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Tipping


OrpingtonT

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It is a while since tipping has been discussed on this board and I have just read a piece in the UK Sunday Times about the disquiet of UK passengers on tipping policies on some cruise lines. Perhaps they should pay their crews properly? I repeat the piece below:-

 

Cruise-ship passengers are becoming increasingly hostile to a system of tipping that is more mandatory than discretionary, and is used to subsidise crew salaries rather than reward good service.

Cruising is now Britain’s most popular holiday- the market surged by 12% last year to 1.5m-but the reluctance of passengers to pay hundreds of pounds in on-board tips has caused the cruise giant Royal Caribbean International to admit that it is “rethinking “ its policy.

In theory tipping staff is a voluntary gesture, but with many operators, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Cunard and MSC, it is hard to avois. “For you convenience,we automatically charge gratuities to your on-board account”, says Carnival- at a rate of about £6 per day, or £340 for a family of four for two weeks, not counting a 15% surcharge on every drink.

Other operators, such as Celebrity, P&0 and Royal Caribbean, provide passengers with envelopes into which it is suggested they tip at a recommended rate. Royal Caribbean suggests tips ranging from 45p to £3.50 pp per day, adding that “these apply to guests of all ages”. It admits that the increasing unwillingness of British passengers to tip is causing problems. The cruise lines would prefer passengers to pay their tips when they buy their holiday- the gratuity bill for a week on the Freedom of the Seas is £47- but currently only half of clients comply.

“It is an issue,” says the company’s UK managing director, Robin Shaw, “and we are looking at our options. The gratuities are part of the crew’s remuneration package and we need to seek a solution. This could be to include tips in the price of the trip, which would remove the voluntary component,to deal with the shortfall through a company subsidy or to keep things as they are”.

Whatever solution Royal Caribbean chooses, it seems the passenger will still be supplementing crew salaries, either through increased holiday costs or through what is in effect a local payment.

XXXXX, of the cruise specialist XXX XXX, says that many first time cruisers are horrified by the extra charge. “It is not made clear that the gratuity is a voluntary payment,” she says. “I advise my clients not to pay upfront. The sums are astronomical and it is, in effect, just an extra payment to the cruise line.”

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In my opinion, the solution is very simple. Cruise lines should pay staff a decent wage and and include the cost in the headline fare. Adding 15% or whatever to the costs of drinks is also a con - just show the inclusive price.

 

Some cruise lines behave like RyanAir - low headline costs but everything is extra.

 

Transparency is what is needed but is very rarely seen.

 

I like the Regent approach and also that of Thomson (although a completely different product).

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Okay, hopefully no one will be annoyed, but I did a search on tipping and found no results. So... I understand that gratuities are included on the RSSC cruise we have booked. But does that really mean that no other tipping is required? We have been many places where gratuities are included, but if a server did an exemplary job something extra was given. I've yet to see the person reject it or seem insulted. What is the experience of those of you who are seasoned RSSC cruisers?

 

Thank you.

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No other tipping is required. The spa is somewhat of an exception. Tipping is expected, although not required (they are independent contractors.)

 

Some do tip, at the end of the cruise, but most do not, and really it is discouraged. The way to do it, if you just must do it, is to contribute to the crew entertainment fund so that the entire staff get the benefit.

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Tipping is definitely discouraged. There are people who insist on tipping, however, this runs the risk of changing the whole feel of being on an all-inclusive luxury line. Regent employees are paid more and do appreciate contributions to the crew fund.:)

 

OrpingtonT: I admire Royal Caribbean for rethinking their policy. It is somewhat easier to change a policy on a cruise line than to change a person's culture. There are several countries where tipping is a rarity, or, in the case of China, supposedly illegal. I agree that cruise ships employees should be paid a living wage that is not dependent upon tips.

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Sunviking:

 

This is an issue that come up periodically on this board. I'm surprised that your search produced no threads on tipping on Regent. Here is a brief summary of what, IMO, has seemed to be the consensus on this board on this subject. First, as said above, tipping at the Spa is customary. But tipping other service crew for the performance of their regular duties (no matter how excellent) is not customary, and is actually discouraged by Regent. A Gray area arrises when a service crew member does something for a guest that is beyond his or her duties. I'll give you an example. The airline misrouted our luggage on our trip to Nice, France to board the mariner. The only clothes we had were those we had worn on our overnight flight from the USA. Our stewardess got us expedited laundry/dry cleaning services for those clothes. They were done within an hour. For this, I did offer the stewardess a tip for her help beyond her assigned duties. She declined it.

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Thank you all for your answers. This policy sounds like it's a much less confusing one than on the cruises we've been on in recent years.

 

The problem is that during your first Regent cruise you will feel an almost irresistable urge to tip several of the crew members. If you find it impossible to resist, please make a donation to the Crew Welfare Fund where all who have worked to make your voyage as wonderful as possible may reap the benefits.

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Good point! I have never seen anyone contend that donating to the Crew Welfare Fund is in any way inappropriate. I have always donated to it on all my Regent cruises. It benefits the entire crew, and not just the ones who are on other lines' "suggested tipping" list.

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But before you give a tip to the spa, check your bill to make sure they haven't added 18%. That happened to me on X one time. I didn't realize 18% had been added and gave a pretty hefty tip. Last I heard, the manicurist bought Cunard.

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The British do no tip and should not, the wages and the upfront payment system is far better. I love the USA but finds the tipping situation there one which causes anxiety as to what is expected and the level of expected tipping crazy. I have visited the states on 10 occasions and much prefer Regent or Tauck who have an all inclusive price and you are not fumbling about for tips and unsure what to pay, its also crazily expensive if you follow guidebook suggestions!!!

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Just a stupid question here, as I have never visited a ship's casino. Who would one tip in a casino, and under what circumstances?

Generally if you are winning consistently-or hit a big number-- you flip the dealer or the croupier something

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... Who would one tip in a casino, and under what circumstances?

 

We're essentially talking about tipping dealers here and there are several ways to go about it. I recommend you Google "casino tipping etiquette" and read a couple of the articles for background, then make your own decisions.

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I see that Cunard automatically 'for your convenience' add a daily staff gratuity to the on board bill. Is there a way of stopping that happening?

 

 

Regent does not do this.

From the Regent FAQ:

 

Q: Should I tip on board?

A: Gratuities are included in the cruise fare for all RSSC vessels. If guests feel strongly about expressing their gratitude to the crew, they should be encouraged to make a donation to the Crew Welfare Fund at the Purser Office. This money is utilized for crew parties and events.

 

For more info, you may want to scan through some of the responses above.

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I never understood tipping the dealer... Do they tip YOU when they are taking the chips AWAY?

 

Dan, Dan, Dan... I buy you books and I buy you books and all you do is rip out the pages.

 

You tip the dealer for friendly & efficient service and creating an enjoyable atmosphere, just like in a restaurant. If you don't like the food, you talk to management. If you aren't winning, you quit playing or change tables. In neither case should you take out your frustration with the product itself on someone who has performed their job exceptionally by providing you with excellent service.

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