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


wannagonow123
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Yes, cruise ship expenses, revenues and budgeting is very much part of the "tipping" discussion. Back up a few posts and you will see why.

 

sorry, I don't think so.

 

Highly unlikely the cruise lines will implement higher salaries for crew, reduce profit and eliminate HSC. very unlikely.

 

Let's stay on topic please?

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sorry, I don't think so.

 

Highly unlikely the cruise lines will implement higher salaries for crew, reduce profit and eliminate HSC. very unlikely.

 

Let's stay on topic please?

 

The topic is higher salaries vs HSC vs "record profits". How would HAL do this. Go with the flow of the conversation, please.

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The topic is higher salaries vs HSC vs "record profits". How would HAL do this. Go with the flow of the conversation, please.

Actually the initiating post was:

I am an intelligent person, but my mind cannot comprehend why cruise lines do not incorporate the "service charge" into their fares. I understand that the fare prices look better without them, but it is actually part of the cruise price.

 

I get frustrated when people remove the charges when they get onto the ship.

 

I was on a cruise last summer, and while sitting with individuals in the smoking area, spoke to numerous people that had already removed their charges. One couple was from Australia, who said they do not tip in their country. Tried to explain that the charge was for the crew, and I was told "then it should be included in the fare". My reply? "Maybe Australian quotes should have them built in. See how cheap your fares are then."

 

Later, we spoke to someone else that removed their gratuities. This guy was American, and what he said kinda made sense, however not enough to screw the crew. As he said, when I check into a Motel 6, I do not tip the maid, unless I trash the room, and additional work is required of them. Their job is to clean my room, and change my linens. Same as a cabin steward. If you do not request ice, or anything out of the norm, they have done their job, so why pay extra. He eats at lido, so no one waits on him.

 

I understand the additional daily charge, but maybe it should be part of the base fare. If a passenger gets bad service, then guest services should be able to "solve" any problems, or adjust $$$ if a problem is not solved. Crew should not suffer because of one's culture or thoughts on tipping.

 

Thanks for letting me vent.

The profitability of Carnival Corp (or of Holland America, its wholly owned subsidiary) is not the topic.

 

The objective of this thread is to provide a single place where folks could discuss a common subject without creating a plethora of threads.

 

Please stay on topic. Thanks.

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Perhaps it's time Carnival made up some of the shortfall in worker pay out of their own pockets.
Americans, despite all our economic challenges, are still among the richest paid workers in the world. Perhaps it's time Americans "make up some of the shortfall" in income between how much Americans earn and how much those who serve us on cruise lines earn. Sounds silly eh? However, that is precisely the same way your comment is perceived by people who invest in mutual funds that have ownership interest in CCL. They're in it for the money. Saying that they should lower profit margins by covering the cost of the HSC instead of the passenger, when market research says otherwise, simply doesn't compute.

 

Highly unlikely the cruise lines will implement higher salaries for crew, reduce profit and eliminate HSC. very unlikely.
Agreed. It just wouldn't make sense.
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Americans, despite all our economic challenges, are still among the richest paid workers in the world. Perhaps it's time Americans "make up some of the shortfall" in income between how much Americans earn and how much those who serve us on cruise lines earn. Sounds silly eh? However, that is precisely the same way your comment is perceived by people who invest in mutual funds that have ownership interest in CCL. They're in it for the money. Saying that they should lower profit margins by covering the cost of the HSC instead of the passenger, when market research says otherwise, simply doesn't compute.

 

 

The funny thing is, it doesn't sound silly to me at all. But out of the scope of this discussion.

 

Suffice to say that there is food for thought here, and I feel increasingly uncomfortable with the HSC charge and all that it implies. All I can do is vote with my feet, so to speak, so I believe I will cancel my Prinsendam cruise and book with a different company that handles it in a way I can support.

 

If nothing else, this thread has certainly helped crystallize my views!

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I highly doubt the anti-autogratuity crowd (which does include us either) would be happy if their cruise prices increased by more than the current cost of the HSC.

 

They want the hsc included in fare without any further fare increases over and above the HSC from what I have understood despite the consequences to the crew.

 

Disagree.. Cruise fares vary and fluctuate all the time anyway, and if HAL simply began factoring the HSC (adjusted fairly and appropriately) into future fares, folks would likely welcome the change as being a lot 'cleaner' than being forced to deal with the current onboard autogratuity tipping process. They'd likely grumble initially, but they'd eventually get over it.

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Except for one thing: if it's not mandated by law then we'll be at least one cruise line that isn't doing it and that cruise lines fares will appear two too many purchasers as substantially lower even know they are effectively the same price. Customers will reward the fare + gratuities cruise lines so much that the 'cleaner' Cruise Line would lose far too much business.

 

By the same token if it was mandated by law you're absolutely right. It'll be a non-issue within a couple of years.

 

This message may have been entered using voice recognition. Please excuse any typos.

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Except for one thing: if it's not mandated by law then we'll be at least one cruise line that isn't doing it and that cruise lines fares will appear two too many purchasers as substantially lower even know they are effectively the same price. Customers will reward the fare + gratuities cruise lines so much that the 'cleaner' Cruise Line would lose far too much business.

 

That's fine, let the market dictate. The price breaks between lines doing it and lines not doing it would likely be relatively small (I think 'substantial' is a stretch), and since most cruisers are loyal to 'their' brands, they would stick with them and gladly accept the slightly higher upfront fares in lieu of the alternative dreaded autogratuity.

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Which is what we have today.

 

Precisely.. And if certain cruise lines began incorporating HSC into their fares, the market would continue to dictate. And I'm arguing that not much would change in terms of which lines folks cruised with. It could end up being received well enough that the lines not doing it would see the success of it and fall in line with the practice.

 

Similar to years ago when NCL pioneered this 'strange' new dining concept called 'anytime dining'. It didn't take long for every other line to begin offering their own versions of the highly successful practice.

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It could end up being received well enough that the lines not doing it would see the success of it and fall in line with the practice.
If only there was some way to get a good insight into customers interest in things changing without actually risking making a decision that sub-optimizes.
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Similar to years ago when NCL pioneered this 'strange' new dining concept called 'anytime dining'. It didn't take long for every other line to begin offering their own versions of the highly successful practice.

No, it's not similar.

 

All else being equal (cabin category, TA perqs, purchasing at the same time), people are paying the same amount to get the same dinner. The only difference is preference. There is no surcharge for open seating.

 

If the HSC were added to the fare, people would have to pay more so that recipients would get the same amount as they do now. If given a choice of paying extra to get the same thing, or keeping the HSC separate, most people are smart enough to pay less and keep the HSC.

 

But presumably we will never know, since no line will run the two choices at the same time.

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Anybody remember or know which was the first line to institute auto gratuities/tips/service charge? I don't. Somebody had to be first unless it was one of those "bright ideas" that concurrently hit all the mass market lines. I roughly remember when HAL did and admittedly was a initially a bit put off by it even though we had been tipping. After our first cruise with the Hotel Service Charge in place we liked it. Not as much thought about how much cash money we had to have the last night. We still handed out additional tips but certainly not to everybody or in the amounts we'd tipped before.

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Anybody remember or know which was the first line to institute auto gratuities/tips/service charge? I don't. Somebody had to be first unless it was one of those "bright ideas" that concurrently hit all the mass market lines. I roughly remember when HAL did and admittedly was a initially a bit put off by it even though we had been tipping. After our first cruise with the Hotel Service Charge in place we liked it. Not as much thought about how much cash money we had to have the last night. We still handed out additional tips but certainly not to everybody or in the amounts we'd tipped before.

 

I don't remember but way back when we cruised NCL it was originally a recommended $ for your cabin steward, $ for his assistant, $ for the dining stewards etc. When they introduced their HSC I was relieved as it meant needing less cash. I also realized that if I were not prone to tip extra, it would have been less money that what I had been tipping previously.

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Experiments happen...a few years ago Princess began posting cruise pricing that included port fees and taxes. It was made clear in the listing how much it was, but the final price had those items included.

 

It lasted about three months, as I remember.

 

Personally I think the die is cast and there will be little to no changes made to the HSC anytime soon.

 

As to when it all started, our very first HAL cruise was in 2004 and the CD on that cruise said that the auto-tip, as it came to be known, had just been instituted across the fleet. To add, our very first cruise was on Carnival in 2003 and the auto-tip was already a 'thing' with them.

 

As for tipping to supplement crew wages, reports are that Cunard started it all...a very long time ago, long before they were part of Carnival.

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If the HSC were added to the fare, people would have to pay more so that recipients would get the same amount as they do now. If given a choice of paying extra to get the same thing, or keeping the HSC separate, most people are smart enough to pay less and keep the HSC.

 

But presumably we will never know, since no line will run the two choices at the same time.

 

I agree. That would be self defeating and would never happen. Lines, mostly the luxury all inclusive ones, that don't have a separate auto gratuities/tips/hotel service charge usually say something along the lines of "tipping/gratuities are not expected or required". They usually say "our staff is paid well" or " tips/gratuities are included in the fare". There's never a mention of how or what staff is paid or what if any amount of the fare is supposedly set aside for tips/gratuities. Generally speaking if you ask a senior staff member about tipping you'll be told it's not required. If pressed they'll sometimes suggest you donate to a crew fund which is used for various extras for the crew.

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If only there was some way to get a good insight into customers interest in things changing without actually risking making a decision that sub-optimizes.

 

Ahh, the proverbial crystal ball, which of course nobody has. Human nature is pretty much that most folks don't like change at first, then they adapt over time.

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That's fine, let the market dictate. The price breaks between lines doing it and lines not doing it would likely be relatively small (I think 'substantial' is a stretch), and since most cruisers are loyal to 'their' brands, they would stick with them and gladly accept the slightly higher upfront fares in lieu of the alternative dreaded autogratuity.

 

First of all, the autogratuity isn't 'dreaded'. Gratuities are a very easily handled part of every day life.

 

Second, you should present some facts backing up your claims that "doing it would be relatively small".

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First of all, the autogratuity isn't 'dreaded'. Gratuities are a very easily handled part of every day life.

 

Second, you should present some facts backing up your claims that "doing it would be relatively small".

 

Autogratuity is 'dreaded' by a lot of folks (not including us BTW). All one has to do is read a few threads here on the subject to come to that obvious conclusion.

 

Or I'm sure you have seen the long lines at the guest services desk waiting for their opportunity to remove those dreaded autogratuities.

 

Obviously nobody can know what the increase in fare would be, we can only extrapolate from the starting point of current $13.50 HSC. The potential increase in fare would reasonably need to be in line with this... which is minimal.

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Ahh, the proverbial crystal ball, which of course nobody has.
Ah there's this new thing called science. *wink*

 

 

 

This message may have been entered using voice recognition. Please excuse any typos.

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I agree. That would be self defeating and would never happen. Lines, mostly the luxury all inclusive ones, that don't have a separate auto gratuities/tips/hotel service charge usually say something along the lines of "tipping/gratuities are not expected or required".
And so it is self defeating also because it would put the mainstream and upscale divisions in competition with the luxury divisions of the corporation.
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And so it is self defeating also because it would put the mainstream and upscale divisions in competition with the luxury divisions of the corporation.

 

Only in a very minor way as there are a lot more significant differences than how gratuities are handled.

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Only in a very minor way as there are a lot more significant differences than how gratuities are handled.
Perhaps, but I'd look at this more broadly that just gratuities, as the contrast between offering a fare+fees (Holland America) versus all-inclusive (Seabourn) pricing model.
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Obviously nobody can know what the increase in fare would be, we can only extrapolate from the starting point of current $13.50 HSC. The potential increase in fare would reasonably need to be in line with this... which is minimal.

 

Given how many times we've heard people report long lines at reception to take the charge off, it would seem to me that a mandatory charge (call it a resort tax) of $13.50 or similar on each person would perhaps negate the purported 'tax' issue, since the pool would be considerably larger.

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