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Ncl Butler Tipping

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When people ask,,,,

 

Butler: $10-$15 per person in room per day of cruise.

 

 

Concierge: $5-$10 per person in room per day of cruise.

 

 

Steward (who is covered by the DSC): $5-$10 per person in room per day of cruise extra to service your large room

 

You should always tip whatever you feel is fair depending on service rendered and your financial ability. That having been said I need a little math help on a $10 to $20 tip per day for the Concierge. I believe that on the Breakaway there are 80 suites. If that is the correct number and there is one concierge, that would mean the concierge would receive a daily average tip total of $1,200 dollars or about $36,000 a month. Even if the Concierge shares generously with his assistants he will probably be able to retire as a wealthy and young man. I believe Butlers manage 6 suites on average meaning they would receive over $4,000 per month in tips. A measly sum compared to our Concierge who will probably be cruising in an Owners Suite next year.

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Remember the Butler and pals are not exclusive to you.

It’s a farce, NCL charges you to be exclusive in the Haven, then attempts to rob your pockets for tips, remember you pay more DSC in Haven, and apparently no one in the Haven gets it?

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I have cruised extensively in suites in the past but have evolved into a balcony cruiser recently. I only share this as background as I think it affords me some reasonable basis to compare the extra benefits of butler / concierge / suite life. Many on this board will have had similar experiences.

 

Like many others on this thread I agree wholeheartedly that the tip amount should reflect the level of service rendered. I also agree that tipping is a personal matter but to a much lesser extent. Tipping, however, while not officially required by NCL, is a real expectation much like it is in restaurants in North America and many other parts of the world. As such, only through collective guidance and sharing can we come to understand what the norm may be. For instance we collectively know that 15-20% of a restaurant tab is a relative norm for a tip in a North American venue (with some variances for region or dining type). We're even being "educated" on this daily with those handy payment machines conveniently giving us 15% / 18% / 20% tip options on screen.

 

There are a couple of things that seem relevant to me as someone who has spent a long career designing, understanding, and developing action plans based on research methods including qualitative and quantitative feedback mechanisms:

 

1) A high percentage of people (greater then 50%) will answer survey questions in a self-aggrandizing or aspirational way (including completely blind / anonymous mechanisms). One recent example comes from the green power sector. Electricity purchasers were asked would they spend more money to purchase power from green sources. ~40% of respondents said yes you fewer than 10% actually do when given the option. This is the old take it with a rain of salt adage.

 

2) Bell curves exist for a reason. The $15 pp/pd crowd would be the far right of the curve and the 'pretend not to see the staff on the last day" crowd would be the far left. Anecdotally I would make an informed guess that ~$7-10 per suite per day (not per guest per day) would be the fat part of the bell curve. I make no comment on this is right or is expected - its just my thoughts on what likely really happens. We have formed some great relationships with butlers and concierges on past sailings to the point where we felt comfortable in asking about common practice and expectation (of course they aim high in these conversations).

 

The one point I've seen a number of times in this thread that I think is really not right or fair is the line of thinking that what you should tip should at all be informed by your personal budget / financial situation. That has ZERO bearing on the service you receive. Now if you have budget constraints and squeeze into a suite for a once in a lifetime trip that squeezing should include the knowledge that if you use the butler / concierge you should tip them fairly based on their efforts and not the contents of your bank account.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that if you need to be budget-conscious then don't ask for anything extra from the butler / concierge as opposed to working them and stiffing them in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CDNsteelman,    I agree that the butler/concierge should get a fair, reasonable tip based on service provided however one point that a lot of people miss is that butler/concierge services are already being paid for by the guest in the form of high premium fares.  To me a tip is a bonus for going above and beyond basic services.

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5 minutes ago, ColinIllinois said:

CDNsteelman,    I agree that the butler/concierge should get a fair, reasonable tip based on service provided however one point that a lot of people miss is that butler/concierge services are already being paid for by the guest in the form of high premium fares.  To me a tip is a bonus for going above and beyond basic services.

Totally agree - if you make no extra requests beyond the basis duties then any tip should reflect that and I would hazard to guess that the butlers and concierges themselves would agree with that.

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Or just request a refund of your DSC and give the money to the Butler and make sure the Steward knows you did that.  Should create some fun between the steward and butler.

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I think part of the issue some have is just the sheer amount of tips we now need to give.  Most of us get that tips are part of the culture and are happy to give.  But not so much when it comes to 20% of the entire cruise fare.    

 

If flight attendants were a tipped position, I would never dream of tipping them 20% of the cost of the first class flight  just because they bring us snacks, drinks, meals..  We would tip them what an equivalent server for the meal, snacks, drinks. 

 

On NCL if you add up the DSC, 20% on speciality meals and beverages, extra tips for; Butler, Concierge, room steward, courtyard butler, Haven Servers, room steward.. you are typically right around $600 pp/per week. That's not an exaggerated number.  The total cruise fare is likely under 3k pp pre tips so it truly is around 20% of the cruise fare.  When you get this high in what you are shelling out, folks start to pull back and are like wait a minute something isn't right here.  

 

Some of the tips are a  double/ triple dip .  For instance I like to order speciality meals for dinner and have them in my stateroom on port intensive sailings.  So I pay the servers in general who are not serving me the meal with my dsc, t then I get to pay 20% of the cost of the speciality meal.  Then I get to give the butler a tip as well because he is my actual server.  Same goes for the 20% bar charges.  It gets more skewed for someone like me who doesn't drink alcohol and wants speciality dinners for every night of the sailing..  Someone who has the bev pkg can at least say, well I drank quite a bit so can justify the tips I paid with the free pkg.  But if you don't drink alcohol you pay for the speciality coffee, the soda in a can, the water... and as ncl clearly states - none of the 20% is going to the butler actually providing the service.  I totally see where folks are coming from when they cry afoul. Here you are - getting all this great service, paying all these gratuities and then having excellent butler taking excellent care of you and he's not even in the mix for any of the $ you shelled out.   

 

To actually tip out everyone on the ship that you are supposed to, pay the dsc, and reward great service you really are at about 20% of the fare.  So in essence you are tipping staff on the actual cost of your room, the fuel... I can see where folks start to scoff and the tipping threads get brought up again and again.  

 

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On 3/26/2018 at 8:14 AM, modern said:

We are going on the NCL Dawn in 2019, a seven day cruise, and are staying in the 3 bedroom garden villa. We will have a butler and I was wonder how much to tip the butler? If anyone has stayed in the room and has an idea that would be great, or if you know how much to tip that would help too.

 

 

 

 

You will get all kinds of answers as to what is the "correct" amount to tip where in fact there is no such thing.  The only right answer about tipping is what I have seen one or two people say in the past.

Tip anyone you want, any time you want, how ever much you want.  The person you are tipping will not turn it down.  There is no "how much to tip".

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I just got back from sailing in the Haven on the Escape and during the debarkation spiel, Patrick, the concierge, added the typical, "and the Butler is not included in the DSC".  Interestingly, he did not mention that the concierge is not included (which I thought was classy of him), but did say that the beverage servers were not included.  This surprised me.  Aren't they compensated with the gratuity added to the UBP?  I did end up tipping extra to the Haven bartenders at the end because they were fabulous, and tipped other bartenders around the ship intermittently, but I assumed this was in addition to the charge added to the UBP.  😞

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Cabin Stewards and Butlers
Among staffers, you'll likely interact with your cabin attendant the most during the course of your cruise. While the automatic service charges will cover their basic gratuities, it's generally considered good form to tip the
m a bit extra for a job well done, especially if you have made any special requests. Should you choose to, for a seven-night cruise, consider slipping them $15 to $20 at the start of the cruise to ensure special attention to your stateroom and give them another $15 to $20 at the cruise's end -- this works out to about an additional $2 to $3 per person, per day, for the duration of the cruise, though you can obviously make it less or more depending on the level of interaction and satisfaction.

Likewise, if you are in a suite, or aboard a luxury sailing, you may have a butler assigned to your room, in lieu of a cabin steward. Since they typically have more duties to meet (bringing trays of tea or hors d'oeuvres, keeping your preferred beverages in stock, shining shoes, etc.), a good guideline, if you've satisfactorily utilized their services, is a supplementary tip of $3 to $5 per night, per person -- the total of which ($42 to $70 for two, for a seven-night cruise) might also best be split and distributed at both the cruise's onset and conclusion.

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6 minutes ago, FSCHAUER said:

Cabin Stewards and Butlers
Among staffers, you'll likely interact with your cabin attendant the most during the course of your cruise. While the automatic service charges will cover their basic gratuities, it's generally considered good form to tip the
m a bit extra for a job well done, especially if you have made any special requests. Should you choose to, for a seven-night cruise, consider slipping them $15 to $20 at the start of the cruise to ensure special attention to your stateroom and give them another $15 to $20 at the cruise's end -- this works out to about an additional $2 to $3 per person, per day, for the duration of the cruise, though you can obviously make it less or more depending on the level of interaction and satisfaction.

Likewise, if you are in a suite, or aboard a luxury sailing, you may have a butler assigned to your room, in lieu of a cabin steward. Since they typically have more duties to meet (bringing trays of tea or hors d'oeuvres, keeping your preferred beverages in stock, shining shoes, etc.), a good guideline, if you've satisfactorily utilized their services, is a supplementary tip of $3 to $5 per night, per person -- the total of which ($42 to $70 for two, for a seven-night cruise) might also best be split and distributed at both the cruise's onset and conclusion.

Where is this a quote from?

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6 minutes ago, Cindyscruising said:

Where is this a quote from?

Cruise Critic August 2018 see #84 above

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14 hours ago, DebQ5 said:

I just got back from sailing in the Haven on the Escape and during the debarkation spiel, Patrick, the concierge, added the typical, "and the Butler is not included in the DSC".  Interestingly, he did not mention that the concierge is not included (which I thought was classy of him), but did say that the beverage servers were not included.  This surprised me.  Aren't they compensated with the gratuity added to the UBP?  I did end up tipping extra to the Haven bartenders at the end because they were fabulous, and tipped other bartenders around the ship intermittently, but I assumed this was in addition to the charge added to the UBP.  😞

He’s correct in saying the beverage service isn’t included in the dsc.  That’s why 20% grats added onto beverage purchase.  If you have the ubp you paid 20% grats of the ubp price. Ncl gives you the ubp and if you take perk you paid the 20% grats. The only positions not covered in tips for suites is Butler, concierge and kids club.  Beverage and spa service not covered in dsc tips but they are covered in 20% automatic gratuity tacked on.

 

The only fuzzy and double/triple tip aspect is the specialty dining for meals delivered to room.  Ncl charges extra dsc for suites.  so you pay the 17.50 for room steward & included dining service, the 20% grats for beverage and specialty dining and then pay whatever gratuity you feel appropriate to butler for actually being your server.

 

If you have the ubp and are making good use of it it’s not much extra to tip out a little extra.  If you’re just breaking even or didn’t take the ubp then it’s 20% plus whatever else you want to give.  

 

If you’re on a longer sailing and purchase extra specialty dining like we do, and have the butler serve you in room then the ncl rake on your meals is probably exceeding what most would be comfortable tipping out.  Figure it’s 20% of whatever you order, 17.50 of which none goes to butler but you paid it nonetheless so as not to screw over the other positions it includes, and then a cash tip to butler who supposedly doesn’t get a dime of the 20% mandatory gratuity  charged and clearly doesn’t get any of your dsc. 

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19 minutes ago, littlelulu01 said:

He’s correct in saying the beverage service isn’t included in the dsc.  That’s why 20% grats added onto beverage purchase.  If you have the ubp you paid 20% grats of the ubp price. Ncl gives you the ubp and if you take perk you paid the 20% grats. The only positions not covered in tips for suites is Butler, concierge and kids club.  Beverage and spa service not covered in dsc tips but they are covered in 20% automatic gratuity tacked on.

 

The only fuzzy and double/triple tip aspect is the specialty dining for meals delivered to room.  Ncl charges extra dsc for suites.  so you pay the 17.50 for room steward & included dining service, the 20% grats for beverage and specialty dining and then pay whatever gratuity you feel appropriate to butler for actually being your server.

 

If you have the ubp and are making good use of it it’s not much extra to tip out a little extra.  If you’re just breaking even or didn’t take the ubp then it’s 20% plus whatever else you want to give.  

 

If you’re on a longer sailing and purchase extra specialty dining like we do, and have the butler serve you in room then the ncl rake on your meals is probably exceeding what most would be comfortable tipping out.  Figure it’s 20% of whatever you order, 17.50 of which none goes to butler but you paid it nonetheless so as not to screw over the other positions it includes, and then a cash tip to butler who supposedly doesn’t get a dime of the 20% mandatory gratuity  charged and clearly doesn’t get any of your dsc. 

 

Yes, he was correct, but I think he should have specified that they (bar tenders, wait staff) are covered in another way if you have the UBP.  In the Haven you get all the perks, but I suppose someone may choose not to take it as the 20% add-on might be more than the few drinks they get.  These people would be expected to tip per drink I suppose?  Or have I heard in the past that the 20% is automatically added per drink?  Do we think the bartenders and servers see that extra money?  As I said, I have no trouble tipping, but I didn't tip every server every drink because I did choose the package and I did pay the 20% charge for it.  

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3 hours ago, DebQ5 said:

 

Yes, he was correct, but I think he should have specified that they (bar tenders, wait staff) are covered in another way if you have the UBP.  In the Haven you get all the perks, but I suppose someone may choose not to take it as the 20% add-on might be more than the few drinks they get.  These people would be expected to tip per drink I suppose?  Or have I heard in the past that the 20% is automatically added per drink?  Do we think the bartenders and servers see that extra money?  As I said, I have no trouble tipping, but I didn't tip every server every drink because I did choose the package and I did pay the 20% charge for it.  

20% mandatory gratuity is added to every drink purchase if no ubp. I’d say bartender is likely not getting the full 20%.  He’s a rich man if he is.  Same for the specialty restaurant servers.

 

Another big clue bartender isn’t getting the 20% is that the free ubp can’t be switched to a free soda pkg. if they are really interested in giving suite passengers something free it’s simple to let them switch to a soda pkg and pay grats on that.  Free ubp is a waste on me because I don’t drink.  They won’t budge on switch out to a soda pkg unless you’re under 21. This is likely because the “gratuity” on the package is something other than gratuity. It’s a pretty ingenious extra cash grab.  Give someone a “free” ultimate beverage package and no matter if they drink alcohol or soda or coffee or bottles of water ncl is still making about the same extra revenue per passenger.  I actually pay more than the alcohol drinker.  I get to purchase a soda pkg at zero discount, pay for every coffee, every water...

 

I think a little bit of the gratuity on drinks goes to a bartender.  Have no idea if any of the 20% gratuity on waters or soda cans and specialty dining  I consume from room goes to butler but I would say it’s likely nothing.  It seems they get a base salary and the opportunity to earn cash tips from passengers.  I’ve asked a few different butlers about adding a tip into the extra tip line on the specialty dinners.  They say don’t bother because it won’t get to them.  They’re working for the cash tips given at end of sailing. 

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Personally I think the cruise industry should just pay the staff, it’s not my problem to worry who I’ve tipped and who I haven’t, NCL are now charging more than enough for the pleasure.

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29 minutes ago, Trimone said:

Personally I think the cruise industry should just pay the staff, it’s not my problem to worry who I’ve tipped and who I haven’t, NCL are now charging more than enough for the pleasure.

yup just like restaurants should pay waitstaff, only problem with that is when your 20 dollar steak becomes a 50 dollar steak and your 3000 dollar cruise becomes a 7,000 dollar cruise everyone will have a different gripe 

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For what it is worth here is what I have done in the past.

 

We have stayed in the Haven on several occasions (family of 4). We are low maintenance I think in all of our Haven/Suite cruises (approx 7 cruises) we have only called the butler once with a special request. Having said that we obviously appreciate the work the butler does for us (bring the daily snack, help the steward clean the cabin and replenish ice and coffee).   On a 7 day cruise we have typically tipped $100. My logic is that while the butler does not do anything special for us (i.e. we don't make requests) he/she does do daily stuff that helps us and I assume their compensation assumes they will receive tips from all guests. I feel comfortable with $100 but would likely do more if I was constantly asking the butler for special requests.

 

For the concierge I have tipped from $0 to $60 with my usual amount $40-$50. I book all of our dining, shows and excursions before we get on the boat so in many cases I have had to make no requests of the concierge. On one cruise the concierge did not introduce herself and we did not have any requests. Because she did nothing to even meet us we did not tip anything. In most cases we end up with a couple of requests - perhaps changing a dining reservation, adding an excursion or helping with a wrong charge on our account. We have also cruised with outstanding concierge's who have checked in with us daily even if we did not need any assistance. So with the one exception I have tipped $40-$60 which I thought was reasonable given we are low maintenance. 

 

I don't usually add an extra tip for the cabin steward as the Haven comes with a larger than normal daily service charge which I assume is taken into account when setting compensation for cabin stewards. Where we have made  special requests or had exceptional service I have provided an additional tip of $20-$40.

 

Like many I have often wondered if I am tipping enough as it is next to impossible to get any official guidelines. Ultimately I am comfortable with the amounts above and feel they are appropriate (but open to being told otherwise). 

 

   

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On 8/10/2018 at 6:20 AM, njkate said:

Right???? I wonder if poster actually tips that or just puffing their chest out.

We are 3 in a 2 bedroom Haven on a very port intensive cruise, I doubt we will use the butler much, all ready booked my shows, so may just use concierge to get off the ship. Is that worth $30 a day??/ Not in my book.

There is no way I'm tipping a butler we will hardly, if at all, use $45 a day

Totally agree!  We are paying over $300 in tips for 9 days, plus tips on specialty restaurants and the tips for the bar staff.  Plus, the Haven is priced very high.  If the butler is outstanding, that is another thing.  However, if he is a glorified steward and doesn't do anything, extra tips are not warranted.

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I remember an eye opening experience at age 21 (in 01') on the grand princess. I had one 2 hands by the dealer in 3 card poker probably was up 500 dollars or so when his shift was up. I was probably 10 to 12 drinks into the night and just forgot to tip. Well when the dealer left he banged his tip box off the table. I was kinda *****? Lady that came on next said the get paid only off our tips. 

Needless to say I gave the pit boss a nice tip to give him and he apologized next day as did i.

 

Also have talked to a lot of bartenders on the cruises. Most will appreciate the tip but if asked most will always tell you to make use of the comment cards and list them by name in them.

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On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 9:36 AM, Gampy1967 said:

Or just request a refund of your DSC and give the money to the Butler and make sure the Steward knows you did that.  Should create some fun between the steward and butler.

LOL...every now and again through these threads I stumble upon one of your pot stirring comments.  You remind me of my late grandfather that way.  It's a good thing.  Keep it up.

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On 4/8/2018 at 5:51 PM, L2trvl said:

Let me just say this, it sounds like most of you had good butlers. Our butler was like a ghost. We never saw him. A dish with canapés or little sweets would show up on our coffee table at random times. That’s it! Never saw him in hallway, no brief “is everything ok” phone calls, no taps at the door to just let us know he was alive. He did the least he was expected to do. Actually we didn’t need him, we were fine on our own and if we called him for something , I’m sure he would have responded.

 

We had traveling companions who had a completely different experience with their butler. In addition to the little plate on coffee table, she might leave freshly baked warm cookies, bottles of complimentary water (free water wasn’t included in our suites), special chocolates. And if she hadn’t seen them during the day, she would give a quick call or stop by their table at dinner to ask if there was anything they might need. She was never intrusive, always polite and friendly and kept things brief.

 

So, I guess my point is, if you want a tip of more than $10 per day, don’t just mysteriously plunk a plate down on our coffee table and disappear into the bowels of the ship. Bring us some warm cookies and ask us if we are ok.

Bingo and on point. Just off the Dawn on an 11 day Southern and stayed in a 2-bedroom suite. Our butler (female - no names) was also a virtual ghost.  Almost zero interaction with the exception of the last 2 days where it seemed facetime was almost forced (we had not yet tipped). We had more and quality interactions with the other butlers in the private dining room, in the theatre and on port days than we did with ours. Our Steward was the hero of the cruise and was taken care of.

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