Rethinking auto tips

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#1
Florida
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Joined Mar 2010
I have always paid tips . Years ago in the envelopes & now auto tips but with cruises having more & more extra cost restaurants that you also should tip for for should tipping be revised ?
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#3
South Florida
4,318 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
I have always paid tips . Years ago in the envelopes & now auto tips but with cruises having more & more extra cost restaurants that you also should tip for for should tipping be revised ?
What cruise line were you on where an extra tip in a specialty restaurant was expected? Yes I know they all have the line on the chit for you to write one in, but every ship I have been on makes it clear that the fee for the restaurant includes gratuity/service charge and that anything above is completely optional.
(...and could you kindly expand further on what correlation you find between the auto-tipping scheme and the choice of an individual passenger to use extra-charge dining?)
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Lots of people fly in the morning of the cruise and catch crazy early flights home. Why ask us if you can? Just to be harassed by the regulars?
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#4
Florida
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Originally posted by CruiserBruce
Popcorn time!!!
Not really ! More & more cruise lines are having lots of extra cost restaurants so many passengers never visit the main dining room so isn't it time to look at this and change the tipping structure .I have always tipped but am at a loss what to do.It is easy if you only visit one but what about the mega ships that have lots of restaurants and some passengers only use them ? Do you tip twice ?
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#5
SoCal
9,524 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
Not really ! More & more cruise lines are having lots of extra cost restaurants so many passengers never visit the main dining room so isn't it time to look at this and change the tipping structure .I have always tipped but am at a loss what to do.It is easy if you only visit one but what about the mega ships that have lots of restaurants and some passengers only use them ? Do you tip twice ?
I'll just point out that the gratuities for dinner servers generally doesn't just cover dinner. Most of those people (the servers) also work breakfast and lunch shifts in the MDRs and buffets. As well as any quick serve locations onboard, and on some cruiselines they also do room service runner shifts.

Saying that it's for your dinner servers just makes it easier.
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#6
Canada
18,567 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
..More & more cruise lines are having lots of extra cost restaurants so many passengers never visit the main dining room so isn't it time to look at this and change the tipping structure...
Yes but you still eat breakfast, lunch, and possibly snacks somewhere, right? The staff in the MDR also work in the buffet. The auto tip/daily service charge, left in place, assures that no one is being "stiffed", if you will. The auto tip also covers housekeeping staff.

If you leave it in place, everyone gets what they are supposed to get, with the option for the guest to tip more in cash if so desired.

To answer your question - no, I don't feel the auto tip should be revised. I'm glad so many of the lines are now doing this.
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#7
Philly burbs, PA.
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Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
Not really ! More & more cruise lines are having lots of extra cost restaurants so many passengers never visit the main dining room so isn't it time to look at this and change the tipping structure .I have always tipped but am at a loss what to do.It is easy if you only visit one but what about the mega ships that have lots of restaurants and some passengers only use them ? Do you tip twice ?
Focusing only on dinner, on RCI at least, part of the surcharge for the specialty restaurants includes a gratuity for that wait staff. Those passengers electing to eat in those venues are covering that gratuity. Since they are also paying the standard gratuity, they in essence are paying twice - but voluntarily with the choice to pay the surcharge.

Even with an increasing number of specialty restaurants it is still the minority of passengers who eat there. Realize that the typical specialty restaurant only holds about 100 people, give or take, or perhaps double that in nightly servings. Even if a ship has three or four venues (which most ships do not) and are full each night (which in general in our experience they are not) that would result in only about 600 - 800 passengers that could be served.

Using Oasis as an example, the typical passenger load is in excess of 6,000 passengers. So the the vast majority (about 90% based on those assumptions) still dine in the MDR and never see another venue.

I'm sure the cruise lines are quite aware of the passenger balance with the MDR and alternative venues and the resulting distribution of gratuities. They certainly understand their business and have looked at the gratuity system and have in place what they believe works best.

As to your comment of being at a loss of what to do, simply pay the recommended gratuities by whatever method the cruise line suggests and don't worry about it. If you wish to add more, then do so. And if you choose to pay a surcharge for a specialty restaurant, you will be covering that staff gratuity as well.

The fact that they provide a recommended amount and payment method means that is the system they want you to follow - you don't have to "rethink it". Your concern should be with enjoying your cruise.
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#8
South Florida
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Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
Not really ! More & more cruise lines are having lots of extra cost restaurants so many passengers never visit the main dining room so isn't it time to look at this and change the tipping structure .I have always tipped but am at a loss what to do.It is easy if you only visit one but what about the mega ships that have lots of restaurants and some passengers only use them ? Do you tip twice ?
Perhaps it would help if, before you put yourself up as an easy target by starting a thread demanding change, you understood how the auto-tip scheme actually works:

All food service personnel are included in the auto tips:

The main dining room staff: waiters, assistant waiters, head waiters
The buffet staff: line servers, table cleaners, supervisors
The room service delivery crew
The staff in the specialty restaurants
Many dining and galley support staff you never see.

Virtually all of the dining staff rotate among the various dining facilities throughout the cruise.
So if one or more of these facilities are never visited by you...it just doesn't matter!
Your payment of the auto tip covers your share of dining service wherever you choose to take it.
The fee you pay for the specialty restaurant gets you (1) a reservation at the time you want, for the table size you want; (2) an upgraded menu from the dining room.
Yes it is reasonable to expect better service in the pay restaurants. But an extra tip is not required as it is has already been covered. You are always free to reward any individual who gives service "above and beyond" to you...but it is totally optional!
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Debarking is a cruel procedure done to dogs.
Upgrades, Upsellls and Move Over Offers are completely different things.
As are being denied boarding and being disembarked early.
And don't get me started on Port Charges vs. Government Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses.
The Jones Act is for cargo. The PVSA is "that terrible law" that restricts USA domestic sailings. But without which there would likely be no cruise ships with casinos, duty free shops, and international crew members willing to work fantastically hard every single day.
Lots of people fly in the morning of the cruise and catch crazy early flights home. Why ask us if you can? Just to be harassed by the regulars?
No hotels have free shuttles, free breakfast, free wifi, or free parking. You pay in the rate. And could have found a better deal paying by the piece.
And don't forget: the cruise line is in complete control of the weather, political unrest, medical emergencies, and anything else that delays or re-routes your cruise. Be sure to demand compensation as it is you and only you who were affected.
#9
USA
4,441 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
I have always paid tips . Years ago in the envelopes & now auto tips but with cruises having more & more extra cost restaurants that you also should tip for for should tipping be revised ?
I have always paid tips on land, so why would I think the cruise line auto tipping should be revised. To me auto tipping just makes it easier.
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#11
Ontario, CA (The one WITH the Palm Trees!)
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Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by fishywood
Perhaps it would help if, before you put yourself up as an easy target by starting a thread demanding change, you understood how the auto-tip scheme actually works:

All food service personnel are included in the auto tips:

The main dining room staff: waiters, assistant waiters, head waiters
The buffet staff: line servers, table cleaners, supervisors
The room service delivery crew
The staff in the specialty restaurants
Many dining and galley support staff you never see.

Virtually all of the dining staff rotate among the various dining facilities throughout the cruise.
So if one or more of these facilities are never visited by you...it just doesn't matter!
Your payment of the auto tip covers your share of dining service wherever you choose to take it.
The fee you pay for the specialty restaurant gets you (1) a reservation at the time you want, for the table size you want; (2) an upgraded menu from the dining room.
Yes it is reasonable to expect better service in the pay restaurants. But an extra tip is not required as it is has already been covered. You are always free to reward any individual who gives service "above and beyond" to you...but it is totally optional!

Room Service Delivery crew are not part of the Auto Tips on Carnival, HAL or Princess.
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#12
SoCal
9,524 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by SadieN
Room Service Delivery crew are not part of the Auto Tips on Carnival, HAL or Princess.
It's not included on Disney cruises either.

There recently was a big debate going on on the HAL board right now that seems to say that room service is part of the Hotel Service Charge applied to each person's account.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2034371
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#13
Philly burbs, PA.
11,023 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Shmoo here
It's not included on Disney cruises either.

There recently was a big debate going on on the HAL board right now that seems to say that room service is part of the Hotel Service Charge applied to each person's account.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2034371
With RCI, the standard gratuity also does not include any discretionary room service tip or any of the services provided by either Concierge in the Concierge Lounge or Diamond Club or the associated bartenders with each.

Room service is likely not included as that is a not a service used by many and clearly the Concierge and bartenders gratuities as mentioned are for services only provided to Suite guests and upper tier Crown & Anchor loyalty members. Those guests also represent a relatively small segment of the passengers on any given ship and those additional gratuities are typically understood and expected as separate by those guests.

To the question presented by the OP regarding current gratuities as relates to specialty restaurants, these other gratuities wouldn't apply to that. That topic has also been addressed elsewhere in the thread.

IMO, as all of these other gratuities referenced are separate and additional, there is no need to rethink the gratuity program with reference to them either as they are paid separately as the service is rendered to those passengers benefiting from them.
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#14
Florida
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Joined Mar 2010
Maybe the cruise lines should clarify that the auto tips include all dining options including the extra charge ones . A lot of ships are going to more and more extra charge options and fewer people are using the main dining room . I have recently read reviews about The Epic on that ship quite a few people e use the other restaurants and were confused on the tip status .Of course if service was great I would also tip extra.
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#15
Ontario
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Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
I have always paid tips . Years ago in the envelopes & now auto tips but with cruises having more & more extra cost restaurants that you also should tip for for should tipping be revised ?
As I understand it, if you eat your dinners at specialty restaurants you pay into their tipping pool as the 15% gratuity is built in to the price you pay just like with drinks at the bars. So if that's the case, you are also paying into the daily tipping pool for the MDR too with your auto tips. But how much are you really tipping extra, $2?, $3? per meal in the specialty restaurant? It's not a lot, but hey it does add up if you eat in a specialty restaurant every night.

Should the industry revise its tipping in light of this, sure. Will they? Don't bet in it! Most of the industry still refers to the daily charges as tips or gratuities with the illusion that they somehow "pay for good service" when they are really a 'pay for service" fee or an employee wage top-up fee.
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#16
San Jose, Calif
3,674 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by DirtyDawg
Should the industry revise its tipping in light of this, sure. Will they? Don't bet in it! Most of the industry still refers to the daily charges as tips or gratuities with the illusion that they somehow "pay for good service" when they are really a 'pay for service" fee or an employee wage top-up fee.
Some of us, and I would bet we are in the majority, have no problems with the tipping policies now in place. They are easy to understand, make life easier for the passengers, and aren't that much additional expenditure. I'm comfortable with them keeping it just as it is. I always marvel at how much some people get so focused on a rather trivial annoyance. It's as if this is the most important part of the cruise to them.
#17
Ontario
2,706 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by boogs
Some of us, and I would bet we are in the majority, have no problems with the tipping policies now in place. They are easy to understand, make life easier for the passengers, and aren't that much additional expenditure. I'm comfortable with them keeping it just as it is. I always marvel at how much some people get so focused on a rather trivial annoyance. It's as if this is the most important part of the cruise to them.
Hi boogs,

I'm not sure I would describe sailor_sally as being "so focused" in the issue by starting one thread about it. Now, if she starts 10 threads - then that's a whole new ballgame.
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#18
Philly burbs, PA.
11,023 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Sailor_Sally
Maybe the cruise lines should clarify that the auto tips include all dining options including the extra charge ones . A lot of ships are going to more and more extra charge options and fewer people are using the main dining room . I have recently read reviews about The Epic on that ship quite a few people e use the other restaurants and were confused on the tip status .Of course if service was great I would also tip extra.
As referenced before regarding RCI at least, the surcharge at each restaurant includes a portion that is gratuity for that staff. RCI is also clear as to what the gratuity amounts are and who receives them from the standard daily amount.

Maybe that just isn't the case with all cruise lines which may be more to your point. And it would be a fair point to ask for clarification on board - in particular with the specialty restaurants. Guest services or the restaurant manager will certainly clarify that.
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#19
GTA, Ontario, Canada
33,647 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Unless you are eating ALL your meals in the specialty dining rooms then I can see a problem
Do you get breakfast, lunch & maybe afternoon tea served in the specialties on the ship??

If not then & you eat dinner only in the special dining venues then ask for the auto tip to be reduced for dinners you are not eating in the regular venues ...
#20
Royal Wootton Bassett, UK
2,149 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by leaveitallbehind
With RCI, the standard gratuity also does not include any discretionary room service tip or any of the services provided by either Concierge in the Concierge Lounge or Diamond Club or the associated bartenders with each.

Room service is likely not included as that is a not a service used by many and clearly the Concierge and bartenders gratuities as mentioned are for services only provided to Suite guests and upper tier Crown & Anchor loyalty members. Those guests also represent a relatively small segment of the passengers on any given ship and those additional gratuities are typically understood and expected as separate by those guests.

To the question presented by the OP regarding current gratuities as relates to specialty restaurants, these other gratuities wouldn't apply to that. That topic has also been addressed elsewhere in the thread.

IMO, as all of these other gratuities referenced are separate and additional, there is no need to rethink the gratuity program with reference to them either as they are paid separately as the service is rendered to those passengers benefiting from them.
The 1st para confidently says room service is not included.

The 2nd para says is likely not included.

But when I check the RCI website or lists room service under the "Whats Included" section, except at late night.
http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/why-...hats-included/

The Berlitz 2014 cruise guide claims it is included.

Anyone have an RCI link to backup the view that room service is not included?

It is not like cruise lines are ever slow to indicate where a tip is expected.
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