Posted August 14th, 2017, 07:27 AM
OK folks. Here's the truth. Because none of us seem to know for certain, prompted by this thread I emailed P&O customer services last week about this precise issue and have now received a reply.
I asked the following;
"My wife and I are regular cruisers with P&O (3 cruises this year) and we pay the automatic service charge, now £6 per passenger per day.
We also like to give our Cabin Steward an additional tip, but I have been told by other passengers that they are required to hand them in to P&O for the general 'pool'.
I understand that this might be the case if tips are given by passengers who have cancelled the auto service charge, but could you please answer my specific question i.e. are staff obliged to hand in additional tips given by passengers who have paid the automatic service charge? "
And this is the response I have received;
"Firstly I would like to thank you for your loyalty with us and I hope we can keep on exceeding expectations with our cruises.
In regards to tipping under no circumstances are staff obliged to hand in their tips. We understand that some staff are more guest facing than others so that is why we set up the Service Charge scheme so that the staff 'behind the scenes' still get appreciated too. However staff that do have a guest facing role and who make the impact on our cruises would never be penalised for earning more tips, they work hard and I think you will agree with me that they deserve them.
I hope this information has helped to answer your enquiry and we look forward to welcoming you on board soon."
Now admittedly, my specific question was regarding tips received over and above the auto service charge, but the reply does say that staff are not required to hand in tips under any circumstances.
So it can't be any clearer than that.
Obviously, whether to pay the auto service charge or not is a matter of individual choice for as long as P&O chooses to have a discretionary system, but hopefully this now clears up the issue regarding staff having to hand in tips. They don't!
So logically everyone who thinks their steward or waiter has done a good job should remove all of the service charge and give the whole of that amount in cash to the steward and waiters.
That way the steward and waiters not only will you be certain they get the cash tip, but they will get double pay as they will still receive their share from the tip pool.
They will be over the moon.