I have to say that Iím amazed and amused at all the commentary on people being ďcheapĒ or ďrudeĒ or ďclasslessĒ or whatever for adjusting their tips or wanting to bring on their own beverages. I have been on two cruises and have one booked for this summer and I intend to bring on beverages to save money. I also do NOT intend to tip the suggested amounts. The amounts are outrageous. I paid a considerable sum for the cruise and I do not appreciate all the hidden charges. Letís see, thereís the shore excursions, soda cards, terminal parking, trip insurance, tips, spa, drinks on board. Have I missed anything? From what Iíve calculated, you can count on spending at least 50% above what you spent to pay for the cruise alone on all these extras.
Letís take the tips. I have heard two arguments for tips. One is that the tips are reasonable for the service provided and the other is that the crew deserves them for the hard work they do. On the first point, my family of four would never spend more than $120 total for breakfast, lunch and dinner in one day. That works out to a tip of $18/day (at 15%). Next, Iíve never left a tip in a hotel room in my life, so I donít get why the cabin steward should get one. But, Iíll leave a few bucks per person, per day for the room steward. That adds up to around $120 for 4 for a 5 day cruise. That seems much more reasonable to me than the suggested $200 or so. On the second point, it is not my problem if the crew doesnít get paid a descent wage. Somebodyís making a boatload of money here when theyíre charging the fares they do and not paying the crew.
Now, letís talk about the drinks. Basically, I have the same argument. Iíve paid a bunch of money to go on this cruise and I canít even have a freakiní coke? Iím gonna bring a little rum, a little vodka, a little wine and some cokes and it doesnít have anything to do with whether they serve what I like. Itís to save money!!! If youíre okay with forking out $5 or $6 every time you order a drink, Iím glad youíre so well off and have money to burn, but donít look down on others who want to pinch a penny here and there so they can afford to treat their family to an extra special vacation once in a while.
Perhaps most of the people on this board are frequent cruisers which, to me, is an indication that youíre pretty well off. So, you have plenty of cash to tip and drink and do whatever. Thatís great. I donít resent people who have money, unless they cop an attitude toward those who choose to manage their money wisely in order to enjoy some nice things occasionally.
By the way, youíll know me. Iíll be the one at the juice/lemonade fountain mixing whateverís already in the bottom of my cup with juice and lemonade.
as in life, so go cruises, everything in moderation would be fine. There was a time, not to long ago when you could go into say St. Thomas for example, buy your liquor and have it delivered to your stateroom before you sailed to do with what you wanted. But people became greedy and started bringing large amounts of liquor back on the ship and moderation went out the window. Same for the soda - people bringing cases and cases aboard. That's what ticks some folks off. I could care less if you want to bring some liquor or soda aboard. As for tipping. I do not go by the guidelines. I tip for service, if you give me exceptional service i will give you a nice tip, if you give me crummy service, i will give you a crummy tip. Oh and those of us who are frequent cruisers are great savers! we save and save so that we may take our cruises.
The tips aren't mandatory, so you can have them removed from your account and then distribute as little or much as you believe is fitting for the service provided.
It's your call on the drinks, too. It gets a little outrageous, though, when someone asks his cabin steward for fresh fruit and juices, blends his own drinks, then brings the pitcher onto the Sun Deck to share with his friends. Then, this same person has the gall to complain about "suggested" tipping. IMO, it is low-class to make someone work extra for you, so you can save a few dollars, then stiff the poor sod.
I'm sure you've been in a situation where you've worked extra hard, done a great job, and received not even a thank you for your efforts. I bet you thought that was low-class, too.
$3.50 per day for waiter per person, three meals comes to less than $1.17 per person per meal. To much? If you had to tip on the cost of the actual meal it would be alot more.
I can't believe you have never left a tip at a hotel. I guess it is all in the way you are brought up. My parents alway taught me to tip for service, any service because one day, I might be the one giving the service!
Apparently none of you have worked for tips before! I am in food service and work for tips. I am one of the best tippers when I go out or on a cruise. I do understand what it is like to work for tips. I buy any drinks I want on the ship. I dont bring anything along with me(booze, wine, beer, soft drinks). When I go camping I do take my own drinks with me. That is the difference between a cruise and a camping vacation. I am not a snob what so ever. I just go on vacation to have a great time and not to pinch pennys and haul my drinks with me in my suit cases. Think about what you are saying here. Happy cruising! Char
My wife waited tables for many years and she, too, is a very generous tipper. There is a difference, though, between generous and excessive. And, just the fact that they choose to automatically charge the tips to your S&S card is a big turnoff for me. It makes me want to give less. I don't have a problem with the old way of just suggesting an amount and letting the customer decide what's appropriate.
As for tips at hotels; most of my experience in nicer hotels has come as a business traveler. Thus, any tip wouldn't come out of my pocket anyway, but I still don't do it. The people who clean your room get paid to do it. Where do you draw the line? Do you tip the cashier at a store? They are providing a service. Do you tip the plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.?
Drinks: I don't see how I'm really taking any money out of anybody's pocket, except maybe a fews execs, when I bring a few (not cases) drinks on board. Most people are still gonna go with the S&S method because it's so convenient. Heck, I'll probably order a few that way myself.
The people who are willing to treat the people serving them with respect, and award their good service with a suitable gratuity are snobs.
And the people who are willing to bring to their own alcohol onboard, and use it in public areas, rather than their own cabin, are just using sound financial planning???
Personally I don't think you have to be wealthy to reward people for serving you. My guess is most people do their scrimping and saving at home, so they can go and enjoy their vacations, and not have to resort to stiffing those who's efforts make your vacation more enjoyable.
If the cruise lines paid these employees a "decent wage" so tipping wasn't a concern your cruise fare would necessarily increase. You can see this trend throughout the hospitality industry. Many restaurants will now automatically add the service charge to the check.
One of the things that might be lost because of auto-tipping is the personal thanks you give someone when you hand them an envelope. It might not be as important as the money, but I'm sure everyone in the service industry likes to be told they're doing a good job and are appreciated. How many people take the time to express their thanks when it's so easy to walk away and say to yourself well, it's already been taken care of?
Look, some way or another the room steward and waiter have to be paid an equitable amount for them to stay on board. Labor is like any other commodity, it must follow the laws of supply and demand. If you want a good server or room steward to stay, you have to make sure they earn enough to keep them. If people don't tip the suggested amount turnover would increase and service would decrease. In this case, the cruiseline would be forced to supplement their overall pay somehow. Which, any person understands, to be higher ticket prices.
One way or another, you'll pay. Right now all the others on board who tip the suggested amount or more are subsidizing those who don't.
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Snobs with deep pockets
People like this irk me.....if they went out to dinner at a good land based restaurant and had lobster or filet mignon..they would tip 15 - 20% of the bill. When you compare that to what your tip for the waiter, asst. waiter and room steward is, you are actually tipping LESS per person that way! Get a life and budget for the tips!
Carnival Breeze with Ray Band Aerogirl 5/4/14!
Many years ago I left $5.00 for the cleaning lady in a hotel. Two hours later I found $50.00 in the backseat of a cab. That taught me a lesson. Since then, I've always tipped hotel staff, waiters, ship personnel. It makes me feel better about myself - I'm the one traveling and enjoying things - they are working like crazy. I work like crazy to afford to travel and everyone should one day have my good fortune. The small percentage of the world's population who has the opportunity to go on any cruise should be grateful and appreciate their good luck.
By the way - in St. Thomas there is usually an old lady sitting on a stool on Main Street about half way down the "main drag" and she has a Salvation Army cannister. She's been there for years. Last year I dropped $10.00 in her cannister - when I returned to the ship I won $5,000.00 on the slots that night. And you can bet I tipped the casino staff!
We pay our tips with our cruise. Then when we receive our docs we also receive vouchers. We take the vouchers and put them into the envelopes and personally give them to the wonderful people who have made our cruise vacation a huge success. Before sealing the envelopes I tend to add to that amount. Especially when we have great service. Have never had any trouble with Carnival staff. Happy cruising.
Am I wrong to assume that the original post was all in jest?
If not, why don't you find some other way to travel! It has been reported that mainline cruise lines receive 40% of their revenue from sources other than the cruise fare. If you want, they could add of it to the fare, and you could pay for someone elses spa treatment or bingo.
As for the tips, the industry norm is to have service staff paid indirectly by the pax.
If you want, travel on one of the cruise lines where tips are included, drinks are included, shore excursions are not a profit center, and they don't mind you bringing on your own soda and booze!!!
"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
F Scott Fitzgerald
Silversea Silver Explorer (23nts) - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - Nome, Alaska - Aug 14
Seven Seas Voyager (30nts) - Dubai - Cape Town - Nov 14
Perhaps tips should be in a different category than the other issues discussed on this thread. This is because all lines (except HAL) where tipping is customary state so in their brochures, and state the amount. So it's easy for the customer who wants to "do the right thing" to just add these in to the total cruise cost before booking, just as is done with port charges. There is no "suprise after you are captive onboard" factor here.
But the proliferating number of extra charge items, and their increasing cost on mass market lines --- along with the crack-down on carry on beverages that began two years ago -- are to me another matter. This practice in fact drove me away from these lines, and to a more inclusive one, just as Marc suggests. There is nothing wrong with a offering a "bare bones" cruise where everything is extra IF and only if the prices for all these extra items are known to the guest before he becomes a "captive audience." Did you ever see soda or drink prices in any cruise line material you could get your hands on at or before booking? No? You won't, either. These lines want the ability to change their prices, upward of course, and have been recently doing so. Recently, reports of standard cocktail prices of $6.75 plus 15% tip have become common, along with $5 bottles of water. So much for moderation solving the problem!
They need the ability to raise there prices just like any other business. I work in food service and bar. Well let me tell you. The business prices for the booze soda and food and such all go up in price. Why cant they be expected to raise the prices to make up the differences. I figure out that the price for the cruise is like the hotel for a week and the food for all i care to eat all week. i feel like it is quite a bargain. Then the drinks and souvenirs i buy and the pictures i buy or what ever else, well it is just going to a hotel and sight seeing and you pay for that too. It is expected not a hidden cost. I dont know about anyone else but i did some searching before our first cruise. i found out what is included and what isnt. So there were no hidden costs to me. It is a well deserved vacation for us and we enjoy every minute of it. I have always paid my own way. Some people expect everything for nothing in this world. It just doesnt happen that way.
Why don't you just book an all-inclusive at a resort in Mexico or the Caribbean?. Drinks and meals are all included Entertainment is not. That way you would be happy. However you would still have to pay for any excursions you took.
If you cruise, meals and entertainment IS included, Drinks are not. Were you unaware of this fact before you booked? It is printed in black and white, and your TA should have told you this. The SUGGESTED amount of tipping is also put forth before you go, and you should have thought about the extra costs before you booked.
No one is forcing you to pay for trip insurance, terminal parking (you could take transit there) or shore excursions. Why should my cruise fare be higher to pay for your drinks or excursions? I like the pricing the way it is, pay as you go.
A not-so-well-off working stiff who has to convert funds to $USD.
Good Lord I was reading it thinking it was a joke too....
I've never in my life even thought twice about rewarding someone for a service provided to me. Maybe a different way to vacation would be the way to go indeed.
Every crew member that works in a service capacity on board is there to make sure your vacation is above and beyond your expectations... I admire their hard work and dedication and I happily cash tip anyone who provoides me a service - including the bar tenders. I don't look at it any differently on a cruise ship than on land. Regardless of what gratuities are included- I don't even think about those as I consider them part of the price of my booking.
A smile and generous spirit goes a long way to make *me* feel good. If I ever found the need to even have to calculate things out the way I've seen some people talk about doing - sheesh - it sounds painful - lol!
A shore excursion is something you decide to do. If you think they are so costly - do your own thing in port? I also tip the shore excursion guys <g> - they put up with a lot sometimes! Shore excursions aren't required.
Sorry - flame me if you wish - I think it's tacky to be mixing your own drinks on deck.
Marc- I'm sorry - all I meant to do was agree with what you posted and I ended up off on a tangent!
Stopping now before I put both feet in my big mouth <G>
booking soon - 10th anniversary cruise in August....
Since we have been cruising on Holland America (4x), we have never considered not tipping. This is a 1st class line at reasonable prices. The tips are earned not demanded bt the front office.
Our 10 day Volendam (4/18) was suberb. $60 to cabin attendant, $60 to waiter, $30 to his asst, $20 to maitre'd (never tipped one before, he earned it this trip), $20 to wine steward(he earned it too) and the bar staff, we tipped as we went along.
It was not cheap to do this but under $200 for such nice service and people meant more to them than us. We, also, brought drinks for the cabin.
I want to say, I feel sorry for the people that our gonna take care of you on the cruise. When you stay in a hotel they only clean your room once. On the ship you get cleaned twice and a cute little towel animal! The tips our $9.75 a day perperson. I dont think that is all that bad! You just have to look at it as part of your cruise fare.
And none of us our snobs with deep pockets, we just believe in doing what is right.
What do you tip your Hairstylist by the way? Just curious as that is my profession, and it really sucks when you dont get tips!
Real mixed feelings on this subject.
I couldn't NOT tip someone who has provided me service in a profession where tips are considered the norm. I tip my hairdresser even though she owns the shop and I've been going to her for 20 years (I also drive 3 hours to see her since I moved away). I tip a waiter or waitress at a restaurant when we go out or bartender even if I just order a 7-Up. I tip the hotel maid when we stay more than one night in the room (though not usually for only a quick nights sleep while traveling through). I tip the shuttle bus or taxi driver. I don't tip the driver who delivers my propane, or the mailman (well, Christmas may be a different story), washer repair person, etc.
While I don't expect alcoholic beverages to be free on a cruise, I would expect sodas to be included. I don't drink much of either but I know that you can buy a 12-pack of Coke for $1.50 on sale and cruiselines buy in bulk. But I think that cruise prices are kept low, in part, because people are willing to pay drink for the drinks (as an example) they desire rather than need. How many of us would pay the same amount for a quart of milk as we do for a quart of whiskey? The cruiselines need to make their revenue somewhere. But not tipping the bartender because we don't like the drink prices? They don't set the prices.
I don't like the auto tipping because I feel tipping should be based on service.
nosocheap...you can not compare the hotel staff that cleans up after you to the cashier at the grocery store. The hospitality industry should be tipped. If a person is cleaning the toilet after you and p----ed and s--t than you should tip them.
I especially can't take people that go out to dinner and do not tip or leave a dollar or two because they feel it is that person's job...EAT AT HOME! Same principal on a cruise...if you can't give at least minimum, stay home.
Before I went on our first cruise, I had heard about the tipping and quite honestly, it was a bit of a turnoff for me. Then I took the cruise and had no problem at all exceeding the "suggested" amounts for our stateroom attendant, wait staff, and maitre d'. Those people made the cruise a true "vacation". The only one I hesitated tipping (but tipped the suggested amount none-the-less) was the "head housekeeper". I didn't see where he did too much for me.
I had no problem with the autotipping from the bar staff either - I noticed that usually had the same waitress whether I was poolside or dining at the evening meal. She was nice, she always had a smile, and she called me by name, even when I was by the pool. I tip at bars anyhow, and I noticed that the amount of the tip was never more than I would have tipped on my own, so in that respect I viewed it as a convenience. We didn't drink a whole lot (our whole bar bill was just over $200 for a week), and I found that the tea, lemonade, or fruit punch (which were free) was a refreshing alternative to soda.
I never expected shore excursions to be included in the price of my ticket. Indeed, nobody tried to assess me a fee when I got off the ship in ports to roam as I pleased. Although it cost a bit more than what was available in ports, I felt a decent "comfort level" by booking my shore excursions thru the ship, since it pretty much insured that the ship wouldn't leave without me in the event of delays (and there was one in Grand Cayman).
We flew in and took a shuttle from our hotel, so we didn't pay any terminal parking, nor did I complain about having to pay parking at the airport I flew out of or for the cost of the shuttle service to the port. Just part of doing business I suppose.
Bottom line, I feel like I got the most "bang for my buck" on a cruise vacation. And that's why I've already started planning another.
Meant to say that we don't feel the entertainment is as varied as on a cruise. Of course there are the other activities for the beach etc. Guess it depends on what type of vacation you want- we enjoy both types.
Hi All! This was an interesting thread on tipping, bringing alcohol aboard, etc.
We cruised on the Carnival Triumph in April, and I had been reading many Cruisemates comments on both of the above subjects. Here's my two cents and personal experience.
I understand the rationale of the cruise lines not allowing personal alcohol on board. However, when we go to a hotel, we enjoy a drink without paying mini-bar prices. We took a bottle of good Canadian whisky aboard in checked luggage, utilized the sodas (what we Canucks call "pop") in our room, and only drank these drinks in our rooms. There was also, fortuitously, a pop and ice machine about 3 doors down from our stateroom, at $1.50 per soda.
Drink prices were a little on the high side (particularly for us poor Canadians whose Canuck buck was purchasing less than 70 cents US). A $4.00 beer with 15% service added is $4.60, with exchange rates is $7.00 Can., a price you would not pay at the finest Canadian hotels or restaurants. That being said, I know the cruiselines are not in the business of feeling sorry for foreign currency fluctuations, and in reality, the 15% added probably ends up being less overall than what I would tip if I was "rounding up" on a cash sale.
For the excellent service we received, the tips as prescribed by Carnival were completely fair, and we tipped extra to our Cabin steward, Waiter, Asst. Waiter and the Maitre d' ( whose dinner announcements ending with "Bon Appetit" reminded us of the announcer on the Price is Right!). I can't imagine what service lapses would prompt tipping less than suggested.
Our sign and sail bill was about $600.00 US, with bar tabs contributing probably $350.00, and the rest in gift shop purchases and 2 shore excursions. So we did not bankrupt the cruiselines by making a couple of drinks in our room. We donated about $400.00 to the Casino over the course of the week, but in daily amounts that saw us win a bit, lose a bit more. Never saw anyone come away with a huge payout all week.
In any case, if one plans things in moderation and is circumspect in their behaviour, you can enjoy a little fiscal relief in your stateroom and still feed the kitty in other areas of the ship. Trying to save money by rationalizing minimal tipping to hard-working, away-from-home-for-8-months service staff is the lowest form of cheapness in my books.
An old Floridian joke goes: "What's the difference between a Canadian and a Canoe?"--"The Canoe tips." We tried to avoid that stereotype.
Very well put. I took a pint of vodka on board so I could have a mid-afternoon cocktail on my balcony. I also used the minibar so that I could enjoy a Bourbon on the rocks in the same fashion. My wife brought on a few bottles of sparkling wine to enjoy in the same manner. Sign and sail bill was approx. $700, ($465 bar, $200 excursions and $50 for the ship's doctor). I think we came out a little ahead in the casino. Steward, waiter, asst. waiter and maitre-de were tipped appropriately, with the first three getting tipped a little more for outstanding service. Do I feel that we cheated anyone? Absolutely not !
Costa Atlantica, 3/23/03
Jewel, 2/1/10, RCI cancelled our cruise, (insert sound of sobbing)