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MikeyB

Viking Undiscovered China-Tipping Question

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Hello All..

So I had directed this question first to the "AskViking" staff but they don't want to reply.

So, if I may, I would like to ask the question here.

Please allow me to say that I know questions about tipping are a landmine.  Tipping is a personal matter.  You do what you are comfortable with giving.  With that in mind, here is my question to Viking.  Thank you

 

Could someone at Viking please tell me how the suggested tip amounts were calculated?

I have previously sail on European Viking cruises where the suggested amount were 15 euros per day,

In China the amounts are considerably higher ($25 pp on board and$10 pp to the land escort).  Why is this so?

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Posted (edited)

You asked about this in another thread and a number of people gave you explanations.  Viking is not going to tell you exactly how they calculate the recommended tips for each market--and they can differ depending on where you are sailing -- nor are they required to answer the question.

 

If you don't like the number they have recommended, you may change the amount or even remove it from your bill.

Edited by Peregrina651

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Peregrina651 (or is this Katrine?)

Are you confusing me with someone else?  I previously asked about putting the tips on a credit card.    Or is the my underwear question that's confusing you?

Anyway,  I have enjoyed reading many of your replies.  Many are very helpful.  Unfortunately, this one is not.

Viking should be replying to everyone's reasonable inquiry.  If only to say. we aren't going to reply to you.

Not replying is rude.  When I asked this question, it actually got directed to Australia.  The reply was as follows-

Gratuities are included in our cruise fares.  We do not provide itemised costs

 

If they cannot reply as to how they arrived at the suggested amounts, then they have no right to auto-charge it to my credit card on board. They might as well tell me the gratuities will be $200 per day.

Tipping in China is not the same as in the US.  I have read in multiple places that it is considered rude and impolite to leave a tip.  I guess the Viking alternative to not being rude is to tip generously.

I think my inquiry is reasonable.

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27 minutes ago, MikeyB said:

Are you confusing me with someone else? 

 

Sorry. Yes I did confuse you with someone else.  My apologies for the confusion. The same question with very similar wording was asked on another China thread:

 

If somehow your question got forwarded to Australia for answering, then perhaps you should contact Viking again. Use TellUs@vikingcruises.com.

 

 

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I re-directed my email to"Tellus@".  And thank you for forwarding the Undiscovered China question.

I see it was asked and no one could answer it.

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Hi - I have learned that tipping guidelines outside of Europe are different, and hinge on the company you travel with.  In China, with Viking, you will have a "land escort" with you all the way.  You will be with that same "escort" on land, and again on the boat.  But, don't confuse them with the local guides --> there will most likely be guides in many of the places you stop, and (if memory serves) you will be asked to tip them as well.   A bit of warning, there was one "guide" that was introduced by our "land escort" (Jaime) - and the introduction was vague.  We all think she was a government plant - making sure that our "land escort" played by the rules.  She did not speak to us, offered no service - and Jaime was quite deferential to her.  

 

China is very different.  You stay in beautiful hotels in the land portion, and most have free WiFi - but many sites are blocked.  My DH could not get his e-mail as he has a Hotmail address.  No access to Google.  Every now & again the TV would go dark for a few seconds.  We thought it was an interruption in cable service, but, we found out, much (if not all) of the TV stations are on a short delay - and if something is on they don't want you to see, they block the feed. 

 

Tipping suggestions are just that... suggestions.  They do not automatically charge your credit card, as they do on the big cruise ships. You can tip as much - or as little - as you like.   You can also decide (on the boat) to tip per night, or per day...  And - do so based on the service you receive. 

 

Not sure if this helps.

 

Fran

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Thank you Fran.  Very interesting what you wrote.

However, the Viking rules appear to have changed.  Viking will now automatically add the "discretionary" service charge to my shipboard account.  They did it on my Viking river cruise this July in Bordeaux.  No problem paying 15 euro pp.

I know I can tip as much as I wish.  I don't think it's unreasonable to ask how the $25 pp cruise and $10 pp land was calculated for China.  I think it's excessive. (That must be obvious).  All these employees should already be receiving a living wage.

 

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2 hours ago, MikeyB said:

Viking will now automatically add the "discretionary" service charge to my shipboard account. 

 

 

And you may asked to have it removed (or adjusted to any number you wish). It is as simple as that. Just stop at the front desk and ask; it will be taken care of.

 

 

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Thank you for telling me the obvious.

Viking replied to me but not to my question.  Here is their reply-

 

-Tipping on board is at your discretion. Should you choose to tip your gratuities will be distributed among the ship’s staff, Program Director & Tour Escorts who travel with you in China. 

 

I guess this is the best I can expect.

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On 8/23/2019 at 5:54 PM, MikeyB said:

Thank you Fran.  Very interesting what you wrote.

However, the Viking rules appear to have changed.  Viking will now automatically add the "discretionary" service charge to my shipboard account.  They did it on my Viking river cruise this July in Bordeaux.  No problem paying 15 euro pp.

I know I can tip as much as I wish.  I don't think it's unreasonable to ask how the $25 pp cruise and $10 pp land was calculated for China.  I think it's excessive. (That must be obvious).  All these employees should already be receiving a living wage.

 

Interesting...  Viking did not routinely add the gratuities when we last traveled with them, although it was a few years ago. (Our last few cruises have been with Avalon...).   I will keep this in mind if we travel with them again.

 

And, I agree that it is not unreasonable to ask about the calculation they have done.  We asked the same thing when we went to Peru (with Avalon) - and finally got an answer - but had to push a bit to get it. 

 

We loved our trip to China - and felt that Viking really has this itinerary down pat...  But we have no desire to go back.

 

Enjoy!!  It is a great experience.

 

Fran

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The recommended tip to the local guides and bus drivers (i.e., not the Escort who accompanies throughout) is $2 and $1 respectively. I presume USD is acceptable, but is/was RMB preferred?

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Not sure if this answers your question. My cruise document booklet for Undiscovered China suggest $2 for the local guide and $1 for the driver. To me that means American dollars are acceptable.  On the European river cruises it says 2 euro/1 euro.  With China just devaluing their local currency, no one will reject the almighty dollar.

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So just when I thought, I beat my question to an ugly death, what should happen?

Answer.....Viking called me!  I admit that I do leave a lot of crumbs.  My name, my location and the details that I write gave me away.  

Well anyway,  I appreciate the effect they made to contact me.  But I must admit, it would have been easier for them to just post a reply here.  After all, they have been known to reply on these boards.

The person who contacted me was from the "post-cruise" department.  She asked if I still had a question about the gratuities.  Well yes, I did and will still question it until it comes time to tell Viking what I wish to give the staff.  Auto gratuities don't work well for me without an explanation. 

She then said, she did not have an answer but will get me one.  I was placed on hold.  Hmmmmm, that's odd that she was not prepared to explain it, since she called me.

After the brief hold she kind of said it was management who determined the amount.  Again, my question as to how it was determined was not really answered, but I told the individual that Viking not having an answer was indeed the answer I was looking for.

Please don't get me wrong, this will be my 7th river cruise (plus 2 ocean cruises) in 6 years.  More bread crumbs.  I really like the Viking product.  Almost always a home run. It's just that Corporate Viking can make things difficult.

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