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  #1  
Old October 10th, 2012, 05:43 PM
lovetotravelprincess lovetotravelprincess is offline
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Default Tipping Butlers

I recently went on one of the Uniworld cruises and it was fabulous. However, I did not know if we should tip our butler, and if we did, how much to give him. We were told about the tips for the director and the staff in general, but not for the butlers.

I left him a tip and from his actions during our last hours on board, I clearly offended him. So, I wish guidelines were posted.

I contacted the company upon our return and they told me butlers are staff and no separate tip should be given. However, it is obvious everyone does.

For those of you that have cruised on this line and stayed in the suites, please let me know what you have done in the past.
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  #2  
Old October 10th, 2012, 06:06 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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We tipped both butlers on our recent Uniworld cruise. Both were very gracious and thanked us for our generosity.

Last edited by twinkletoes4445; October 10th, 2012 at 06:06 PM.
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  #3  
Old October 10th, 2012, 06:19 PM
lovetotravelprincess lovetotravelprincess is offline
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May I ask how much you gave each?

I'd like to know some kind of range for any future cruises.
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  #4  
Old October 10th, 2012, 07:18 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Honestly, I don't remember the exact amount. It was under 100 Euros. Maybe 50 or 60 each. I just don't remember the exact amount. Sorry about that. However, I would say tip if you want and tip whatever you want. I would imagine they are tipped by some and not by others. We just found them to be delightful and helpful. I am sorry your butler had such a negative reaction. We also left the suggested tip amount, which we were able to pay with a credit card. Love that they do that now. I think when we were planning this trip they were still asking that it be in cash at the end of the cruise.

This was by far our most favorite vacation.

Last edited by twinkletoes4445; October 10th, 2012 at 07:26 PM.
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  #5  
Old October 10th, 2012, 07:22 PM
lovetotravelprincess lovetotravelprincess is offline
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OK. We seemed to have the most contact with one of them, so I left him the tip. I left 50 Euros. He acted like he is used to getting far more.

He was wonderful, so I did not mean to offend him.

Thank you for the informatiion.
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  #6  
Old October 10th, 2012, 07:28 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Originally Posted by lovetotravelprincess View Post
OK. We seemed to have the most contact with one of them, so I left him the tip. I left 50 Euros. He acted like he is used to getting far more.

He was wonderful, so I did not mean to offend him.

Thank you for the informatiion.
I think 50 Euros is a nice tip. Both of our butlers were really nice and right there if we needed them. The main one was around more, but both were very visible. I think they came to expect me bringing back packages from our trips, and one of them was always there to help with the packages. Re-entry to the real world was very difficult after this cruise!

Last edited by twinkletoes4445; October 10th, 2012 at 07:30 PM.
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  #7  
Old October 10th, 2012, 08:26 PM
Upper_Decker Upper_Decker is offline
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Default I never tip.

I never tip and I loathe the practice.

I should not be forced to subsidize the low wages of cruise staff. It is especially offensive when the company itself offers to accept my tip via credit card. They're basically admitting that they want us to help us pay the salaries of the people they hire.
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  #8  
Old October 10th, 2012, 10:59 PM
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5326jan 5326jan is offline
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Is a butler the same thing as a cabin steward?
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  #9  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:27 AM
franski franski is offline
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Originally Posted by Upper_Decker View Post
I never tip and I loathe the practice.

I should not be forced to subsidize the low wages of cruise staff. It is especially offensive when the company itself offers to accept my tip via credit card. They're basically admitting that they want us to help us pay the salaries of the people they hire.
Hi -

You have not indicated where you live, but I am guessing that you are from Australia - perhaps NZ or the UK. Tipping usually becomes a very contentious issue here on CC. Those of us living in North America are quite used to tipping... and the suggested guidelines are very easily found in all literature provided to the NA market.

I was not happy when gratuities were automatically added to our final bill on our one (and only) cruise with Princess. I find it refreshing that tipping is left to the individual - so you can tip as little or as much as you wish. Or - you travel with Tauck or Scenic - where gratuities are included. But, you pay more up front, so one could argue that you do tip - just not by yourself, where you control the amount. You are not "forced" to tip on a river boat.

We have always met - or exceeded - the suggested amount, as we have felt the staff goes over and above what it expected. And have always paid in cash. But, as indicated above, tipping is part of the culture here in NA.

I do take time to look into the "normal" tipping practices of the areas where we travel, as we choose to respect the cultures we encounter.

Fran
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  #10  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:09 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Originally Posted by 5326jan View Post
Is a butler the same thing as a cabin steward?
No, they are different. We also had two cabin stewards. I gave them an extra also in addition to the suggested amount I left on my credit card. But, I wouldn't feel like you have to leave extra. I think the tip that you leave at the end is divided among the cabin stewards and others.
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  #11  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:13 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Hi -

You are not "forced" to tip on a river boat.

We have always met - or exceeded - the suggested amount, as we have felt the staff goes over and above what it expected. And have always paid in cash. But, as indicated above, tipping is part of the culture here in NA.

I do take time to look into the "normal" tipping practices of the areas where we travel, as we choose to respect the cultures we encounter.

Fran
Since this was our first trip to Europe, we checked to see what the normal practices were when it comes to tipping. I know some folks seem to get upset when others tip, but to me, it's a personal thing. Just because I leave extra for those that have gone above and beyond doesn't mean others have to do this (what you were saying). It's sure a hot button on all the forums!

Thanks for all your tips and advice. I've read probably every post you've posted. Lots of great help and ideas. We had a wonderful time on our Uniworld cruise.
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  #12  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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5326jan 5326jan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinkletoes4445 View Post
No, they are different. We also had two cabin stewards. I gave them an extra also in addition to the suggested amount I left on my credit card. But, I wouldn't feel like you have to leave extra. I think the tip that you leave at the end is divided among the cabin stewards and others.
What does a butler do? Are they on all river boats or is it unique to uniworld? We're planning a Danube river cruise next October on AMA and I'm trying to learn everything I can before we go. Thanks for any details you could share.
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  #13  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:18 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upper_Decker View Post
I never tip and I loathe the practice.

I should not be forced to subsidize the low wages of cruise staff. It is especially offensive when the company itself offers to accept my tip via credit card. They're basically admitting that they want us to help us pay the salaries of the people they hire.
You may loathe it, but others don't. I didn't find it offensive that they allowed us to use credit cards. I found it a lot more convenient to do so. I am not sure where you are from, but here in the US, it's common practice and we just figure the tips into the overall cost of the trip. It's really such a small amount that it doesn't bother me at all. And we tipped people that went above and beyond to make our vacation so pleasurable.
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  #14  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:41 PM
lovetotravelprincess lovetotravelprincess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5326jan View Post
What does a butler do? Are they on all river boats or is it unique to uniworld? We're planning a Danube river cruise next October on AMA and I'm trying to learn everything I can before we go. Thanks for any details you could share.
They get you whatever you want or need. You can call them 24 hours a day. They were provided for those in the suites. I am not sure if all cruise lines have them because this was our first cruise. It was a very nice treat!
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  #15  
Old October 11th, 2012, 01:47 PM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5326jan View Post
What does a butler do? Are they on all river boats or is it unique to uniworld? We're planning a Danube river cruise next October on AMA and I'm trying to learn everything I can before we go. Thanks for any details you could share.
I don't know if other river boats have butlers. Our TA said we'd love Uniworld (and we did), so we didn't really check anything else out. I have since read that AMA is a wonderful line! Enjoy your cruise.

One or both of the butlers were always waiting on the ship when we returned from an excursion and they always carried my packages. I thought that was nice! And so did my husband. Our butler helped with an assortment of things from changing out the champagne and red wine to white wines. They stock the room with fruit and snacks. Ours got us drinks. They will pack and unpack for you (which we didn't have them do).

They were around all day and in the evenings, which was nice. They weren't knocking on the door and we didn't have to call them ... they just seemed to be there when we needed them. Anything you'd have to do on your own, they'd do it for you. It was nice being pampered.

The suite was nice because we had enough room to sit in the chairs (that are at the end of the bed) and watch TV. Not that we watched TV a lot, but we did a little in the morning and evening. We liked the additional space. The suites aren't as large as a suite on a ocean cruise line, so the additional space was nice.

I am running out the door right now, so I'll add more when I get back later this afternoon.

Last edited by twinkletoes4445; October 11th, 2012 at 01:49 PM.
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  #16  
Old October 12th, 2012, 05:48 PM
SOShrink SOShrink is offline
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We have stayed in suites several times over the years. I love the extra space, extra French balcony, sitting area, coffee maker and refrigerator, and we really love the free laundry and shoe shine service. But I find the whole idea of a "butler" ridiculous. I would really rather have a really good cabin steward. Do we really need a butler to unpack for us? Do we need somebody to sign us up for excursions? I apologize to Twinkletoes, but I would feel uncomfortable if I came back from an excursion, and someone came out to carry my bags and no one else's!(maybe it's my issue!). What I'm trying to say is that we very rarely needed or used the butler. So is this person going to be disappointed if he/she doesn't get the "expected" extra tip?
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  #17  
Old October 13th, 2012, 02:06 AM
twinkletoes4445 twinkletoes4445 is offline
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We have stayed in suites several times over the years. I love the extra space, extra French balcony, sitting area, coffee maker and refrigerator, and we really love the free laundry and shoe shine service. But I find the whole idea of a "butler" ridiculous. I would really rather have a really good cabin steward. Do we really need a butler to unpack for us? Do we need somebody to sign us up for excursions? I apologize to Twinkletoes, but I would feel uncomfortable if I came back from an excursion, and someone came out to carry my bags and no one else's!(maybe it's my issue!). What I'm trying to say is that we very rarely needed or used the butler. So is this person going to be disappointed if he/she doesn't get the "expected" extra tip?
I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. Why do you assume they didn't help anyone else? While on the trip I tore my meniscus a bit, and quite honestly, I was happy to have the help! While we wouldn't (and didn't) want the butler to pack and unpack for us, if someone chose to have them do this, that's their choice. To me, they were like a concierge at a hotel. Some use them, some don't. You may find the butler service ridiculous, but it's something they offer and we used the butler when and where we wanted.

Just because you rarely needed or used the butler doesn't mean because we did we should feel uncomfortable. I apologize to you, but it comes off to me sounding like you're angry because we chose to use the butler, and then tipped extra. Do you think we're then putting you on the spot to do the same? We're not. If you choose to not tip the butler extra, that has nothing to do with me (and those that do).

We also love all the other things you mentioned (about the cabin).

To be honest with you; it is your issue. This tone is quite common when the subject of "extra" tipping is discussed. Instead of worrying about how uncomfortable you would have felt if you were me, why not concentrate on yourself and why you're worried that butler would be unhappy with you for not giving him an "extra" tip. That doesn't concern me in the least.

Happy Cruising!

Last edited by twinkletoes4445; October 13th, 2012 at 02:23 AM.
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  #18  
Old October 13th, 2012, 04:54 PM
SOShrink SOShrink is offline
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Well put, Twinkletoes! Every once in awhile we need to be put in our place, and I certainly did. When I re-read my post, it did sound opinionated and condescending. I apologize for that, and I am not angry that you used the butlers. It had just been my experience, that there are so many other helpful staff around including the front desk, that we never "needed" the butler.
I agree with you that the issue of tipping has always been a hot topic on cruise critic and people have become uncivil to one another when discussing it.
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  #19  
Old October 13th, 2012, 07:00 PM
franski franski is offline
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Thanks for all your tips and advice. I've read probably every post you've posted. Lots of great help and ideas. We had a wonderful time on our Uniworld cruise.
Thank YOU for your kind words...

I quite enjoy CC. and will continue to post if I feel that I can offer anything to the forum... sort of a "pay it forward" scenario.

Glad you enjoyed your Uniworld cruise. We have travelled with them 3 times now, and have enjoyed it every time. In fact, we convinced friends to do Russia with us this year, and they enjoyed the experience so much that we have decided to cruise together again in 2014.

Fran
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  #20  
Old October 13th, 2012, 07:15 PM
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squarevanman squarevanman is offline
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6 out of my last 7 river and sea cruises I have had an envelope left in my cabin. Tips were then placed in the sealed envelope and deposited in a box at reception.
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