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Tips for Americans on Tipping in Cunard's Queens Grille Restaurant

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20 hours ago, SALAD MUNCHER said:

I have always felt that the concept of tipping in itself is ridiculous. Cruise lines, like any other service business, should charge a price for the items or services that they offer that covers their both their costs and profit.  Wages to staff should be covered by the Cruise lines and should be market rate and subject to a minimum wage.The Cruise lines cannot and should not expect the wages to be subsidised by their customer tips.

 

The moral obligation of paying a proper wage should be on the owner and not the customer. I would rather pay a higher price for my cruise with no expectation of having to tip, rather than be "tip shamed" not only by the Pursers staff if I want to remove my auto grats but by those on here who believe that tipping is a must and those who don't tip must be mean and uncaring so it's OK to critise them publicly on these boards.

 

Why are Cruise staff any different than any other service staff?  They carry out their tasks for similar wage levels such as  shop assistants, shelf stackers, cleaners etc. all who carry out customer services and yet they don't get tipped when one goes to buy a pair of shoes or your weekly groceries. If the waiter is providing a better service than a shop assistant, then market rate should dictate a higher wage from the employer rather than expect a top up by tip. 

 

I realise that the difference in the US is that most servers only get hired as their own "entity" meaning the employer does not have to pay health care, pensions, etc. I believe also that Servers do not get any paid leave, can get fired at the drop of a hat and are generally on a minimum wage which can be as low as a couple of dollars an hour in some states for 'tipped' workers. In Europe, with all the employee protections and benefits built in, tipping is far less important. So when  we have a "British Style" concept, on a ship registered in Bermuda, which want payment in US dollars - why not add another mix, Japanese style tipping, ie no tips as it is looked on as demeaning and an insult.

 

Finally if I do find someone who really has gone above and beyond their level of expected service then I would have no qualms at all in giving a generous tip, the difference being it would be MY decision, not foisted on me by some nameless CEO.

 

I await the rumble of replies........

 Great post. My sentiments exactly.

 

We often travel on Seabourn (also owned by Carnival Cruise Line) where tips are included and guests are not expected to pay more. Unlike Cunard, there is no way of knowing the amount of tips included in the fare and it isn't possible to remove the tip element in the fare so all guests have paid.

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You may not approve of the situation, but are you fixing it by removing the autograts (I like that term now 🙂 ) and tipping a few of the employees?

 

And if you're saving money in the process... 🤔

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44 minutes ago, Underwatr said:

You may not approve of the situation, but are you fixing it by removing the autograts (I like that term now 🙂 ) and tipping a few of the employees?

 

And if you're saving money in the process... 🤔

Surely though if Cunard became 'all inclusive' everyone would pay in their fare an amount towards wages / tips to all staff whom Cunard currently say receive the autograts, so it wouldn't be tipping just a few employees. For example if someone does presently remove the autograts and decides to tip just those staff such as their own stewards and waiters then that's when the backroom staff get less. In effect what Cunard are doing at present are pitching staff against staff and customers against customers all whom have different views on the issue. It's suppose to be a relaxing holiday, why create tension?

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I am all for everyone paying their wack and would be very happy with a non removable service charge but I have no problem with each passenger doing it their way as it’s none of my business what others do.

I'm not pitched against anyone. I do what I do and no one has to know as I don’t tell anyone, unless asked advice by a fellow table mate. In well over two hundred and fifty nights in Queens Grill, I have yet to come across any tension on board caused by gratuities - auto, removed or extra because although  it becomes a bit of an issue between members on Cruise Critic at times, in reality, in my experience, it’s rarely discussed and if it is, it’s in a quiet, one to one  advisory capacity. No tension, no debate, no stress.

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The officers in the Hotel Department are eligible. The whole Hotel Department share the auto tips.

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When my husband and I first were married, we took part of our honeymoon on a cruise. We had a marvelous time, but we were so very nervous with the envelopes and the tipping- having no idea what was good, appropriate, or right to tip. So with the advent of auto-gratuities, that stress was gone.

We pay the auto-gratuities each day- and then we tip additionally when we feel that the service was exceptional.

It is a straightforward approach we are happy with.

 

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Posted (edited)

You are not harming the behind scenes employees by removing auto grats as Cunard will make that up to the agreed limit to which the employee decided to take the job.  You then can tip the front of line staff and know that they are receiving the benefit  and are you are therefore not supplimenting others or going into the company profits by leaving auto tips on. Although as a shareholder I should not complain.

I do not understand why some passengers worry about the wages of staff. That should only should be a matter between the employee and company.  Of course most staff are going to give a sob story as they know it helps passengers supply more money in tips.  

This system only works when the company will make up auto gratuities.

There are companies like Fred Olsen who actually give the gratuity which is added to your onboard account to the  Dining Staff and Cabin Staff.

The subject of Auto tips is very secretive which can be for only one reason, that the company can profit from them.

If a passenger wishes to tip then it is up to the individual, on how that tip is given. I do not understand why some state they tip twice.

 

 

 

Edited by Pennbank

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1 hour ago, Victoria2 said:

I am all for everyone paying their wack and would be very happy with a non removable service charge 

 

Agree Let's make auto gratuity non removable. 

 

Might as well just put up fares by requisite amount , and get rid of gratuities. 

 

A hotel I stayed in last year ,  had a letter addressed personally to each guestbas we checked in. It said something like this. " Our aim is to give outstanding, we do not expect tips, however if you do feel like giving extra  we are a team. Please do not tip individual members of staff , there is a collective box at reception ".  

 

A sentiment I like

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When in Rome...…………………………………..

 

(Over)Tipping is almost uniquely American.  As a US person, I roll with the flow and use the cruise line tip assessment.

 If I feel someone has done something truly extraordinary, then I'll notice that individual.  But that is an exception.

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I suspect that if the cruise lines paid their employees a 'living wage' as Americans and Europeans understand it, few of us afford to travel by sea. 

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16 hours ago, Victoria2 said:

I am all for everyone paying their wack and would be very happy with a non removable service charge but I have no problem with each passenger doing it their way as it’s none of my business what others do.

I'm not pitched against anyone. I do what I do and no one has to know as I don’t tell anyone, unless asked advice by a fellow table mate. In well over two hundred and fifty nights in Queens Grill, I have yet to come across any tension on board caused by gratuities - auto, removed or extra because although  it becomes a bit of an issue between members on Cruise Critic at times, in reality, in my experience, it’s rarely discussed and if it is, it’s in a quiet, one to one  advisory capacity. No tension, no debate, no stress.

Yes on board it is different as people rarely talk about costs etc. It's on these boards that passengers go flat out in commenting on those who do and those who don't tip!

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7 hours ago, Bigmike911 said:

I suspect that if the cruise lines paid their employees a 'living wage' as Americans and Europeans understand it, few of us afford to travel by sea. 

Maybe that is true, but the majority of the cruise ship staff are from countries where a living wage is very much lower than USA or UK standards. Even countries in Europe differ vastly when it comes to minimum wage, for example UK vs Poland or Romania. I have seen on many occasions cruise ship staff going ashore wearing the latest fashions and with the latest electronic gadgets and smart phones, far more expensive items than I expected, so I don't think they are as poorly paid as we are led to believe.

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15 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

 

 

10 hours ago, Bigmike911 said:

I suspect that if the cruise lines paid their employees a 'living wage' as Americans and Europeans understand it, few of us afford to travel by sea. 

 

I'd love to feel I was on a ship where the crew had decent wages,  but again this must be measured relative to eastern European  and far East wages. Min wages here are $2to3 an hour, average $3to5 an hour. So as cunard is UK registered then UK minimum wage would be a good wage at circa $10 hr

 

We cannot unfortunately effect the wages carnival / Cunard pay. I expect it's less than UK minimum wage.

 

However given two passengers to one crew ratio on Cunard. Then assuming a 10 hour day, then the cost of the UK minimum wage wouldn't  be much more than $50 per passenger a day. 

 

This shows two things,

 

Firstly the auto gratuity is a very significant part of their wages, and it's needs everyone to pay it.

 

Secondly another $10 a day per passenger could make a big difference to crews from poorer countries. If only it would go to the staff not to Carnivals bottom line.

 

I'm sure there is a place in the cruise world for a ethical cruise line, fair wages and no tips, I would pay a little more for this

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

 

 

I'd love to feel I was on a ship where the crew had decent wages,  but again this must be measured relative to eastern European  and far East wages. Min wages here are $2to3 an hour, average $3to5 an hour. So as cunard is UK registered then UK minimum wage would be a good wage at circa $10 hr

 

We cannot unfortunately effect the wages carnival / Cunard pay. I expect it's less than UK minimum wage.

 

However given two passengers to one crew ratio on Cunard. Then assuming a 10 hour day, then the cost of the UK minimum wage wouldn't  be much more than $50 per passenger a day. 

 

This shows two things,

 

Firstly the auto gratuity is a very significant part of their wages, and it's needs everyone to pay it.

 

Secondly another $10 a day per passenger could make a big difference to crews from poorer countries. If only it would go to the staff not to Carnivals bottom line.

 

I'm sure there is a place in the cruise world for a ethical cruise line, fair wages and no tips, I would pay a little more for this

 

 

But it's not. All Cunard ships are now registered in Bermuda. The upfront reason for the change was to be able to undertake weddings onboard, but, many are of the opinion that it was to escape the EU and UK legislation concerning crew pay and conditions.

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3 hours ago, SALAD MUNCHER said:

Maybe that is true, but the majority of the cruise ship staff are from countries where a living wage is very much lower than USA or UK standards. Even countries in Europe differ vastly when it comes to minimum wage, for example UK vs Poland or Romania. I have seen on many occasions cruise ship staff going ashore wearing the latest fashions and with the latest electronic gadgets and smart phones, far more expensive items than I expected, so I don't think they are as poorly paid as we are led to believe.

They are not poorly paid compared to others in their respective countries of origin, in fact they are very well off that is why they do it. Doing 3 cruises a year we got to know a waiter very well and he told us the money he was earning he was sending home to keep his family including mother/father and sending children to university. He also said he planned to work on cruise ships for 10 yrs and then the money he saved he was hoping to set up his own restaurant and then he would be set up for life. You only have to search Google to see wages in differing countries and how much they earn. There was a programme on tv 2 yrs ago and a doctor was earning equivalent of £50 per month.

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46 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

 

 

I'd love to feel I was on a ship where the crew had decent wages,  but again this must be measured relative to eastern European  and far East wages. Min wages here are $2to3 an hour, average $3to5 an hour. So as cunard is UK registered then UK minimum wage would be a good wage at circa $10 hr

 

We cannot unfortunately effect the wages carnival / Cunard pay. I expect it's less than UK minimum wage.

 

However given two passengers to one crew ratio on Cunard. Then assuming a 10 hour day, then the cost of the UK minimum wage wouldn't  be much more than $50 per passenger a day. 

 

This shows two things,

 

Firstly the auto gratuity is a very significant part of their wages, and it's needs everyone to pay it.

 

Secondly another $10 a day per passenger could make a big difference to crews from poorer countries. If only it would go to the staff not to Carnivals bottom line.

 

I'm sure there is a place in the cruise world for a ethical cruise line, fair wages and no tips, I would pay a little more for this

 

 

It is only needed to pay it for Carnival's benefit as the more the staff get from gratuities then the less they have to make up in shortfall themselves as per contract of minimum wages signed by staff. That is why it is in cruise companies interests to get us to pay as much gratuity as possibly so they pay less and boost their own already enormous profits.

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Posted (edited)

I don't understand all this talk about what staff are or aren't, paid.

 

I pay the service charge and a personal gratuity on Cunard to say thank you and I have no desire to enquire of anyone's salary status before doing so. It's all down to choice and if staff's salary [in any situation] comes into your gratuity reckoning, then maybe, your gratuity isn't being given for the same reason mine is, which is, as I said, a simple Thank You.

 

Edited by Victoria2

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It's a  pity gratuities and wages are mixed up. I see auto gratuities  service charge as part of wages something to be always paid . 

 

Paying anymore is a thank you for exceptional service which people should be free to do as they think fit.

 

Why do l link service charge/ auto gratuities to wages.

 

Unless  people CERTAIN that:

 

The Minimum  guaranteed Wage in the Cunard contract is equal to normal wage plus all the auto gratuities as if 100% of people had paid them.

 

Then if there is no certainty about this then crew could very well end up with less if auto gratuities are not paid. OK it might also cost carnival a bit as well to make up part of it,  but doubt if the crew are 100% protected. 

 

If there is absolute certainty that the crew are 100% protected and someone can publish a contract then logically let's all stop paying auto gratuities to get Cunard to follow P&O and other lines with no auto gratuities . 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

 

 

I'd love to feel I was on a ship where the crew had decent wages,  but again this must be measured relative to eastern European  and far East wages. Min wages here are $2to3 an hour, average $3to5 an hour. So as cunard is UK registered then UK minimum wage would be a good wage at circa $10 hr

 

We cannot unfortunately effect the wages carnival / Cunard pay. I expect it's less than UK minimum wage.

 

However given two passengers to one crew ratio on Cunard. Then assuming a 10 hour day, then the cost of the UK minimum wage wouldn't  be much more than $50 per passenger a day. 

 

This shows two things,

 

Firstly the auto gratuity is a very significant part of their wages, and it's needs everyone to pay it.

 

Secondly another $10 a day per passenger could make a big difference to crews from poorer countries. If only it would go to the staff not to Carnivals bottom line.

 

I'm sure there is a place in the cruise world for a ethical cruise line, fair wages and no tips, I would pay a little more for this

 

 

In the U.S. the minimum 'living wage' is $15.00 per hour. A ten hour day would yield $150. not $50. Increasing your estimated $50 per day to $150, would likely cost you more than a 'little' more. 

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2 hours ago, Bigmike911 said:

In the U.S. the minimum 'living wage' is $15.00 per hour. A ten hour day would yield $150. not $50. Increasing your estimated $50 per day to $150, would likely cost you more than a 'little' more. 

 

Please check your arithmetic my figures were per passenger. 

 

Firstly at 2 passengers per crew you must divide by 2 for a per passenger cost. So  $150 at $15 per hour for a 10 hour day is $75 per passenger.

 

Secondly,  for people from Eastern Europe  or east Asia e.g Philipines , being paid the UK minimum wage rate of $10 per hour would be a fair and generous rate. I did not say pay them US living wage rates or even the UK living wage which is nearer $15 per hour.  The $10 per hour  I suggested is $100 per day, or $50 per passenger per day

 

Thirdly by the way according to Google the US official minimum  rate is $7.25 per hour, the $15 is a local unofficial living wage target rate for New York and a few other big cities. The crew do not live in New York .

 

Assuming they are currently paid a bit above the average for their countries , say $6 per hour, they get $ 60 per day.  Plus the $25 per day service charge from two passengers. If the service charge is consolidated into wages it's $85 per day. Then the difference to pay them the $10 per hour is $7.50 per passenger per day, not $100. If they only get $ 5 per hour , then then extra cost would be $12.50 per passenger. My suggestion of an $10 per passenger per day above being the average of these.

 

A small amount to have a well paid crew (well paid as they are supporting families in say Eastern Europe or Philipines not in London or New York ), and also to do away with gratuities,  except for personal special thanks.

 

Again the proviso is it goes to crew not carnivals bottom line.

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8 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

Please check your arithmetic my figures were per passenger. 

 

Firstly at 2 passengers per crew you must divide by 2 for a per passenger cost. So  $150 at $15 per hour for a 10 hour day is $75 per passenger.

 

Secondly,  for people from Eastern Europe  or east Asia e.g Philipines , being paid the UK minimum wage rate of $10 per hour would be a fair and generous rate. I did not say pay them US living wage rates or even the UK living wage which is nearer $15 per hour.  The $10 per hour  I suggested is $100 per day, or $50 per passenger per day

 

Thirdly by the way according to Google the US official minimum  rate is $7.25 per hour, the $15 is a local unofficial living wage target rate for New York and a few other big cities. The crew do not live in New York .

 

Assuming they are currently paid a bit above the average for their countries , say $6 per hour, they get $ 60 per day.  Plus the $25 per day service charge from two passengers. If the service charge is consolidated into wages it's $85 per day. Then the difference to pay them the $10 per hour is $7.50 per passenger per day, not $100. If they only get $ 5 per hour , then then extra cost would be $12.50 per passenger. My suggestion of an $10 per passenger per day above being the average of these.

 

A small amount to have a well paid crew (well paid as they are supporting families in say Eastern Europe or Philipines not in London or New York ), and also to do away with gratuities,  except for personal special thanks.

 

Again the proviso is it goes to crew not carnivals bottom line.

My last point. I was looking at a per employee pay not a per passenger. The employee might serve ten or twenty passengers per day. If the cruise line like Carnival a US Corporation had to pay a U.S. "living wage" in quotes because there is a movement to make it a US law, and that employee was paid $150 per day at the US "minimum living wage", the fares would have to go up.  It is not that way today, and the employees get far less, which goes back to my initial post that I choose to give an additional tip, because I believe in being generous to people from poorer countries who are trying to better them selves by taking these jobs. My Last Post On the subject. 

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We are platinum with Cunard and normally sail Brittania Club, where I have always found the service to be exceptional.    Our last cruise, because it really wasn't selling that well, we did a Queens Grill upgrading about 2 weeks prior to sailing.  We always do auto gratuity and then tip above that for service.   We tipped the QG maitre'd well because he allow some off the menu dinners for me (nothing crazy and nothing that wasn't easy to do, normally a dinner salad) and asked to repeat a delicious Canyon Ranch Dessert a few times.   We also tipped the wait staff but since we only do dinner in the dining room, tipped what I thought was fair based on the service.   Our room steward was excellent so he also received extra.   My one pet peeve was the butler, who from the outset he made it clear that he just delivered food and canapés.  I did tip him as well, but nothing over the top since he didn't really do anything over the top.  I would actually prefer not to have a butler, even in the grills.  

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50 minutes ago, CateW said:

  My one pet peeve was the butler, who from the outset he made it clear that he just delivered food and canapés.  I did tip him as well, but nothing over the top since he didn't really do anything over the top.

 

So why did you tip at all? He did less than he should as just basic part of his job desription.

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, carlmm said:

 

So why did you tip at all? He did less than he should as just basic part of his job desription.

 

Because that's what we American's do, it was a token, nothing more.  Actually, I'm not really even sure what his job description is.   I would never dream of having someone unpack or pack for me and I am certainly capable of making my own reservations. 

Edited by CateW

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How can people compare wages on a cruise ship to wages on land ?

 

Do crew members have to pay rent, for food, council tax, gas and electric bills, and so on ? 

 

I would suggest that the majority of people in the UK earning the minimum wage will spend almost all (if not all) of it on the expense of just keeping themselves alive (i.e. paying for a roof over their heads and eating).

 

 

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