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JOHNHOWARTH2

Opting out of paying Daily Service Charge

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12 minutes ago, Trimone said:

The moral of the story....only tip good service !! Looks like DSC isn’t included in price anymore, has the price gone down? No

I've seen quite a few lower prices, and cancelled and rebooked our upcoming cruise to take advantage of the savings.

 

I am certainly seeing a reduction in base prices, even if the overall prices, once you have added the DSC cost back in, are similar.

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21 hours ago, pcakes122 said:

My sister worked for NCL many years ago, so maybe processes or laws have changed?  Also, her time at NCL was before the ships were re-flagged to the Bahamas from Norway (not sure if that makes a difference.)

 

I haven't been able to find any official exemption for US residents working on board a ship for payroll taxes, so I think I was wrong on that. The SSA guidelines make me think that if the employees are employed by Miami-based NCLH they are not exempt from payroll taxes. Even if employed by the ship (each ship is it's own separate company) I think the ships would be a "foreign affiliate" under their definition.

 

I did find one forum post where the person was complaining about state and FICA / Payroll taxes not being deducted, and the tax expert said the cruise line was in error unless they qualified under the "out of country" provisions that exempt you from both income and payroll taxes.

 

So, I think I was wrong in stating that US residents don't pay payroll taxes. And if the employee pays them, then NCLH must pay the matching amount (I think).

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16 minutes ago, fshagan said:

 

I haven't been able to find any official exemption for US residents working on board a ship for payroll taxes, so I think I was wrong on that. The SSA guidelines make me think that if the employees are employed by Miami-based NCLH they are not exempt from payroll taxes. Even if employed by the ship (each ship is it's own separate company) I think the ships would be a "foreign affiliate" under their definition.

 

I did find one forum post where the person was complaining about state and FICA / Payroll taxes not being deducted, and the tax expert said the cruise line was in error unless they qualified under the "out of country" provisions that exempt you from both income and payroll taxes.

 

So, I think I was wrong in stating that US residents don't pay payroll taxes. And if the employee pays them, then NCLH must pay the matching amount (I think).

What?????? someone on a internet message board admitting they may have been wrong.  And all the folks in hell said "what is that icy stuff?" 😉

 

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Posted (edited)

Those poor, broke cruise lines who make practically nothing carting us ungrateful passengers around for free can't seem to find the spare change to pay their workers a living wage.  I mean really, it's our fault when you think about it!

I don't BLAME them for making us feel responsible.  Where on earth would the CEOs find the money for their summer cottage in Tuscany if they actually had to PAY their employees.

God people don't be so CHEAP!

Edited by MotownVoice

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On 6/24/2019 at 2:21 PM, Fartlek said:

Tipping in Canada is getting crazy.  In many provinces the waiters and waitresses are getting paid $15/hr and they expect another 15%-25% tip.   Many articles have shown that some are making in excess of $100K with tips.  Why is it only waitresses expect a tip and not other minimum salary employees like people that work in grocery stores/hardware, etc.    Some self-serve stores (like liquor stores) now ask if you want to leave a tip on the debit machine.  There was no help or assistance and they are asking for a tip - forget it.  

 

I don't mind the gratuity on a cruise ship but I wish they would just put it in the upfront cost of the cruise.   My preference would be to pay the employees a decent salary and charge me accordingly up front.   For me, the service would have to be outstanding for  me to tip beyond the ship gratuity.   

I think what has happened in Canada is, waitresses used to get a lower minimum wage, lets say $8 an hour and customers supplemented their income with a 15% tip. Now that the government has mandated they get the regular minimum wage, lets say $15 an hour we customers shouldn't be expected to supplement their income. But we've always done it and they have always expected it, so we keep doing it so we don't look bad. I've heard of wait staff making huge annual incomes because of this.  Think of the Keg, if you work 40 hours a week at $15 an hour, you're getting $600 a week (about $30,000 a year), not great but hey you're a waitress not a doctor, lol. But if you serve 10 tables a shift (I'm sure they would get more than that) and the average bill is $100 then you get a $15 tip times 10 tables, that's another $150 a shift or$750 a week (about $37,000 a year in tips). Now that's a very nice wage when you add in the tips, about $67,000 a year.

Its the same thing with hairdressers.

What bugs me is how much do you tip the waitress at a brunch buffet? We went to one on the weekend at a really nice place and it $38 each. How much do you tip the waitress, whose only job was to bring coffee and water refills? 15% of the bill? I think $5 would be enough?

Tony

 

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Tipping culture in the US is crazy. NCL should pay their staff a proper wage and not shift the responsibility to the customers. I understand this would result in higher fares, but takes out a lot of the fuzziness. They could already do this and just roll the service charge into the cruise fare, but they won't, because that way they couldn't profit of the "free" incentives the way they do now.

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This will be my first cruise with NCL and on another thread I've already said I'm considering opting out or reducing it. I appreciate all the ins and outs as to why you should pay it, etc. but for me it comes down to cost and how much I can afford - I'm already in the cheapest cabin I can get. I know there is more of a tipping culture in the US and not in the UK which is why I'm not used to it but having compared the cost on the US and the UK websites, in the UK we are paying more for the cruise to start off with compared with US passengers.

 

For example, for the cruise I'm on in Europe, if I booked an interior cabin for 2, inclusive of taxes it's $1837.26 on the US website which is £1448.39, but if I book the same cruise and cabin on the UK website it's £1658.00.

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You can opt out of NCL grats on the last sea day ONLY.  They do this hoping you will forget to do it.  No matter how many people are on the ship....no matter where the ship is going...the employees pay checks DO NOT CHANGE ! SOOOOOOOO where do you think the monies go???🍹

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I view it like restaurants in the states. If you "can't afford" the tips you can't afford to eat out and shouldn't. If you can't afford the gratuities on a cruise, you can't afford to cruise. 

 

In your job if the customers can't afford the price of the goods or services do you give it to them anyways or tell them well you can't afford us then?

 

None of these tipping threads would go as long as they do if the non tippers just owned up to taking advantage of the fact that they'll likely never see the people their stiffing again instead of trying to make it seem ok with various excuses. You want to pay less at the expense of the people who make your vacation enjoyable, own it. 

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56 minutes ago, myjillian said:

You can opt out of NCL grats on the last sea day ONLY.  They do this hoping you will forget to do it.  No matter how many people are on the ship....no matter where the ship is going...the employees pay checks DO NOT CHANGE ! SOOOOOOOO where do you think the monies go???🍹

 

The highlighted part is categorically incorrect for some ship staff.

 

I am confident your memory doesn't falter throughout the cruise duration and know where you are on the last sea day.

 

Believe what you want and do what you want.  But.... you're wrong.

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51 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

I view it like restaurants in the states. If you "can't afford" the tips you can't afford to eat out and shouldn't. If you can't afford the gratuities on a cruise, you can't afford to cruise. 

 

In your job if the customers can't afford the price of the goods or services do you give it to them anyways or tell them well you can't afford us then?

 

None of these tipping threads would go as long as they do if the non tippers just owned up to taking advantage of the fact that they'll likely never see the people their stiffing again instead of trying to make it seem ok with various excuses. You want to pay less at the expense of the people who make your vacation enjoyable, own it. 

Spot on.  

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Posted (edited)

There is a "live" thread from Graphic Guy who took a behind the scenes tour.  Included with the cruise workers salary is 100% free room, board, food, health care and laundry.  Those factors and costs should be added to their annual salary, which probably make it a pretty decent living, albeit one that they are away from their families for 9 months at a time.  

 

That being said, we always leave in the DSC (assuming but not really caring) that this gets divided among all the workers on the ship.  And then we tip above that in cash for the people who do things for us personally (our steward, the waiters/waitresses we see regularly at the casino or bar or restaurants, room service delivery staff, etc.)  I would never think of going out to eat and not leaving a tip for the waiter, or getting a pizza delivered and not give a tip to the delivery guy.  I would/have made it less of a tip if service wasn't great and conversely tipped more for above and beyond service, but I couldn't fathom leaving $0.  

Edited by MrMike45

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15 hours ago, phoenix1975 said:

I know there is more of a tipping culture in the US and not in the UK which is why I'm not used to it

 

What a load of rubbish.

There is a tipping culture in the UK and there has been since the 1600's, there is also a culture of people who have short arms and long pockets! You may know quite a few.

 

Yes the norm here is 10% and we never tip a bartender but to try and claim it's not our culture is just ridiculous, be a little honest and say it not your culture and don't paint us all with your brush.

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22 minutes ago, StolidCruiser said:

 

The highlighted part is categorically incorrect for some ship staff.

 

I am confident your memory doesn't falter throughout the cruise duration and know where you are on the last sea day.

 

Believe what you want and do what you want.  But.... you're wrong.

No matter how many people are on the ship....no matter where the ship is going...the employees pay checks DO NOT CHANGE ! SOOOOOOOO where do you think the monies go???🍹

This is pure BS  We have many cruises under our belt and have spoken to many a staff about there e working condition pay etc. And what you saying is and never been part of stass's remarks to us.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, myjillian said:

You can opt out of NCL grats on the last sea day ONLY.  They do this hoping you will forget to do it.  No matter how many people are on the ship....no matter where the ship is going...the employees pay checks DO NOT CHANGE ! SOOOOOOOO where do you think the monies go???🍹

Very interesting. I was advised by NCL UK to go to guest services as soon as you embark and ask for a form for NCL not to charge the DISCRETIONARY daily service charge. 

Edited by JOHNHOWARTH2

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8 minutes ago, JOHNHOWARTH2 said:

Very interesting. I was advised by NCL UK to go to guest services as soon as you embark and ask for a form for NCL not to charge the DISCRETIONARY daily service charge. 

I am far from convinced of the accuracy of the statement you quoted, based on other postings I’ve seen on this board from people who say that they have adjusted the DSC, but even if it is correct for the person you quoted, it may not be for you as rules can vary by country.

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4 hours ago, ziggyuk said:

 

What a load of rubbish.

There is a tipping culture in the UK and there has been since the 1600's, there is also a culture of people who have short arms and long pockets! You may know quite a few.

 

Yes the norm here is 10% and we never tip a bartender but to try and claim it's not our culture is just ridiculous, be a little honest and say it not your culture and don't paint us all with your brush.

 

I'm sorry if one sentence in my post has caused offence but it would be good if people could post on here without being jumped on for something that they have written. As I was making a comparison between tipping in the US and UK, I was not stating that we do not tip in the UK, merely that there is more of a culture for this in the US, than in the UK. 

 

Tipping isn't so much part of our culture in the UK and there are also variations depending on the type of establishment and where you are in the UK. If I was eating out in the majority of restaurants in London for instance, I would expect to have a service charge added to my bill but this isn't the norm in other areas of the UK. As I can see on the website www.whototip.net there are more instances of where tipping is expected in the US than the UK.

 

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why NCL don't charge gratuities for the UK market for the beverage package or the speciality restaurants as part of the Free at Sea promotion.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, phoenix1975 said:

 

I'm sorry if one sentence in my post has caused offence

It did not but that sentence was what you chose to be the basis of your decision (that and your lack of funds).

 

On 6/25/2019 at 11:44 PM, phoenix1975 said:

but for me it comes down to cost and how much I can afford - I'm already in the cheapest cabin I can get.

As quoted above, You are making your cruise more affordable by removing the DSC?

 

Quote

it would be good if people could post on here without being jumped on for something that they have written.

It was an untruth and therefore needed jumping on I already said, please don't paint us all with your brush.

Also, you were not asking a question or answering a question, your were stating a stance to get a reaction (some would call it trolling), why post if you don't want a reaction. I would argue you were looking for a reaction, otherwise, why post.

 

4 hours ago, phoenix1975 said:

Tipping isn't so much part of our culture in the UK and there are also variations depending on the type of establishment

That is true, if you live on McDonalds and KFC nobody will expect a tip.

 

4 hours ago, phoenix1975 said:

If I was eating out in the majority of restaurants in London for instance, I would expect to have a service charge added to my bill but this isn't the norm in other areas of the UK.

Are you kidding me, I can't remember the last time a card machine was not presented to me asking if I wanted to add a tip in any kind of decent restaurant, I guess your answer to this question is "no" as you plan do on your cruise.

 

4 hours ago, phoenix1975 said:

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why NCL don't charge gratuities for the UK market for the beverage package or the speciality restaurants as part of the Free at Sea promotion.

No, in the EU we cant be charged a gratuity in advance, that's why we pay £99 for the perk when in the US they don't and insead pay a charge on board.

 

What I object to is you suggesting it is not the culture in the UK, as I said, we have a history of tipping since the 17th century, it is the normal here and probably imported it the the US back in the 1600's.

 

I saw a disgusting quote last week where a guy said he feels sick if he gets home and realises he forgot to remove the service charge, anther guy with deep pockets and short arms!

 

Be honest...... you already said (as I quoted above), removing tips makes your cruise affordable.... don't hide behind the "It's not our culture" argument, be honest!

 

I regularly go out with a couple, when the bill comes they say "how much do we owe?", when I say xxx with tips.... you should see their face, we are only talking 10-15% in the uk.

 

As I said, don't paint us all with your brush, you have your motivations to make your cruse more affordable, don't say it's not in the UK culture to justify your stance.

Edited by ziggyuk

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4 hours ago, phoenix1975 said:

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why NCL don't charge gratuities for the UK market for the beverage package or the speciality restaurants as part of the Free at Sea promotion.

As you noted, that when you priced the cruise, the UK prices were higher.  Reason being they roll the gratuities for the beverage package and dining package into your fare.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

As you noted, that when you priced the cruise, the UK prices were higher.  Reason being they roll the gratuities for the beverage package and dining package into your fare.

 

Exactly right, it is not legal in the EU to force charge gratuities, they always have to be discretionary like the DSC, or built into the fare as an all inclusive.

Edited by ziggyuk

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14 hours ago, smplybcause said:

I view it like restaurants in the states. If you "can't afford" the tips you can't afford to eat out and shouldn't. If you can't afford the gratuities on a cruise, you can't afford to cruise. 

 

In your job if the customers can't afford the price of the goods or services do you give it to them anyways or tell them well you can't afford us then?

 

None of these tipping threads would go as long as they do if the non tippers just owned up to taking advantage of the fact that they'll likely never see the people their stiffing again instead of trying to make it seem ok with various excuses. You want to pay less at the expense of the people who make your vacation enjoyable, own it. 

 

Quite a straw man you've built for yourself there.  The tipping is discretionary, it is not a set price.  People opting out of a discretionary tip are treated like thieves by some on here and it's a disgrace.  That being said, I pay the DSC as well as tip my cabin steward if the service is good (it usually is) but who am I to tell anyone else how to spend their money?  Honestly, if saving a few hundred dollars makes a cruise affordable for someone, so what?

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Thank you for those who have provided constructive comments about this topic but I won't comment any more on this as it's obvious that some people relish in being able to put their opinion across on this forum. For the record as I seem to being made out as something I'm not, I've always tipped on previous cruises, just preferred to do this direct to specific people rather than pay a DSC to the company. I'll decide what to do for this cruise when I'm board as I've no prior experience to what NCL service is like.

 

In future, I'll stick to the threads where I know there will be more supportive comments - I want to look forward to my holiday rather than be lambasted for anything I post.

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On 6/25/2019 at 4:11 PM, b0nz0 said:

Tipping culture in the US is crazy. NCL should pay their staff a proper wage and not shift the responsibility to the customers. I understand this would result in higher fares, but takes out a lot of the fuzziness. They could already do this and just roll the service charge into the cruise fare, but they won't, because that way they couldn't profit of the "free" incentives the way they do now.

This is an old and stale argument: who cares if the charges are added to the cost of the cruise or separate and called a daily service charge. It has to be paid one way or the other. How would this solve the problem with profiting on "free" incentives? They are two totally different things. 

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We do tip here in the UK but we do not have a tipping culture no matter what Ziggy says.

I know plenty of people who do not tip for anything & why , because it is not expected.

It is different in the US, as a few instances I recall when visiting.   A one minute shuttle bus to car hire, basket requesting a tip.

At the car hire we signed in & awaited while a guy delivered the car, then he put his hand out expecting a tip, same in a restaurant with a waitress who was topping up our drinks.

This was several years ago I don't know if it is still the same.

US have a tipping culture & there is no problem with it, but the UK don't.

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On 6/25/2019 at 10:04 AM, MotownVoice said:

Those poor, broke cruise lines who make practically nothing carting us ungrateful passengers around for free can't seem to find the spare change to pay their workers a living wage.  I mean really, it's our fault when you think about it!

 

I think the living wage thing is a hold over from the old days, when the workers were dependent on tips more than they are now, and had wages of $50 a month. All NCL ships are signatory to the Seafarers union - I think that's the name of it - and pay their workers the negotiated union minimum wage plus overtime.

 

ncl-ships-union.thumb.png.97419053ec6017010f6ebe546ea08844.png

 

That works out to about $1,000 a month for the lowest paid workers. Remember that they also can save a ton of money if they are frugal and eat the food provided free, and don't go crazy with the $1 drinks the cruise line provides. The cabin stewards, bar tenders, etc. all earn more than that.

 

Glassdoor.com is a site where people rate their company and answer questions about salary and benefits, and the salaries listed for Norwegian Cruise Lines is very similar to the same information for Carnival and Royal Caribbean.  I've compiled some of the responses in the image below, and you can see there's a range. The workers are earning a living wage, especially when you consider the value of room, board and medical coverage being included, and that skilled workers in their home country like aircraft mechanics earn less.

 

NCL says the daily service charge supports their salary and incentive programs. They seem to be doing OK, probably because there just aren't that many people removing the charge.

 

ncl-salaries-glassdoor.thumb.png.9b964b674c402cecef242b609e569ec1.png

 

 

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