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

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Carnival Corp (is)was incorporated in Panama

 

And you can be sure this was by design....followed by a lot of lawyers and bean counters.

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My compliments to the OP. While I don't agree with including gratuities in the basic fare, I do compliment you on your concerns for the crew and your desire to make it much more difficult to stiff the crew.

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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.

 

Personally I wouldn't mind if the HSC was included in the fare but I treat the HSC as a personal "must fund/pay" part of the cruise. I guess I'm ambivalent about the HSC presently being optional and that potentially I could remove or reduce the HSC. While I understand it's possible I've never had service so bad that I have considered doing that. If I get bad service then I address it at the point in time with the appropriate manager. Removing the HSC at the end of the cruise because of real or perceived bad service accomplishes little in my mind as management is pretty well lost as to what or how to fix. Now granted recently Mrs. K and I have been cruising on another line, a line by the way that supposedly pays their crew and staff higher wages and discourages tipping, and I know I pay a higher fare but as Jacqui points out there is a lot more included in that higher fare than just what might be considered comparable to an HSC.

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If gratuities were included in the fare of mass market cruises it would need to be an industry standard IMO, in order for prices to stay competitive. If only one did it their prices would suddenly look higher, and some consumers would look elsewhere. This would be a big risk to take for the first line that did this.

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Its interesting that the luxury cruise lines offering all-inclusive include tips. It has never stopped passengers from giving additional gratuities where warranted. When Crystal move this this system a few years ago, they had to adjust crew wages.

 

It is the mass travel cruise lines still have a tipping policy. By the way, Cunard is owned by Carnival, which is why the Queen Mary II is not all inclusive even at the luxury end.

 

Is it purely to allow the cruise lines to advertise the cheapest fare possible, then charge passengers for extras. I suppose it is no different to flying low cost airlines where passengers are very price sensitive.

 

I do wonder if cruise passengers are very price sensitive since the offering by each ship and cruise line is essentially different. It is very different to flying from point A to point B.

 

Regent includes all charges in their fare.

 

That's pretty much it - "luxury lines" are not pricing their product to people looking for the cheapest fares. The moment mass market cruise line Y adjusts their fares to include crew salaries they immediately look more expensive than mass market cruise line Z.

 

Logistically, it could take years to negotiate an entirely new system of compensation with all of the different maritime unions that comprise a ship's crew today. (Luxury lines have smaller ships and therefore fewer unions to deal with.) 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.

 

Not too long ago a thread called for HAL to "stop the perks and stop the fare increases" or something to that effect. If HAL switched to an all inclusive system we would immediately see complaints of astronomical fare increases.

Edited by BlueRiband

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After reading thousands of posts about tipping and removing of tips on HAL ships, I've reached the point it is not my concern and no longer my interest what anyone else is doing with regard to tipping hard working crew.

 

If someone is inclined to book a cruise, full well know what is expected of them in regards to tipping, plan before they ever step foot on the ship to remove that tip because they would rather save that sum of money, nothing I say is going to make them more responsible in terms of meeting their commitment they agreed to when they booked the cruise.

 

I worry about what I will tip, how much extra I plan to provide to who and let those who say in my country we don't tip use that excuse to enable themselves to look in the mirror.

 

To ask why the cruise line does not change the policy is not the approach that makes any sense to me. It has been explained here in in probably dozens of other threads why they don't.

 

Don't worry why they don't include it; do the responsible thing and don't remove it from your OB Account.

 

Speech over.

 

Edited by sail7seas

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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.

 

 

Not like that at all. That is sent through disbursements to banks overseas. It does save the tax and that save onto passengers.... and then also makes for the company.

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Crew line employees are only subject to the US IRS if:

a) they are US citizens which the majority are not

b) are employed in the US, which they are not. These ships operate in international waters not in the US

 

In fact they are unlikely to be employed by a US company even though most passengers would regard Carnival or HAL as US operations. Why do you think most ships fly a foreign flag as oppose to a US flag. HAL ships are mainly registered in the Netherlands.

 

 

 

 

We are not taking about INCOME TAX on the crew wages. We are talking about the PAYROLL TAX and HAL has to pay that if the money is done through Seattle. This is why they can eliminate some of the tax... and so the crew are paid by HSC.

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I've never been to a hotel or resort in the USA where the HSC or Resort Fee was built into the rate. We are currently staying in Walt Disney World and there's a $22 fee added onto our folio. It posts daily - and it's neither negotiable nor removable. When we reserved the hotel, the quoted rates showed taxes, but not the daily service charge.

 

It's not that unusual for the service charge to be handled this way. It really isn't.

 

 

We cruise mostly HAL (200+ days so far) but have also cruised Oceania and Princess. We are aware of the HSC and are fine with that because we know about it ahead of time. We also tip individuals to show our appreciation.

An interesting anecdote... We recently booked a Celebrity Cruise for January 2016 to sail with friends (their choice). When we chose Select Dining on Celebrity we had to pre pay gratuities at the time of booking.

Jim

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All the ins and outs of the system could be worked out if there was the will to do so; other lines include gratuities.

 

It doesn't matter terribly to me, but if asked, my preference would be to have the charge included in the fare. It is simple, ensures an appropriate level of remuneration, and it is aboveboard and transparent -- not all this dithering around about not paying money where it is likely due. (I'm talking about the taxes).

 

It will likely take some sort of decision across all lines to make it happen, since cruising is apparently so cost sensitive....

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If gratuities were included in the fare of mass market cruises it would need to be an industry standard IMO, in order for prices to stay competitive. If only one did it their prices would suddenly look higher, and some consumers would look elsewhere. This would be a big risk to take for the first line that did this.

 

Precisely. The ones who would "look elsewhere" would be the ones who plan on saving a few bucks by stiffing the crew. They would say, why should I cruise XXX when I can sail YYY, eliminate the gratuities, and save all that money. I do not buy for a minute any of the excuses for removing gratuities. Those are just excuses to justify saving a few bucks.

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After reading thousands of posts about tipping and removing of tips on HAL ships, I've reached the point it is not my concern and no longer my interest what anyone else is doing with regard to tipping hard working crew.

 

If someone is inclined to book a cruise, full well know what is expected of them in regards to tipping, plan before they ever step foot on the ship to remove that tip because they would rather save that sum of money, nothing I say is going to make them more responsible in terms of meeting their commitment they agreed to when they booked the cruise.

 

I worry about what I will tip, how much extra I plan to provide to who and let those who say in my country we don't tip use that excuse to enable themselves to look in the mirror.

 

To ask why the cruise line does not change the policy is not the approach that makes any sense to me. It has been explained here in in probably dozens of other threads why they don't.

 

Don't worry why they don't include it; do the responsible thing and don't remove it from your OB Account.

 

Speech over.

 

 

Anyone from a non tipping environment is not going to worry about "looking in the mirror". It simply will not occur to them that they are depriving the crew of their salary. Tipping to them will mean a payment over and above their wages.

 

Unless they read CC they will not know how badly paid the crew are - I certainly didn't.

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Anyone from a non tipping environment is not going to worry about "looking in the mirror". It simply will not occur to them that they are depriving the crew of their salary. Tipping to them will mean a payment over and above their wages.

 

Unless they read CC they will not know how badly paid the crew are - I certainly didn't.

 

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?

 

Edited by sail7seas

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If gratuities were included in the fare of mass market cruises it would need to be an industry standard IMO, in order for prices to stay competitive. If only one did it their prices would suddenly look higher, and some consumers would look elsewhere. This would be a big risk to take for the first line that did this.

 

A couple of years ago Princess did this with Port Fees and Taxes. They said "You pay the price you see" or something to that effect.

 

It didn't last long. Everyone else continued the existing format so Princess looked high.

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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.

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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:

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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!

Edited by Topsham

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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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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?:D

 

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.)

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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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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.

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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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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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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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