Tom: Just last night I saw a Carnival ad on TV that said their cruises are "just like an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort that goes from place to place" (emphasis added). Now you know and I know that this ad certainly stretches the meaning of the term "all-inclusive" (beyond the breaking point, in my opinion). And there was no "fast talk" or fine print disclaimers on the screen at the end of the ad like on car dealer's ads, either. So some novice who had never cruised before sees this ad, calls Carnival, and books -- with way the wrong idea on tips, and a lot of other things.
What I'm saying is this: corporate ads like this certainly don't serve the cause of the service crew on these ships, when they lead people (who don't know better) to believe that all will be included in the fare, including tips. I strongly suspect that ads like this are the cause of at least some of the "stiffing".
Pamda. As I responded to Tom S. below, I just saw a Carnival ad on TV which said their cruises are "just like an ALL-INCLUSIVE land resort that goes from place to place" (emphasis supplied). We know that those cruises are nowhere near "all-inclusive" as anyone would define that term. But people familiar with all-inclusicve land resorts (I've been to a bunch of them) know that tips (and a lot of other things) are included there that aren't on Carnival (and most other lines). So if these people have never cruised before and see these ads, can't you just see them calling Carnival and booking with the expectation that tips (and a lot of other things) are included in the fare that actually are not? Or, if they've only sailed lines like Radisson before where tips ARE included, they could easily come to the same incorrect conclusion --- right up to the last day of the cruise!
My point is that ads like this (and RCI has some questionable ones too) are really undermining the interests of the lines' service crew members, who depend on tips for their outstanding service for their income.
IMO, I'd like to see these ads stopped, as they could be misleading to those without prior info on the line. Customers board with the wrong expectation, and I suspect this is part of the "stiffing" problem.
Personally, my fave line is Radisson (not to criticize others with other faves). On most of their ships tips, soft drinks, and "hard" drinks so much of the time that I can't drink all that's offered --- are included. Still, not all hard drinks are included all of the time, so they don't claim to be "all-inclusive. Even on their Song of Flower, which does include these things plus hard drinks 24/7 doesn't advertise that it's "all-inclusive" . It is merely stated that it is all inclusive ONBOARD, as shore excursions are extra.
Bottom line, I suggest that Carnival (and maybe some other lines) are misleading their customers into believing that tips are included, and "stiffing" results. HAL is in a class of its own on this issue with its "tipping not required" policy that confuses some, and leads others int mistakenly thinking tips are included --- which they are not. Now I've got no PERSONAL complaint, because I know enough to not be mislead. But not all who book do, and I fear that the fine service crew suffers.
Of course you do. Bad service is not always the fault of the waitstaff. I can recall on our last cruise in June, 2002 that one time lunch in the main dining room was very slow in comming. Then, the Hotel Manager showed up. He had not been called in by any of the guests, but by the waitstaff in an effort to solve the problem with a "slow kitchen". As you might imagine, the problem got fixed pronto! Now this was a line where tips are included in the fare (REALLY!). But if they were not, I would have actually have tipped the waitstaff MORE for taking the initiative on this problem. The test of good service is not when nothing goes wrong, but is when things do go wrong. The test is how problems are handled under these circumstamces.
I am a big fan of the Radisson product, having sailed on both Song of Flower (where the shore excursions WERE included on that particular itinerary -- Viet Nam) and Diamond where some of the ShoreX were included (Panama Canal).
I agree that presenting a cruise as "all-inclusive" is misleading if it ISN'T.
The HAL thing is very problematic. I've talked with several Hotel Managers over the various HAL cruises we've taken and they said, to the person, that the most frequently asked question was about tipping expectations. Seasoned cruisers DO tip and, when they do, tip well. Or so they tell me.
I know that we do.
That's why places such as CruiseMates are so important to cruisers.
If one goes to a restaurant for dinner, there is no official policy posted, "Tipping not required" but people DO tip. They "know" that it's an expectation. Not the same on cruise ships, it seems.
Maybe three times in my adult life I have "stiffed" waitstaff in landside restaurants. But I always went to the maitre d' or other person in charge to explain WHY I didn't tip (lousy service). If one doesn't explain the reason for "stiffing" the gesture is meaningless. Take it up with the boss.
Like L8, I have put in my time as a server and am very sensitive to these issues. I tip VERY well for great service.
We once had a horrible waiter on a ship. Nasty attitude, just YUCK. We had most dinners in the alternative $$$ restaurant (the food was also better). Because we were on the VIP list, the maitre d' finally ran us to ground in the alternative restaurant and asked why we were not at our table. We told him. He said that the next night he, personally, would serve us in the dining room. He did.
We gave the busboy (assistant waiter, whatever) who was a total charmer, HIS tip AND the waiter's tip. And told the maitre d' what we were doing.
People who depend upon fluff-and-puff advertising and don't bother to read the cruise information (suggested tipping guidlines, e.g.) and then get surprised ??? Their fault.
But the people who suffer are the tip-dependent service crew. The stiffing passengers don't care, they're off the ship.
I have always wondered why there is an automatic 15% added to bar beverages, hard or soft, and not for other services. I guess delivering a drink is a fairly factual thing. You order, you get. It's not subjective.
I can't remember what it's callled on RCI, purser's desk, guest relations, something to that effect. You can change your fives into singles onboard. Do it at the beginning of the cruise before the lines get started.
Babe. I think I just saw the same commercial as you did (2 guys in a golf cart talking about cruising?) they said the FOOD was all inclusive, nothing more. Listen more carefully next time you see it and let me know.
Pamda: I'm afraid there are always going to be "stiffs", no matter what kinds of ads and other info the cruiselines put out. But I think there are people who "stiff" because they are really confused about what is "customary", unless someone informs them. Without info, for example, it would be hard for a new cruiser to know what to tip a waiter when there is no bill for the meal to add 15% to 20% or so to as a tip. Then, even those who tip well in nice restaurants on land may not be familiar with the ship practice of tipping assistant waiters and busboys, because this doesn't happen on land, to my knowlege. Land hotels and resorts really don't have the equivalent of room stewards, so guidance is needed there for cruise "newbees". Then there are folks from other countries where tipping is not customary, such as Australia. I've gone on more than my share of "rants" about cruise line MANAGEMENT, and their practices and policies. But never about service crew. I guess this is another of my anti-management rants, because management simply isn't doing enough to support their service crew's ability to receive their main source of income --- tips. And when a line advertises that it is "all inclusive" when tipping is really customary and needed by the crew, I boil just a little. Car dealers have to put fine print disclaimers in their ads (like "price excludes title, tax, steering wheel, engine, and tires"!). Why aren't cruise lines required to do the same like "fare excludes tips, beverages, shore activities, etc. --- when that is the case?
As far as getting info from boards like these, you know I think it's a great idea from the number of times I use them. But you would be shocked at the percentage of guests I meet on ships who say "you mean there really is good cruise information on the internet?". I confess I wouldn't have had the time before I retired to do all the research necessary to know what I was getting into on a given cruise --- given the wide variances in customs and practices onboard.
So, as I hear that cruise line officials actually read these boards, I say "could we have just a little more accurate and complete information, please?" I'll just bet the service crew members would support this request.
If the Carnival ad does say "it's just like an all-inclusive land resort", then that is definitely misleading as the term "all-inclusive" has a standard meaning that is consistent among land resorts. It means not only meals are included, but drinks, water activities and tips are included. If they only said Meals included and not all-inclusive, it should be clear that gratuities are not included. But maybe it's only obvious to me.
Actually, all inclusive land resorts like the Allegro Royal Hideaway in Playa Del Carman, MX include all food, all drinks, all tips, and some water sports. But we all need to check things out because the term "all inclusive" has been given so many meanings. But for the purpose of this thread on "stiffs" who don't tip, I can't think of any land resort that uses this term that doesn't include tips. Most ships have customary tipping that's a little dirfferent than even land resorts that have tipping. So again, I just wish the lines would do a better job in educating prospective cruisers on customary tipping on the particular ship. Hopefully, a better informed group of guests would at least cut down on the stiffing. Since I've never had anything but great service on all the cruises I've been on, and have seen how hard the service crew works, I'm very pro-tipping,except on true "tips included" ships, of course.
Hi, I am a wqaitress. I get $2.33 per hour paid by the owner of the restaurant. I work for my tips. I know how it is to work my butt off to make the money I deserve. So I see no reason for people not to tip. Unless the service is so lousy. I have been on many cruises and have never had the thought of not tipping or tipping less. i have tipped just what is expected of me though. The dining room waiter and assist. waiter were ok but not outstanding. I just tip the exact amount of what they tell us. But if I have a waiter with the perfect personality to give us some extra attention, Well believe me we tip way above and beyond. Two yrs ago we were on the Celebration and had the perfect waiter and asst. waiter. They got a hug extra tip from our entire table of 6. They deserved every penny of it. I know how they have to work hard for the extra. I have been there myself. Please everyone who skips out without the tipping!!!! Don't do it. Tip the people. They work for there tips!!!! Think about your boss saying well you didn't give your all this week and I am only giving you 3/4 of your weekly salary. How would you feel about that??? JUST THINK! Char
Right, Char! And we must remember that the service crew members on cruise ships don't even make as much as $2.33 per hour without the tips. And before one judges whether he has had good service or bad service, he should first realize that there are different styles of service. For example, some restaurants in some parts of the US and the world train their service staff to be interactive, outgoing, and very friendly and talkative with the customers. Other restaurants in other areas train their service staff to be more aloof and invisable. On ships, we've experienced both kinds, and niether were bad -- just different styles, both deserving compensation.
I will be taking my first cruise, with my infant daughter, on HAL to Alaska (can't wait - don't even have the docs yet and doing a happy dance) for 7 nights. I have two questions:
Tip recommendations are given per person per day. Would this include the first and last days that are only partial days or can I consider those as one day? Since my daughter is still very dependent on me, the wait staff won't have to do nearly as much for her as they would for an older child. Should I still plan to give the full tip amount for her as well?
I don't want to be cheap nor do I want to tip more than customary (unless it is to recognize/reward excellent service) so I'm hoping for the advice of experienced "cruisers".
I couldn't agree more with you. We did the pre-tip thing and we met others who didn't and complained how they was going to have to tip so much etc. I got excellent room service and dinner service with no complaints. The last day of my trip I handed out envelopes with extra money to my room steward and to my 2 waiters. I also spoke to those 3 people and each told me how they had to stay on that ship 3 more months before they could see their families and how poor it is in their country and that they sent all their money home to support their families. Those who stiff these people should be ashamed and remember that nothing good comes to those who cheat. What goes around comes around.
(sailed on the Carnival Inspiration May 26, 2002- June 2, 2002.)
Room Seward: Daniel
Team head waiter: Vicente
Team Waiter: Rajesh
Worth every penny.
On my last two cruises I played blackjack at the Atlantis Hotel in Nassau. The only other players at the table were cabin stewards and men who worked in the laundry room. We were at the 25.00 table, but I felt like a pauper as the crew was betting as much as 500.00 a hand. When the cabin steward opened his wallet I never saw so many hundred dollar bills, and I jokingly said "it looks like payday" and he smiled and said yes. I would say the cabin stewards are very well payed, but then it also helps the wallet when you don't have to pay rent or visit the grocery store!
My travel agent did the math for me before and yes, the crew gets compensated very well. Free room & board and tips in cash. If they have a family back home, they probably send most of it home. If they don't have family, they probably party and gamble on their days off in ports. Regardless of how they spend it, I still believe they deserve every penny. They still work more in 6 months than an Enron Executive did in a whole year. So I don't mind tipping.
My DH is the best tipper around, and I never have to worry about him doing anything less than great for anyone he tips. Tiffany, your story was so sweet. I think your husband and mine must be brothers.
One evening in a restaurant, a male waiter was giving me and our 10 yo daughter extra attention on top of great service. At the end of our meal, he said he had a special treat for us and ripped into a great Elvis song -- sounded like the King himself. We all laughed and at the end, he kissed both me and daughter on the cheek -- sweetly!
I saw my husband slip over and speak to him as we were leaving, so I asked what that was about. He said he gave him a $20 as thanks for making his girls so happy!
"Next to nothing" is, right now, $45.00 per month to waiters and cabin stewards, on Carnival and RCI. I don't know aobut the other lines. That's right, their salary is $45.00 per month. They literally work for tips. No tip, no income. But if they don't bust their butts and meet and exceed all their passengers' expectations, they're outta there!
My husband was a waiter for Carnival for 15 years and still maintains close friendships with former co-workers. That's where our information comes from. Crew who do not have jobs where they make tips make a more substantial salary - for the countries from which they come. Of course, the skilled crew, such as engineers, make even more, as do the entertainers and officers. But general crew, such as laundry, kitchen, maintenance, etc, make between $350 and $500 per month.
When my husband was an entertainer on a cruise ship (mid to late 80's) he received $800 a month, a gold mine - where he's from! I'd be interested to know how much entertainers make now a days. He was the leader of one of the dance bands on board.