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tipping advice

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Jan 15th, 2012, 01:48 PM
  #1
ita
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tipping advice

we are sailing on the Ruby Princess-3 adults, 3 children-2 cabins. Out cruise automatically adds the gratuity to our bill. I have been told to opt out of this and tip individuals as we see fit. I am not an expert cruisers. Please give me your opinions on this option. What are the advantages or disadvantages? Thanks
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Jan 15th, 2012, 04:15 PM
  #2
KVR
 
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It's a hassle to tip crew memebers individually. I've also read that if you opt-out and tip indiviudally, they still have to "pool" that tip. So what's the point.

Usually, when we book a cruise we get somekind of onboard credit that will cover the auto tips anyway.

Go to cruisecritic.com and on the Princess boards do a search for 'tips' and read everything before making a decision.
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Jan 15th, 2012, 05:01 PM
  #3
 
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Leave the auto tip on unless over the course of the cruise the service is bad which would be very, very unusual.
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Jan 15th, 2012, 08:22 PM
  #4
 
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Whoever you tip, they are required to give up the cash in a pool to be divided between everybody. Opting out of auto-tips won't do any good. It won't be "as you see fit".

If you have a reason, you can complain and reduce tips, but honestly, they work so hard!

What you give above the auto-tip, if you wish so, will go to the individual.

And it's not only "your cruise" that applies auto-tips, all cruise lines do that.
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Jan 15th, 2012, 08:51 PM
  #5
 
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Here's a quick 2 minute video that should help you:

http://bit.ly/xRfXiD

Good luck!
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Jan 15th, 2012, 10:00 PM
  #6
ita
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I don't object to tipping. I just want to know what is the best way to do it. I certainly do object to tipping twice and I do not intend to do it, unless it is very extra ordinary circumstances.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 04:48 AM
  #7
 
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Read the policies on your line usually tipping is "mandatory"
of course making it a surcharge not a tip because the
line is too cheap to pay their folks properly.Almost
always you cannot opt out or all the chiselers would do it.
I also tip extra for special service and do not mind doing so.
cruisecritic.com best info on this. Good service should be
hadsomely rewarded many of these folks are supporting several
family generations on what they are sending home of their tips.I tip these folksdirect cut out the middlemen.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 05:57 AM
  #8
 
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I agree with Qwo on tipping. We leave the auto tip on and tip extra for those individuals who provide extra service. We were surprised in Dec 2011 on our last cruise that the ship had no envelopes in which to put the "extra" money, so we just handed the bills to each individual with a few words of thanks. I do wonder about pooling those kind of tips, as who would know about the extra money? Would do it exactly the same,just wondering if that is really true about sharing?
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Jan 16th, 2012, 09:37 AM
  #9
 
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"And it's not only "your cruise" that applies auto-tips, all cruise lines do that."

No, different cruise lines have different policies. See:

http://intltravelnews.com/2011/11/hi...pping-policies

and scroll down.

If I were going to cruise (and I need to be a lot more decrepit before I consider it), I would pick a line that included tips in the cost of the cruise up front.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 12:22 PM
  #10
 
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Undortuantely, that's part of the whole business. Just be aware of the "hidden" cost and the tipping is part of it.

There are also lots of things that is not incldued on a cruise, such as soft drinks, specialty coffees etc. Milk and juice are also not included (except for breakfast).

I can't beleive I am saying this out loud but you can opt out of auto tipping on the last day and they will reverse your charges. But to be fair, why do the hard working employees get screwed?

If you thing only cruise ships employees depends on tips to make a living, think again. Many service staff working in the USA makes only $2.13 per hour and depends on tips to make a decent wage. See the US minimum wage info here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm

Let's assume for a moment that you tip a modest 15% at a restauarnt when you are home when dining out; and you may tip more when the service is wonderful.

Let's say a breakfast is $10 and lunch is $15 and dinner is $25, taht's all per person, so that would be $50 per person per day. 15% of $50 would have been $7.50 per person per day (since you will have almost 3 meals a day on the ship). You may leave a tip for the maid (a few bucks per night) when you stayed at a hotel. So, does the $10 per day per person sounds too much? Cosnidering that you also receive other services on board.

As to the cruise lines that included tips as part of the fare, the staff still expect tips anyway and the cruise lines just build-in the tip as part of the price. Have you ever booked a dinner at a restaurant for a group? They automatically adde 15% tip to the bill. So yes, it is incldued in the "pirce", and no, you don't have a choice, and yes, the service may be crappy, and no, there is nothing you can do about it as it is part of the price.

To choose a cruise line strictly on tips included policy is fool hardy.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 12:31 PM
  #11
 
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Not to belabor the point, In teh state od New York, minimum cash wage are: $1.10 per hour for chambermaids and $1.60 for service staff. If they don't depend on tips to make a living, I would be really surprised.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 12:39 PM
  #12
 
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Just because tipping is part of US culture (and tax policy) doesn't mean it is everywhere else, although Americans sometimes seem to have a hard time with that concept.

I did not say I would pick a cruise line ONLY on the basis of its tipping policy, just that it would exclude a number of lines.

From the link I posted, not including the luxury lines:
"Saga Cruises and Thomson Cruises have “no tipping, fully inclusive in price” policies. "
"Tauck World Discovery has a “no tipping, fully inclusive in price” policy."
"Abercrombie & Kent, Celebrity Xpedition, Hurtigruten, Voyages of Discovery and Zegrahm Expeditions have “no tipping, fully inclusive in price” policies."

To me, "no tipping" means exactly that.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 04:33 PM
  #13
ita
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is it true that milk and juice are not included in the price? I can't believe that.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 05:04 PM
  #14
 
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There are a lot of things about cruising that are hard to believe. Once you "sign up" it's a lot like the military - you no longer have much control. If you want to cruise, you must accept it. Tipping is one of those things. But non-Americans who do not come from a tip culture may have a problem with cruise tipping and I can feel sympathy for them. As for tipping, it really is an excuse to pay low wages and seem to keep prices reasonable. But because the workers need to live in opur society, I thinks it is reasonable to pay (tip) them. I usually 20% in a restaurant, but maybe more in an inexpensive place where even 20% seems like very little. I used to hope - 50 years ago- that tipping would go away, but it has expanded.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 05:27 PM
  #15
 
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Yes Milk and Juice is not included except for Breakfast.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 05:40 PM
  #16
 
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Best cruise tipping advice I ever got and some of the best money I have ever spent - on first AM of cruise leave a small additional tip ($5-10) in envelope for cabin steward. If you have a small request like extra pillows, etc, ask for that at same time.

You are then almost certain to get a little better service while on the cruise - things like getting cabin made up first or having close attention paid to when you leave for breakfast and making up cabin then.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 11:06 AM
  #17
 
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I never needed milk, but I would be surprised if they wouldn't give it with coffee.

You can save a couple of packages from breakfast if you have a fridge in your cabin.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 02:41 PM
  #18
 
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The difference between the tipping culture and the non-tipping culture is quite simple: it is called wage equality.

In cultures where tip is needed, the people who work in the service sector received a much lower pay as the society feel the tip is part of the income, rather than a "gratis".

In cultures where tip is not needed, the service staff receive same pay as non service employees. I guess if a waiter gets paid $25 an hour, then no tipping is necessary. But then would you pay $20 for a burger instead of $10?

In certain countries, service industry employees are looked upon as careers where as in North America, it is looked upon as a temporary stop gap job or something "beneath " them.

That explains the sad state of the hospitality industry and the plight of their workers.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 03:05 PM
  #19
ita
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I was thinking of the milk and juice for the kids to drink during the day. The minimun wage in Canada is between 9 and 10 dollars. I had no idea it was so low in the U.S.

I like the idea of giving a tip at the beginning to get extra services
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Jan 18th, 2012, 12:47 PM
  #20
 
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Hi Ita, the milk is dispensed on the buffet table and is on ice. Pick up a couple extra during breakfast and put them in your cabin's mini fridge. We carry a water bottle with us so you can put juice in it (from the dispenser) and store them in your mini fridge too! Some ships, however, do not have juice dispensers and they pour you a glass when ask. We have asked for milk at dinner in the dinning room and was provided to us free. ALmsot all ships provide unsweeten ice tea for free throughout the whole day and thr whole ship.

Beaware that the cruise card is also a credit card. Make sure the kids don't go crazy at the ice cream bars. A soft serve ice cream cone is free, but a double scoop, dip, springles, milk shakes, sundaes are not. Anytime someone ask for the cruise card, it means extra $$$. Educate your kids.

The US service staff wages are very low in most States, but not all. Even in Canada, at elast in Alberta, there is a different minimum wage rate between servers who serve liquor comapre to the "normal" minimum wage. The gap is small but it is a dangerous trend.

Tipping at the beginning is a good idea, but only provide a small modest tip at first. Everyone receive a share of the auto tips but some receive more than others. Typically, those who come into contact with the passengers more frequently get a bigger share (server and cabin steward).

We tip the coffee bar, the pizza guy, the omlette station etc. They will recognize you and offer you "extra" service.

We also tip the cabin steward (we ask for bath robes for teh stay and to receive fresh ice daily) and we gave him/her $5 just to start (when tehy brought the bath robes). If we are happy for the entire trip, we give more later.

We also tip the bus boy early (just $5 or so) but not the waiter. Get an excuse to get the bus boy to get you stuaff - milk, as an example, and then give him the tip. You will get your milk every day before you get there.

The reason you don't tip the waiter is that the waiter will know you had tipped the busboy so there is some expectation (hope?) for a tip from you so they will pay attention through out.

When you ask for the extra lobster tails on lobster night and they delivered, (and trust me, they will), you can consider giving the waiter the extra tip at that time.

On one particular cruise, the server was so obvious (looking to make extra tips) that it was embrassing. We didn't even have to ask (or hint) for extras, they just piled up the plates. When the dinner came and DW's plate had 3 lobster tails and everyone else had only one ...

Have fun and don't sweat the tip, next time, build it into your budget and consider it as part of the price. Other than tips, we build into our budget the specialty coffees, shore excursions etc.

All the mass market ships are doingthe same thing so if you want to make comaprisons, they woudl be simialr.
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