAID and no one will have to gripe about it.
I'm so happy to see that HAL has changed its "tipping" policy. We took one cruise with them a couple of years ago to Alaska and I found their "tipping not required" policy to be the most annoying thing about the cruise. We took tipping not required to mean no tipping - however, at the debarkation talk, we were told that envelopes would be provided to use in case we "loved the service and servers" - and were told how hard they worked, etc., etc., etc. Now, our room steward, mind you, had been invisible throughout the cruise - especially when we needed something! Actually, we didn't ask for much, mainly one extra towel. We got it one day. Now, you take four soiled towels out of the room - how hard is it to replace them with four clean ones? Nope, only three appeared each day. Now, on the last day, there he was, all smiles and hand out.
We did go to an "all inclusive resort" in the Turks/Caicos islands one year that had a "no tipping" policy. The staff practically fell over themselves to see that you were happy - even bringing you drinks around the pool and frequently checking to see if there was any extra little thing they could do for you - and they absolutely refused to take a dime! People often say that service would decline if tipping were just included in the price of the cruise, but maybe not.
When HAL says "should you wish to make adjustments, you may do so at the end of the cruise by contacting the front desk." that is not entirely true.
We just completed a 14-day Alaska cruise on the Statendam. At the beginning of the cruise, we opted out of the $10/per person/day program, preferring to tip where warranted.
The following day a letter arrived rom the Captain stating "dining and cabin stewards are required to turn in any tips they receive directly from those guests who have removed or reduced the gratuities on their onboard bills."
Basically, HAL has taken away the customers rights to tip those giving superior service and not tip the ones who are indifferent.
After several letter and meetings with the Guest Relations Manager, we were then "permitted" to tip our cabin steward without his having to turn the money over.
We partially got around the problem by purchasing phone cards in port and giving them out as "gifts not gratuities". We also asked when birthdays were, bought a few birthday cards and once again gave gifts not gratuities.
"We also asked when birthdays were, bought a few birthday cards and once again gave gifts not gratuities."
I love this idea. Tip pooling drives me nuts. It means I really have no decision making power... if I tip one person more than recommended and one person less (for less than acceptable service) and then they have to pool the tips and divide them, why should I tip more? I might bring some generic birthday cards with me in July... and give some gifts. I think I may even have some Xmas cards somewhere....
I have first hand knowledge that when automatic tipping is apply,
service goes down hill. before automatic tipping I was seeing my cabin steward
one the first day.He would introduce himself and ask me if I wanted any thing
special. NOW I don't see him practicaly the whole cruise. I didn't know his
name. enough the service the at dinnertime wasn't the same. IN nov/04
I will tell the purser to take the automatic tipping off. I will tip them according to the
service I get from them. I have nothing against tipping , I just want them to earn it.
I was aghast at the letter I received with my travel documents for my HAL cruise in July. The specific reason we chose HAL was because of the no-tipping-required policy. I'm furious that they've changed all that, and you can bet we'll be opting out of tipping, when we're already paying an arm and a leg for the cruise. I do like the gift-not-gratuity idea, though. Appreciate the insight I've gathered through this site.
You know what is facsinating about this tipping thing is how people say" oh you must tip the staff get paid nearly nothing"( which is true) Then when you suggest that perhaps the cruise lines should pay their staff accordingly someone will say " oh but I like the cheap price of my cruise holiday. I don't want them to raise the fares". Well how does that make sence since the added amount of the fare should equal about what you were required to tip anyways.
You do realize that someone is getting rich somewhere don't you. Not the lower staff, for sure, and maybe not even the middle mangement, but please don't kid yourselves, our tips are allowing the cruise lines to underpay their staff and pocket more profit, which in turn they use to buy or build more ships which in turn make more money!
I think they should just pay the staff a decent wage and add that to the ticket price, it shouldn't be more than 100 to 200 dollars more per cabin, and then the staff would work becase they have a decent living being made and they don't want to be fired. I think in the many third world countries they often come from that someone would be willing to replace them if they goof off.
Tipping should be OUR choice , when, how much and to whom, NOT the cruiselines!!!
It *is* your choice since you can elect to have the automatic amount taken off your card.
You can tip absolutely NOTHING if that is what you desire.
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
It still is your choice. You can opt out and not give your steward, waiter, etc. cash.
End of story.
Many people like the amount put on their visa and pooling does help distribute the tips to the servers through out the ship in alternative eating areas. This argument is being hashed to death and mostly because the types of service on cruises is changing but the cruiser is failing to change with it.
No Dorothy it is not raelly my choice, by pooling tips Edwardo the crappy waiter gets the same amount as Manuel the excellant waiter, unless of course I first tip the full amount, then I can give EXTRA to the excellant waiter. BUT< why should I have to make sure the crappy staff gets his "cut"! If I take the auto tipping off I am well aware that the staff still have to come up with their share of the pooled tips, and so I can't just remove the auto tips and give my tips to who iI please.
By the way Dorothy, I tip the full amount each time I cruise, I just do not agree with it. What would possess you to assume I would ever desire to " tip nothing"!