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Wedgie23

Auto Gratuities/Questions/Options?

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Posted (edited)

The 20% gratuity fee of the UBP and the 20% per drink gratuity are totaled (by day or week) and then split among ALL bartending staff.

 

No, there is no way to adjust the 20% as there isn't anything leftover...it all goes to the staff.

Edited by noobcruiser

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Wedgie23 said:

Unless you are drinking $700 worth in a week individually you are paying far more than 20% which per the posters here, is all the staff is getting from your $140 UDP gratuity charge. 

 

Rereading this....your real issue is the VALUE of the UBP.  Since you claim you won't consume it, then you feel the money is wasted.  You would be better off not getting the UBP and paying per drink which will still be charged 20% gratuity, but there would be no "waste" as per your perception.

Edited by noobcruiser

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21 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

 How about asking us something else more in tune with your particular cruise.  What ship are you sailing?  When are you sailing?  What cabin did you book?  

Thank you. Apologizing in advance for the double post I didn't see yours until I responded. Well all my posts are from this thread. I had begun reading the forum when I got back from my first cruise about 2 years ago now, so I guess saying long time lurker might be a bit of a misnomer considering how old this site is. I created an account so I could see the roll call for my last cruise and decided since I had the account I would post a review and might as well ask the only actual question I have (I have one about upgrades too but I wasn't expecting this many replies to here so I haven't made my way over there now that I finally confirmed my email and can post and not just 'like') that isn't answered in other threads I've read.

 

I have read other threads on tipping but between them turning into fights or the questions just not being the same as the ones I had I wasn't able to get actual information from them like I can with many of the other things I read about here. For instance someone posted tips and tricks about the Escape that were invaluable to me when I went. There really is a secret bar! 

 

My next is on the Dawn in November to Bermuda. I'm so excited to try out one of the smaller ships. I booked a balcony through the casino. Yet another thing I learned on this site, if you've shown a penchant for losing money, they will give you a discount. I appreciate this site for the wealth of knowledge it's given me since the first cruise I took on the Breakaway with friends and I was utterly clueless. Unfortunately it looks like I picked a bad topic to ask anything about even if I tried to be polite and explain why I have questions. 

 

I know replying this much I'm adding to the off topicness of what I've noticed seems to happen with any thread that has anything to do with gratuities but I appreciate you asking. Hopefully if I get around to asking my question in the update thread it goes better for me. Happy travels! 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kingkonig said:

 

Cause it’s cheaper not to tip.  They want to have us say “sure, pay $20 to the steward and $20 to the waitstaff, you’re a hero!” Instead of them paying the $200 that splits between everyone

Correct, that is all these threads are about.  The horse is dead.  

Edited by PTC DAWG

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1 minute ago, ColeThornton said:

Just an FYI, the "UDP" is an old dining plan.

corrected! 

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17 minutes ago, noobcruiser said:

The 20% gratuity fee of the UDP and the 20% per drink gratuity are totaled (by day or week) and then split among ALL bartending staff.

 

No, there is no way to adjust the 20% as there isn't anything leftover...it all goes to the staff.

I think that is a new one one me, someone wanting to adjust the tips on the drink package down....funny what folks will come up with to cheap out.  

 

You gave excellent advice.  

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11 minutes ago, noobcruiser said:

The 20% gratuity fee of the UDP and the 20% per drink gratuity are totaled (by day or week) and then split among ALL bartending staff.

 

No, there is no way to adjust the 20% as there isn't anything leftover...it all goes to the staff.

Thank you! If this is true then it answers all the questions I have and makes it seem far less nefarious than I thought when it was first mentioned they only get 20%. I'll just take your word for it because I don't wish to prolong the thread, I do wish they were more transparent with their gratuity policy so this was understood. I had thought frequenting a bar tender you liked would insure they got the 'big tip' since you drank less. Dismayed to find that not the case but glad to hear all the money does eventually get to them even if it's a pool. 

 

10 minutes ago, noobcruiser said:

Rereading this....your real issue is the VALUE of the UDP.  Since you claim you won't consume it, then you feel the money is wasted.  You would be better off not getting the UDP and paying per drink which will still be charged 20% gratuity, but there would be no "waste" as per your perception

Well yes, value of the sail away no perks VS value of the regular room + UDP gratuity means I'm probably not drinking enough to justify spending more for higher room charge and the gratuity since that's the only reason I bothered with non sail away rates. Am I incorrect in assuming that's what sail away is most commonly used for, people who don't drink enough to justify the UDP so they get a 'discount' for paying per drink? I don't see the ability to chose your own room enough to be worth the difference unless I'm missing something. 3 bookings in and I never once got to choose my room apart from category but have never done sail away so I'm not sure if it's really any different. 

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2 minutes ago, noobcruiser said:

corrected! 

 

UBP is the old beverage package.

It's now the PBP (Premium Beverage Package) and the optional upgrade is the PPBP (Premium Plus Beverage Package).

 

Click HERE

 

To make things even more confusing, NCL still uses the UBP acronym for the PBP just like NCL still uses the UDP acronym for the SDP (Specialty Dining Package).

 

NCL makes changes often so it is tough to keep track of them all.

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22 minutes ago, Wedgie23 said:

My next is on the Dawn in November to Bermuda. I'm so excited to try out one of the smaller ships. I booked a balcony through the casino. Yet another thing I learned on this site, if you've shown a penchant for losing money, they will give you a discount.

 Now it makes sense, saving money on tips gives you more money in the casino.

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Posted (edited)

Make this easy...

 

DSC can be adjusted.  To me, this is a case of we don’t know how they split it up, who it’s split between.  I don’t know of any company who would offer up that information.  It’s proprietary and a part of their business model....a small part of the business model, but part of their internal process.

 

in short, it’s none of our business.  It’s NCL’s business.

 

Tips?  Like any other vacation hotel, resort, and yes...cruise, tips are a significant part of the waitstaff, bartenders and support staff.  Changing the customary cruise tipping protocols, stiffs these people. Whether you like it, agree with it, disagree with it, willing to go along, unwilling, it’s an effort to be penny rich and pound foolish.

 

There’s really no discussion required....especially given the volume of discussion this issue has already generated.

 

 

Edited by graphicguy

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15 minutes ago, PTC DAWG said:

I think that is a new one one me, someone wanting to adjust the tips on the drink package down....funny what folks will come up with to cheap out.  

Yes because someone asking a question about what appears to be a 75-200% auto gratuity based on their consumption is cheap. Any other tropes to throw at me or should I just open up any other thread with a poster having a question about the gratuities and direct them towards myself? 

 

I will second your comment about noobcruisers excellent advice. He/she read through the all the pearl clutching at the mention of tips, identified my questions, answered each one and provided quotes from NCL where s/he was able. I'd think if more posters stuck to just answering questions about difficult topics you wouldn't see as many of them as readers wouldn't need to scroll past pages of criticisms before getting to a buried real answer.  

 

Afterall I just had a question about who the gratuities went to and why they seemed so high considering what I drank/ate. Not like I, god forbid, asked for directions to the nearest smoking section =p

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2 minutes ago, Greenpea2 said:

My head hurts.

 

So does mine.  The cruise lines try to make it easy for us with auto tips and someone always wants to come in and tinker around with things.

 

Roz

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One thing I found interesting recently is that the terms and conditions used to say that the 20% was gratuity and service charge now it just says gratuity. So hopefully they get all of it now.

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1 minute ago, Wedgie23 said:

Yes because someone asking a question about what appears to be a 75-200% auto gratuity based on their consumption is cheap. Any other tropes to throw at me or should I just open up any other thread with a poster having a question about the gratuities and direct them towards myself? 

 

I will second your comment about noobcruisers excellent advice. He/she read through the all the pearl clutching at the mention of tips, identified my questions, answered each one and provided quotes from NCL where s/he was able. I'd think if more posters stuck to just answering questions about difficult topics you wouldn't see as many of them as readers wouldn't need to scroll past pages of criticisms before getting to a buried real answer.  

 

Afterall I just had a question about who the gratuities went to and why they seemed so high considering what I drank/ate. Not like I, god forbid, asked for directions to the nearest smoking section =p

IF you don't drink much, and especially if you don't drink much and don't care where your cabin is, sailaway rate is the way to go for you.  If you do care where you cabin is, and might drink 2 or so drinks a day, the drink package cost of $20 bucks a day per person is an absolute deal.  You can't buy much on NCL for less than 7-8 bucks alacarte...plus the 20% on top of that for every drink.  Just look at the bottom line, and do what makes the most sense.  Worrying about the tip per drink is fruitless when talking about the "free at sea" drink package. 

 

Sorry if I misunderstood your query.  

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Think about the folks who don't want the beverage package, but enjoy an occasional drink here and there. A non- import vodka, such as Tito's, is priced at a rip-off level of $14.95. And then they add a cryptic, overpriced, $3 "service charge"/"gratuity". It's an easy decision for us. We forego all alcohol on our NCL cruises. Actually, we forego all of their ridiculous overpriced onboard offerings. We drink in the ports of call, take independent tours, etc. Our onboard spend on NCL only is zero. On other cruiselines, it is different. We don't find the pricing as extreme, even though we expect to pay a premium.

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10 minutes ago, adam_s_allen said:

One thing I found interesting recently is that the terms and conditions used to say that the 20% was gratuity and service charge now it just says gratuity. So hopefully they get all of it now.

 

Over the years, NCL has used "gratuity", "service charge", and "gratuity and service charge". NCL uses whatever words that they want but I doubt that anything actually changes as far as where the money goes. 

 

Even the DSC has been called a gratuity even though the "SC" in DSC stands for "service charge". The "D" can be either "daily" or "discretionary" depending on your point of view. :classic_tongue:

 

At the end of the day, don't worry about the words. Just worry about how much leaves your pocket. Once it's gone, don't worry about who gets what and how much goes to FDR's salary. 

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18 minutes ago, blcruising said:

Think about the folks who don't want the beverage package, but enjoy an occasional drink here and there. A non- import vodka, such as Tito's, is priced at a rip-off level of $14.95. And then they add a cryptic, overpriced, $3 "service charge"/"gratuity". It's an easy decision for us. We forego all alcohol on our NCL cruises. Actually, we forego all of their ridiculous overpriced onboard offerings. We drink in the ports of call, take independent tours, etc. Our onboard spend on NCL only is zero. On other cruiselines, it is different. We don't find the pricing as extreme, even though we expect to pay a premium.

I agree about NCL's drink pricing..it's out of line..I don't see how anyone could afford to drink without the free at sea offering on NCL...just not worth it.  

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8 minutes ago, PTC DAWG said:

IF you don't drink much, and especially if you don't drink much and don't care where your cabin is, sailaway rate is the way to go for you.

Sounds like it might be thank you. I've never done sail away before so I didn't know if there was any other downsides I didn't know about. Were planning on a bigger family trip where were looking to splurge but beyond that for him and I looks like we'd almost be getting a cruise 3X get the 4th one free if we went down to sail away. 

 

10 minutes ago, blcruising said:

Think about the folks who don't want the beverage package, but enjoy an occasional drink here and there. A non- import vodka, such as Tito's, is priced at a rip-off level of $14.95.

That is another good point, truthfully I don't know what all the drink prices actually are. That could be the hidden caveat of sail away, drinks are so expensive you could each have 1 a day and make up the added room costs. I only know by paying the tax in NYC I had a Mai Tai and worked it out to be about $7 if I understood the taxes correctly. Which didn't seem like a lot, but $140 sure seemed like a lot for the tip for them with how few I ended up having. 

 

 

So I understand now that all the tips, UDP/PBP and service charge, that is all pooled. If you were to tip someone extra beyond the auto gratuities does anyone know if they are allowed to keep the whole thing? For instance I always tip room steward separate assuming it all goes to him and him alone. I was able to tip an excellent waitress we had at the tapas place extra but now I'm thinking since I billed the tip to the room she wasn't able to keep it? I could understand splitting tips amongst the immediate people who contributed to the service waitresses/bus people/ bar tenders but I'd think if giving your favorite bar tender/server extra really just broke down into them getting fractions of a penny more after it's pooled just isn't the same. Anyone know if tips to dealers in the casino at least stay among the casino staff? I'm assuming based on this convo no one really knows the answer which is unfortunate. I suppose doing cash tips for anything over the autos/room bills is the only way the person you're handing it to 'might' get to keep it alone.

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3 minutes ago, Wedgie23 said:

 

 

 

So I understand now that all the tips, UDP/PBP and service charge, that is all pooled. If you were to tip someone extra beyond the auto gratuities does anyone know if they are allowed to keep the whole thing? For instance I always tip room steward separate assuming it all goes to him and him alone. I was able to tip an excellent waitress we had at the tapas place extra but now I'm thinking since I billed the tip to the room she wasn't able to keep it? I could understand splitting tips amongst the immediate people who contributed to the service waitresses/bus people/ bar tenders but I'd think if giving your favorite bar tender/server extra really just broke down into them getting fractions of a penny more after it's pooled just isn't the same. Anyone know if tips to dealers in the casino at least stay among the casino staff? I'm assuming based on this convo no one really knows the answer which is unfortunate. I suppose doing cash tips for anything over the autos/room bills is the only way the person you're handing it to 'might' get to keep it alone.

I always carry CASH on cruises, just for cases when I want someone to get the extra.  I will give it to them, stating that this is for you.  If they must pool it with others, not much I can do at that point.  But all seem to appreciate getting the CASH.  Like my room steward, I always ask for ice in the ice bucket....and I always give them at least $20 when I make that request...if they kept it full during the week, I leave them more.  

 

Not sure on the casino, I do leave tips at the tables if I have had a good run..."for the dealers" as they say.  

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6 minutes ago, PTC DAWG said:

I always carry CASH on cruises, just for cases when I want someone to get the extra.  I will give it to them, stating that this is for you.  If they must pool it with others, not much I can do at that point.  But all seem to appreciate getting the CASH.  Like my room steward, I always ask for ice in the ice bucket....and I always give them at least $20 when I make that request...if they kept it full during the week, I leave them more.  

 

Not sure on the casino, I do leave tips at the tables if I have had a good run..."for the dealers" as they say

Yes I suppose there really is no way to know unless one of the employees has directly told someone. I would think fully pooled tips would lead to a reduction in service which certainly doesn't seem to be the case on the NCL ships I've been lucky enough to visit. 

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All cruise lines that offer a drink package apply their drink gratuity percentage to the cost of the drink package. NCL does not differ from that. The just offer the drink package as a perk so those that choose that are only charged the gratuity (other cruise lines that don't charge gratuity on the perk bake it into the fare costs of those fares that get the perk).

 

My understanding, and at this point I don't recall where I got said impression from, is that the gratuities charges on drinking packages are distributed to bartenders/servers base on the number of drink package drinks they serve. ie If a bartender served 10% of all drink package drinks they get 10% of the pooled drink package gratuities. That was they have a reason to not ignore drink package cruisers in favor of pay-by-the-drink cruisers. 

 

I suppose it could be just 20% of whichever drink you get, but I'm assuming not based on what I've seen on Royal and NCL. 1) They would have to have created a back end way to calculated that as the receipts I've gotten on the drink package show a gratuity of $0.00 so they can't just sum up the gratuity on the POS machine based on sales. (I don't have faith in either's IT to correctly do that lol) 2) I've also seen where they "incorrectly" ring up my drink. Incorrectly in that the drink I ordered is not what it says, but still in the plan so I don't get charged so it's really not incorrect - but I've seen them not ring up the premium brand I asked for and just rang through a call instead. I would think if it's based on the price of what the ring they'd make sure to ring the more expensive drinks!!

 

 

Or I could be utterly wrong!! I don't care, give me the drink package however you add up the cost, then give me the drinks and I'm a happy cruiser. Charge my account so I don't have to deal with cash and envelopes on my cruise. Who wants to do math on a cruise?

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4 hours ago, Wedgie23 said:

You either missed half the messages or missed all of the math. Kerri and now several other posters have stated that the bar staff receives only a 20% tip on all drinks they serve. If a passenger such as myself has 5 $10 drinks per day that is $70 going to the staff and $70 missing out of the $140/week UDP auto gratuity. This is going by all the other, more knowledgeable than myself posters here repeatedly stating the bar staff only receives 20% no matter how much pre paid gratuity the customer pays. 

 

The bar staff is getting their 20% my question is where is all the left over going and is there a way to reduce the gratuity of the UDP so that there is no left over that isn't given to the employees? 

 

I've missed nothing.  Your math is fuzzy and suited to your personal consumption while other posters are flat out wrong.

 

However, you continue to believe what you want to believe by internet strangers with no real basis for their "facts" that the staff gets shorted and the cruise line pockets the rest. 

 

I can relate what I know to be fact (being in the hospitality industry and participating in trade seminars with industry executives) but I'm just another internet stranger that isn't to be believed any more than you or Kerri from Cork.

 

Continue debating how you're on the losing end of the "forced gratuity".  It's wildly entertaining for the umpteenth time and I'm sure you will dredge up some scintillating previously undiscussed nugget that will send cruise financiers running back to their ledgers to retract the whole DSC and gratuity structure because you're "over-tipping".

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