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Princess's Shore Excursion Recommended Gratuities


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I was poking around on Princess's website, looking at the Excursions FAQ, and clicked on the link for Gratuities on Excursions. I was surprised to read the following, copied and pasted directly from that page:

 

Tipping is a discretionary matter. It is, however, customary around the world, if one is pleased with their tour, to tip the tour guide.

 

Here are suggested ranges (in U.S. dollars) to assist you in determining what gratuity amount is appropriate:

 

Service Gratuity

 

Tour guides $1.00 (half day of service per person)

$3.50 (full day of service per person)

Please extend any gratuities on an individual basis, not as a group.

 

Is it just me, or do these recommended amounts seem a bit low? It seems like DH and I typically tip around $5 each for shorter excursions, and $10 each for longer ones. And we tip even more depending on how personal the excursion is (usually privately arranged ones are smaller.)

 

I was just wondering what you all think.

 

Happy cruising.

 

Julie

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They are just recommendations. Each person has to make up their own determination on how much to tip or even if they want to tip. No one will know what you did unless you tell them.

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No, I don't think they're low....you're paying a pretty penny for the service you receive....this is the first time I've heard of "recommended" tip amounts for excursions.

 

We've had some drivers that were so unpersonable that it nearly ruined the good time we had planned on having. I wouldn't tip for that at all. We've had guides that went out of their way to make sure we had a blast....we tip them quite well.

 

It all depends on your experience. It is certainly NOT mandatory.

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I was poking around on Princess's website, looking at the Excursions FAQ, and clicked on the link for Gratuities on Excursions. I was surprised to read the following, copied and pasted directly from that page:

 

Tipping is a discretionary matter. It is, however, customary around the world, if one is pleased with their tour, to tip the tour guide.

 

Here are suggested ranges (in U.S. dollars) to assist you in determining what gratuity amount is appropriate:

 

Service Gratuity

 

Tour guides $1.00 (half day of service per person)

$3.50 (full day of service per person)

Please extend any gratuities on an individual basis, not as a group.

 

Is it just me, or do these recommended amounts seem a bit low? It seems like DH and I typically tip around $5 each for shorter excursions, and $10 each for longer ones. And we tip even more depending on how personal the excursion is (usually privately arranged ones are smaller.)

 

I was just wondering what you all think.

 

Happy cruising.

 

Julie

I think they're low as well. Perhaps Princess intentionally kept them low as (perhaps) that's what tours in other parts of the world is a generous amount and further didn't want tours, again in other parts of the world, think Americans just throw money around by "over- tipping".

 

I as well feel $5 is an acceptable tip amount for a short excursion and $10 for a long one, or one where the guide went up and beyond what one would expect. On a photo excursion in Haines AK a couple years ago, the guide was a local professional photographer who took us around to places he liked to go and pointed out things that would make good compositions. He also gave us plenty of time at each place to discover our own shots. At Lake Chillcoot he even took photos of everyone using their cameras, with the lake as the background.

 

I've also had some guides who got nothing from me. They're the ones who gave nothing, or the bare minimum.

Edited by Treven
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Being from the UK where tipping is not the norm I am surprised they say worldwide. I might put a € in the tip box on the way off the coach but I don't expect to have to tip for something I have already paid for, maybe an extra € for being a good tour guide but its not what we do or the Australians.

 

As they say two countries separated by a common language!

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We usually tip in the range of $5 per person for half a day and $10 pp for full day tours. If we have an exceptional experience, more, and if it is a very small group probably more, too. We have chosen not to tip a few times as well. But it is a very individual thing, and to each his or her own.

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We normally tip in the $5-10 for both of us. Of course, we are talking about the Caribbean and Central America. When we are in Europe next year, I will be tipping more.

 

Some countries are basically no tipping countries (China, for example) and when Americans tip (hotel porters, cab drivers, tour guides) they are trying to change the country's culture.

 

There have been some areas of the world where local residents will be snubbed by tour guides because the locals do not tip like the Americans.

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Tipping is a very personal matter but I think the amounts quoted are very low. I cannot imagine tipping a tour guide for a half a day $1.00. I would be embarrassed. Of course, if the guide was bad then I might not tip.

 

I've had one private tour guide that was so good that my friend and I each tipped him $20.00. Our tour was only $40 pp but the tour and guide were amazing.

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Being from the UK where tipping is not the norm I am surprised they say worldwide. I might put a € in the tip box on the way off the coach but I don't expect to have to tip for something I have already paid for, maybe an extra € for being a good tour guide but its not what we do or the Australians.

 

As they say two countries separated by a common language!

 

Although I'm from the U.S. I somewhat agree with you. Waitresses in this country are paid very poorly and rely on their tips to survive. However, I've known some waitress who make twice their "normal" salary in tips! That's crazy. People in this country have been led to believe that they "must" over tip. No wonder much of the world thinks we're crazy in that regard. When Americans over tip abroad it's like feeding the bears in the national parks. The bears get lazy and "expect" to be fed. The same can happen with wait staff and that can have a very negative effect on the local customers who are never going to tip extravagantly (or even at all depending on the local culture). It also paints all Americans as "an easy mark" and any American who fails to over tip outrageously may well receive terrible service should they return to the same venue for another meal.

 

In my past life (very past) I have worked in the service industries. I was cook (and head) cook in several restaurants. The waitresses got tips but I didn't. I had already agreed to do my job and I always do any job to the very best of my ability. The fact that I put out quality food in an appealing manner did help the waitresses get better tips. However, I would have thought it was really odd for me to get tips. (In some places the cooks do get a portion of the tips.) Like I said, I took the job for an agreed upon wage. I did that job to the best of my ability and was proud of my work. To me, that's how it's supposed to work. Being tipped for doing the job I had already agreed to do and for which I was already being paid would have seemed "greedy" or "grasping" to me.

 

I have also worked (in the far past) in retail sales in a few establishments. I once got hired "for two weeks for the Christmas season" but was retained for a very long time until I finally quit as my school schedule got too crazy. Why was I retained when all of the other "seasonal" staff was laid off? It was because I made it a point to be the most pleasant, hardest working employee in the place. I did anything and everything asked of me and volunteered to help others who needed help and I did it all with a smile. (No, I wasn't "smarmy" or a "suck up".) Did I expect to receive tips for that? Of course not! Do you ever tip the sales person in a department store?

 

I was raised to do the best job I could do no matter what the job was. In my youth I had some pretty terrible jobs - jobs that I absolutely hated - but I still did them well. To me, just knowing I've done that is enough. I don't need tips.

 

I do tip waitresses in restaurants. I do tip my room steward. I have been known to add a tip for a server in MDR who was really great and made my cruise even more delightful that it already was. I might tip a tour guide who went way out of his/her way but I don't feel compelled to do so.

Edited by Thrak
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I usually use cruise line excursions, and as such, I feel like I pay a good price for them. However, I don't know how well tour guides are paid. So, I always give a moderate tip, larger for a great guide, and occasionally none for a poor guide. However, I recently had a disturbing experience in Belize.

 

We felt that the tour guide was really good. We were searching for wildlife, and he seemed to know where to find it, and we saw a lot, so we decided to give him a larger tip.

 

As we were approaching the end of the trip, he actually asked everyone to "please show him our appreciation." I was really shocked; that is the first time a tour guide actually outright requested a tip. It really turned me off. But, not having too much time to think about it, I gave him the larger than usual tip I had been planning to give him.

 

As we got off the boat, as each person handed him a tip (most people handed him a bill folded in half) he actually unfolded the bill and looked at what you gave him. Again, this was a first for us; we have never had a tour guide examine the tip each person gave. They usually just say thank you and put it in their hand with the rest of the tips.

 

Afterwards, I thought to myself that I was sorry I had given him the larger tip. I considered reporting this, as I felt it was inappropriate behavior, but in the end, I didn't, because I know many in Belize are poor and I did not want to cause him to be in trouble with his employer. What would you have done?

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For a 'large bus' tour, where there is one guide for 40 people, those amounts are appropriate. For smaller tours with more individual attention, should be a bit more. Also take into account the value of a dollar. A $1 tip means a lot more in some places than others.

 

Since the majority of Princess' excursions are large bus, these makes sense.

 

For private tours I organize, I set a target of 10% to 15% of the price of the tour total for all participants..

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...

As we were approaching the end of the trip, he actually asked everyone to "please show him our appreciation." I was really shocked; that is the first time a tour guide actually outright requested a tip. It really turned me off. What would you have done?

 

Toward the end of a snorkeling excursion in Key West (not through Princess), the boat's "driver" said, "we've taken care of all of you for the day, now it's your turn to take care of us. There's a tip can as you get off the boat." I said to him, here's a tip on the 3rd race at Santa Anita (a race track in southern CA, for those not on the Left Coast), that's your tip.

Edited by Treven
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Having someone blatantly come out and tell me to tip them has always been one of my pet peeves. It should be my option, they should not try and shame me into tipping them. Those people end up not getting tips no matter how good they were.

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As we were approaching the end of the trip, he actually asked everyone to "please show him our appreciation."

 

As we got off the boat, as each person handed him a tip (most people handed him a bill folded in half) he actually unfolded the bill and looked at what you gave him.

 

Tacky. Extremely tacky. If I heard this announcement and then saw what he was doing I would have tipped him exactly zero. This is unacceptable behavior in my opinion.

 

I might have gone so far as to tell him about my intended (generous as it sounds from your description) tip and then tell him exactly WHY I wasn't giving it to him after all.

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Having someone blatantly come out and tell me to tip them has always been one of my pet peeves. It should be my option, they should not try and shame me into tipping them. Those people end up not getting tips no matter how good they were.

 

I agree. I don't tip when they try and guilt me into it. so annoying.

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We normally tip in the $5-10 for both of us. Of course, we are talking about the Caribbean and Central America. When we are in Europe next year, I will be tipping more.

 

Why would you tip more in Europe. Europeans won't. Would you expect to get better service?

A good guide in Barbados or Costa Rica deserves the same tip as a good guide in London or Paris (IMHO of course).

 

Theo

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We've read everywhere not to try to tip in Japan. But perhaps we should expect to on Princess' excursions (even though the English-language tours are priced higher than those in Japanese). Japan cruisers, what did you do?

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Although I'm from the U.S. I somewhat agree with you. Waitresses in this country are paid very poorly and rely on their tips to survive. However, I've known some waitress who make twice their "normal" salary in tips! That's crazy. . . . ..

Not sure what you mean. You mean, instead of the "normal" $2.13/hour wage paid waitstaff, their tips bump them up to $4.26 per hour? If some waitstaff are earning an excellent income via tips, I wouldn't call that "crazy," I'd call that hard work and excellent service and I'd say, good for them. That's how the system is supposed to work.

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Not sure what you mean. You mean, instead of the "normal" $2.13/hour wage paid waitstaff, their tips bump them up to $4.26 per hour? If some waitstaff are earning an excellent income via tips, I wouldn't call that "crazy," I'd call that hard work and excellent service and I'd say, good for them. That's how the system is supposed to work.

 

I'm not sure where you get that $2.13 figure. I've known waitress who made over $200 a night in tips...

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Being from the UK where tipping is not the norm I am surprised they say worldwide. I might put a € in the tip box on the way off the coach but I don't expect to have to tip for something I have already paid for, maybe an extra € for being a good tour guide but its not what we do or the Australians.

 

As they say two countries separated by a common language!

 

They will be lucky to get anything from me. I hate all this tipping for this and tipping for that. Always amazes me that people moan about paying extra for things, e.g. $10 surcharge for Alfredo's or $3 fee for room service, but then profess to tipping left right and centre. I'd rather pay a good price (my motto is you get what you pay for) for something and never have to worry about tips. People should be paid appropriately to do a job and not have to rely on tips. IMO it just leads to that false smile from everyone as all they are doing is working you for tips.

Edited by Geoffa30
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I usually use cruise line excursions, and as such, I feel like I pay a good price for them. However, I don't know how well tour guides are paid. So, I always give a moderate tip, larger for a great guide, and occasionally none for a poor guide. However, I recently had a disturbing experience in Belize.

 

We felt that the tour guide was really good. We were searching for wildlife, and he seemed to know where to find it, and we saw a lot, so we decided to give him a larger tip.

 

As we were approaching the end of the trip, he actually asked everyone to "please show him our appreciation." I was really shocked; that is the first time a tour guide actually outright requested a tip. It really turned me off. But, not having too much time to think about it, I gave him the larger than usual tip I had been planning to give him.

 

As we got off the boat, as each person handed him a tip (most people handed him a bill folded in half) he actually unfolded the bill and looked at what you gave him. Again, this was a first for us; we have never had a tour guide examine the tip each person gave. They usually just say thank you and put it in their hand with the rest of the tips.

 

Afterwards, I thought to myself that I was sorry I had given him the larger tip. I considered reporting this, as I felt it was inappropriate behavior, but in the end, I didn't, because I know many in Belize are poor and I did not want to cause him to be in trouble with his employer. What would you have done?

 

We had this experience on a Hollywood tour on which my partner and I were the only passengers. It was fantastic and the guides were great and we had already decided to give them a good tip. Everything was ruined though when they got to the end of the tour and then came the huge spiel about tipping your tour guide. Proof if any were needed that people are just working you for tips. Of course there are exceptions.

 

Of course when we are in America, we conform to the tipping. We tend to tip more in lower end restaurants and diners as we feel the servers are more genuine and are likely lower paid. Servers at higher end restaurants get the same in monetary terms but as a percentage of the bill they probably consider it an insult but we don't care. They are only doing the same job as those in the burger joint next door.

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Thank you, everybody, for adding your opinions. I think I personally forgot to factor in the cultural differences regarding tipping, and I think some very valid points have been made here, and I feel like I learned something through this post.

 

I will continue to tip as I have in the past, regardless of the guidelines suggested by Princess. I will only hope that if I am seen as an American who over tips, that regardless, I will make a tiny little difference in the day of the person/s receiving the tip.

 

Happy cruising.

 

Julie

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