Posted August 14th, 2017, 10:06 AM
The cruising industry aside from the all inclusive luxury end has based its model on pax paying a gratuity, this is not new, it has always been the case, why if everything meets expectations do people then want to go and reinvent the wheel? This thread makes just about as much sense as those passengers who come to Cunard and expect the dress code to change because it doesn't suit them. If you dont like it then find a holiday that suits.
I agree! It is what it is. You may not like it, but it's how the system works. If you don't like it, write to Cunard or Carnival and complain. Or "vote with your feet."
Fair comment, that is why I did not actually state there is a contractual obligation, what I wrote was:
Part of that contract is the expectation that you will pay gratuities...that is what you have "agreed" by entering such contract.
The alternative, as I also wrote, is to be cheap.....!!
(bold is mine) I am NOT saying that anyone on this thread is trying to be cheap, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of people who take off the service charge and "tip the people who serve me" are not tipping as much as the full service charge. I'm pretty sure the couple we met at breakfast fall into that category.
On our penultimate morning on QM2, at the end of breakfast a very pleasant first timer asked if he needed to queue up to settle his account. We and the other couple at the table assured him that if he'd registered a credit card, it was all taken care of. He did not ask about tipping, but the other couple started in on the service charge, hoping to "educate" a newbie. They trotted out all the excuses I've heard over the years. First was fraud. He had worked for the Navy. He didn't SERVE in the Navy, he "worked for them," so I have no idea where he got his info.But he said whenever there was a charitable contribution on board,the officers skimmed from it, and he didn't trust any pooled tips because of that. (I was offended on behalf of my retired Navy BIL, but said nothing rather than start an argument) He was quite certain that half of the service charge went to Cunard and the crew never got it. Then he went to say they only tip the people who actually serve them. They had picked up envelopes for their steward and their dining room waiters. When they doubled down on the excuses, I had to say something. Since I did not work for the navy, but am a veteran of lots of cruises, I went after Excuse #2. I asked them if they ate at the buffet? And what about breakfast? Were we at their usual table, were those their usual waiters? How were those crew members going to be tipped for the service they gave? The couple had no answer for that and left shortly afterward. The first-timer was quite put off by their diatribe, and we reassured him that nobody was stealing from the service charge.
My point in this story is that if tipping is expected (and it's how the system works), the service charge is easy, discrete, and fair. Does anyone else remember the days before the buffet? When you went to the dining room at your appointed time and sat at your table? Back then, the same servers took care of you all the time. Direct tipping was appropriate. And there was the trickle-down system of sharing tips, so everyone was taken care of. But now, with open seating in Britannia at breakfast and lunch, and the buffet, you aren't served by the same people every day. Surely nobody wants to walk around tipping everyone who hands them a plate of something, so the fairest way to do the tipping is in the form of a "service charge."
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries
11 QM2 - 7 TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia, Canada
1 Caronia - Baltic
10 HAL -Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Alaska
5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP)
1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills)
1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers