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  1. Maybe that is true, but the majority of the cruise ship staff are from countries where a living wage is very much lower than USA or UK standards. Even countries in Europe differ vastly when it comes to minimum wage, for example UK vs Poland or Romania. I have seen on many occasions cruise ship staff going ashore wearing the latest fashions and with the latest electronic gadgets and smart phones, far more expensive items than I expected, so I don't think they are as poorly paid as we are led to believe.
  2. Yes on board it is different as people rarely talk about costs etc. It's on these boards that passengers go flat out in commenting on those who do and those who don't tip!
  3. Surely though if Cunard became 'all inclusive' everyone would pay in their fare an amount towards wages / tips to all staff whom Cunard currently say receive the autograts, so it wouldn't be tipping just a few employees. For example if someone does presently remove the autograts and decides to tip just those staff such as their own stewards and waiters then that's when the backroom staff get less. In effect what Cunard are doing at present are pitching staff against staff and customers against customers all whom have different views on the issue. It's suppose to be a relaxing holiday, why create tension?
  4. Yes you're completely correct and it's because although I believe what I wrote, I still tip knowing that the cruise lines do stitch up their workers and convince them their wages will be made up to a good amount through all the tips they will receive. I also leave the autograts on for the same reason. I just wish it was different. I like to travel on a line such as Crystal where everything is paid for within you fare, but I really like the Cunard product so still use them. Such a pity Cunard are behind the times as other Carnival lines such as P&O are moving towards including the tips.
  5. I have always felt that the concept of tipping in itself is ridiculous. Cruise lines, like any other service business, should charge a price for the items or services that they offer that covers their both their costs and profit. Wages to staff should be covered by the Cruise lines and should be market rate and subject to a minimum wage.The Cruise lines cannot and should not expect the wages to be subsidised by their customer tips. The moral obligation of paying a proper wage should be on the owner and not the customer. I would rather pay a higher price for my cruise with no expectation of having to tip, rather than be "tip shamed" not only by the Pursers staff if I want to remove my auto grats but by those on here who believe that tipping is a must and those who don't tip must be mean and uncaring so it's OK to critise them publicly on these boards. Why are Cruise staff any different than any other service staff? They carry out their tasks for similar wage levels such as shop assistants, shelf stackers, cleaners etc. all who carry out customer services and yet they don't get tipped when one goes to buy a pair of shoes or your weekly groceries. If the waiter is providing a better service than a shop assistant, then market rate should dictate a higher wage from the employer rather than expect a top up by tip. I realise that the difference in the US is that most servers only get hired as their own "entity" meaning the employer does not have to pay health care, pensions, etc. I believe also that Servers do not get any paid leave, can get fired at the drop of a hat and are generally on a minimum wage which can be as low as a couple of dollars an hour in some states for 'tipped' workers. In Europe, with all the employee protections and benefits built in, tipping is far less important. So when we have a "British Style" concept, on a ship registered in Bermuda, which want payment in US dollars - why not add another mix, Japanese style tipping, ie no tips as it is looked on as demeaning and an insult. Finally if I do find someone who really has gone above and beyond their level of expected service then I would have no qualms at all in giving a generous tip, the difference being it would be MY decision, not foisted on me by some nameless CEO. I await the rumble of replies........
  6. Just a quick reminder to anyone who is embarking onto any of the Cunard ships on Sunday, 11th August (all three will be in Southampton). As all three Queens plus Celebrity Silhouette will be arriving and departing on this day it is sure to be very very busy on routes in and out of Southampton. I suggest everyone tries to set off to the port as early as they can, better to be waiting to board than stuck in a traffic jam on route. I doubt if anyone will be able to board before noon, but at least with time to spare you could perhaps park up, go for a coffee or have a look around Southampton with peace of mind.
  7. OK thanks for the info. Had a few cruises with Sally Sagoe and think she is not very good so I am happy she's not on board next week. My very first cruise in 2007 had an entertainment director called Keith (remember because my OH is Keith) and he was excellent. Don't think I have encountered any other that has impressed me much since. Just remembered there was one (maybe still is) a youngish blonde girl who used to stand in ballet poses when she was on stage who wasn't too bad.
  8. Does anyone know who is the current Entertainments Director on QV? Is it still Sally Sagoe
  9. For a reasonable B&B close to centre of Southampton try The Hunters Lodge or The Regent Guest House. Inexpensive but very nice with good breakfasts. I stayed in these two a few days each over a week when my mum was in Southampton Hospital after a transatlantic cruise on QM2 when she became ill with pneumonia and was transferred from the ship to Southampton Hospital.
  10. I am on a 12 day trip early August and we have three formals listed.
  11. Oh yes I forgot about Guernsey! So that's why they always try to do a stop there.........


    I am sailing on the "Around the British Isles" cruise in August and have just found this interesting notice within my VP, which I have copied below.: (sorry that I am unable to remove the background colour from my comments after the notice by Cunard) European VAT in Shops, Photo Gallery & Spa "....Due to European VAT Regulations, VAT is payable during certain voyages, where the ship does not call at a port outside of the EU. This VAT will be payable on the following on board items – goods purchased in the on board shops, Photo Gallery and products purchased in the Spa. It does not apply, however, to treatments and services in the Spa. During the period where VAT will be charged you will be unable to purchase liquor and tobacco products for taking home. Prices displayed on board are exclusive of VAT and therefore the VAT element will be added to the advertised price, where applicable, upon purchase. The VAT element will be itemised separately on your receipt. The periods when German, Spanish or UK VAT are due will be confirmed on board via the ship’s newspaper...." As this cruise does not sail into any port that is outside the EU, can anyone confirm that there will be 20% UK VAT placed on all items mentioned in the above notice? Does it include alcohol and beverages purchased for consumption in the bars and restaurants, similarly to the Spanish VAT does if a ship is sailing in Spanish waters? If not why are only some products having VAT applied and not others? I have just searched on the internet and found the following info for P&O med cruises, interestingly it includes VAT on bar drinks in Spanish waters but not in Italian! Italian IVA (VAT) of 22% will be payable on the following on board items: Goods purchased in the on board shops Photo gallery Products purchased in the spa (it does not apply, however, to treatments and services in the spa) During the week where IVA will be charged you will be unable to purchase liquor and tobacco products to take home. Spanish IVA (VAT) of 10% will be payable on the following on board items: Bars Restaurants – Select Dining Cover Charges Room Service Menus During the week where IVA will be charged you will be unable to purchase liquor and tobacco products to take home.
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