Two questions from First Time NCL cruiser

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#1
Scotland
277 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Firstly re. Gratuities/service charge. I am clear that they are now automatically added. Can anyone tell me if NCL provide envelopes and vouchers to hand out to staff at the end of the cruise so that they know you have paid auto added tips?

This seems to be being phased out by most cruise lines. I used to like it because without it I always think that crew who have served you throughout your cruise won't know if you removed them, particularly if you decide to give them a little extra - they might think the little extra is all you are giving them.

My second question relates to Jewel Class ships. We are due to depart soon on Jade and I wonder if they do afternoon scones and jam anywhere on board?
#2
2,027 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Nope, no envelopes and/or vouchers, since all pax do autogratuities. Extra tips are always appreciated, tho! And BTW, I'm given to understand that the staff are notified if the autogratuity is removed.

I've never seen afternoon scones & jam on any Norwegian ships.
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#3
Virginia, USA
3,465 Posts
Joined May 2007
We usually give the steward an extra tip if the service has been good. I suggest taking an envelope or two along if you feel more comfortable having one. The extra tips are most appreciated. I think all the lines are using the service charge to pay these employees who work so very hard for so many hours, so many days, so many months in a row before getting their leave.
One good thing about the NCL tip pool is that some of it goes to employees who don't usually get direct tips but also work so hard to keep the ship clean, etc. You generally will not have the same waiter/dining staff each evening so the service charge covers them unlike when you have the same waiters each evening and tipped them directly.
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#4
Albany, New York
5,982 Posts
Joined May 2002
They do have envelopes at the customer service desk if you care to tip extra.
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#5
Staten Island, New York
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Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by Delbankin
Firstly re. Gratuities/service charge. I am clear that they are now automatically added. Can anyone tell me if NCL provide envelopes and vouchers to hand out to staff at the end of the cruise so that they know you have paid auto added tips?

This seems to be being phased out by most cruise lines. I used to like it because without it I always think that crew who have served you throughout your cruise won't know if you removed them, particularly if you decide to give them a little extra - they might think the little extra is all you are giving them.

My second question relates to Jewel Class ships. We are due to depart soon on Jade and I wonder if they do afternoon scones and jam anywhere on board?
The only staff that's not included in the daily service charges is the kids club staff, butler and concierge. Not everyone onboard utilizes their services. I went to the guest services desk to get envelopes for the butler and concierge.

I don't understand why people insist on removing the service charge bc they came in direct contact with a staff member that felt they didn't do a good job. That money goes to so many other people who work hard and don't get to interact with passengers and have someone say "thank you for your service"...The people preparing your food in the kitchen, the person washing your clean towels and sheets, the bartender who is making your drink so the waiter can bring it to you so you don't have to get up. All the behind the scenes people deserve the money also. Please people, don't remove the daily service charges. A lot of people are working hard for months away from their families so you can enjoy and have a great vacation.
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#6
Staten Island, New York
1,143 Posts
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OP-I'm not implying you would do that but I've read on cc that people want to remove the daily service charge.

Enjoy your cruise. I've sailed a Jewel class ship and loved it!!
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#7
6,392 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Delbankin
...
My second question relates to Jewel Class ships. We are due to depart soon on Jade and I wonder if they do afternoon scones and jam anywhere on board?
Yes, in the Buffet every afternoon, and also in the Great Outdoors if you are sailing in a ship that has this feature.
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#8
Scotland
277 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Thanks for the replies. We have no intention of removing auto gratuities and always give extra to those who serve us well on a regular basis.

We are looking forward to our first NCL cruise and hope we have chosen well with Jade for our first one. The size of the ship is about the size we like. The only slight downside seems to be the amount of criticism the buffet comes in for on this class of ship, with suggestions it is too small and always overcrowded. Hopefully we can find some quieter locations for breakfast and lunch.

Good to hear afternoon scones and jam are available on NCL as it has become a tradition for us on other ships.

Will certainly post a review when we return.
Del.
#9
4,913 Posts
Joined May 2009
And I will second that about the scones. I know for sure they were out about 3 pm on both the Pearl and Jewel. They were at the Great Outdoors. I can't remember about the other ships. Had jam and whipped cream available with them. My wife was disappointed the last afternoon on the Pearl last cruise. The scones were cheese scones. I thought they were great...but she wanted hers just plain.
#10
New Haven, CT
226 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
I don't like the automatic charge for gratuities. I have no idea if they are distributed properly. Plus what incentive does that give the some staff if they know they will get that money for half-assed job.

I can see doing the auto charge for the waitstaff in the dining rooms as you don't have a same server with all the dining options. But if I never see my cabin attendant or have poor service, you can bet that I would want to have the auto charge removed. (But probably would not because it would dock the waitstaff who may have done a fantastic job.
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#11
Chelsea, London, England
3,695 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by Delbankin
Thanks for the replies. We have no intention of removing auto gratuities and always give extra to those who serve us well on a regular basis.

We are looking forward to our first NCL cruise and hope we have chosen well with Jade for our first one. The size of the ship is about the size we like. The only slight downside seems to be the amount of criticism the buffet comes in for on this class of ship, with suggestions it is too small and always overcrowded. Hopefully we can find some quieter locations for breakfast and lunch.

Good to hear afternoon scones and jam are available on NCL as it has become a tradition for us on other ships.

Will certainly post a review when we return.
Del.
The buffet can get crowded at peak times but they do open up the Italian restaurant for overflow seating. Blue Lagoon does a sit down cooked breakfast BTW.
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#12
Portland Oregon
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Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by SciFiCruiser
I don't like the automatic charge for gratuities. I have no idea if they are distributed properly. Plus what incentive does that give the some staff if they know they will get that money for half-assed job.

I can see doing the auto charge for the waitstaff in the dining rooms as you don't have a same server with all the dining options. But if I never see my cabin attendant or have poor service, you can bet that I would want to have the auto charge removed. (But probably would not because it would dock the waitstaff who may have done a fantastic job.
Since I don't see an NCL cruise in your history - but one in your future - let me assure you that if a cabin steward is doing a "half-assed job" NCL would love to hear about it - either talk to the hotel manager or the director of housekeeping - BTW if you attend the CC Meet and Greet you will probably meet these wonderful folks - and yes they are always out and about and are very approachable. While I have only a few NCL cruises under my belt, I have yet to run into a room steward who does not totally care about your room and your needs. NCL also wants to insure that if you have a problem with your vacation, they get a chance to make it right while you are on the ship.
#13
Chelsea, London, England
3,695 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
NCL is probably the most customer focused company I have ever dealt with. They take customer feedback very seriously, (they monitor these boards very closely), and the officers on board ship are constantly asking/checking that things are as they should be.

Sign up for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet - many of the officers are there and they will remember you from it. They will stop and chat when they see around the ship and they are genuinely concerned that things are right.

You can tell whether an organization pays lip service to customer satisfaction or whether it is a genuinely embedded ethos - with NCL it is embedded (at least on board ship).
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#14
Chicago, IL area
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Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Delbankin
The only slight downside seems to be the amount of criticism the buffet comes in for on this class of ship, with suggestions it is too small and always overcrowded. Hopefully we can find some quieter locations for breakfast and lunch.
You can see my cruising history in my signature. My DDP and I tend to eat our lunches in the main dining rooms, and almost always eat breakfasts on the Great Outdoors. You might have to wait a few minutes to find a free table on the back of the ship, but it's usually beautiful.

--Michael
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