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Tipping at "land" rates

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I know tipping as a subject is as popular as MDR attire, chair hogs, and balcony smoking, but please indulge me.

 

Was speaking with a family friend who has cruised multiple times on RCI, Princess, and Celebrity. We have never cruised together.

 

She just got back from the Allure and offhandedly commented that she always tips the waiters $20 a day, as she feels that's about what she would tip on land for 3 meals. She thinks the standard approx $10 a day (for waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter) is an embarrassment.

 

I've always thought the recommended tipping amounts were fine, and when we've had outstanding service (which, to be fair, is almost always), we'll give more. I've never thought of it in terms of what we would pay on land.

 

Is this thinking common? Please don't flame, I'm genuinely curious and certainly want to do what's right.

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I'm sure it's not "common", and who knows if she really does that? I go by the suggested amounts the cruiseline tells me. It must work, since a great majority of the tipped employees remain at their jobs for years and years!

 

As long as you tip the suggested amount, you've done just fine.

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If the service is to my satisfaction, I usually give an extra amount at the end of the cruise. I also include the cabin steward. It's a matter of personal preference and optional.

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she tips an extra $10 per day, per person? I doubt that's "common". We always give extra at the end of a cruise but definitely not $140 for the dining staff after a 7 day cruise.

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I have never thought of it that way, myself.

 

I do tip per the cruise line guidelines, however, I almost always give more to my stateroom attendant because they deal with a lot in my cabin (MANY empty glasses and bottles, possible clothes on the loveseat / couch, etc).

 

I tend to not tip my waiters above the guideline, as I generally don't eat in the MDR each evening. However, I am still paying for their daily tips as if I was. (Essentially I am paying twice the tips if I dine in a specialty restaurant. I give my specialty restaurant server a tip, and the MDR wait staff still receives their tips despite the fact I didn't eat there that night).

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Your friend has to remember that the cruise line staff isn't living on land in the country the ship is departing from. Comparing what wait staff or hotel housekeeping makes in the US or another 1st world country to what cruise staff makes is really off base.

 

In many situation the cruise staff is making much more on the ship than they would doing a comparable job in their home country.

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Is this thinking common? Please don't flame, I'm genuinely curious and certainly want to do what's right.

 

Hopefully with Royal increasing the focus of worldwide cruising this USA custom will stay in the USA.

The rest of the world wants nothing to do with tipping.

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Is this thinking common? Please don't flame, I'm genuinely curious and certainly want to do what's right.

 

I don't want to be rude, but why would you even worry that you are not tipping properly when you are tipping the recommended amounts?

 

Why would would it not be right to tip the recommended amounts?

 

I am really baffled by this.

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I don't want to be rude, but why would you even worry that you are not tipping properly when you are tipping the recommended amounts?

 

Why would would it not be right to tip the recommended amounts?

 

I am really baffled by this.

 

No offense taken. I was just curious if there was some unspoken rule that I was unaware of. She was so adamant about the topic that it got me wondering if I've been missing something.

 

Thanks all for your feedback. Glad to know we haven't been stiffing anyone by sticking w recommended amounts (and extra when warranted, of course)

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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I feel the same as everyone else, I tip the recommended amount and then a little extra on the last night. $20 for the waiter, their assistance, and our cabin attendant ( only on our last cruise, our cabin attendant didn't get extra). $20 for the bar tenders in the Diamond Lounge and a little more to the concierge if they did something for us.

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I tend to not tip my waiters above the guideline, as I generally don't eat in the MDR each evening. However, I am still paying for their daily tips as if I was. (Essentially I am paying twice the tips if I dine in a specialty restaurant. I give my specialty restaurant server a tip, and the MDR wait staff still receives their tips despite the fact I didn't eat there that night).

 

Do you eat breakfast & lunch in the specialties???

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I have never thought of it that way, myself.

 

I do tip per the cruise line guidelines, however, I almost always give more to my stateroom attendant because they deal with a lot in my cabin (MANY empty glasses and bottles, possible clothes on the loveseat / couch, etc).

 

I tend to not tip my waiters above the guideline, as I generally don't eat in the MDR each evening. However, I am still paying for their daily tips as if I was. (Essentially I am paying twice the tips if I dine in a specialty restaurant. I give my specialty restaurant server a tip, and the MDR wait staff still receives their tips despite the fact I didn't eat there that night).

 

Do you eat breakfast & lunch in the specialties???

 

That seems a tad harsh, as HeartCruzs has already said that they tip to the guidelines for the MDR waiters, even when not eating there, and extra in the speciality restaurants. Surely that is enough to cover breakfast and lunch service too?

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That seems a tad harsh, as HeartCruzs has already said that they tip to the guidelines for the MDR waiters, even when not eating there, and extra in the speciality restaurants. Surely that is enough to cover breakfast and lunch service too?

 

The point is usually the tips cover all free dining venues for all meals not just dinner

So to say you are tipping the MDR waitstaff even though you do not eat there is a misconception

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So for those of you who tip extra, who do you tip and how much? I was looking at bringing around $150 extra to tip Cabin Steward and Dining Staff for a 9 night cruise for two. Is this way above the norm?

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I know tipping as a subject is as popular as MDR attire, chair hogs, and balcony smoking, but please indulge me.

 

Was speaking with a family friend who has cruised multiple times on RCI, Princess, and Celebrity. We have never cruised together.

 

She just got back from the Allure and offhandedly commented that she always tips the waiters $20 a day, as she feels that's about what she would tip on land for 3 meals. She thinks the standard approx $10 a day (for waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter) is an embarrassment.

 

I've always thought the recommended tipping amounts were fine, and when we've had outstanding service (which, to be fair, is almost always), we'll give more. I've never thought of it in terms of what we would pay on land.

 

Is this thinking common? Please don't flame, I'm genuinely curious and certainly want to do what's right.

 

 

Your post brought to mind a story I'd heard a few years ago. A co-worker that had eaten at a restaurant apparently had a bad waitress and really bad service. Just before leaving, he left 9 cents and a note on the table stating "Your service wasn't worth a dime!"

Edited by beachbum53

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You should have seen the expression of a young 1st time cruiser when our waiter told him he gets paid $75 a MONTH. I had told him this when explaining why tips are so important to them. Don't think he believed me so he asked. I was pleased to see him give our waiter an envelop at the last dinner. I had also told him they work 7 days a week and go home for vacation after 6-8 months. They do not work a 40 hour week like most of us. This really impressed him!

(we give extras to waiters, bus boys & room steward too.)

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Your friend has to remember that the cruise line staff isn't living on land in the country the ship is departing from. Comparing what wait staff or hotel housekeeping makes in the US or another 1st world country to what cruise staff makes is really off base.

 

In many situation the cruise staff is making much more on the ship than they would doing a comparable job in their home country.

 

Remember all those passengers who complain that service on ships is not as good as it used to be?

They are correct.

Overall earnings for service staff on ships have been dropping for the past 25 years.

A waiter on a cruise ship today makes less than half of what a waiter made 25 years ago - and that is not factoring inflation.

How many people do you know who would take a 50% salary cut and still continue to work?

I don't know very many.

 

Most of our best service people quit many years ago - precisely because they could earn more money - with less work - in their home countries.

Now the new service staff we get on ships are only there because they are unable to find work back home. As soon as they do find a job in their home countries - they are gone.

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Remember all those passengers who complain that service on ships is not as good as it used to be?

They are correct.

Overall earnings for service staff on ships have been dropping for the past 25 years.

A waiter on a cruise ship today makes less than half of what a waiter made 25 years ago - and that is not factoring inflation.

How many people do you know who would take a 50% salary cut and still continue to work?

I don't know very many.

 

Most of our best service people quit many years ago - precisely because they could earn more money - with less work - in their home countries.

Now the new service staff we get on ships are only there because they are unable to find work back home. As soon as they do find a job in their home countries - they are gone.

Bruce Muzz....you've opened my eyes to aspects of cruising, many times.

Would it not now be the time to explain to people in the official brochures, about the need for tipping? Better still, to simply add it to the price? The minor line, Thomson, does that, so it's not just the luxury lines who can manage this.

It seems that the majority will pay the designated tips up front, which must mean that they are having to cover for those who don't. I know several in the UK who think it's all a bit of a cheek, and will only literally "tip" rather than give the designated sum. Other nations, too, where tipping is not a big deal, don't understand this way of covering a person's salary.

Oh, I know the pros and cons, but I think for the crew's sake there needs to be change.

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We've done everything from doubling the suggested to giving just the suggested, and anything inbetween. It all comes down to the level of service we've received.

 

We also take good care of bartenders and concierge staff, etc. who take good care of us.

Edited by ducklite

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Bruce Muzz....you've opened my eyes to aspects of cruising, many times.

Would it not now be the time to explain to people in the official brochures, about the need for tipping? Better still, to simply add it to the price? The minor line, Thomson, does that, so it's not just the luxury lines who can manage this.

It seems that the majority will pay the designated tips up front, which must mean that they are having to cover for those who don't. I know several in the UK who think it's all a bit of a cheek, and will only literally "tip" rather than give the designated sum. Other nations, too, where tipping is not a big deal, don't understand this way of covering a person's salary.

Oh, I know the pros and cons, but I think for the crew's sake there needs to be change.

 

Jocap,

 

I agree with you. We need a change. But that change will not be easy.

 

This entire concept of tipping in lieu of regular wages started on the White Star Line in Britain over 100 years ago. Although it has gone through many permutations, the original concept is still basically there; great service staff will receive plenty tips and be happy to stay on the job; poor service staff will not receive very much in the way of tips and be quite happy to leave.

 

But now it is much more complicated than it was a century ago.

 

Most of the tipped crew are not from Britain, but from all over the planet. Each one of the sometimes hundreds of nationalities represented in a ships crew has a different set of tax laws that apply to his or her earnings. In most of those countries, gratuities are not taxed, but earnings are. If passenger fares are increased to cover the gratuities, the total earnings of the service staff will all be taxable - in effect further reducing their salaries.

 

Currently most cruise lines pay tipped employees around US$1 per day plus tips. The staff's official salary is very low, meaning they have little or no tax liability in their home countries. If we change to a salaried system, many countries would not only require the crew to pay income taxes on all those earnings, but would also require the cruise lines to pay local payroll taxes on those total earnings. The cruise lines would be forced to increase your cruise fares much higher to cover the substantial financial losses by the crew and the cruise line companies.

 

Each one of the sometimes hundreds of nationalities represented in a ships crew is a member of a national maritime union - often from their home country. Each union has negotiated a contract with the cruise line, specifying benefits and earnings (including tips).

If the cruise lines change the system of paying their service staff, all the labor contracts with all the unions would have to be renegotiated, which could take decades.

 

My employer just finished a 3 year negotiation with a single labor union that represents about 15% of my crew. The issue was changing the day of the month they got paid. That was the only issue - nothing else.This took three years to negotiate. Can you imagine how long it would take - and how much it would cost - to change the entire earnings system for crewmembers represented by 20 different maritime unions in 20 different countries?

 

And if the tipping concept is removed, we are haunted by an age-old argument from our passengers. If the incentive of tipping is removed, and everyone has a guaranteed salary instead, where is the incentive to do a great job?

Recently enacted Maritime Labor Laws make it nearly impossible to fire a poor employee on a cruise ship. In many cases, if we are able terminate a poor performer, my company is hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement for him. We just do not pay enough anymore to attract top performers.

In most cases it is better to have a warm body doing a poor job, than nobody at all.

 

I still agree with you that some sort of change is desperately needed. But nobody seems to be able to come up with a change that will make the situation better - unless you and I are able to convince your fellow cruisers to pay a 100% surcharge on their cruise fare.

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Jocap,

 

I agree with you. We need a change. But that change will not be easy.

 

This entire concept of tipping in lieu of regular wages started on the White Star Line in Britain over 100 years ago. Although it has gone through many permutations, the original concept is still basically there; great service staff will receive plenty tips and be happy to stay on the job; poor service staff will not receive very much in the way of tips and be quite happy to leave.

 

But now it is much more complicated than it was a century ago.

 

Most of the tipped crew are not from Britain, but from all over the planet. Each one of the sometimes hundreds of nationalities represented in a ships crew has a different set of tax laws that apply to his or her earnings. In most of those countries, gratuities are not taxed, but earnings are. If passenger fares are increased to cover the gratuities, the total earnings of the service staff will all be taxable - in effect further reducing their salaries.

 

Currently most cruise lines pay tipped employees around US$1 per day plus tips. The staff's official salary is very low, meaning they have little or no tax liability in their home countries. If we change to a salaried system, many countries would not only require the crew to pay income taxes on all those earnings, but would also require the cruise lines to pay local payroll taxes on those total earnings. The cruise lines would be forced to increase your cruise fares much higher to cover the substantial financial losses by the crew and the cruise line companies.

 

Each one of the sometimes hundreds of nationalities represented in a ships crew is a member of a national maritime union - often from their home country. Each union has negotiated a contract with the cruise line, specifying benefits and earnings (including tips).

If the cruise lines change the system of paying their service staff, all the labor contracts with all the unions would have to be renegotiated, which could take decades.

 

My employer just finished a 3 year negotiation with a single labor union that represents about 15% of my crew. The issue was changing the day of the month they got paid. That was the only issue - nothing else.This took three years to negotiate. Can you imagine how long it would take - and how much it would cost - to change the entire earnings system for crewmembers represented by 20 different maritime unions in 20 different countries?

 

And if the tipping concept is removed, we are haunted by an age-old argument from our passengers. If the incentive of tipping is removed, and everyone has a guaranteed salary instead, where is the incentive to do a great job?

Recently enacted Maritime Labor Laws make it nearly impossible to fire a poor employee on a cruise ship. In many cases, if we are able terminate a poor performer, my company is hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement for him. We just do not pay enough anymore to attract top performers.

In most cases it is better to have a warm body doing a poor job, than nobody at all.

 

I still agree with you that some sort of change is desperately needed. But nobody seems to be able to come up with a change that will make the situation better - unless you and I are able to convince your fellow cruisers to pay a 100% surcharge on their cruise fare.

 

Bruce, thank you for pointing out the impact on the crew if tips are added to the fare. In all of the debates on this topic that I've read and/or participated in no one has articulated that impact. The labor union aspect is also something that hasn't been considered. Three years for one change? Wow. Yes, I can imagine the negotiations that would be required if the pay structure changed.

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The reply by Bruce Muzz should be posted on every tipping thread and be required reading. So many think that just adding the tips to the cruise cost is the answer and do not understand why it is not a simple solution.

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The reply by Bruce Muzz should be posted on every tipping thread and be required reading. So many think that just adding the tips to the cruise cost is the answer and do not understand why it is not a simple solution.

I so agree with you. This needs to be well read and understood....it's so far from what we're used to seeing in the constant arguments on these pages.

Thank you, Bruce Muzz.

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There are cruise lines that have folded the "tips" into the fare. The problems in doing so are far from insurmountable. To give you an example, Azamara did it a couple of years ago. They're part of the Royal Caribbean group. There is also no tipping required or expected on Seabourn, part of the Carnival group. No tipping is required for dining room and cabin staff on Crystal. If these lines have the ability and resources to do it, so do other cruise lines.

 

Also if my memory serves me correctly, various cruise lines have in the past, and perhaps even currently, eliminated tipping on itineraries primarily serving passengers who come from countries where tipping is not part of normal culture or practice, primarily Australia and the UK.

 

While BruceMuzz's post is not without a kernel of truth, it's chock full of hyperbole, because eliminating tipping has been done, is being done on some cruise lines, and the sky didn't fall (nor did fares increase 100%).

Edited by njhorseman

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