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Shirleygibbs

Tipping on ocean cruise

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We have taken 5 Viking river cruises and loved them. We are scheduled for our first Viking ocean cruise in October. Tipping seems excessive here for people you never see. Does everyone tip the recommended 15 per person per day? On the smaller ships it was12 per person per day, but we knew the entire staff by the end of the cruise! Here, we may never have the same servers, and will probably not see many of the staff. I prefer to tip for exemplary service rendered! How have others handled this? Thank you in advance for any comments.

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Tipping, like it or not, is an expense that must be taken into account before booking. Whether you see them or not or if you have a different server each night, they are still providing the service. We have found the service on Viking Ocean to be outstanding and actually tip, with cash, along the way for "exceeding expectations". I do not quibble with the grocery store clerk over the manner and amount of their compensation. Like it or not, it is the cruise industry method of compensation. If you don't like this method, I'd suggest a cruise line like Regent Seven Seas, where there is no tipping expected but, you may notice a larger price tag on the cruise. Pay me now, pay me later.

 

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When you suggest that you were willing to pay the $12 per person per day on a river cruise because you got to know them all, you forget how may of the staff even on the river cruises work diligently out of sight for your comfort. You may have met the Chef in charge of the kitchen and the waiters, but not likely the line cooks and dishwashers. Your cabin steward was obvious, but the people who run the laundry to provide you with clean towels and napkins and tablecloths would not likely have met you, along with many others.

 

In our experience on Viking Oceans, as well as Viking Rivers, the staff we encountered, either repeatedly or just once, were unfailingly helpful and pleasant. The multitudes that we never see, who keep the ships looking so clean and beautiful, deserve a decent wage for their contributions to our travels as well.

 

The staff of cruise ships did not create this system, they only work under it. It is a cost I am quite willing to factor in to the expense of my vacation.

Edited by lackcreativity

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The system of tipping is built into the wage structure of working on a cruise ship, and these hardworking people depend on tips to get something close to a living wage. At the very minimum, you are directly served daily twice by housekeeping and three times at meals, and those are just the people you directly see. The staff on Viking Ocean cruises, whether you get to know them personally or not, are all reliably gracious and helpful. I would consider the recommended tipping guidelines as a built in expense.

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Thank you all for your thoughts. We have been very happy with Viking in the past, and will continue to book future cruises. Your insight is very helpful.

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We keep the tips on and at the end of the cruise tip extra to special people. We gave each of our cabin stewards 150 euros apiece. We gave the Manfredi's maitre'd $25. Each night in Manfredi's we gave our server and the bus person $5 each. We also gave extra to a special busperson in the World Cafe. They all work so hard, and deserve every penny that they get.

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We have similar beliefs as the OP, with respect to tipping. However, the cruise industry operates a model where passengers pay a portion of the hotel service crew wages, through a daily service charge. We don't really consider it as tips, but as an additional component of the cruise fare.

 

Fortunately, our next cruise is a World Cruise in 2020 and Viking include the tips/service charge in the base fare.

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Exactly. A lot of folks don't realize that a stateroom stewards salary can be $150 a month (or so I've read). Tips are how they make their salary to send home.

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Ok, all well and good, but to begin with there is always the possibility that whatever the crew are paid, it's firstly better than what they might have got back in their own countries, and secondly they knew what they were in for when they joined the employment. Don't let us forget that they have their accommodation and food etc paid for.

You might ask why this 'hard' line - well, if somebody provides me with outstanding service (bearing in mind that we have free grats on our next cruise, qed we understand that the cruiseline will hopefully pay what would have been the grats levied on our accommodation level) then a discreet (and I mean discreet) tip is given. I really can't stand people who make a brash show of tipping.

We thoroughly abhor being forced to pay up front for tips/grats before I receive the 'service'; and having been left feeling used, abused and generally stabbed in the back on other cruise lines we've (or taken for a mug/fool) stopped doing auto-tips, and ensure on embarkation day that auto-tips don't happen.

Sure, the crew are entitled to respect, but so are we, and if good service is not provided then it's their own fault, they can go without. All we are looking for is timely provision of pleasant and professional service, clean and comfortable surroundings, not being overly fussed over, and not being ignored. If we get that sort of service, then discreet tipping is the order of the day.

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Ok, all well and good, but to begin with there is always the possibility that whatever the crew are paid, it's firstly better than what they might have got back in their own countries, and secondly they knew what they were in for when they joined the employment. Don't let us forget that they have their accommodation and food etc paid for.

You might ask why this 'hard' line - well, if somebody provides me with outstanding service (bearing in mind that we have free grats on our next cruise, qed we understand that the cruiseline will hopefully pay what would have been the grats levied on our accommodation level) then a discreet (and I mean discreet) tip is given. I really can't stand people who make a brash show of tipping.

We thoroughly abhor being forced to pay up front for tips/grats before I receive the 'service'; and having been left feeling used, abused and generally stabbed in the back on other cruise lines we've (or taken for a mug/fool) stopped doing auto-tips, and ensure on embarkation day that auto-tips don't happen.

Sure, the crew are entitled to respect, but so are we, and if good service is not provided then it's their own fault, they can go without. All we are looking for is timely provision of pleasant and professional service, clean and comfortable surroundings, not being overly fussed over, and not being ignored. If we get that sort of service, then discreet tipping is the order of the day.

Sounds like you're fully armed with excuses to stiff the crew re tips!!!

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Ok, all well and good, but to begin with there is always the possibility that whatever the crew are paid, it's firstly better than what they might have got back in their own countries, and secondly they knew what they were in for when they joined the employment. Don't let us forget that they have their accommodation and food etc paid for.

 

While our views on tipping are very similar to yours, some of the points above require a little explanation and a few facts.

 

Yes, the crew members included in the service charge pool from less developed countries earn higher than their home average, but most Western European crew earn significantly less. All hotel crew that participate in the service charge pool have an employment contract that comprises a base wage + portion of the pool. Therefore, when crew sign-on, they expect their total wage is a combination of money from the company and the passengers. Not sure how Viking handles the payments to the crew, as some companies do not average the payments by ship, but across their entire fleet.

 

An example - About 4 or 5 years ago, Princess changed the composition of the tip pool, adding Catering Supervisors to the pool, but at the same time they also cut their base wage from US $1,500 to US $1,000 (most of them were Western European). Their employment contracts unilaterally changed from all wages, to lower base wage + tips/gratuity.

 

Note - my employment experience is with Princess and P&O, but suspect Viking probably have fairly similar policies.

 

With respect to free room & board. You are correct, almost all crew received free R&B. However, when I was at sea enjoying my free cabin, I was still paying for accommodation at home, I wasn't using. While almost all crew receive free food, they pay for almost everything else (at least on the ships I worked aboard). It isn't cheap staying in touch with family back home.

 

In summary, the daily discretionary service charge is really a component of many of the crew's compensation package. Personally, my preference would be for Viking to treat all cruises like their World Cruises, where it is included in the fare.

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Some here seem oblivious to the many unseen staff onboard that service them. The cooks for your fine meals. The dishwashers. The engineering staff below running the ship, fixing toilets, etc. The deck crew docking and securing and so on. They rely on their share of the tip pool. They are not visible like your favorite waiter, etc. who yes often get tipped personally in cash. If for example, the cooks were not constantly on top of their A game, your cruise experience would suffer.

There is no excuse for not regarding the daily tip fee as simply part of the cruise cost.

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We have taken 5 Viking river cruises and loved them. We are scheduled for our first Viking ocean cruise in October. Tipping seems excessive here for people you never see. Does everyone tip the recommended 15 per person per day? On the smaller ships it was12 per person per day, but we knew the entire staff by the end of the cruise! Here, we may never have the same servers, and will probably not see many of the staff. I prefer to tip for exemplary service rendered! How have others handled this? Thank you in advance for any comments.

 

The $15.00 per day is deducted from your ship board account, unless you chose to change it at Guest Relations.

I have no problem with the amount or the way it is levied.

I also gave a cash tip to our cabin stewards and two bartenders for their extra service.

Going from $12 to $15, river boat to ocean ship , $3.00 more per day does not seem excessive when you factor in the total price of a cruise vacation.

Enjoy your Viking cruise in October and the wonderful service you will receive .

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Ok, all well and good, but to begin with there is always the possibility that whatever the crew are paid, it's firstly better than what they might have got back in their own countries, and secondly they knew what they were in for when they joined the employment. Don't let us forget that they have their accommodation and food etc paid for.

You might ask why this 'hard' line - well, if somebody provides me with outstanding service (bearing in mind that we have free grats on our next cruise, qed we understand that the cruiseline will hopefully pay what would have been the grats levied on our accommodation level) then a discreet (and I mean discreet) tip is given. I really can't stand people who make a brash show of tipping.

We thoroughly abhor being forced to pay up front for tips/grats before I receive the 'service'; and having been left feeling used, abused and generally stabbed in the back on other cruise lines we've (or taken for a mug/fool) stopped doing auto-tips, and ensure on embarkation day that auto-tips don't happen.

Sure, the crew are entitled to respect, but so are we, and if good service is not provided then it's their own fault, they can go without. All we are looking for is timely provision of pleasant and professional service, clean and comfortable surroundings, not being overly fussed over, and not being ignored. If we get that sort of service, then discreet tipping is the order of the day.

 

I am a relative novice cruiser, with only two wonderful Viking cruises under my belt. I cannot imagine what you have experienced to make your view so harsh.

 

Of course it is possible that the crew members are making more than they would earn back in their home country. What other possible reason would there be for people to leave their family for months at a time to work an arduous schedule doing the work they do? And yes, they knew what they were signing up for when they took the job, but what they were signing up for was a base pay and an expected portion of the tip pool. That is what they expected, and that is what they deserve.

 

In the unlikely event that there is an individual crew member who does not live up to expectations, they will soon be found out, and I expect be dealt with on the management level. A beautiful ship going to nice locations will not maintain a brand, as Viking's crew is an integral part of the whole experience.

 

In my opinion, to withhold the pre-established payment of gratuities over some possible disappointing event or person on a staff is a real injustice to a large number of exemplary employees, both seen and unseen.

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I can't and won't agree - firstly I disapprove of the 'I want a hand-out' culture which is the main theme of the lives of many people; and secondly I've had enough of being taken for a mug/fool.

 

I do not allow anyone any longer to take advantage of me, especially when it comes to tipping/gratuities. First I expect to receive the service, and as and when that service level is either achieved or exceeded then the reward follows discreetly.

 

So what we do is not unfair - it's not unfair to crew members, and it's most definitely not unfair to us either. I refuse point blank to agree to a system of being fiscally raped - and that's how it's felt on several cruises (not with Viking), where assistance in the dining room wasn't just absent it was negative, bathrooms were not up to standard, excursions were a farce, general cleanliness and appearance of our suite was a disgrace, and the so called entertainment was an insult to one's intellect.

 

Provide us with a reasonable cruise, and everything pleasant and acceptable, and we are more than able and willing to go down the purser's desk and ask for the tips/grats to be reinstated. It's not a matter of affordability - it's a case of standards, and not being lmf.

Edited by Parsley Cruises
amendment

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I can't and won't agree - firstly I disapprove of the 'I want a hand-out' culture which is the main theme of the lives of many people; and secondly I've had enough of being taken for a mug/fool.

 

I do not allow anyone any longer to take advantage of me, especially when it comes to tipping/gratuities. First I expect to receive the service, and as and when that service level is either achieved or exceeded then the reward follows discreetly.

 

So what we do is not unfair - it's not unfair to crew members, and it's most definitely not unfair to us either. I refuse point blank to agree to a system of being fiscally raped - and that's how it's felt on several cruises (not with Viking), where assistance in the dining room wasn't just absent it was negative, bathrooms were not up to standard, excursions were a farce, general cleanliness and appearance of our suite was a disgrace, and the so called entertainment was an insult to one's intellect.

 

Provide us with a reasonable cruise, and everything pleasant and acceptable, and we are more than able and willing to go down the purser's desk and ask for the tips/grats to be reinstated. It's not a matter of affordability - it's a case of standards, and not being lmf.

 

It sounds like you selected the wrong cruise on more than one occasion.

I have been on many cruises over the years and have never experienced what you have described.

 

Sounds more like a rationalization to support your position. If I had been on cruises like you have described I doubt I would return for more mistreatment.

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We thought initially that we had been unlucky, but over time it has made us more aware of when service isn't up to the required standard. It's as simple as this: provide the service or go without. It's not an excuse, we're not going to be persuaded to pay in advance for a level of service which we haven't yet received.

If we're content with the way we are treated on the cruise then we reward, if not - well then that's their fault, and without compunction we feel no regret.

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Maybe Viking should raise the base cruise price so that their hard working customer serving and UNSEEN staff members don't get stiffed on tip income because some folks rationalize not paying their contribution.

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I believe in a living wage, and therefore, think that the Cruiseline should bear the $$ amount necessary to make the employees whole. THEN, tipping could be for extraordinary or very satisfactory service. Until this happens, passengers ARE part of the budget and really have no choice but to pay their part.

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We thought initially that we had been unlucky, but over time it has made us more aware of when service isn't up to the required standard. It's as simple as this: provide the service or go without. It's not an excuse, we're not going to be persuaded to pay in advance for a level of service which we haven't yet received.

If we're content with the way we are treated on the cruise then we reward, if not - well then that's their fault, and without compunction we feel no regret.

 

When I was in college, I worked as a waitress. It's a hard job, but a valuable experience. Since food service is such a collaborative venture, there may be many occasions when a bad experience is not the "fault" of your server. That concept applies to other circumstances as well. Only based on the most egregious behavior could I justify withholding a tip.

 

After college, I taught school. I learned that punishing the whole class for the misbehavior of a few is hardly ever a reasonable strategy. Yet that is exactly what you do when you withhold gratuities.

 

Paying a living wage to the crew who staff a cruise ship should be expected, whether it is built in to the cost of the cruise, or added on at the end. Viking adds it on at the end. Since they have a such an exemplary staff, I cannot imagine there are many passengers who are not happy to pay that at the end of their cruise. At lease I certainly hope not.

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I can plainly see (and hear) the difference between a failure in the team effort and somebody being point blank rude to my face! We complained (discreetly but very firmly), and the waiter in question was removed from working in that particular venue. However, it really quite spoiled the cruise - the overall ambience on the cruise was wrecked by a very palpable 'attitude' amongst the restaurant/bar/shop crew members; and it wasn't just us who felt this.

If and when a food order arrives at our table and it isn't exactly what we ordered or expected, then mostly we'll put up with it.

However, on one cruise there was a man who ordered eggs for breakfast every day and then complained that they hadn't been laid in the UK!!!!!

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Must be different booking conditions for us Aussies. Tips are included in our fare and I double checked my invoice when I saw this thread! Also from the FAQs on Australian site - What Is The Tipping Policy?

Shipboard gratuities for shipboard personnel are included in your cruise fare on Viking Cruises Europe ocean cruise / tour programs. Additional tipping is at the guests discretion.

 

 

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Must be different booking conditions for us Aussies. Tips are included in our fare and I double checked my invoice when I saw this thread! Also from the FAQs on Australian site - What Is The Tipping Policy?

Shipboard gratuities for shipboard personnel are included in your cruise fare on Viking Cruises Europe ocean cruise / tour programs. Additional tipping is at the guests discretion.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Lucky you - that's great! I understand that for you, that's the norm. On our next cruise the tips are included, but for safety's sake we will double check after embarkation, and again just prior to the end of the cruise.

It's pretty much akin to the way we think; additional tipping is at our discretion - which makes good sense.

 

We once went on an excursion where the tour guide obviously didn't know what he was talking about (which included World War ll and the D Day landings), in which we were told with gravitas and authority that the Battle of the Atlantic was fought in the sea! On another separate excursion an old ship was pointed out to us, which allegedly had taken part in the Battle of Rutland! Both of these tour guides stood outside the coach at the end of the tour expecting tips! From me each tour guide had a tip from me - which was to learn your stuff before you start the tour!

 

I think that mainly some people who make such a fuss about giving a tip think that either they are part of the landed gentry or the nouveau riche - which they patently usually aren't.

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Some here seem oblivious to the many unseen staff onboard that service them. The cooks for your fine meals. The dishwashers. The engineering staff below running the ship, fixing toilets, etc. The deck crew docking and securing and so on. They rely on their share of the tip pool. They are not visible like your favorite waiter, etc. who yes often get tipped personally in cash. If for example, the cooks were not constantly on top of their A game, your cruise experience would suffer.

There is no excuse for not regarding the daily tip fee as simply part of the cruise cost.

 

While I am not aware of Viking policy, I would be surprised if the Deck & Engineering ratings are included in the tip pool. On other Lines, in my experience, the tip pool is limited to members of hotel services.

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Must be different booking conditions for us Aussies. Tips are included in our fare and I double checked my invoice when I saw this thread! Also from the FAQs on Australian site - What Is The Tipping Policy?

Shipboard gratuities for shipboard personnel are included in your cruise fare on Viking Cruises Europe ocean cruise / tour programs. Additional tipping is at the guests discretion.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Yes, from what I have learned here, Australia, New Zealand and UK are usually "Gratuities included."

 

Also, another thing to remember about gratuities, there is already a 15% gratuity included in the price of all spa services and drinks.

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