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Shirleygibbs

Tipping on ocean cruise

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One of the benefits of being in the UK is that gratuities are included in the brochure price. Can always give extra but no hassle about the basics.

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We’ve paid the suggested auto gratuity on every line we sailed. The tips constitute a major portion of the crew’s income. They work hard and should be compensated.

 

However, on a Viking river cruise in 2014, I was totally irritated having to pay a daily gratuity for the program director. I thought it was ridiculous to have to tip a professional, management employee. We paid the money as requested.

Tips were paid in Euros and crew tips were more than the $12 per day someone mentioned in this thread. I believe the program director tip was three or four euros per day.

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I understand. I worked at sea for 15+ years. Crew are not forced to work at sea, they work because they feel the pay is worth it. Just as any job. I do not think at all that Viking is taking advantage of workers anymore than I felt "taken advantage of" in my own sea career. The only thing I have left to add is that as much as Viking touts all the included extras, it is a bit annoying to have the gratuities tacked on daily. Just as wi-fi, etc. is included, so should tipping. Now on a recent Seabourn voyage we were not charged for tipping but they did add in extra charges for "Port Taxes/Fees" which is included in your Viking fare.

 

Jim - totally agree. I spent 40+ years at sea, with almost 30 years in command. Over the years, I have worked with many thousands of crew members, most of whom enjoyed working at sea. I doubt any of them are forced to work at sea these days.

 

Using the example of the barman in your previous post, he could do the same job ashore and probably just make ends meet, but elects to get ahead in life by working on a ship. Many crew that I chat with have similar stories. If cruise lines are taking advantage of the crew, why do they keep returning to the same company?

 

Also regarding the post about US Lines should pay US standards & UK Lines pay UK standards. Shipping is a global industry and it is very difficult to classify a shipping company as being a specific nationality, especially as they have multiple subsidiaries and the ships are flagged in a variety of countries. The employment laws are based on IMO Standards and are actually dictated by the ship's flag, not nationality of the shipping company.

 

In the case of Viking, I believe their Corporate Office is in Switzerland and the ships are flagged in Norway.

 

However, the biggest reason for not paying western standard wages, is the majority of passengers would not accept the significant increase in prices.

 

I would also like to see Viking add the gratuities into the base fare for all cruises, similar to our world cruises.

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Jim Avery,

Where can I find you Viking vs Seabourn review/comparison? I just sailed Seabourn for the first time (after 3 SS, 2 Crystal, Regent, PG and Windstar) and will sail Viking in January. I would love to read your thoughts on the two.

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Jim Avery,

Where can I find you Viking vs Seabourn review/comparison? I just sailed Seabourn for the first time (after 3 SS, 2 Crystal, Regent, PG and Windstar) and will sail Viking in January. I would love to read your thoughts on the two.

There is a thread over at Seabourn on Viking Oceans v Seabourn. I was going to add my opinions to that one but after going on the Sojourn, and knowing how the Seabourn "lifers" flame critics of Seabourn, and knowing what I want to say, I decided not to do it. But then, I can do it here at Viking. I will start a new thread later today as there are some very distinct differences. Stay tuned.:cool:

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Just tried to post a long comparison and a page came on with a large X saying I was blocked . Not sure but I need to work it out with CC before trying that much work again.

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I anxiously await. I'm sure I will have follow up comments too. I do enjoy your posts so much.

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Ok, will try again but shorter segments. Cruise Critic help had not heard of the big red X. Glad I didn't click on the help link. No telling what language I would be speaking..... Anyway, will start over this afternoon and describe the differences between Viking Sun and Seabourn Sojourn as we saw them.:cool:

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Always compose long posts in Word, etc. and then copy into CC.... Learned the hard way during my “Ragnar in France” saga :loudcry:

 

I have also used Word to cut/paste some longer replies to other discussion forums, as I found they timed out while typing (doesn't help when you only use 2 fingers).

 

While I haven't tried it on CC, I find some other forums, especially the Joomla one I manage for our RV club, do not handle some of the features available in the latest version of Word. Just a quick heads up.

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Following long-time complaints from passengers about the "voluntary" auto-gratuity (service charge really) the British cruise line P&O (bought by Carnival some years ago and now not nearly so good as it was -- my opinion) has takent the step that all passengers want:

 

In an email sent to passengers,
stated: "From May 2019 (cruises A911, B912, E911/A, J903, N910, R907, X907 and all thereafter), the discretionary daily Service Charge on board will be removed so you can relax knowing it's all taken care of. Changes like this do take a little bit of time to put in place, and so for holidays which depart before May, a discretionary daily Service Charge amount of £7 will continue to be added for guests aged 12 and over."

And in a separate Facebook post a P&O Cruises' spokesperson wrote: "We are not planning on increasing any of our fares. The discretionary daily Service Charge is no longer applicable. ‘Tipping’ staff is neither required nor expected but if you choose to do so then that's entirely your decision."

The line confirmed fares would not rise as a result nor would staff be paid less as a result of the move.

So, Viking, we're all waiting.

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Do Viking staff magically appear on the last day of the cruise asking if everything was satisfactory, ie. "feel free to tip me"?

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Do Viking staff magically appear on the last day of the cruise asking if everything was satisfactory, ie. "feel free to tip me"?

 

Not in our experience. There was never any hint or comments that would lead one to believe a tip was expected or being solicited. In fact on the last cruise we had to seek out our cabin attendants as they were busy cleaning another cabin when we left. They were definitely not hanging around with hands out.

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Ours weren't either. We left the autotip on but also gave them extra $$$ and had to look for them. The headwaiter in Manfredis too and a special wine server in World Cafe. We used to bring our cabin stewards little things back from some of the ports...special chocolate and pastries for example. Something that they could eat and make it disappear and not clutter up their cabin:D:D

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Not in our experience. There was never any hint or comments that would lead one to believe a tip was expected or being solicited. In fact on the last cruise we had to seek out our cabin attendants as they were busy cleaning another cabin when we left. They were definitely not hanging around with hands out.

 

 

I concur .

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We were very dissatisfied with the service on our Viking Ocean Cruise, and we decreased the gratuities commensurate with our disappointment with the service.

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We’ve paid the suggested auto gratuity on every line we sailed. The tips constitute a major portion of the crew’s income. They work hard and should be compensated.

 

However, on a Viking river cruise in 2014, I was totally irritated having to pay a daily gratuity for the program director. I thought it was ridiculous to have to tip a professional, management employee. We paid the money as requested.

Tips were paid in Euros and crew tips were more than the $12 per day someone mentioned in this thread. I believe the program director tip was three or four euros per day.

 

You are incorrect in the classification of the Program Directors. They are Independent Contractors who do not receive a salary from the river cruise lines, and they are not guaranteed any contracts beyond the sailing you are on. They work very hard throughout your cruise (and the pre- and post-extensions on some lines), and this is their only income.

 

That said, I am firmly in the camp of those who would prefer to have all gratuities included in the fare. Unfortunately doing so puts a cruise line at a competitive disadvantage because their advertised prices seem higher. A recent New Yorker article describes the problems that land-based restaurants have had trying to move to the 'service compris' model:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-gastronomy/the-limitations-of-american-restaurants-no-tipping-experiment

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Do Viking staff magically appear on the last day of the cruise asking if everything was satisfactory, ie. "feel free to tip me"?

 

NO!! In three cruises, no!

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We were very dissatisfied with the service on our Viking Ocean Cruise, and we decreased the gratuities commensurate with our disappointment with the service.

 

Since you seem to be part of a small minority, please explain your disappointments in the service.

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Since you seem to be part of a small minority, please explain your disappointments in the service.

 

This poster has stated the same complaint back at post #29 in this thread, and their posting history shows frequent complaints about their one Viking cruise. Your observation about this being a minority opinion is accurate. No cruise line can be all things to all people, but we found the service on our first Viking ocean cruise to be exemplary. We enjoyed the experience so much that we have two more booked.

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Why would anyone tip in advance automatically....do you tip your waiter in an on shore restaurant IN ADVANCE, because 'they' say to do so? Seems absurd to us.... we tip very generously for services rendered after the experience. To support the Viking 'expected' and guilt driven tipping expectation( the dishwashers do need and deserve YOUR money, rather than a fairer wage from Viking), seems contrary to most of the world's cultural norms. Viking is so wrong in this important area...so much else they do well. Since Viking is very in tune with these boards, can they not respond and explain, and justify, their expectations for tipping the whole crew in order to provide fair wages. Where's Viking's input to these boards on this so important, and controversial topic??

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Why would anyone tip in advance automatically....do you tip your waiter in an on shore restaurant IN ADVANCE, because 'they' say to do so? Seems absurd to us.... we tip very generously for services rendered after the experience. To support the Viking 'expected' and guilt driven tipping expectation( the dishwashers do need and deserve YOUR money, rather than a fairer wage from Viking), seems contrary to most of the world's cultural norms. Viking is so wrong in this important area...so much else they do well. Since Viking is very in tune with these boards, can they not respond and explain, and justify, their expectations for tipping the whole crew in order to provide fair wages. Where's Viking's input to these boards on this so important, and controversial topic??

 

It is extremely rare that Viking will ever comment publicly about its business decisions or business operations and they never take part in debates and discussions here on Cruise Critic. It is a privately-held company and is not required to explain itself to anyone except its handful of investors. Just read the few press releases that are posted on the Viking website and you will see how carefully the Viking message is controlled. This is the business model that Viking has chosen and if any of us here in this public forum don't like their business model, we are welcome not to cruise with them. No matter how controversial we think the topic, we are not entitled to answers or explanations and Viking management is not crazy enough to get into a shooting match with a bunch bloggers on social media.

 

 

If you don't like the way that Viking handles gratuities, you make ask to have them removed from your bill and then you may tip anyone you wish however you wish.

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