Tipping

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#1
Bournemouth
275 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Sorry to start a new thread on tipping but I am interested in people's thoughts on the whole tipping situation. Up till now we have always left the auto tips and on Celebrity we tipped our waiters and room stewards more as they truly were outstanding and made our holiday.

Since then we have cruised 6 or 7 times on P&O and have never contemplated removing the auto gratuity as it just makes it so easy as you don't have to think about it. However on our last cruise we were on Arcadia and I have to say the service was pretty poor, miserable waiters who didn't even smile let alone chat and our cabin steward didn't bother turning the cabin down on our last night or leave us the chocolate. We also ran out of tissues which were never replaced and we never saw our steward to ask him if we could have some more.

Now, having read a lot of reviews on Britannia I see a lot of people complain of poor service, waiters that make no effort to engage with you and cabin stewards who you hardly see. This will be our first time on Britannia and we are getting a bit worried as we have seen so many negatives about her but we are fairly easy going and have the attitude that we will have a great time, we don't expect it to be perfect but will enjoy it for what it is and we do like the P&O brand so know what to expect and the places to avoid (sail away comes to mind, can't stand it).

So I am thinking of removing tips this time and tipping those who provide good service as that is my understanding what tips are for and not just a way of upping their salaries because they are on a low wage.

Please don't think I am mean or even difficult as we aren't either of those things. We always treat people with respect, leave our cabin tidy and say please and thank you. We don't want to be fawned over but just shown a bit of friendliness and to see our cabin looked after properly.

Has anyone who has removed tips but given directly seen an increase in service and more friendliness or does it make no difference and I might as well just leave the status quo.

Sorry for the long post but it really bothered me in our last cruise that we were tipping for such a poor experience and it seems if they just get a share of a pot there is not much incentive to give memorable service.
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#2
Stoke on Trent, England
4,854 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by FluffyFiFi
Sorry to start a new thread on tipping but I am interested in people's thoughts on the whole tipping situation. Up till now we have always left the auto tips and on Celebrity we tipped our waiters and room stewards more as they truly were outstanding and made our holiday.

Since then we have cruised 6 or 7 times on P&O and have never contemplated removing the auto gratuity as it just makes it so easy as you don't have to think about it. However on our last cruise we were on Arcadia and I have to say the service was pretty poor, miserable waiters who didn't even smile let alone chat and our cabin steward didn't bother turning the cabin down on our last night or leave us the chocolate. We also ran out of tissues which were never replaced and we never saw our steward to ask him if we could have some more.

Now, having read a lot of reviews on Britannia I see a lot of people complain of poor service, waiters that make no effort to engage with you and cabin stewards who you hardly see. This will be our first time on Britannia and we are getting a bit worried as we have seen so many negatives about her but we are fairly easy going and have the attitude that we will have a great time, we don't expect it to be perfect but will enjoy it for what it is and we do like the P&O brand so know what to expect and the places to avoid (sail away comes to mind, can't stand it).

So I am thinking of removing tips this time and tipping those who provide good service as that is my understanding what tips are for and not just a way of upping their salaries because they are on a low wage.

Please don't think I am mean or even difficult as we aren't either of those things. We always treat people with respect, leave our cabin tidy and say please and thank you. We don't want to be fawned over but just shown a bit of friendliness and to see our cabin looked after properly.

Has anyone who has removed tips but given directly seen an increase in service and more friendliness or does it make no difference and I might as well just leave the status quo.

Sorry for the long post but it really bothered me in our last cruise that we were tipping for such a poor experience and it seems if they just get a share of a pot there is not much incentive to give memorable service.
In some ways I can see where you are coming from and I have to admit that in May, for other reasons, we removed our automatic gratuities and paid staff who served us as we went along for the first time. In effect we spent as much on tips as if we had paid the auto tips - if that makes sense. In the past, like you we had left the auto tips on and then paid out quite a lot at the end of the cruise. This wiped out all of our OBC last year on a 2 week cruise and to be honest, I resent paying for some people not to pay any at all and for P&O to withhold some tips (as had been suggested happens on occasions)

Anyway, less of that. Just to say, we were on Britannia in May and we found that most staff were lovely. In the MDR we find that If you are polite and chatty the staff respond well and our cabin steward was brilliant. One of the bets we've ever had. The man at the desk in the Freedom Dining Restaurant was a great character and we had a great time. I really don't think removing tips makes a lot of difference to be honest, and we saw a lot of 'seasoned cruisers' removing tips and asking to 'pay as they went along' .

I will be honest I say that I don't think the crew on Britannia were as happy as the crew on Oceana last year. I may be wrong but a lot prefer the smaller ships and quite a number have chuntered to us about the size of the ship for one reason or another.
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Sailed on:
P&O Britannia 28.05.17 : Iberian Cruise
P&O Oceana 10.08.16 : Western Med fly cruise
P&O Britannia 25.07.15 : Iberia and Canaries
P&O Oceana 08.04.15 : Western Med
P&O Oceana 19.04.14 : Iberian Cruise
RCI Independence of the Seas 29.10.13 : Mini cruise
Celebrity Silhouette 12:08:13 : Greek Islands / Italy
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:12 : Adriatic / Venice
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:11 : Eastern Med/Holy Land
P&O Oceana August 2010 : Western Med
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Louis Cruises August 2001 : Egypt
#3
3,464 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
There is no need to beat about the bush, most people remove the auto tips to save money, paying much less in the "envelopes" or nothing at all. If everyone did the same on every P&O cruise the regular tipping threads would be at an end because the cruise line would have to include tips in the cruise fare. That way everyone would pay and the staff would be guaranteed a set sum.

It's pie in the sky I know and there will be no change while people keep on paying. Just ask an Australian.

David.
#4
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,313 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
We have had 4 cruises on Britannia, never had a bad experience or even an average one all the staff we have had have been excellent.


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Aurora AU112 Arcadia AR223
Aurora R418 Aurora R419
Adonia F507 Adonia F508
Aurora R525 Arcadia J625
Oceana E721 Oriana X718
Arcadia J813 Oriana X820
Ventura N902 Aurora R913
Arcadia J004 Oceana E021
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Arcadia J217 Oriana X302
Oriana X312 Aurora R315
Oceana E402 Azura A409
Azura A410 Oceana E425
Oceana E426 Arcadia J510
Britannia B522 Britannia B523
Ventura N603 Azura A616
Arcadia J615 Arcadia J616
Oceana E625

To Come


Crown Princess 17
Britannia 17
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Azura 17
Azura 17
Ventura 18
Oriana 18
Oriana 18
Ventura 19



Gan Canny

Dai
#5
Devon, UK
4,294 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I just love it when someone makes an assumption that people who remove the auto tips are mean or trying to reduce the amount. We have done both, left the auto on and also removed it. These days, we remove it and pay our tips direct. Mostly because on the last night, everyone at the table used an envelope except us when we left the auto tips on. Somewhat embarrassing. So we now do it the old way and prefer it. I await comments that we like the master/servant thing which is also a load of tosh. I tip my hairdresser. I tip taxi drivers. I tip waiters in a restaurant. What's the difference.
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Jean



#6
Bournemouth
275 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Thanks for the replies, of course someone assumes it is to save money but this a reflection on them as we would give out far more than we would save as we have no problem with tipping when it is deserved.

Anyway I feel reassured that Britannia might have a happier staff, we are Freedom Dining and it is a lot easier to leave the auto gratuities so that is what we will do.
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16 December 2016 - Oriana - Southamptom to Bruges
10 September 2016 - Ventura - Southampton to Bruges
19 March 2016 - Azura - Barbados to Southampton
1 November 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Southamton to Miami
10 October 2015 - Ventura - Bruges
2 June 2015 - Aurora
10 April 2015 - Ventura
4 April 2014 - Azura
29 June 2013 - Ventura
16 April 2013 - Azura
17 Oct 2012 - Queen Victoria
#7
UK
315 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
Bearing in mind that p&o is US owned it might be worth viewing it from a US perspective, which is that tips are not necessarily for good service, rather they are purely to supplement poor wages. They are for the service, not for good service.

According to the forums on tripadvisor for US sites it's never acceptable to not pay tips. It basically goes like this, from the following options...

1) Service is good/excellent in which case you pay around 20odd percent tip

2) service is adequate or at least it isn't bad, in which case you pay around 15 percent tip

3) service is terrible, in which case you let the manager know in order to rectify it but still pay the 15% tip.

The point is that the tip isn't for good service, it's a "hidden" (for want of a better word) cost. If you've been to America you know that the advertised prices don't include tax so tax is always added.

The minimum tip is double the tax.

So you pay the cost of the coffee, plus tax, plus tip. And if service is poor you speak to a manager.

Whereas here in Britain we see tips as a reward for good service. And we are far less likely to complain to a manager. If I get bad service in a local restaurant in the UK I very rarely say anything, I just don't tip. They don't get their "bonus", their "reward".

It was the same when I was in New York. I was surprised how poor the service was in many places and so often I didn't leave a tip. It was only when on the forums afterwards that it was politely pointed out to me that I should have told a manager, not removed the tip. Of course, being British that thought horrified me

But in the US it's not a bonus or reward, it's part of their wage paid directly by the customer rather than the employer. Its a cultural difference. And p&o are American owned. All the American cruise lines do it. It's is expected that you pay it, not because you are pleased with the service but simply because you received a service.

So from the US way of looking at it, the included tips on cruise lines are not for good service, polite service etc they are simply for service. If someone brought you a meal, poured you a drink, made your bed then you pay the service charge. It doesn't matter if they smiled or not etc.

Of course we don't see it like that in the UK. Just another perspective.


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#8
Devon, UK
4,294 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I am not prepared to operate in a US manner. been there many times and will not tip if the food is awful or the service is awful.

Interestingly, was in London recently and was told by a friend that 15% is the normal tip in a restaurant. Well I don't agree, so I tip 10%.
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Jean



#9
UK
315 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
I'm one of those "when in Rome" type people. If it's their culture then I follow it more or less. If it's not ok to wear shorts somewhere I don't wear them, if the tipping culture is a particular way I try to follow it.

I remember learning that in France it was considered rude to tip as there is a "servic compris" charge of I think 10% added to cover service. I sort of view it like that. The service compris charge isn't for exemplary service, it is simply a charge on the bill to cover service. So when over there I just don't tip if service is "compris"

Different countries have different cultures and ways of doing things. It's one of the joys of travelling for me.


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#10
Scotland
483 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Fwiw, I would rather the Service Charge wasn't mandatory, and we were back to tipping directly. However we are not. I therefore respect the terms and conditions of booking, which includes gratuities or service charge to be added by the cruise line.
Simple. When in Rome.
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1973 British India - SS Nevasa - Nth. Africa/Canary Is * 1991 P&O - SS Canberra - Mediterranean * 1992 P&O - SS Canberra - Canary Is. * 1993 P&O - SS Canberra - Mediterranean * 1993 Cunard - Queen Elizabeth II - Ireland/France * 1994 CTC - Azerbajan - British Isles/France * 1994 P&O - SS Canbera - Adriatic * 1995 Fred Olsen - Black Watch - Western Europe * 1997 Fred Olsen - Black Watch - Western Europe * 1998 P&O - Arcadia - France/Britain * 1999 P&O - Arcadia - France/Britain * 2001 Festival CL - Flamenco - Mediterranean * 2002 NCL - Norwegian Dawn - Transatlantic * 2003 P&O - Oriana - Mediterranean * 2006 NCL - Norwegian Spirit - Caribbean * 2015 NCL - Norwegian Spirit - Adriatic/Mediterranean
#11
Warwickshire, UK
2,492 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by claudiniusmaximus
Bearing in mind that p&o is US owned .........................
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Not quite. P&O is part of Carnival which is a joint US/UK company. The shares are traded on both the New York and London stock exchanges. Carnival Corporation is the US arm and Carnival PLC is the UK arm with headquarters in Southampton. The operations of P&O (and Cunard) are controlled from Southampton.
Brian
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#12
Devon, UK
4,294 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by Trevor Fountain
Fwiw, I would rather the Service Charge wasn't mandatory, and we were back to tipping directly. However we are not. I therefore respect the terms and conditions of booking, which includes gratuities or service charge to be added by the cruise line.
Simple. When in Rome.
Well I have always said if they made it a Service Charge and added it to your booking, that would be the way to go. However, it is not, it is still called a gratuity and it is removable.
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Jean



#13
36 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by FluffyFiFi
Thanks for the replies, of course someone assumes it is to save money but this a reflection on them as we would give out far more than we would save as we have no problem with tipping when it is deserved.

Anyway I feel reassured that Britannia might have a happier staff, we are Freedom Dining and it is a lot easier to leave the auto gratuities so that is what we will do.
The staff were brilliant. We were Freedom dining and only sat in the same area of the Meridian restaurant on a couple of occasions so rarely encountered the same waiters. As a result it would be impossible to single out any individual, so would struggle to see how anything other than paying the auto gratuities would work in that respect. We did however meet many people who had stopped the auto gratuities.

I'm still a bit of a cynic mind and would hope the auto gratuities are spread evenly, can anyone reassure me this is the case - that kitchen porters, deck hands etc who we often don't see also get a share ?
#14
UK
315 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
Originally posted by BrianI
Not quite. P&O is part of Carnival which is a joint US/UK company. The shares are traded on both the New York and London stock exchanges. Carnival Corporation is the US arm and Carnival PLC is the UK arm with headquarters in Southampton. The operations of P&O (and Cunard) are controlled from Southampton.

Brian


Ahh well that puts paid to my theory then.

(Unless that's why the service charge on p&o are about half of what they are on other US lines )


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#15
Devon, UK
4,294 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by doog442
The staff were brilliant. We were Freedom dining and only sat in the same area of the Meridian restaurant on a couple of occasions so rarely encountered the same waiters. As a result it would be impossible to single out any individual, so would struggle to see how anything other than paying the auto gratuities would work in that respect. We did however meet many people who had stopped the auto gratuities.

I'm still a bit of a cynic mind and would hope the auto gratuities are spread evenly, can anyone reassure me this is the case - that kitchen porters, deck hands etc who we often don't see also get a share ?
It clearly states on their website that the auto tips go to your waiters and cabin steward.
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Jean



#16
UK
315 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
Originally posted by jeanlyon
Well I have always said if they made it a Service Charge and added it to your booking, that would be the way to go. However, it is not, it is still called a gratuity and it is removable.


Actually they refer to it as gratuity, tip and service charge interchangeably


https://ask.pocruises.com/help/PO/li...board/gratuity

It does say on that page that it "appears on your folio as a ‘service charge’ and is confirmed in your holiday information booklet, accessed through your Cruise Personaliser"

But then confuses things by titling the page "gratuity" and later referring to it as a "tip"




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#17
East London
4 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by jeanlyon
I am not prepared to operate in a US manner. been there many times and will not tip if the food is awful or the service is awful.

Interestingly, was in London recently and was told by a friend that 15% is the normal tip in a restaurant. Well I don't agree, so I tip 10%.
I live in London and have never heard of this (far too much ) . Unless the service is exceptional then I too only pay 10% .

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#18
UK
315 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
Originally posted by doog442
The staff were brilliant. We were Freedom dining and only sat in the same area of the Meridian restaurant on a couple of occasions so rarely encountered the same waiters. As a result it would be impossible to single out any individual, so would struggle to see how anything other than paying the auto gratuities would work in that respect. We did however meet many people who had stopped the auto gratuities.



I'm still a bit of a cynic mind and would hope the auto gratuities are spread evenly, can anyone reassure me this is the case - that kitchen porters, deck hands etc who we often don't see also get a share ?


Website mentions buffet staff, waiters and cabin steward. Am assuming (although I don't know for sure) that "waiter" includes bar waiters as well.

I think that's typical for hospitality industry - I worked in hotels for around ten years and it was just the staff that actually "served" people that got tips, as it was given for service received (ie not kitchen staff etc). I don't know how common that still is to be fair.


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#19
Warwickshire, UK
2,492 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
The bar/wine waiters are not part of the tipping scheme. They receive a "commission" on what they sell which is built into the price of the drinks - in effect a mandatory tip.
Brian
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#20
Riding the Ocean Waves
1,253 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
The Auto tips are now shown as a Service Charge
From what I am lead to believe, The staff who receive the service charge are guaranteed a certain wage by P&O. / P&O state all the service charge goes to the staff. So if you delete the service charge, P&O will then have pay it, to make up the wages of the staff. If you then tip the staff they keep the tip, so front line staff win.
Bar staff are paid a wage plus commission from each drink sold, that is why they pester you so much on P&O Ships.
On Cunard they usually ask once, then place a paper coaster on the table to show other waiters you have been asked. They do not pester you all the time. They also receive the added 15% service charge to the drink prices.

If only they were transparent,

10% is the normal for tipping in the UK for Restaurants