Tipping on board

Jun 9th, 2014, 10:55 PM
  #1  
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Tipping on board

Australians don't tip. We pay our bar staff, waiters, etc a full living wage, extra at night and on weekends. To pay someone a tip is highly unusual. To expect a tip is frowned upon. To leave change on a bar is to invite bar staff to exclaim "hey, you left your change".
We know Americans tip everybody within sight. How much, how often, we have no idea. We know Europeans tip less often. How much, how often, we have no idea. When don't we tip? We have no idea.
So here we are going on a cruise where we are being charged up front $12.50 a day each. That's about $800 to cover tipping? Cover who? We don't know.
An acquaintance tells me to get $50 in singles to use buying drinks. So a beer for me and a glass of wine for my wife is what? Per drink, per round, per session (say about 3 drinks each). What about other ship staff?
So I read the blogs and you say "you must tip". but that's no real help.
Advise would be welcome.
jimjimjim is offline  
Jun 9th, 2014, 11:16 PM
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We also took a cruise where the $12.50 per day per person was included in the upfront price. I think the cruise companies do this a lot with Aussies, because of our non-tipping reputation.
This payment is divided amongst all the ship staff, including those who work behind the scenes (kitchen, laundry etc).

At the end of the cruise, we gave an extra tip to our cabin steward because he was so friendly, helpful and generally pleasant at all times. That was the only extra we paid. Di
di2315 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 12:05 AM
  #3  
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so you didn't tip when you bought a drink at the bar?
jimjimjim is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 12:51 AM
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Drinks at the bar or anywhere for that matter include a 15% gratuity.

I am American and I can assure you we don't tip "everybody within sight." It's not like to throw money around. Most of us can't afford that.,

When you come here follow the custom. If I am ever in your country I won't tip as is your custom.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 12:53 AM
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PS: we have been on 11 cruises thus far and usually tip a little extra to the cabin stewards and main waiters if the service has been good which it almost always is.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 02:10 AM
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The tip charge covers all your tipping requirements on a cruise - and most cruiselines are cash-less so certainly no need to throw $1 bills around to everyone. Often the bar charge includes a tip - look at the bill - or you have the option to add it to amount charged to your cabin.

What I have found a better idea than tipping cabin steward at the beginning of the trip - after the first night leave $5-10 with a short note thanking them for how nice the cabin is - and this is the perfect time to ask for extra pillow, etc that you might need. We find that by doing so we get a little extra service for the remainder of the cruise. If it is a longer cruise, you can repeat this tip mid-cruise.

If you want to laugh at tipping "requirements" - go to some other countries (Egypt comes to mind) where we found it was the custom to truly tip for everything, often the equivalent of a half dollar or so - tip the guy who opens the door for you, tip the guy who closes it, etc. We even had to tip the camel guy to get our daughter off the camel.
gail is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 02:49 AM
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We're not bar drinkers, so this didn't apply for us.
When we bought bottled sparkling mineral water, the 15% was included in the chit we signed for purchasing. Di
di2315 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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This topic begs the question as to what those who rely on tips in the US, mainly wait staff, make in OZ. Any ideas?
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 07:04 AM
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On most cruise ships, the only tips I ever give out in cash are to the room service waiters. Otherwise, reasonable 15% gratuities are built into the cost of drinks, spa services, etc. (Just as in Australia, though we tend to break those out into separate line items, but the principle is the same.)

The reason the service is billed separately is because most cruise lines supplement the meager supplements of their staff with these service fees. They want the price of the cruise to look lower; it's not as if the service fees are optional. They're not.

Frankly, I think Australians get a bit too worked up sometimes about this. You probably end up paying more than Americans do for service and taxes and just don't know it.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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All it is is a difference in customs and practices. C'est la vie.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 09:30 AM
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I like that the cruise lines now just charge the daily tip amount - much easier than how it used to be before with the envelope and cash thing on the last night of the cruise.

I do tip extra sometimes to bartenders, even though I know a gratuity is built in. I don't tip every time I get a drink or a huge amount - but the extra tips seem to help in getting me prompt service, even when the bar is very crowded. The bartenders also remember your name and what your drink of choice is, which is nice.

I usually tip a little more to my cabin steward, dining room waiter and the sommelier if the service has been good (it usually is).

I always tip for room service when they bring the food to my cabin.
chepar is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 09:35 AM
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"That's about $800 to cover tipping? Cover who? We don't know." - just do your homework. There is a breakdown of $12.50 on the cruise website.

When you order a drink, you will get a check to sign. On it you will see the price of the drink (same as on the menu) and a 15% or 18% gratuity added. You don't need to tip additional.

The only time tips are expected (not mandatory, but customary) is when/if you order room service. $2-3 for breakfast, $3-5 for lunch or dinner. Or more - it's up to you.

You can tip your room attendant or restaurant waiters additional if you wish. I think most people on cruises don't do it.

About $50 in singles. It's a good idea when you go off the ship. If you take a land tour, they expect tips. If you want to buy a snack or a souvenir it's better to have small bills for that.

If you follow the rule "Americans tip everybody within sight" it only shows your arrogance. We'd love to have you here as a tourist, tossing your hard-earned money around. Welcome!
Dayenu is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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I love you D. .
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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Dayenu is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 01:13 PM
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J3. How long is your cruise? At $25.00 per day assuming there are two of you and at $800.00 that about 32 days. Nice cruise. I would just enjoy it and not worry about the tips. If you can afford a 32 day cruise you can afford the tips. No worries.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 01:28 PM
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Dayenu,

Agree with all your advice except distributing US $ as onshore tips, unless the cruise is docked in a port where dollars are accepted par value currency--the US, many places in the Carribean, Bermuda, possibly Canada.

If on a Med or European cruise, tip onshore in the local currency or use a credit card. Dollars are very dfficult to change and small amounts, if accepted for exchange, would yield about 60-70% of the actual exchange value, if that.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 02:38 PM
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When I tried to pay a cabbie in Istanbul USD was ok but no oldish bills. He wanted newer bills only as he said the older ones were too hard to exchange.,
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 02:42 PM
  #18  
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Thanks for all the comments and advice. To answer some of your questions.
In Australia, casual bar staff wages is just over AU$19 per hour – if they work weekends or more than 9 hours over a normal week (40 hrs) they get a 200% loading. The average salary for a Cook, Restaurant is AU$48,751 per year.
Dayenu – you are misunderstanding me. We are going on what we see on tv (how else?). We don’t mind tipping – just want to know how it all works.
Jacketwtch –“ If you can afford a 32 day cruise you can afford the tips.” Yes, its our 1st Cruise – its been on our bucket list for many years, and as we are in our mid 70s we decided we’d better do it without delay. We just want to do the correct thing, and not be embarrassed.
jimjimjim is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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>We just want to do the correct thing, and not be embarrassed.<

With the daily charge for tips, there is no reason to be embarrassed at all should you choose not to tip anything additional. Well, except for room service delivery, which IMO should be tipped outside of the daily charge.

It's all just a matter of what you feel comfortable doing. Have a great cruise.
chepar is offline  
Jun 10th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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J3 thanks for coming back and explaining. I suppose its safe to say don't believe everything you see on TV. . I am just now semi-retired from the medical field putting in 35 yrs. as an RN and I say with utter certainty don't believe what you see on TV hospital dramas. its a joke.

As for the cruise just relax and enjoy it. Your tips are paid already and you need not pay anymore unless you want to. We usually pay some extra to our cabin stewards and waiters as they normally work very hard and it shows but thats up to you. Dayenu gives good advice about what to tip if you use room service which is free by the way.

I think that after about 2-3 days if that you will be in the flow of things so you have a month left to really settle down and enjoy your cruise.

You never use cash on a cruise. You will get a card with your name and some sort of number on it and every time you but anything, even a soda you must use this card. Cash is not accepted for purchases so keep that card with you at all times. You also need it to exit and return to the ship so this is the most important thing you need. On most cruises you can view your bill on your in cabin TV set.

Fill out all the embarkation info on line which includes your passport numbers, CC info, air arrangements, etc. This will make embarkation a breeze.

I usually make copies of our passports and keep them in the room safe just in case.

I do hope you have a great time and enjoy your first cruise and if there is anything else you want to know just ask. I tried to cover some basic points but again ask away as you see fit and have a great time. What cruise line are you taking and where does it cruise to?

Cheers, Larry.
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