Breaking News !! RCCL to review Gratuities

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#1
Northern Ireland--UK
3,228 Posts
Joined May 2002
Royal Caribbean International vice president and UK managing director Robin Shaw disclosed that the payment of gratuities to renumerate cruise ship employees had become a “significant issue”.

Speaking at the first Cruise Forum as part of the ABTA Travel Convention in Barcelona, Shaw said the company was experiencing a “huge cultural difference” between US passengers who are used to tipping for service and those from the UK who are not. He admitted that cruise ship staff received far less tips when British passengers are on board.

Full story http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1138836.php




Great idea !!




jj.....
#2
London
3,872 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
This might be the case when cruises depart the UK with a higher percentage of UK clients onboard, but most of us certainly tip in the usual manner when departing the US.
If they consider lessening or removing the grats, all that will happen is the basic cruise price will go up. You get nothing for free these days.
#3
Delmarva Eastern Shore
2,510 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by ChipLondon
This might be the case when cruises depart the UK with a higher percentage of UK clients onboard, but most of us certainly tip in the usual manner when departing the US.
If they consider lessening or removing the grats, all that will happen is the basic cruise price will go up. You get nothing for free these days.
With the Oasis and Allure coming out tipping will become even more of an issue.More and more will be choosing one of the many other eateries on board and opting out of tipping the dining staff.In the old days when the MDR was the place to go for a premium meal the current tipping policy worked but no more

:cj
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#4
10,074 Posts
Joined May 2008
I see a mandatory service charge in the future....similar to NCL.....

Tipping is an expected part of cruising (indeed, travel almost anywhere). It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who books a cruise. All the information is on each website, on all documents, all enclosed cruise information. It is what it is. Those who choose not to tip make it tough on the rest of us. One way or another, those who wait on us and and foot throughout the cruise will get a gratuity....whether voluntarily or through the service charge.

And, they deserve it.

Frankly, I've traveled throughout the UK for years and have never had anyone turn down a tip.....

Methinks the only problem is paying a tip....not receiving one.
#5
9,035 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
After having taken more than twenty cruises, I have come to the conclusion that a standard tip included in the fare would save a lot of headaches for cruisers and heartaches for crew. I admit on our first cruise I gadn't the foggiest notion of what to tip and who to tip.

Even RCI's gidelines don't help much because they are "suggestions." I didn't know if the "understanding" was that their guidelines were baseline tips only and that you were expected to tip more and if so how much?

I was even more confused when I discovered CC here and learned some folks tip FAR MORE than the guidelines, tip room stewards immediately on the first day and every few days thereafter and conceirges get huge tips from some. So if we tip more, how much, how often. Are we insulting or flattering our stewards and waiters??

I really don't know. A standard built in fee would be ever so helpful. But then I have read that crew on ships with standard built-in tips, are less responsive and don't try as hard to please, so I don't know what is the best way to go. I do know I HATE the whole not knowing how much is actually the going rate for tips. It can be awkward and frustrating.
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#6
South East PA
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Joined Dec 2004
You have to join to read. Whats it say?
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#7
Madison, AL
253 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Before my DD became a server for Cracker Barrel, I was one of those who preferred to tip myself as opposed to it automatically being added to my bill. In theory tipping gives incentive for good service. If a tip is automatically added, the server can give poor service and not care because he will get his money anyway.

My opinion changed as I found out through my DD that for various reasons people don't tip no matter the level of service. There have been many nights she has come home upset that she worked really hard for 8 hours only to receive the equivanent of $4-5/hr. My dd is one of the best servers at CB and so I know it isn't because of poor service.

Now I would be more in favor of an auto gratuity that would be enough so servers could make some money, but also small enough so we could add to it for excellent service. I still see a lot of problems even with this solution - it leaves room for both servers and pax to abuse it.
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#8
Western NY
3,410 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
I think the cruiselines should always put the gratuities on the shipboard account. 99% of the employees work for their tips for to offset low wages, 1% don't impress me at all, but that's no reason to take it out on the rest. It's easier, cleaner and fare overall.
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#9
Madison, AL
253 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I just have to get his off my chest - The one person I usually hate tipping is the Matre D. In almost all of my cruises no matter what line it is - we don't see the Matre D at all - never comes to the table - except for the very last night when - yes when we are handing out tips. Perhaps I don't understand what that job entails. We still tip him, but not sure what it is for. He should be on salary instead. My 2 cents.
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#10
Daytona Beach, Fl
1,435 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
I really wish they would just include the tips in the price, like they do the port charges, then if people wanted to give more they could, but everyone would get the suggested amount, lots less confusion
#11
Ontario Canada
587 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by coxswain
Royal Caribbean International vice president and UK managing director Robin Shaw disclosed that the payment of gratuities to renumerate cruise ship employees had become a “significant issue”.

Speaking at the first Cruise Forum as part of the ABTA Travel Convention in Barcelona, Shaw said the company was experiencing a “huge cultural difference” between US passengers who are used to tipping for service and those from the UK who are not. He admitted that cruise ship staff received far less tips when British passengers are on board.

Full story http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1138836.php




Great idea !!




jj.....
Good morning,personally I refuse to eat in a resraunt that adds the tip to your bill and now refuse to sail on a ship that does the same.In days of old I found that eating in a place that added the tip resulted in poor service generally.I found the attitude to be that they were getting there tip to spite the sevice.I find the suggested tipping onboard to be dirt cheap,the people work there butts off and deserve so much more than the base suggested.Think about it I think it comes out to 975 a day ,this includes your tips for at least 3 meals,when was the last time you went out for 3 meals to your favorite stommping grounds and only paid a total of 975 for tips on 3 meals,to break that down this would mean that if your night on the town at a fine dining place you would pay what 333 for your dinner tip?Add to your meals your snacks,the pool lady,and never mind that they do your room not once but twice a day,even in the best resorts they dont do your rooms twice a day.I think to suggest all of that for 975 is an insult to there employees.On our last cruise we had a lady with us that chose not to do sign and sail for her tips and I thought that odd,we travel as a large group of 20 to 30 people and this was her second time to cruise with us.Now she felt like she knew the ropes.We explained to people this was a guide line only and I know for sure we all put extra in that envelope.Back at home and back to work,we now found out this girl on the last night put 5 bucks in her envelope for the waiter.She was laughing with other people at work about it and telling how smart she was.I approched her {furious}her respose was that they wouldnt know who did it.After I pointed out that every ones name were on the sign and sail vouchers she realized now that they would know.Our waiters were awesome and worked very hard to make our experience pleasant.As a result I was now in a position to wipe the smile off of her face because I made it clear infront of our co_workers that she would never travel with us again.The rest of our group was in agreance with this as we all felt embaraced.She is not sailing with us on the Oasis in Jan and tried hard to find out when we are booked to go but mum has been the word.The bottom line for her is this she didnt pay the price that night {but she is paying the price now}Sorry this has been so long winde I just had to get that off my chest.
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#12
Western NY
3,410 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
That goes for the head waiters on Royal too, the waiter and assistant are all that we feel the need to tip, the other guy seems to come around just for tipping reasons to me.
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#13
West Webster, NY
4,799 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Let me start by saying that I am a tipper. I have always tipped the minimum recommended amount and usually more. I don't do it because I feel sorry for the staff and their low wages, I do it because someone has done a service for me and I want to reward them for it.

Now let me say that I think they should just do away with tipping all together. This would eliminate the confusion within different cultures where some tip and some don't. Pay the employees a reasonable wage so that they do not have to rely on tips to supplement their income. Of course this means that the price of the cruise will go up but if they are expecting us to pay (for instance) $100 in tips, why not just add that $100 to the fare and eliminate the tips? Tips used to be voluntary. If you wanted to tip, you did. They are now becoming almost mandatory. In the case of My Time Dining, they are. So, charge us a little more and do away with the tips.

This would eliminate the need to tip. But, if a staff member went above and beyond and you felt they deserved something extra, you could tip them on a case by case basis.

My wife and I stayed at a Sandals resort several years ago and the employees were not allowed to take tips. Any employee caught accepting a tip was fired. I don't know if they need to go that far but eliminating the mandatory tips would solve some of the problems.
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#14
Coastal NC
2,661 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by Happy_Traveler02
I just have to get his off my chest - The one person I usually hate tipping is the Matre D. In almost all of my cruises no matter what line it is - we don't see the Matre D at all - never comes to the table - except for the very last night when - yes when we are handing out tips. Perhaps I don't understand what that job entails. We still tip him, but not sure what it is for. He should be on salary instead. My 2 cents.
Generally I would agree with you, but there was an exception. On a Costa cruise the Maitre D' actually went to all tables every few days and asked if there were any complaints or requests. My wife asked if eggplant parmigiana was on the menu. He said that it was not, but he would see what he could do when we got to port. That evening our table had the best eggplant I have ever eaten (Usually I don't like it). Needless to say we were happy to tip him very well.

Bob
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#15
The South
14,458 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by coxswain
Royal Caribbean International vice president and UK managing director Robin Shaw disclosed that the payment of gratuities to renumerate cruise ship employees had become a “significant issue”.

Speaking at the first Cruise Forum as part of the ABTA Travel Convention in Barcelona, Shaw said the company was experiencing a “huge cultural difference” between US passengers who are used to tipping for service and those from the UK who are not. He admitted that cruise ship staff received far less tips when British passengers are on board.

Full story http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1138836.php




Great idea !!




jj.....
Is this for international passengers or all passengers. IE does it cover US cruisers?
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#16
Between the tall pines in Georgia.
1,986 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
DH and I have cruised many times.... on Carnival, NCL, and we are about to do our second cruise on RCCL next month..... 13 days transatlantic from UK to Miami.
I always pay gratuities up-front, when I pay for the cruise.... just because it's one less thing to think about.
Then, at the end of the cruise, we pay extra to those that have gone 'above and beyond'.
I think the RCCL tipping system is more open to abuse than the other cruise lines.
Adding tips to the sail and sign card is a fair way of tipping... as those who work hard, that you might never see (But have worked as hard as those you are in contact with) might not get what they deserve.
I wouldn't object if they added the tip price on to the cruise price.... because it's what I do anyway!
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#17
Surrrey England
368 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
This would be great. The totally honest approach would be for RCCL to pay the staff the expected wage, subject themselves to minimum wage rules, taxation etc and build that into the pricing. The managers would then be responsible for ensuring that the staff perform properly, without having to grovel for bribes or focus on the big tippers. It also means that servers do not get punished for problems in the kitchen which are not their fault, and the rewards are shared properly

The slightly more tiresome approach (but still better than the present system) would be to impose a compulsory "tipping surcharge" to our bills so that we all know (almost) up front what the cost will be.

In practice, even if they do absorb tips in some way, they will probably still "offer" passengers the opportunity to leave additional tips "for outstanding service" as they do with bar bills currently on ex-Uk cruises (hiding the fact that the 15% service is now built in to the prices).
This means that we will end up in a similar confused situation "enflamed" by posts on this forum from both sides of the Great Tipping Divide
"you must tip in order to reward hardworking staff on low wages"
"I will only tip people I choose to tip"
#18
Atlanta
2,321 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
It must depend on your maitre'd. On our last cruise the maitre d' visited our table (actually all tables) nearly every night. By the second night he new everybody's name and addressed us by name the rest of the cruise. He would spend about 5 minutes at each table and would tell very interesting stories about his experience working on cruise ships. On lobster night he came by and split the shell and removed the meat. One night he asked us if there was anything special he could arrange. I asked for grand marnier souffle and the next night everyone at our table got one - and we were the only table that had the souffle. I am sure he asked the same question of every table and each table probably got their custom order.

He enlivened the evening dining experience and certainly earned his tip.
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#19
Carterville, IL USA
5,429 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Originally posted by Happy_Traveler02
I just have to get his off my chest - The one person I usually hate tipping is the Matre D. In almost all of my cruises no matter what line it is - we don't see the Matre D at all - never comes to the table - except for the very last night when - yes when we are handing out tips. Perhaps I don't understand what that job entails. We still tip him, but not sure what it is for. He should be on salary instead. My 2 cents.
Are you confusing the Matre D with your Head Waiter? You do not tip the Matre D UNLESS he would REALLY do something special for you.

When we first started cruising, I hated tipping the Head Waiter, just like another poster stated, since we never saw him until tipping night however this has seemed to change. For the last few cruises, we have seen the Head Waiter EVERY NIGHT. Not sure if we have gotten some good Head Waiters or if RCCL has gotten on them about their jobs. Anyway, the Head Waiter is worth the tip if you have issues during the cruise, they are the ones to get the problem corrected. If you don't have any issues, he is doing his job well, tip him accordingly.

Tim
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#20
Myrtle Beach
5,734 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
For starters - the Maitre D is no longer tipped.

I don't mind tipping the head waiter, even if s/he doesn't make it to our table every single night, s/he is usually around the area helping the waiter and assitant waiters with problems and larger tables. On our cruise in December there was a large table of 10 next to ours and the head waiter was assisting the other two every night.

Canuck - I hate to tell you, if you travel to many of the Caribbean resort areas, the tip will be automatically added to your bill in most restaurants.

Unless it is a family owned operation, I don't think bad servers are going to last.

An automatic service charge wouldn't make a difference to us - we prepay gratuities. The only decisions I want to make while on the ship is do I want the drink of the day or a beer.
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