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How much money do waiters make?

In another posting someone mentioned that a good waiter on a cruise ship can earn \$1000 per week. Is that accurate? It seems amazing to me. I have no idea how many people each waiter is in charge of, but assuming that the waiter is in charge of 10 people, who each pay \$50 in tips to him, that is only \$500 per week for a 7 day cruise.

It would seem to me that it is impossible to reach that \$1000 per week amount unless, the waiter had many more people for which he was in charge, and/or everyone tipped him more than \$50 per week.

I know that some people do not tip the suggested amount, and I gather that many people tip LESS than the suggested amount (or even do not tip at all), so that would outweigh the few people that tip more than the suggested amount.

Can anyone with experience shed some light on this.

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Yes, I just saw that rediculous post. Dana g claimed that

"A good cabin or dining steward can earn up to \$1000 a week in tips"

Come on - who are we kidding?

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The way I tip they are lucky to make \$10 a week

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I read that same thread yesterday and some guy named Alexander claimed that

"according to the illustrious Paul...the average steward makes approx \$40,000.00 a year with no college education."

John, I know that your question dealt with waiters, but let's broaden the request to find out how much cabin stewards pocket.

Yes, I know that these people work 7 days a week for 7 or 11 moths at a time, but the bottom line is that I do not think that they make \$40,000 (according to Alexander/Paul) - \$52,000 (according to Dana G calculating \$1000 per week for 52 weeks).

Even if they DID make this amount, are you trying to tell me that these people do not have to pay any taxes to any country? A bunch of bull.

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I am glad someone is calling these people like Alexander and Dana G to the floor when they make crazy claims. It used to just be Peter calling attention to Paul T, but others are also out there making some ludicrous claims and holding them out as gospel. We all need to draw attention to the outlandish claims so that new cruisers don't believe some of the crap that is posted.

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Don't all jump on me....but there was an article written after a survey of staff on cruise ships, perhaps Paul remembers it about the \$\$ waiters make..Remember they make \$\$..don't have to pay for for room and board and have their food taken care of. Almost all of them send their \$\$ home and eventually open restaurants or build new homes. Yes there are cheapskates who invariablly stiff the staff, but for all those I bet there are just as many who give extra

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Again folks, this is not rocket science - take the number of people a waiter handles (two to three tables of 8 on average) and multiply it times 7 times \$3.50 and you've got a good average - some make a little more, some a little less.

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Also, don't forget there are two dinner seatings each night.

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Okay, say a waiter handles 3 tables of 6 and covers the early and late seating.

For a 7 day cruise this would amount to 7 x 18 = 126 per seating x 2 = 252.

252 x \$3.50 = \$882.00/ week

I have been on 13 cruises and have never given less than the recommended amount. I usually give more closer to \$4 - \$5/ day. I suspect most adults do this too. So, a \$1000.00 per week by the waiter is not unrealistic.

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In my discussions with waitstaff it became clear that the waiters in the restaurants do okay (depending on the tip split formula, if any - not all are the same.) It's the assistant waiters and especially the cocktail staff that get clobbered with low wages, insane hours, and minimal tips. If you look around you'll see that most of the subordinate staff (cocktail people, helpers in the buffet, etc.) have duties running from breakfast through the late shows and late buffets, i.e., seldom less than 10 hours a day and more often 14 or more. For them the compensation scene is way different from the guy who brings you your second lobster.

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Thank you all for the input. I totally forgot about the two seatings. That explains it for me. I was only considering one seating.

But Steve has a point about taxes. Certainly these workers have to pay some taxes, which must reduce their take-home pay.

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Who is going to track their taxes? They are paid outside of their home countries & are faxing the cash home. If they aren't using banks, then who knows how much they are earning? And who is declaring the earnings?

The only way these guys might have pay taxes is due to the fact that they are employed to the cruise lines through international unions. That might provide a trail of eranings for tax purposes. But would that include tips? Not likely.

Don't forget, the economies of many of the crew countries is very different than in North America. They likely have very vibrant underground economies, where nothing is tracked.

Even with taxes, they are still earning fantastic amounts, in relative terms.

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Does it really add to or take away from your cruise to know how much/little the waiter/steward makes?
How much does the captain make? The chief engineer? If I were to worry about someones salary, I would start with mine; Then on a cruise, the captains, as he is responsible for getting me to and from safely.
We could also worry about how much/little our fellow dinner companions make,(should we ever find out how much the waiter/steward/captain makes).

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cruiser

Looks like you are worried enough for all of us.

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hey BBT ... how do you fax money home???

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don'tworry, you are right--I worry too much--what if the captain has a bad day? Does he veer side to side to make the ship roll?? Oh god!!

InquiringMinds, that's a good question. I honestly had a guy get mad at me once cause he wanted me to fax him a check!

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To answer John. The wait staff for the buffets asre the same ones that serve you in the dining rooms. Most passengers do not take that into consideration when they tip. They get paid the same salary, \$40 to \$60 a month in wages.

Paul

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Not sure of the process, but friend's Philipino wife uses her FAX machine to get money home. I assume it is similar to how so many Somalis send money home to families through special agents. They are not government sanctioned or monitored. It is a trust system. I trust you to give 'x' amount of money to so-and-so, you trust me to send you the actual cash.

I may be wrong, but I believe this is how it is done.

Like I said, with an underground economy, there are a lot of ways to get around government intervention.

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Paul, I know the buffet helpers may also work the dining rooms, but I noticed many of them are assistants or bus types in the main rooms, where I presume the tipping picture is different from the principal waiters. What struck me was the strict caste system among the passenger-contact staff. I presume this has strong economic ramifications to the second stringers.

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Hi John,

To tell you othe truth, I do not know if there is different classes of wait staff. I am sure there are a few that are assigned other than the dining room since there are those that work say the midnight to 8 AM shift. They all seem to be fluent in a few languages and I am sure are compensated by the cruise line.

Interesting post. I will inquire on one of my future cruises.

Paul

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So many experts, so little valid information. Why is it that there are so many people who respond to these post who know what the staff earn but do not have any real personal experience?

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Who cares what he makes??? He chose the job. The only question is was the service acceptable, good, or excellent? The individual is entitled to make a living and a better than average one if good at their jobs. Isn't that what employee reviews we all face cover?

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I have been a fine dining waiter for over ten yrs my last job was at Wolf Gang Pucks bar and grill in the MGM Grand on average my monthly sales were 50,000. Do the math and keep in mind i'm only expecting to take home 10% of that when it really should be closer to 20% which is what people should tip. with that said it really depends on where you work. i have been earning 4 to 5k per month, a dennys waiter makes much less. location,location,location!

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William - this post is NINE years old.

I really don't think your financial history at the MGM Grand has anything to do with anything. Like you say: location, location... well, there's a subtle difference between a cruise liner and Wolfgang Puck in Vegas.

And I particularly don't like being told what I should tip. For you - nothing.

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My son was a waiter on The Canadian Pacific Line.in the early 70s I Know he made good money & loved the life. Tipping was volentary then. But they received a union rate base pay.
Regarding taxes the majority of ships are registered in the Bahamas.and the cruise lines do not have to pay minimium wage to non US residents.That is why the waiters & food service staff are mainly non US. The crew can send money home like the illegals here do.Via Western Union & the like
NCL tried to change this by registering 2 of there ships in the USA. based in Hiawaii,and employed mainly US residents This was a disaster. as the majority of the shaff. would not work the long hours , they were off partying at port stops.(the foriegn staff are restricted and are reported to emigration & police if they do not return to the ship ) .
I have a very good friend who is Hotel Manager of a cruise ship. who has comfirmed this.

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I can make more than \$30,000 waiting tables in land establishments. When i worked as a Waiter on the M/V Disney Wonder, my first week I made \$750. The most I made in 3 months was about \$1200 in a week. Its up and down. It depends on how many people you have, how good your team is and how muchg people want to give. It can suck, it can be bad ass.

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OMG, such an old thread, but fun to see a posting by the beloved Dogster. Just for that, I am glad someone brought it up. He was such a delight.