Have you experienced better/worse service when increasing/reducing tips?

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Poll: What's been your experience with automatic gratuities (check all that apply)?
Poll Results
What's been your experience with automatic gratuities (check all that apply)?

I reduced tips and saw no change in service
37
6.47%

I reduced tips, and service improved
0
0%

I reduced tips, and service got worse
14
2.45%

I increased tips and saw no change in service
23
4.02%

I increased tips, and service improved
23
4.02%

I increased tips, and service got worse
3
0.52%

I have only adjusted automatic gratuities at the end of a cruise
58
10.14%

I will give extra in cash -- where I see fit -- but not until the end of the cruise
326
56.99%

I always stick with the recommended, automatic amounts
142
24.83%

None of the above
19
3.32%

Something else (which I'll post)
29
5.07%

Multiple Choice Poll.

Voters: 572.  You may not vote on this poll.

#1
NJ
864 Posts
Joined May 2004
A Cruise Critic member recently returned home from a cruise onboard Carnival Splendor and posted pictures from the trip on the Cruise Critic message boards. But, one photo, in particular, has stirred up a bit of controversy on an already-controversial subject: tipping.

During a behind-the-scenes ship tour, Wennfred spotted -- and photographed -- a printout of an e-mail posted on a bulletin board. On the e-mail? The names of passengers who removed their prepaid gratuities from their onboard accounts, which left many Cruise Critic members wondering whether such a list could impact service -- particularly for those who opt, instead, to tip specific employees in cash at the end of the cruise -- or general conduct among crew. Read more about it here.

Have you ever altered an automatic gratuity during a cruise -- up or down, for any reason -- and experienced a shift in the type of service received? Vote in our poll, and be sure to post your opinion below!
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MelissaP
Director, Product Development
Cruise Critic
#2
NH
125 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
I never have removed or adjusted auto tips. However, I always tip at the end of the cruise to anyone that went above or beyond. Sometimes I tip during for special requests, or if I think I won't see them again. Now on those that I have tipped during the cruise, I have noticed a different level of service with certain employees.

I've tipped room stewards on the first or second night but that was due to special requests mostly. Didn't notice any increase in the service, but wasn't expected. Besides, I really don't know how they could actually increase the level of service as they are always great!

I've tipped a bartender after a night of drinking. I always find a pool bar that I like and end up staying there for a few hours a night. Usually meet a very personable bartender and have a good conversation with him/her. There was one I was there for several hours and had a good time. I gave him $20 at the end of the night and the next night my drinks obviously were stronger. I wouldn't call this unusual as this also happens on land all the time.

I got married on a cruise and we had a really good photographer. He was the photo manager and really took his time, lots of poses all around the ship, pictures came out perfect. I gave him $20 after he took all the pics and he was very appreciative. When we went to pick up the photos, he photoshopped things out that we didn't want etc... and gave us a bunch of free photos (about $80 worth). When we picked up our package, I gave him another $20 just because the pictures he edited came out so nice.

On that same cruise, I saw a waiter we had in the past that my wife and I really liked. Had him on another cruise and he was one of the best waiters we ever had. I did tip him well at the end of that cruise and he remembered us. He actually called and made reservations for us for that night when he saw us. Went to the Maitre d' and requested his table for our wedding night for our whole family. He had to do some switching but got us the table. I gave him $10 for his troubles. After that, I tried to reserve his table again, but it was booked so I booked another. When I arrived at the dining room, the Maitre d' said Table #19? I said, no I couldn't get it reserved. He said, who told you that? Next time, you come see me and I'll take care of the reservation. Again, he did some shuffling, got us that table for that night and reserved it for us for the rest of the cruise.
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#3
Cape Cod MA& Weirton WV
4,419 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
I never remove the auto tip and I usually tip extra at the end, that said I can't really say that service was improved or not since they tip came after service.
I have in the past tipped before the cruise and again at the end and got mediocre service on that occassion.

I am glad someone managed to catch a picture of the LIST, I have known since the beginning that such a list existed and was available to the crew.
Also there is a list that shows any cash tips received by any crew member and yes they will TELL on each other if they catch anyone getting a tip and not reporting it.

If the auto tips were left on then the member getting the tip gets it back. If the tips were removed then all tips [assuming they actually give any] by those people go into the general tip pool along with a negative inference against the cabin steward of whatever that was responsible for that persons cabin. So when you guys remove them you are doing the crew you want to TIP PERSONALLY a BIG disservice.
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#4
Black Hills of South Dakota
2,766 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I answered "something else" as it was a hard poll to decide. We book mostly suites and do alot of extra tipping. We have never adjusted auto tips, unless it was to give more and that is usally done as service is rendered. I have found service on all our cruises to be above average. Within the first couple of days we have asked room steward for "extras" therfore tip for his/her extra work.

The Butler & Conceirge are a total different story, but we also tip them as special requests are asked of them. Then give them a "thank you" note at the end of the cruise with a tip inclosed.

The one area where I found extra tipping worked miracles was bartenders/waiters. A couple extra bucks can really bring on the service. Infact one afternoon when they were suppose to have beer tasting--only three of us couples showed up. The bartender said it wasn't enough people to have it. We wanted to taste some of the beers any way so we bought a couple different ones. Tipped him $5.00 and then he asked if we wanted to try some more---tipped again, eventually we had more beer than we needed and spent very little--less than what the beer tasting would have cost us in the beginning. From than on every time He was bartending it was like two/for one's from him.
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#5
Central Coast of California
1,647 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I have a friend who does not believe in tipping anywhere or anytime (don't flame me, I tip!). Anyway we were traveling together and she went and removed our auto tips with out telling me That night we got the worst service I have ever gotten on a cruise. The waitstaff was very cold and did the bare minimum. I was confused as to why they went from a fun and accommodating to distant and cold. The next day I checked our folio and saw the tips had been removed. I added mine back, but I have to say, I was taken aback by the bad service we received for the rest of the cruise. I frequently tip my favorites something extra at the end and had the waitstaff continued the service we recieved the first couple of nights, they would have gotten something extra.
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#6
Massachusetts
1,550 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
One area where I do see a difference in service is room service. We tend to order breakfast most days and I always tip in cash. After tipping the first day our service is consistently wonderful.
#7
423 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Well I tip at the end, whether I do cash or automatic. I wou;dn't tip a waitress BEFORE I sat down for my meal so why would I tip on a cruise BEFORE the cruise. I have never been disappointed so I always give the recommended amount. I think people falsely think if you slip them a 20 they will treat you better, I don't think that is true. They go through hundreds of customers a week, they don't remember who pretipped them. I always get good service- the only exception being the conceriege. Maybe pretipping HIM would have helped but he was a pompous jerk.
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#8
1,772 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We have never removed the auto tips and often tip in cash for those who go above and beyond for us. We are extremely low maintenance passengers and rarely ask for anything extra. On our last cruise we prepaid our gratuities prior to sailing and it was the first time out of 11 cruises we have had bad service in the dining room. The waitstaff we had acted as though we were interrupting their work rather than the purpose of it. Of course it may not have been the prepaid tips that did it but I won't prepay again.
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#9
Georgia
14,570 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Molly BPOE
I have a friend who does not believe in tipping anywhere or anytime (don't flame me, I tip!). Anyway we were traveling together and she went and removed our auto tips with out telling me That night we got the worst service I have ever gotten on a cruise. The waitstaff was very cold and did the bare minimum. I was confused as to why they went from a fun and accommodating to distant and cold. The next day I checked our folio and saw the tips had been removed. I added mine back, but I have to say, I was taken aback by the bad service we received for the rest of the cruise. I frequently tip my favorites something extra at the end and had the waitstaff continued the service we recieved the first couple of nights, they would have gotten something extra.
she was able to remove your tips? I am surprised. I could see possibly a husband or wife could "speak" for both but not two passengers traveling together. I would have been angry at her AND the ship for allowing her.
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#10
Greenville, SC, USA
51,749 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I always have left the autotip alone and tipped extra, if appropriate, at the end. I have always had wonderful service.
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Paul
#11
11,332 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I am a softy when it comes to this and they would have to do something immoral or illegal for me to remove the tips. However, I am a big believer in the comment card and I would make my thoughts known in that way.

Karysa
#12
Shanghai, PRC / Sete, France
3,877 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Just because somebody refuses to pay the help is no reason for them to have long faces and do a poor job.

If you or I were told that we were not getting paid one day, I'm sure that we would be all smiles and maybe even skip our breaks and lunch to do a better job.
#13
El Paso, Texas
41 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
I don't really understand what all of the fuss is about with the tipping. Every cruise I have been on I have sat at any table I wanted to and the wait staff only gets my first name. So somebody please enlighten me as to how they know what stateroom I am from and how they would know if I have removed my automatic tips from the shipboard account. I think that all of you are just imagining that the service is changing. I remove my auto tips on the last night of the cruise and would someone please tell me how that could affect the service I receive on board. I tip in the traditional way of handing my tips to the persons that have impacted my experience on the cruise. Why should anyone tip prior to receiving the service is beyond me. TIPS=To Insure Prompt Service. If this statement is true, then when you go to any restaurant, you should pay the tip, up-front so that the service is what it should be. Now doesn't that sound stupid. I tip after the service according to the service I received, which I feel is the proper way of tipping.
#14
alabama
863 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I leave auto-tip on. Always tip those staff whose services I will use repetitively on the first day...tip room service and roving bar staff extra in cash....when I sometimes don't get the service I hoped for: I attribute it to "payback"...meaning that at times in my life I was rude or insensitive to someone else...or failed to help someone that I could/should have..guess you could call it an atonement..makes it easier for me to be more forgiving and less critical when I don't receive something just the way I want it, despite being convinced I deserve it "my way" yes, probably an odd way
for one to shuffle through life,,,just seems to work for me
#15
11,332 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by rickalpi
I don't really understand what all of the fuss is about with the tipping. Every cruise I have been on I have sat at any table I wanted to and the wait staff only gets my first name. So somebody please enlighten me as to how they know what stateroom I am from and how they would know if I have removed my automatic tips from the shipboard account. I think that all of you are just imagining that the service is changing. I remove my auto tips on the last night of the cruise and would someone please tell me how that could affect the service I receive on board. I tip in the traditional way of handing my tips to the persons that have impacted my experience on the cruise. Why should anyone tip prior to receiving the service is beyond me. TIPS=To Insure Prompt Service. If this statement is true, then when you go to any restaurant, you should pay the tip, up-front so that the service is what it should be. Now doesn't that sound stupid. I tip after the service according to the service I received, which I feel is the proper way of tipping.
Perhaps you missed the first post. It describes what prompted the start of this thread.

Karysa
#16
GTA, Ontario, Canada
33,932 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I have never removed my auto tips.
We do tip extra at the end of the cruise to those that went above & beyond.

I have only received mediocre service on one cruise line but I still got service.
They do work hard for the tips & maybe because many people remove tips on this particular line the crew do not feel they should go overboard on service because of that.

It is not a large amount split 4 + ways ...we would probably have to tip more if we ate 3 meals a day plus in land based restaurants.

If the service is really bad you should speak to the hotel or general manager early on do not wait for the comment card on the last day.
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#17
Maryland
5,344 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I have never reduced or removed the automatic gratuities on my account. I do give extra cash in some cases throughout the week if someone goes above and beyond. The crew members work so very hard and are paid so very little. I couldn't even think about reducing or removing the tips.
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#18
Fredericksburg, va. USA
83,009 Posts
Joined May 2001
We always tip in CASH at the end of the cruise. We don't tip anyone in advance (I feel like it's a "bribe" instead of a "thank-you") and have NEVER had bad service!

Only once have we not tipped above the recommended amounts, and that was a waitress we had...she was not friendly or helpful. Her Ass't waiter got the extra that we would have tipped her...he was a total joy, and saved our dining experience.

So far, our room attendants have always been "Johnny on the spot'--keeping our room neat and clean, and doing it on OUR timetable! We've never had a reason to "undertip" them!

Since 15% is added to bartabs, we don't tip additionally at time of service (15% is more than ample for popping open a beer!), but at the end of the cruise we will give extra to the bartender that we frequent the most. (for our "before dinner" drinks, etc...)
#19
Las Vegas
531 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
After our first cruise, we discovered that we could add the cost of the tips to our cruise bill. We use this all the time, but that doesn't mean we don't tip extra, we do. Just the way we do it the majority of the tips are taken care of before the cruise, which means we don't have to carry extra cash. The workers on the ship are such hard working people that we would never even think to stiff them.
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#20
Sunny California
1,507 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Originally posted by BruceMuzz
Just because somebody refuses to pay the help is no reason for them to have long faces and do a poor job.

If you or I were told that we were not getting paid one day, I'm sure that we would be all smiles and maybe even skip our breaks and lunch to do a better job.
Is this sarcasm?? You can't be serious.....
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