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HSC in the price of your cruise

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Just now, *Miss G* said:

 

 

On your statement is a line by line tally of your daily transactions.  The HSC gets debited each day and will show as “Hotel Service Charge - HSC Day 1” (Day 2, Day 3, etc).  With the promo you will see the HSC as both a debit and a credit in separate columns, as if you had paid it as soon as you received it.  The Mariner credits are calculated from the tally of the debit column. Hope this makes sense.

Yes, it makes sense.  I'll have to go back and check the credits we got on the last cruise.

 

So, my pre-paid excursions, included HSC, and any purchases we made onboard count?

 

And, whatever the total is, say $1200 (4 extra days) we both get 4 days added to our Mariner accounts?

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1 minute ago, Shmoo here said:

Yes, it makes sense.  I'll have to go back and check the credits we got on the last cruise.

 

So, my pre-paid excursions, included HSC, and any purchases we made onboard count?

 

And, whatever the total is, say $1200 (4 extra days) we both get 4 days added to our Mariner accounts?

 

Yes, you’ve got it.

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3 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Several countries like the UK and Oz, require this by law.  Would most cruisers prefer this?  Most likely.  Will the cruise lines do this?  Not likely, as it allows them to keep the base fare low, and it gives them a "carrot and stick" approach to customer service, where the onus of lost income is placed on the passenger.

 

I looked it up at a big TA in Holland, as DSC/tips whatever are supposed to be in the price in The Netherlands. They did come as a surprise for me on my first cruise. First page: "NO HIDDEN COSTS". Small print after looking up a cruise: "Includes taxed. Does not include tips." I wonder how many Dutch (for whom cruising is relatively new) would understand that to mean they'll get an actual bill for the "tips". 

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Whatever it costs to get on board should be included in the price including Gratuities, Port Taxes and Fees. I really don't care how the cruise line breaks those things out. They all come out of my pocket.

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59 minutes ago, CRZR58 said:

Whatever it costs to get on board should be included in the price including Gratuities, Port Taxes and Fees. I really don't care how the cruise line breaks those things out. They all come out of my pocket.

Do you feel the same way about the airlines ?   You pay a basic fare that includes all taxes, just like the cruise lines do.   But when you get to the airport, you have to pay extra for your checked bags, and even for your carry-ons for some budget carriers.  If you want to select your seat, you pay extra,  if you want early boarding, you pay extra, if you want a drink or a snack, you pay extra.   The airlines are making billions doing that and will never stop.   

Even hotels zap you with "surprise"  usage fees when you check-in, most of which you don't want or use.  

I'm not justifying the cruise lines doing this by referencing the airlines and hotels.  I'm just saying that this is standard marketing practice in the travel industry.   If you want all inclusive cruising, then there are luxury lines that will cost you $500 to $600 per day, but everything is included, including drinks.   But what of you don't drink ?  Will those luxury lines reduce your fare?   Not a chance.   

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1 hour ago, CRZR58 said:

Whatever it costs to get on board should be included in the price including Gratuities, Port Taxes and Fees. I really don't care how the cruise line breaks those things out. They all come out of my pocket.

Then what difference does it make to you?

Including those in the fare won't save you a penny.

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1 hour ago, CRZR58 said:

Whatever it costs to get on board should be included in the price including Gratuities, Port Taxes and Fees. I really don't care how the cruise line breaks those things out. They all come out of my pocket.

 

You should care. If the total cruise package cost includes Service Charges. your travel agent gets a higher commission from the cruise line for selling you the cruise.

Then the cruise line raises the fares to cover the higher commissions they are paying.

Yes, they do all come out of your pocket.

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4 minutes ago, TAD2005 said:

You pay a basic fare that includes all taxes, just like the cruise lines do.   But when you get to the airport, you have to pay extra for your checked bags, and even for your carry-ons for some budget carriers.

 

All the things you mention are, in a way, "extra". At least not a complete surprise. Simply getting billed $12 or whatever per day for "gratuities" is absurd, no matter what reasons the cruise lines have. I haven't been to guest services to remove them, but I do warn friends that when they book a cruise there will be hidden costs that they wouldn't expect. The Dutch don't have a tipping culture, but I'm sure most of my friends would tip nicely in cash at the end of the cruise. But even dictionary.com is very clear about the word "gratuities".

 

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gratuities

 

noun, plural gra·tu·i·ties.

a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip.
something given without claim or demand.
 

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15 minutes ago, Donald said:

 

You should care. If the total cruise package cost includes Service Charges. your travel agent gets a higher commission from the cruise line for selling you the cruise.

Then the cruise line raises the fares to cover the higher commissions they are paying.

Yes, they do all come out of your pocket.

 

DSC would probably be regarded as "non-commissionable fare" for the TA, similar to port fees.

Also, if TAs would get more money for doing the same work, soon one big TA will return the extra money as OBC and the rest would follow quickly.

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29 minutes ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

All the things you mention are, in a way, "extra". At least not a complete surprise. Simply getting billed $12 or whatever per day for "gratuities" is absurd, no matter what reasons the cruise lines have. I haven't been to guest services to remove them, but I do warn friends that when they book a cruise there will be hidden costs that they wouldn't expect. The Dutch don't have a tipping culture, but I'm sure most of my friends would tip nicely in cash at the end of the cruise. But even dictionary.com is very clear about the word "gratuities".

 

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gratuities

 

noun, plural gra·tu·i·ties.

a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop; tip.
something given without claim or demand.
 

 

It’s technically a Hotel Service Charge.  Although we know it is for gratuities it is a charge.

 

Lots of resorts have Hotel service charges.   This is nothing new nor innovative.  You can’t opt out at those resorts.  So, whether you agree or not you pay it.

 

Don’t want to pay it?  Cruise on a line where it’s included (and pay a lot more) 😉 

 

I have a few Dutch friends and have met a number and they are all happy to keep the HSC in place 😉   Unless your friends who opt out tip the same amount of cash, they will be shorting their stewards, etc since all tips must be turned over to the pool if the HSC is removed.

 

When in Rome...

 

 

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1 hour ago, Donald said:

 

You should care. If the total cruise package cost includes Service Charges. your travel agent gets a higher commission from the cruise line for selling you the cruise.

Then the cruise line raises the fares to cover the higher commissions they are paying.

Yes, they do all come out of your pocket.

Given that cruise lines set the amount of commission they will pay to travel agents, the "commissionable fare", a rise in cruise price does not necessarily lead to an increase in commissions.

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12 minutes ago, kazu said:

I have a few Dutch friends and have met a number and they are all happy to keep the HSC in place 😉   Unless your friends who opt out tip the same amount of cash, they will be shorting their stewards, etc since all tips must be turned over to the pool if the HSC is removed.

 

 

They wouldn't opt out, however

 

12 minutes ago, kazu said:

When in Rome...

 

at least someone, like a TA, should be telling what the Romans do. That's not the case. It's not the end of the world to pay a bit extra so the guys in the back get some "tips" as well. But it's simply not sincere to sell cruises at $110 per night, when it really is $12 more. The first TA I looked up, the one with "no hidden costs", even says, after digging through their FAQ, that you can remove DSC but you will be asked for a "proper reason". 

 

14 minutes ago, kazu said:

Lots of resorts have Hotel service charges.   This is nothing new nor innovative.  You can’t opt out at those resorts.  So, whether you agree or not you pay it.

 

This might be totally normal for Canadians or Americans but it is not for me. I doubt it's even legal in Holland, but so far I found just one costumer organization saying that it's probably not legal and that was years ago.

 

I wonder how my clients would react if I would come up with an arbitrary "Software service charge", which you really should be paying unless you are willing to stiff my programmers and support desk. They'd think I'd gone mad, and look at their contract to see how soon they can switch to a competitor.

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4 minutes ago, AmazedByCruising said:

This might be totally normal for Canadians or Americans but it is not for me. I doubt it's even legal in Holland, but so far I found just one costumer organization saying that it's probably not legal and that was years ago.

 

It also happens in Europe and elsewhere.  It’s not a Canadian or American thing.

 

In fact, I have never stayed at a hotel in Canada or America where it is in place.  In Europe, I have 😉 

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It sounds like "full disclosure" is the issue. Paying our fair share is never a concern, but knowing what that is prior to booking is important. 

Things have changed over the years. When I flew in the past I did not have to pay for baggage, checked or carry-on. We were served pretty good meals, even in coach. The only drinks you had to pay for on a plane were alcoholic beverages, which I don't drink. 

I love the thought of a $329 cruise to Alaska, but you have to add in port charges and HSC. Realistically an inside cabin doubles in cost for many cruises. The percentage of increase is less in higher category cabins, even though the dollar amount is higher.

With "full disclosure" a passenger knows what all of the actual and potential charges will be and they can plan accordingly.

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5 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

It also happens in Europe and elsewhere.  It’s not a Canadian or American thing.

 

In fact, I have never stayed at a hotel in Canada or America where it is in place.  In Europe, I have 😉 

 

Not in Holland, I guess. I've never seen it anywhere in Europe either. Can you name an example?

 

(in Dutch) https://www.reclameboek.nl/artikelen/hotel-service-charge-blijkt-vaste-kostenpost-dient-als-zodanig-in-prijs-verdisconteerd-te-worden

 

While this is not a "real" judge, this is the official committee to go to for false advertising. They say that HSC is more or less "unavoidable", and should be included in advertised prices. HAL said it was "optional", but the committee says (rightly) that it's opt-out instead of opt-in (where the guest makes a deliberate choice to be charged extra).  The committee even said that the percentage of opt-out that HAL stated as proof (but couldn't be checked) that it was "optional", between 12,6% en 18,2%. actually shows that these are unavoidable costs. And should be listed as such.

 

 

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Will there be some kind of prize for the person who makes the 500,000th post on the subject of tipping?  🙄

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6 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

I suspect that depends upon the tax laws in the home country of the crew.  You're just speculating.

Yes....  your  right.     When I buy a cruise I want to know the cost with out an accountant adding all the exrtas...  I want to book based on The total price... not some game .    

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5 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

Yes....  your  right.     When I buy a cruise I want to know the cost with out an accountant adding all the exrtas...  I want to book based on The total price... not some game .    

After you've booked a couple, you know what the extras are.  It's not all that difficult.

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Just back from the Koningsdam and i’m ashamed for some of my fellow dutchies.. We met a couple who told us with pridd they did not pay any service charge. No HSC and if i had to believe them, they even had a form at guest services for not paying the service charge at the bars!

 

Never heard about the last possibility before. But like i said before; i’m ashamed by those people. 

 

For me, the HSC and service charge at the bar is ‘part of the deal’. Although i might consider to lower it to $10 p.p.p.d on our next cruise and give the rest in cash to the crew. Don’t need the extra cruisedays anymore: will become a 4-star mariner next cruise 😎

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