SINGLE HSC/TIPPING THREAD (Previously "Why are gratuities not included in Fares?")

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#41
Newport,TN
302 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
I had to go yo work, so I was unable to see the any responses. The response by BlueRiband pretty much answered my questions. I do believe however, that the HSC should require a supervisor or manager to remove. I know in a resort, the fee is mandatory whether you use the services or not. When I cruise, If I get extra service, I tip extra. Something would have to go really wrong for me to remove the fee.

Thanks all.
#42
Bermuda
2,600 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Main stream cruise lines.... AUTO TIPS.

A few exceptions MSC and Costa.... CANNOT ALTER THE TIPS

Thompson No tpping required.... means included.

P&O Australia No tipping - means included.

Luxury ships like Seabourn...Tips included the ticket but can extra.


THIS INFO FROM CRUISE CRITIC:




Carnival Cruise Lines
The Process: Carnival automatically adds a $12 per-person, per-day, gratuity to onboard accounts. The amount does not apply to passengers younger than 2.

Alternatives: Passengers who want to adjust the amount of their gratuity in either direction can do so at the guest services desk. There are two exceptions. According to the line's website FAQs, for "cruises to nowhere" -- short cruises that do not visit a port -- gratuities must be prepaid.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.

Celebrity Cruises
The Process: Celebrity Cruises automatically adds gratuities to the onboard Seapass account. The "suggested" gratuities added to your account will be $12 per day, per passenger ($12.50 for Concierge Class and AquaClass cruisers). There is also a $3.50 per-person, per-day surcharge for your butler if you're in a suite. Note: Passengers who choose "Celebrity Select Dining" before their cruises are required to prepay gratuities (prior to boarding).

Alternatives: If you wish to adjust the amount you pay, this can be done onboard at guest relations.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.

Costa Cruises
The Process: Costa has varied charges depending on where you cruise. In Europe, Dubai, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and Caribbean cruises departing from non-U.S. ports, there is a charge of 8 euros per person, per day for all cruise lengths. For Caribbean cruises departing from the U.S. and for Far East cruises, there is a charge of $11 per person, per day. For world cruises aboard Costa Deliziosa, the fee is 7 euros per person, per day. For transatlantic and repositioning cruises, there is a charge of 8 euros per person, per day. Finally, for South America cruises and spring transatlantics, the fee is $11 per person, per day. All gratuities are added automatically to each passenger's onboard account. There is no charge for children younger than 4. Passengers 4 to 14 will be charged 50 percent of the gratuities.

Alternatives: Be warned -- Costa states that "the service charge is an integral part of the total price of the cruise and therefore the amount cannot be altered."

Extra Charges: You are not expected or required to tip any extra while onboard.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages
The Process: Cruise & Maritime Voyages automatically adds gratuities to the onboard account. A total of £5 per person, per night (£4 per person for cruises greater than 16 nights) will be added and will be distributed to cabin stewards and restaurant staff.

Alternatives: If you wish to adjust the amount you pay, this can be done by contacting the reception desk toward the end of the cruise.

Extra Charges: There are no extra charges.

Cunard Line
The Process: Cunard charges $11.50 per person, per day, to the shipboard account of passengers in Britannia accommodations. The amount is $13.50 for passengers in Grill Class accommodations. This charge is for adults and children.

Alternatives: To adjust the amount of your automatic tips or to tip independently, see the purser's office.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills. Casino dealers and spa personnel do not receive a cut of these fees, so if you utilize these services, consider tipping deserving staff.

Disney Cruise Line
The Process: Disney Cruise Line's recommended gratuities are $4 per person (adult or child), per day, for the dining room server; $3 per person, per day, for the assistant server; $1 per person, per day, for the head server; and $4 per person, per day, for the room steward. All bar, pool deck and coffee bar drinks have a 15 percent gratuity added to the bill. Spa gratuities are not added and are left to the discretion of each passenger. It is suggested that cruisers tip a couple dollars for room service as it's delivered. Tips can either be prepaid up to three days prior to the start of your sailing or will be automatically charged to onboard accounts.

Alternatives: To adjust the amount of your automatic tips or to tip independently, see the purser's office.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs.

Fred. Olsen Cruises
The Process: Gratuities are entirely at the discretion of each passenger. The recommended amount -- £4 per adult passenger, per day, to be divided equally between the cabin stewardesses and waiters -- is added automatically to passengers' onboard accounts toward the end of the cruise, but it can be adjusted at reception at any point during the sailing.

Alternatives: Passengers are at liberty to tip members of staff personally if they wish to do so, and envelopes for this purpose are available at reception.

Extra Charges: None apply. All bar bill gratuities are included in the cost of the drink.

Holland America Line
The Process: Holland America automatically charges $11.50 per day to each passenger's shipboard account (including children). Passengers occupying suites will be charged $12 per day. This amount is pooled among the service staff.

Alternatives: See the front desk if you wish to adjust your automatic gratuities.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to bar and dining room wine purchases.

MSC Cruises
The Process: MSC Cruises' auto-gratuity varies by destination and onboard currency. The line automatically charges $12 per night to each adult passenger's shipboard account for Caribbean cruises and eastbound grand voyages, and $6 per night for children 3 and older; on westbound grand voyages, the fee is 6 euros per person, per night, and 3 euros per night for children 14 and older.

For Europe (Mediterranean, Canaries and Northern Europe) cruises, as well as "Antilles" and "Emirates" voyages, the charge is 7 euros per person, per night, and 3.5 euros per night for children 14 and older for cruises of 8 nights or less. For cruises 9 nights or more to these destinations, as well as grand voyages to the Antilles and Emirates, the charge is 6 euros per person, per night, and 3 euros per night for children 14 and older.

The fee for South Africa cruises and northbound grand voyages is also $6 per night, per adult passenger, and $3 per night, per child 3 and older. For southbound grand voyages, the fee is 6 euros per adult passenger, per night, and 3 euros per child 14 and older, per night.

For South America cruises and eastbound grand voyages cruises, the fee is $9 per adult passenger, per night, and $4.50 per child 3 and older per night. For westbound grand voyages, the fee is 6 euros per adult passenger, per night, and 3 euros per child 14 and older, per night.

Alternatives: MSC does not permit adjustments to the amounts listed above; however, if you deem service unsatisfactory, you can have the charges removed from your onboard account by contacting the Guest Relations manager while onboard.

Extra Charges: An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to bar purchases. Gratuities are not added to spa bills, so passengers can tip at their discretion.

Norwegian Cruise Line
The Process: Each adult is automatically billed $12.95 per day to support a salary and incentive program for the service staff. Passengers booked in any suite category are billed $14.95 per person per day. There is no charge for children younger than 3.

Alternatives: Tipping above and beyond the service charge is not necessary or expected. Also, should you wish to adjust the charges, you must contact the onboard reception desk.

Extra Charges: A 15 percent gratuity is added to bar bills, and 18 percent gratuity is added to spa services. Norwegian suggests that passengers who use concierge or butler service provide a gratuity "commensurate with the services rendered."

P&O Cruises Australia
The Process: P&O Cruises Australia does not automatically add gratuities onto passengers' accounts. Cruisers can choose, at their discretion, to reward crewmembers who offer outstanding service. Travelers who wish to tip can do so by handing cash directly to the crewmembers they want to thank.

Alternatives: Passengers need not carry cash if they don't want to, as they can add the tips to their onboard accounts.

Extra Charges: None.

P&O Cruises U.K.
The Process: P&O Cruises has replaced its traditional cash-in-envelopes method of tipping with fixed-rate tipping set at £3.95 per person (ages 12 and older), per day.

Alternatives: Passengers can adjust this amount while onboard by requesting to do so at reception.

Extra Charges: P&O does not add gratuities or suggest additional tipping for other services.

Princess Cruises
The Process: Princess Cruises automatically adds $11.50 per day to each passenger's account to cover hotel and dining service. Passengers in suites or mini-suites will be charged $12 per day. The amount goes for children and adults, and it can be prepaid up to six days prior to the start of your cruise.

Alternatives: You can adjust your automatic gratuities upward or downward, or eliminate them altogether, at the purser's office.

Extra Charges: A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all bar bills. Casino and spa staff do not receive a cut of auto-gratuities.

Royal Caribbean International
The Process: Royal Caribbean automatically adds tips of $12 per person ($14.25 for suite passengers), per day, to each passenger's onboard bill. The tips, which can also be prepaid, are shared by dining services staff, cabin attendants and other housekeeping personnel. Passengers who opt for RCI's flexible "My Time Dining" must prepay gratuities. Guidelines are the same for all passengers, regardless of age.

Alternatives: Passengers who believe they've received poor service may ask guest services to reduce or remove the automatic tips while on the ship.

Extra Charges: A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all bar bills, including mini-bar, as well as salon and spa services.

Saga Cruises
The Process:There is a no tipping policy onboard Saga Cruises.

Alternatives: None.

Extra Charges: None. Saga's prices are all-inclusive.

Thomson Cruises
The Process: Tipping is not expected or required on Thomson Cruises.

Alternatives: It is not necessary to tip unless you want to.

Extra Charges: None.


Here is the list:
#43
Bermuda
2,600 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by kazu
I have NEVER said I wanted the HSC included - it makes no difference to me on HAL. I was simply pointing out that CCL does have a cruise line with gratuities included. Of course the ticket price is higher on Seabourn. There is a LOT more included than just the gratuities.


.

None of the cruise lines within Carnival Corporation all do their own things. Basically they all do the Auto tip... apart from P&O Australia and Seabourn. Costa is different because is the one where you are not allow make adjustments to the Auto tip. P&O Australia and Seabourn di not have any tipping so it also means you can not make any adjustments!
#44
Chicago - Cabo San Lucas
804 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by blizzardboy
I don't know why the IRS would treat taxes on cruise line employees any different than servers in your favorite restaurant. Servers get taxed on tips collected by their employers via credit cards, and I think if it's an all cash business, the IRS has a formula to collect on tips regardless of how they're paid.
I do think advertising of low fares is a factor, but many cruisers who want to tip appreciate the convenience of the service charge. To keep the rest of their more Scrooge-like customers happy, HAL made it optional.
I am sure this all has to do with accounting and the way the IRS sees the charges. A service charge is for service provided. How can you charge in advance when there has been no service provided yet. I think the IRS would look at that money as a salary instead of a tip if you were charged in advance for it.
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4 Star Mariner


Zuiderdam - August 2014
#45
NYC
4,033 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by wannagonow123
I had to go yo work, so I was unable to see the any responses. The response by BlueRiband pretty much answered my questions. I do believe however, that the HSC should require a supervisor or manager to remove. I know in a resort, the fee is mandatory whether you use the services or not. When I cruise, If I get extra service, I tip extra. Something would have to go really wrong for me to remove the fee.

Thanks all.
Aren't you glad you asked?

I'm with you - something would have to go very wrong, and by multiple crew members, for me to remove the fee.

Most experienced travelers believe in "when in Rome do as the Romans" when it comes to cultural norms. While some may personally dislike the practice of tipping they realize it's the norm where they are traveling and tip according to local customs.

NCL recently changed their policy on removal of gratuities. They will no longer remove them on board. The passenger must now get a form from the purser, fill out their reason, then image the form and send it by email to shore side. It will now take about two weeks to get the gratuities refunded. (I think this is brilliant. Shore side now has a digitized, central record of gratuity removal in the passenger's own handwriting. Let's hope those who repeatedly stiff the crew and complain - yet continue to sail - will be told their needs might be better served on another line.)
#46
Encinitas, California
3,683 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
We are booked on Regents and Viking Ocean in 2017 and gratuities are all included.
We have sailed HAL since 2007 and love her and gladly pay our gratuities without question.
I agree with Sail and her comments.
Denise
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#47
Bermuda
2,600 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by Laminator
I am sure this all has to do with accounting and the way the IRS sees the charges. A service charge is for service provided. How can you charge in advance when there has been no service provided yet. I think the IRS would look at that money as a salary instead of a tip if you were charged in advance for it.
Again, this is not the reason. It is for PAYROLL TAX. Crew members working on foreign ships and domicile (not US Citizens) do not pay any US INCOME TAZ tax on salary or tips. That is paid in their own country. PAYROLLL TAX is a different matter and HAL could have to pay that. So.... make the payroll as small as possible and one of the way is to pay the crew by through by HSC.
#48
86,634 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Stephen, Great summary of the various cruise line tipping policies.
Thanks for assembling it all for us.

Certainly anyone who reads here know that HAL has the HSC added to our accounts. It comes as no surprise to anyone when they are aboard.


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#49
New Jersey
9,807 Posts
Joined May 2007
I have never removed any HSC on any cruise. And I've never happened to be in the vicinity of the front desk to observe the lines of people taking that charge off their bills.

So , I'm curious. How do you do this on HAL? Do you have to talk to someone? Is there a form to fill out? Do you have to give a reason? I'm wondering what sorts of reasons people give for this.
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Kathy
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
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#50
Australia
1,471 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by sail7seas
Did you not know about Hotel Service Charge being posted to your On Board Account when you booked? Did you not see it on their website? Did you research any information about your cruise/cruise line?
If you used a TA, did they not mention it? Did you ask about tipping?

I don't mean this as an attack on you but a generic set of questions for all who live in a country where tipping is not common but book HAL cruises. Surely world travelers 'learn along the way', don't they?

Yes we did learn along the way - but our first cruise on HAL was all inclusive as it was part of a land/rail/cruise package sold in Australia by Scenic Tours.

Many Australians on Alaskan cruises with Hal will have prepaid their HSC in their tour costs. It will not have been called a HSC just that all Gratuities and Porterage is included. They will then maybe find that they enjoyed cruising so will book another cruise and will think that they know all about cruising. But they don't know about the HSC.

Last year we went on three river cruises in Europe and a Land Tour in England. All gratuities were paid prior to leaving Australia. That is how we like to travel. I don't have a problem with gratuities or tipping - I just don't know who to tip nor how much to tip. If it is all prepaid - less for us to worry about.

This year we cruised with HAL in the Med. our TA rang HAL to see if we could prepay our HSC - unfortunately it wasn't possible. We certainly didn't remove it though - and we tipped extra to our room attendant and waiters.
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#51
Alberta
20,419 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
It's good to see this as a sticky since it has come up so much lately.
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#52
Space Coast FL
25,175 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by BlueRiband
Then you're back to the old argument in how to offer incentive for good performance if the crew member gets paid the same regardless of how well or poorly they do their job.
No problem ... just pay the better performers more than the slackers. Give bonuses. Give benefits like more shore leave time. Give better assignments, like suites where extra cash tips are likely to be larger. In other words, use the same kinds of incentives given in most businesses in the world.
#53
Australia
317 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by sail7seas
Did you not know about Hotel Service Charge being posted to your On Board Account when you booked? Did you not see it on their website? Did you research any information about your cruise/cruise line?
If you used a TA, did they not mention it? Did you ask about tipping?

I don't mean this as an attack on you but a generic set of questions for all who live in a country where tipping is not common but book HAL cruises. Surely world travelers 'learn along the way', don't they?

Tipping is not done as a matter of course in Australia because employees are generally paid a wage they can live on, although we do tip in restaurants for example where the service has been at least reasonable and it is of course appreciated, but not necessarily expected.

When cruising, we know that crew depend on tipping and we pay without fussing about it. You just do whatever is done in the country you are visiting or the ship you're on. Just a shame for them that their wages are so low.

I saw this morning on Facebook that HAL gratuities are going up to $12.50 and higher for the high end suites.

Ozcruizer (sailing next Saturday from Honolulu to Sydney)
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#54
Australia
1,471 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by jtl513
No problem ... just pay the better performers more than the slackers. Give bonuses. Give benefits like more shore leave time. Give better assignments, like suites where extra cash tips are likely to be larger. In other words, use the same kinds of incentives given in most businesses in the world.
I agree - it is called Job Performance Bonus. Surely those crew members mentioned in the Survey that we receive when we get home or in the cards that are in our cabins would get more than those who never get mentioned.
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HAL Ms Zuiderdam Alaska 05/25/2013
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#55
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
5,068 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by catl331
Maybe we should have a single thread for all HSC/tipping discussion like the one for smoking!
Sound like a good idea. This will be that thread. Here are some rules.

1. The Cruise Critic guidelines all apply to this discussion.
2. Stay on topic. No topic drift please.
3. Stick to HAL policies. Comparisons and thoughts pertaining to policies of other lines are OK, provided they are discussed in relation to HAL's policies.
4. There are no identification of members as being cheapskates, tightwads, meanies or other negative characterizations permitted. Be nice to your fellow Cruise Critic members.
5. This thread will encompass all discussions about tipping policies and the HSC so please don't start another thread or get into a discussion about tipping on an existing thread.

Have at it ladies and gentlemen.
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#56
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
5,068 Posts
Joined May 2000
To simplify the HAL Forum and to provide a ready reference for all tipping questions and issues, we have established a SINGLE THREAD.

Click HERE to go to that thread: SINGLE HSC/TIPPING THREAD (Previously "Why are gratuities not included in Fares?")

Basic rules:

1. The Cruise Critic guidelines all apply to this discussion.
2. Stay on topic. No topic drift please.
3. Stick to HAL policies. Comparisons and thoughts pertaining to policies of other lines are OK, provided they are discussed in relation to HAL's policies.
4. There are no identification of members as being cheapskates, tightwads, meanies or other negative characterizations permitted. Be nice to your fellow Cruise Critic members.
5. This thread will encompass all discussions about tipping policies and the HSC so please don't start another thread or get into a discussion about tipping on an existing thread.

Have at it ladies and gentlemen.
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#57
France - Ain
398 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
.

Hello "BlueRiband"

The problem is not only a with Australians and New Zealanders, but also with European.

Please refer to my post ….

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...2256328&page=4

…. Number 64

The main tenor of my answer is; That mostly any statement is a mis-interpretation between TIP = salary, and gratuity = consumer acceptance of a well-done job ….

-> The 11.50 US-dollar Hotel Service Charge money, who is taken by default, is its passenger quote part to the crew salary - !!

-> But the 15 % Bar Service Charge for drinks etc. would possibly be indeed gratuity

So there is a fine and distinguish difference !!
=> Because the first should be logically (for me) calculated into the over-all cruise-fare such like fuel, food and …..



Dear "Topsham"

You did forgot to mention "Phoenix Reisen - Germany"

This Line does not at all add a hotel service charge –> not on 37 river boats – and also not on 3 ocean going vessel (including my soon starting Grand 140 Days World Voyage ..…



And what is "the best way" how cruise lines operates the vessels is not really my concern, and I surely do not care about !
And the money "saved" on my cruise ticket is a bamboozle by myself.
Because on the end of the cruise I must pay it anyway !!


=> But I indeed care about a adequate and correct payment of the crew.
And that’s why I always give quite a nice amount, supplementary to HSC & BSC to the marvelous crew !!!

-> Like I do on Land in Hotels, Restaurants and so on.



Happy cruising

G E R D
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Our marvelous cruises :

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MS Westerdam - Western Caribbean - April 2005
MS Statendam - Hawaii Circle - September 2005
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MS Veendam - Southern Caribbean – March 2007
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#58
NYC
4,033 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Hello Gerd, I specifically mentioned that over 90% of Australians and New Zealanders remove all gratuities because the OP had mentioned a deck conversation with an Australian. I'm aware that in Europe there are different standards on when tips are expected.

Tip, gratuity, service charge - whatever one calls it - is in addition to base fare on most mass market lines. As long as it can technically be stated as "discretionary" it changes the tax liability for the crew member and reporting requirements for the cruise line. What is very bad however is that some will parse these words to mean "optional". They therefore want to remove it just for that reason.

Quite frankly I don't see how any person intelligent enough to use the internet cannot figure out the all-in price of their voyage. All cruise line advertising in the US as the "fine print" that outlines service charges, port taxes, etc. Computers also have a handy calculator app.
#60
Bermuda
2,600 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by ozcruizer
Tipping is not done as a matter of course in Australia because employees are generally paid a wage they can live on, although we do tip in restaurants for example where the service has been at least reasonable and it is of course appreciated, but not necessarily expected.

When cruising, we know that crew depend on tipping and we pay without fussing about it. You just do whatever is done in the country you are visiting or the ship you're on. Just a shame for them that their wages are so low.

I saw this morning on Facebook that HAL gratuities are going up to $12.50 and higher for the high end suites.

Ozcruizer (sailing next Saturday from Honolulu to Sydney)


I have been making visits to Australia and New Zealand... since.. 1972. Spent two weeks in Geelong as a 19 y.o. cadet on a grain ship. First evening a group of us went ashore naturally to a bar. First thing.... none of us had ever been to Australia... not like the P&O or Shaw Savill. We were all dressed... jacket and ties. Stood out like a sire thumb! We looked at schooners, middies, and jugs. Hmmm so..... six of us six glasses and SIX JUGS!

Everyone knows how the system works. I would never think of not giving a tip to a waiter, bar tender, taxi etc etc. Thankfully I have never experienced anything less than perfect service... even better than that!



Please don't assume that wages for seafarers are 'so low'. Their wages are approved by their unions and with the ITF... International Transportation Federation and the wages are closely monitored. Seafarers wages are higher than what most people earn in jobs ashore. Not princely perhaps, but the wage is considered to be 'good'.

Personally I would like to see crews get higher pay. If it went to $25 per day... wow.... you would have a riot at the Front Desk! Worse... HAL would go out of business.

The problem is not the ystem with HAL and other cruise lines... with HSC, tips, grats etc etc. That is not the problem. It is that a very few of passengers either don't understand or don't want to understand. Then the other 'group'... just hell bent on stiffing hard working crewmembers.