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Australia Gratuities?

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I saw some articles from a year or so ago that daily gratuities are included in the price for Australia and New Zealand cruises. Is this still the case? Does it apply for those who book from the US? Other than the articles, I see nothing on the web site.

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I believe it is government regulation in some countries. Displayed prices should show total prices. Gratuities are deem to be compulsory.

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If you book through the Australian RC website or a travel agent the price includes gratitudes. This changed a couple of years ago. Just think of the gratitudes as a service charge. It's so much better just to see the advertised price as the total price you will pay. For excellent service you can still get envelopes from guest services to tip additionally.

 

 

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If you book through the Australian RC website or a travel agent the price includes gratitudes. This changed a couple of years ago. Just think of the gratitudes as a service charge. It's so much better just to see the advertised price as the total price you will pay. For excellent service you can still get envelopes from guest services to tip additionally.

 

 

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I never knew this. Perhaps it is why the drink packages are priced a lot higher than they are on the US cruises?

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I never knew this. Perhaps it is why the drink packages are priced a lot higher than they are on the US cruises?

No, it's because, according to the F&B manager on either the Explorer or the Voyager that Australians drink more pp pd than any other nationality, including the Russians. I noted that the Asia cruise on mariner had the same drink package for more than $20 AUD less than the Australian cruises I've booked.

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I never knew this. Perhaps it is why the drink packages are priced a lot higher than they are on the US cruises?

I believe the drink package prices on UK based cruises also include gratuities.

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I believe it is government regulation in some countries. Displayed prices should show total prices. Gratuities are deem to be compulsory.

 

It's simpler than that. A typical Aussie or Kiwi will simply refuse to pay gratuities. You are also right that in NZ and Australia the legislation does not allow the type of advertising that RCL engages in anyway.

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Australians and New Zealanders are not cultures where tipping is commonly expected. Our minimum wages are higher than some other countries. Service staff are not reliant on tips. I heard that Royal Caribbean staff were less keen to work the Australian routes as they received less income from tips. Gratitudes being part of the cruise fare makes it fairer for all. Australians and New Zealanders are not out to reduce the incomes of hardworking cruise ship employees and I am really happy that this is now included .I will give extra cash in an envelope at the end of a cruise to staff whom have helped me and deserve to have this recognised.

 

 

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I think the Australian drink packages are higher due to the value of the Australian dollar versus the American dollar, plus gratitudes are also included in the price.

 

And yes, Aussies like a beer or 12.......... Royal has gotta make their money some how to pay for their new ships.

 

 

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Drink packages on Australian ships have actually been cheaper than US ships for some time.

 

 

However, the price charged is gratuity inclusive, not exclusive. The price you see is the price charged, rather than getting extras charged when you go to pay. The same with drinks onboard. The price advertised includes gratuities, so you don't get charged that extra when you go to pay. Same price in the end, just it's one price instead of two.

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Based on above - then I guess the price limit for drinks included in the package is 15USD on the ship - same way as for cruises leaving from UK (12USD + 18% gratuity)?

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Based on above - then I guess the price limit for drinks included in the package is 15USD on the ship - same way as for cruises leaving from UK (12USD + 18% gratuity)?

That varies by ship. If there's a price listed on board, that's without grats, so it is better to discuss drink prices without grats.

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That varies by ship. If there's a price listed on board, that's without grats, so it is better to discuss drink prices without grats.

 

Are you sure? Above is stated otherwise: "The same with drinks onboard. The price advertised includes gratuities, so you don't get charged that extra when you go to pay. Same price in the end, just it's one price instead of two."

 

And if it is depending based on ship - what is Royal Caribbean policy? Have cruised on Celebrity from UK and they were showing price onboard including gratuity for drinks. Now we are talking about Australia and Royal Caribbean but was assuming they might have similar policy?

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Kind of off topic but do we tip normally (usually around 20%) when taking cabs and eating in Australia and NZ?

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Kind of off topic but do we tip normally (usually around 20%) when taking cabs and eating in Australia and NZ?
no, tipping is not expected.

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Are you sure? Above is stated otherwise: "The same with drinks onboard. The price advertised includes gratuities, so you don't get charged that extra when you go to pay. Same price in the end, just it's one price instead of two."

 

And if it is depending based on ship - what is Royal Caribbean policy? Have cruised on Celebrity from UK and they were showing price onboard including gratuity for drinks.

Many times, there are no prices listed, hence my wording "if price is listed". I have not seen menus listing prices with grats included since that is usually some oddball amount (and when they are listed they are usually in USD which would lead to lots of conversions for the locals). Typically when the price is higher on a different ship, the drink package limit is raised to cover the same drinks.

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Many times, there are no prices listed, hence my wording "if price is listed". I don't see them making menus listing prices with grats included since that is usually some oddball amount (and in USD which would lead to lots of conversions for the locals). Typically when the price is higher on a different ship, the drink package limit is raised to cover the same drinks.

 

Well on Celebrity UK cruise they listed the price including 18% gratuity (rounding was made up / down to get full dollar prices) and limit was also raised for drinks package.

 

I guess best answer is to ask when entering the ship what is their policy.

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Well on Celebrity UK cruise they listed the price including 18% gratuity (rounding was made up / down to get full dollar prices) and limit was also raised for drinks package.

The pricing on many things seems to be so dynamic that RCI (does some things differently than Celebrity) may not want to print stuff with prices. I wonder what happens on a TA - do they switch out the menus with grats included for those that don't when they leave port?:rolleyes:

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The pricing on many things seems to be so dynamic that RCI (does some things differently than Celebrity) may not want to print stuff with prices. I wonder what happens on a TA - do they switch out the menus with grats included for those that don't when they leave port?:rolleyes:

 

I assume they will change price list after closing on night before disembarkation / embarkation morning when they start first cruise from different "pricing area". I guess it is not that big thing.

 

Hopefully someone who has cruised on Royal Caribbean from Australia could confirm how the prices are presented on board.

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Prices on board Australian based royal ships are in USD but I'm not sure if that includes the 18% gratitudes or not?

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Noticing that people in the USA are also concerned by gratitudes and ensuring all staff are fairly paid. If Royal can change the policy for Australian cruisers why can they change it for the USA as well?One price gratitudes included and no removal.

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Noticing that people in the USA are also concerned by gratitudes and ensuring all staff are fairly paid. If Royal can change the policy for Australian cruisers why can they change it for the USA as well?One price gratitudes included and no removal.

 

I really wish the cruise industry would head toward this model, but I just don't see it happening.

 

Put bluntly, I think the answer to your question is that the cruise lines want to mislead people. That's actually too strong. The better way to say it is that the cruise lines want to use marketing to make the cruises appear as cheap as possible to the consumer to induce them to try to book, but then to add on charges on the back end after the consumer has already committed. In addition, online travel agencies make comparison shopping much easier. When someone searches for a Caribbean cruise on one of the big box agencies, you want to get on that first page with a number that's as low as possible. It's the same impulse that makes hotels charge a resort fee. For whatever reason, more people will book a room advertised as "$99" with a $25 resort fee, than would book it if it were advertised as $124.

 

It's weird that such psychological forces work so well in marketing but they undoubtedly do. The difference between grocery stores marketing a product as $4.99 and $5.00 is worth literally billions of dollars -- even giving away the penny. It just works.

 

More people will book the $999 cruise, even if they know that tips will be extra, than will book the $1093.50 all included cruise.

 

Also, there are a significant number of first time or forgetful cruisers that forget about the gratuities are and genuinely misled by not reading the fine print until they are on board or past final payment. Even if that's only a small segment, it's millions or billions of dollars.

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Prices on board Australian based royal ships are in USD but I'm not sure if that includes the 18% gratitudes or not?

I believe the gratuities are included when prices are shown onboard for Australian based cruises.

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For every cruised booked worldwide after 16 December 2016 the onboard gratuities are included and not removal for all booking done thru an Australian or New Zealand Travel Agent. This includes booking thru Royal Caribbean.

From the start of the 2014/15 cruise season in Australia the gratuities on drinks were included in the price. NO tipping amount is shown on receipt.

 

 

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From the start of the 2014/15 cruise season in Australia the gratuities on drinks were included in the price. NO tipping amount is shown on receipt.

So every Aussie season they reprogram all the bar point of sale terminals to eliminate the tip line?

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So every Aussie season they reprogram all the bar point of sale terminals to eliminate the tip line?

They also have two sets of drink menus, with and without gratuity.

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Noticing that people in the USA are also concerned by gratitudes and ensuring all staff are fairly paid. If Royal can change the policy for Australian cruisers why can they change it for the USA as well?One price gratitudes included and no removal.

 

I've read that there are income tax benefits for the crew in receiving their compensation split in this way - pay+tips. I wouldn't know but just maybe tips go under-reported:)

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So every Aussie season they reprogram all the bar point of sale terminals to eliminate the tip line?

I believe they did that for ships sailing out of Southampton UK also. If a beer costs $6 + 18% = $7.08, the advertised charge for the beer would be $7.08 or maybe they rounded it down to $7.00.

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Kind of off topic but do we tip normally (usually around 20%) when taking cabs and eating in Australia and NZ?

 

Not expected in cabs - although I usually just say "make it $30" if the bill is around $27 or $28 - raising it a couple of dollars. If the cab is in a tourist area and they hear an American accent, they might be hopeful but it still isn't expected.

 

Definitely not expected at hair salons - I could even imagine someone being insulted at being offered a tip.

 

Some staff at top hotels might be appreciative of a tip but it certainly isn't required.

 

Some higher end restaurants will have a 10% 'service charge' included on the bill.

 

Australian minimum wage is currently $18.29 AUD per hour plus casual employees get an additional minimum 25% casual loading to compensate for not getting holiday or sick leave entitlements etc. There are lower rates for children and trainees. Citizens and permanent residents are covered by the national medicare system.

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I assume they will change price list after closing on night before disembarkation / embarkation morning when they start first cruise from different "pricing area". I guess it is not that big thing.

 

Yep, just like changing menus in the dining room each day.

 

Sometimes it means there aren't many menus around day 1 as they haven't put the new ones out yet.

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Hopefully someone who has cruised on Royal Caribbean from Australia could confirm how the prices are presented on board.

 

All prices are presented with gratuities included. It's the law here.

 

Drinks packages cover up to $14.

 

For interest, in all establishments tax has to be included in the sticker/menu price also (this only really applies off the ship)

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All prices are presented with gratuities included. It's the law here.

 

Drinks packages cover up to $14.

 

For interest, in all establishments tax has to be included in the sticker/menu price also (this only really applies off the ship)

 

Thanks for information, make things so much simpler. Am also used to same in Finland, all prices shown have to include VAT.

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The answer was stated a few times, but to reiterate, yes the price in AU seems higher bc grats are included. It's not an AU custom to tip for anything. (In some countries its even sen as offensive). I just wanted to cosign on the fact that it should automatically be included in the states too. People who like to go complain and get them off are usually just being cheap. If they truly did have a bad experience, they probably would have asked to switch servers. So now they aren't paying the server who did attend to them. Also, when you take off your whole gratuity it affects everyone. Including bar servers who did a good job, your cabin stewards, buffet servers who clean up after you, or even your dinner server (if your complaint was about something else). The fact that all places even have a choice to tip is sad. But I agree it the way of companies claiming their product is cheaper then it really is. It is almost like they're lying to you. (But I also will be honest, I live in a place where you don't tip and customer service can be atrocious a lot of times. Servers and industry people just don't care because they're being paid regardless how they treat you. So maybe there is no such thing as "fair" in this world :()

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But I agree it the way of companies claiming their product is cheaper then it really is. It is almost like they're lying to you.

 

This is exactly why it is the way it is. It is the law that all advertised prices must reflect the actual price you will pay including all "compulsory" fees and also taxes. It was determined that the gratuities on cruises were fairly much a required part of the service and hence must be included in the advertised price.

 

It's quite nice that in Australia if anything, including a cruise, is advertised for $2000 you must be able to buy it for exactly $2000 cash. No hidden extras for tips, taxes or anything else.

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I didn't know Australia and New Zealand were non-tipping countries. Makes me want to visit even more :) If only it didn't take 30 hours to get there...

 

 

I'm a huge proponent of the price tag showing the actual price. I grew up in Montana, which has no sales tax, and it was fantastic. Visiting a couple Asian countries, I learned that restaurants have just as good, or better, service with no tips expected. Really wish it could be like that here, even with prices going higher to compensate.

 

 

I really wish the cruise industry would head toward this model, but I just don't see it happening.

 

Put bluntly, I think the answer to your question is that the cruise lines want to mislead people. That's actually too strong. The better way to say it is that the cruise lines want to use marketing to make the cruises appear as cheap as possible to the consumer...

 

 

This is correct. Us American's love to be misled, but probably applies to anyone. I vividly remember when JC Penny decided to drop the deceptive fake 'sales' and actually put real prices on all their stuff. Business tanked, big time. Turns out, people *liked* the fake sales because it made them feel like they got a good deal, even though they were paying everyday prices.

 

 

I've read that there are income tax benefits for the crew in receiving their compensation split in this way - pay+tips. I wouldn't know but just maybe tips go under-reported:)

 

If they were US employees, perhaps, but they're not. One of the big reasons cruise ships do not flag themselves in the US unless they absolutely have to (just Hawaii since they don't visit a foreign port).

 

Still, the auto-gratuities would likely get reported on their W-2's. Restaurant workers love cash tips, because they won't report them.

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