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duquephart

Viking Ocean Cruise Automatic Gratuity

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I prepaid gratuities for our cruise next month and will tip extra for excellent service, as we go.

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On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 1:52 PM, duquephart said:

 

I have no problem tipping. Viking could be a bit more upfront about their policy though since it is basically a part of the cost unless entirely voluntary.

 

Sorry guys ... hate to keep beating this "dead horse" but ... duquephart, it is obvious you DO have a problem with tipping and Viking IS upfront about their policy. Tipping IS entirely voluntary, it's just that if you want to be a jerk about it and not tip, you have to be upfront, admit it and own it! 

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When are gratuities applied to your account (if you don't pre pay)?  Fyi here is something about pre paid tips.

 

For Peace of Mind

By purchasing gratuities for your onboard staff in advance, you can relax and enjoy your journey.


  • The prepaid amount shown is our standard tipping recommendation, covering gratuities for your entire onboard staff, including your Program Director.
  • When traveling, you may wish to give a small courtesy amount to your local guides and bus drivers. This can be done in cash at the end of each excursion. Recommended amounts are in your cruise documents.

$180 PER GUEST

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33 minutes ago, zitsky said:

When are gratuities applied to your account (if you don't pre pay)?  Fyi here is something about pre paid tips.

 

For Peace of Mind

By purchasing gratuities for your onboard staff in advance, you can relax and enjoy your journey.


  • The prepaid amount shown is our standard tipping recommendation, covering gratuities for your entire onboard staff, including your Program Director.
  • When traveling, you may wish to give a small courtesy amount to your local guides and bus drivers. This can be done in cash at the end of each excursion. Recommended amounts are in your cruise documents.

$180 PER GUEST

Just to be clear to others, the $180 quoted above was specific to your cruise, based on the number of days. The amount is different on My Viking Journey for our upcoming trip.

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On 1/30/2019 at 9:55 AM, duquephart said:

We are told that we will be billed an automatic gratuity on an upcoming cruise. I have a problem with this and view it as a thinly veiled forced fee. Viking says we can opt out of this program or make amends by visiting the front desk on the ship. Are there statistics or even guesses as to the percentage of cruisers who take advantage of the opt out option? I would prefer to tip as I please and, assuming great service, the crew would probably be better off that way.

 
  •  

Tried to stay clear of this thread, but....

 

OP - the auto gratuities/discretionary service charge is an industry standard in the North American cruise market, it is well published by all cruise lines, including Viking. With the information published online, how you view it as a thinly veiled forced fee, completely baffles me. 

 

Prevalent in the North American market for many years, it is in reality a component of the crew remuneration. On most cruise lines, the total fare comprises base fare, port fees/taxes and discretionary service charge (tips). Viking combine port fees/taxes together, but keep the tips separate, except for World Cruises/Grand Voyages.

 

If you don't agree with this system, suggest going to the Australian or UK market, where tips are generally included in the base fare. P&O-UK introduced auto-tips a few years ago, but are eliminating them in May, as passengers in that market want inclusive pricing.

 

The North American market does not demand the inclusive pricing available in UK and Australia.

 

Although I have lived in North America for almost 40 years, I am originally a Brit and my tipping philosophy is most definitely from my heritage. However, I consider the auto gratuity/discretionary service charge part of the crew's wages, not actual tips, so do not make any changes. Even if I eliminated/reduced the auto gratuity/discretionary service charge, any money provided to individual crew members must be turned into a supervisor and is added to the pot. If the gratuity/DSC is not eliminated/reduced, any additional tips provided for exceptional service can be kept by the respective crew members. Note: the policy/process is normally a closely guarded secret known only to hotel staff, but this is my best guess on how most cruise lines operate.

 

So if the Op wants to cruise in the N/American market, get used to auto tips/DSC until the majority of fellow passengers demand a change and have it added to the base fare. However, I don't see it happening, but would be very happy if Viking added the auto-tips to the base fare for all cruises, not just World Cruises.

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The UK is not a completely tip free zone.  At home we would tip in restaurants but only at the normal rate of 10%.  We would also tip taxi drivers, etc.  We have had some work done in the kitchen, and I tipped the lovely helpful guy £5 on both occasions he visited.  This is not a lot of money but was appreciated.

On the large majority of our recent cruises with Azamara and Viking, Tips were included as part of the package.  I could have course have deleted them whilst on board I suppose, but who would actually do that?  We tip our room attendant extra but not usually the servers in the restaurants, unless they went over and above, for example in the specialities.

On our river cruise with Scenic tips were part of the promotion, but not on our river cruises organised by our little local TA as charters.  In that case we put the suggested amount in an envelope (unidentified)and left them in reception. 

On another thread there was a complaint about people boasting about the vast amounts they tip and broadcasting this to all and sundry.  There are also those who boast "I never tip".

My own thought is that both of these statements should remain private.

I believe it would be a step forward for the cruise industry in general for tips to be included in the fare and this would stop these threads.  

I didnt mean to jump in either but obviously have no self control !

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On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 1:58 PM, jiminyC_fan said:

To save you worry over whom to tip and how much, we automatically add a discretionary hotel and dining charge of $15.00 per guest, per day to your shipboard account, which appears on your final invoice at the end of your cruise.

The surprising thing is that the $15pp/day is less than what HAL charges now for Junior and above suites.

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Removing tips and only tipping the people you make contact with  means that people whom you never see but handle your luggage, wash your linens, keep the engines running, man the tender boats, wash the dishes, cook your food......never get a look in from you. 

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On my last NCL cruise I prepaid gratuities.  My partner didn't like it.  Oh well.  I may do the same for my Viking cruise.  If I wait to do it I can easily reduce if I am not happy.

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4 minutes ago, zitsky said:

On my last NCL cruise I prepaid gratuities.  My partner didn't like it.  Oh well.  I may do the same for my Viking cruise.  If I wait to do it I can easily reduce if I am not happy.

 

From our experience you will want to leave more rather than  reduce the prepaid amount.

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22 hours ago, terrydtx said:

The surprising thing is that the $15pp/day is less than what HAL charges now for Junior and above suites.

No kidding?  That just surprises me.  Makes me feel bad for HAL staff.

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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 3:20 PM, jiminyC_fan said:

No kidding?  That just surprises me.  Makes me feel bad for HAL staff.

Why do you feel bad for the HAL staff? HAL suites guests are charged $16pp/day in auto gratuities.

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On 1/30/2019 at 12:55 PM, duquephart said:

Are there statistics or even guesses as to the percentage of cruisers who take advantage of the opt out option? I would prefer to tip as I please and, assuming great service, the crew would probably be better off that way.

 
  •  

You can do as you please, of course.  

 

I follow this topic (which comes up on all the lines I follow) because it always seems to get at the problem with tipping, which is that it is no longer really discretionary or based on services already provided.  My personal hot button these days is coffee shops where you pay a tip in advance of any service other than ringing up an order.  And to make it worse, the tablet system now in common use helpfully provides pre-calculated tip amounts often ranging up to 25% and rarely going below 15%.  Well, no thank you. 

 

But on cruise ships, as someone pointed out, the tips are pooled, so all those people one never sees but whose services are gratefully accepted can share in them.  Additionally, income tax systems worldwide vary, and in some cases tip income is better than wage income.  For some employees it is an important part of total compensation.   

 

So whenever we take a cruise we just suck it up and pay the gratuity that the cruise line has deemed appropriate to meet as many needs as possible - including those of the passengers, needless to say.  Quite a balancing act when you think about it.

 

Finally, I have never seen statistics on how many people opt out or how often.  Human nature being what it is, many people would use that information to modify their own behavior one way or the other, regardless of their personal philosophy about tipping.  And the cruise lines would merely modify their price structures in return, in pursuit of maximum profits while keeping enough crew happy to stick around and enough passengers happy to continue to buy their products.  Capitalism is a very dynamic system.

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On 2/7/2019 at 5:13 AM, terrydtx said:

Why do you feel bad for the HAL staff? HAL suites guests are charged $16pp/day in auto gratuities.

Sorry, I must have I misunderstand you. 

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We have to believe these companies when they tell us who gets the tips.  What if they are lying?  We can't confirm where the money goes.  And they want extra for cruise director, tour guides etc.

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5 minutes ago, zitsky said:

We have to believe these companies when they tell us who gets the tips.  What if they are lying?  We can't confirm where the money goes.  And they want extra for cruise director, tour guides etc.

 

This is what some have a problem with --- that and calling these fees "gratuities." The consumer is being told, essentially, "just pay us this extra money and we'll take it from there."

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2 minutes ago, zitsky said:

We have to believe these companies when they tell us who gets the tips.  What if they are lying?  We can't confirm where the money goes.  And they want extra for cruise director, tour guides etc.

 

I'm not sure which 'these companies' you are talking about but extra for the cruise director is not Viking's policy.  The tour guides and drivers are not Viking employees in most cases.  They are contract labor that does not fall into the Viking tip pool.  There are a lot of things we can't confirm and sometimes you have to believe that OP would get nothing for giving you misinformation.  'What if' you were not a real person and someone who just likes to keep the pot stirred up?  There's a thing called 'trust and honesty' that most people still practice today.  I wonder why you view things from this prospective, judging fro this post.  It's nice to be inquisitive but sometimes, the alternate universe you might drift into resembles nothing that is normal.

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54 minutes ago, duquephart said:

 

This is what some have a problem with --- that and calling these fees "gratuities." The consumer is being told, essentially, "just pay us this extra money and we'll take it from there."

 

Just another reason to go to a gratuities included pricing model, just as they do for UK and AUS/NZ pricing.

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"extra for the cruise director is not Viking's policy." 

 

Not so!  On each of the Viking River boats we have been on, the Cruise Directors have worked very hard and persistently to persuade us to remember them at tipping time, requesting (begging for?  Please!) a few euros ppd.  190 pax x €3  x 7 days amounts to nearly €4000, for a week's work, would you believe. 

 

This has never been the case on VO.

 

Cruise Critic's regular articles on tipping identify the Cruise Director as one of the people we should NOT tip!

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41 minutes ago, Rawmac said:

"extra for the cruise director is not Viking's policy." 

 

Not so!  On each of the Viking River boats we have been on, the Cruise Directors have worked very hard and persistently to persuade us to remember them at tipping time, requesting (begging for?  Please!) a few euros ppd.  190 pax x €3  x 7 days amounts to nearly €4000, for a week's work, would you believe. 

 

This has never been the case on VO.

 

Cruise Critic's regular articles on tipping identify the Cruise Director as one of the people we should NOT tip!

 

 

Maybe I am mixing up the staff.  Is a Program Director the same as Cruise Director?  How are they different?

 

  • The prepaid amount shown is our standard tipping recommendation, covering gratuities for your entire onboard staff, including your Program Director.

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1 hour ago, Rawmac said:

"extra for the cruise director is not Viking's policy." 

 

Not so!  On each of the Viking River boats we have been on, the Cruise Directors have worked very hard and persistently to persuade us to remember them at tipping time, requesting (begging for?  Please!) a few euros ppd.  190 pax x €3  x 7 days amounts to nearly €4000, for a week's work, would you believe. 

 

This has never been the case on VO.

 

Cruise Critic's regular articles on tipping identify the Cruise Director as one of the people we should NOT tip!

 

Big difference between Viking Ocean and Viking River.  I may be wrong, but from what I saw on Viking River (US site) there is no standard per person per day gratuity charged, as there is for Viking Ocean for US customers. For Viking River Europe, I saw that the Cruise Director recommended gratuity was 2 Euros per day per person (on US site).

But--I agree that Viking (River and Ocean) would do better to simply include any gratuities in the fare. Obviously they should give recommended guidance for tour guides and bus drivers who are not Viking employees.

There is absolutely no expectation for gratuity to the Cruise Director on Viking Ocean.

 

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1 hour ago, broker1217 said:

 

Big difference between Viking Ocean and Viking River.  I may be wrong, but from what I saw on Viking River (US site) there is no standard per person per day gratuity charged, as there is for Viking Ocean for US customers. For Viking River Europe, I saw that the Cruise Director recommended gratuity was 2 Euros per day per person (on US site).

But--I agree that Viking (River and Ocean) would do better to simply include any gratuities in the fare. Obviously they should give recommended guidance for tour guides and bus drivers who are not Viking employees.

There is absolutely no expectation for gratuity to the Cruise Director on Viking Ocean.

 

 

It is the same routine on the River cruises. Viking will charge 15€ pp/d to our on board accounts on our upcoming river cruise; the info is in our cruise docs. This amount can be changed or removed. We can also pre-pay our gratuities. It was the same way (but maybe a different amount) when we cruised with VR in 2015, charged to our account.

 

 

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3 hours ago, zitsky said:

 

 

Maybe I am mixing up the staff.  Is a Program Director the same as Cruise Director?  How are they different?

 

  • The prepaid amount shown is our standard tipping recommendation, covering gratuities for your entire onboard staff, including your Program Director.

 

So from your posts, I see you have read the frequently asked  questions on the river cruises and it states there that Program Directors are the people that accompany the tours that are not part of the Viking Staff.  So they would be equivalent to a tour guide.   That being said, we are on the Viking Ocean thread so we probably should stay on topic.

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10 hours ago, Dauntless said:

 

So from your posts, I see you have read the frequently asked  questions on the river cruises and it states there that Program Directors are the people that accompany the tours that are not part of the Viking Staff.  So they would be equivalent to a tour guide.   That being said, we are on the Viking Ocean thread so we probably should stay on topic.

 

https://www.myvikingjourney.com/beforeyougo/prepaidgratuities

 

The information comes from My Viking Journey.  As such it is not specific to river or ocean.  Therefore I would say it is most certainly on topic. Please explain why it is not.

 

Thanks.

 

 

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Dauntless, my information comes from actually being on Viking River cruises (plural) and Viking Ocean cruises (plural).  The "director" to which I refer on my river cruises was the main man on board for all excursions and entertainment activities, and ranked far above your "tour guide".  Knowing the VO practice, I was very surprised that the river "director" was blatantly and repeatedly touting for tips as our cruise neared its end.

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