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Former NCL Bar Staff AMA


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1 hour ago, njhorseman said:

Which makes me very skeptical, to day the least, about the credibility of the what the OP is saying. If the OP was truly a member of NCL bar crew one might think they would know their compensation came from the 20% beverage service charge, not the DSC. 🙄

 

And, like the DSC, they don't get ALL of that money either. I don't know the exact distribution since it went to 20%, but when the bar service gratuity was 18%, the bar employees got 15.5% and NCL kept 2.5%. It is a total guess, but I'd bet NCL is currently keeping either 3% or 3.5% of the 20% grats on bar service.

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Wouldn't the staff get a salary regardless of whether there was a DSC or not?- also in my opinion the DSC flows in NCL's revenue stream as does passenger fare etc...,excursions, 

I would agree the DSC does to a certain extent go to the staff,  but it's not the whole equation in my opinion.

 

NCL is purchasing a set amount of alcohol per sailing; charging a gratuity on each drink - 

 

My question for the OP would be - what do you project you made on an average sailing from salary vs. tips. 

If you had a busier week (the ship as a whole)- did you see more income for that sailing?

If the average person has maybe 30 drinks per cruise- that could make average gratuity $3 or $4 per drink.

 

How many hundreds of drinks to bar servers serve a week - I wonder how much of a cut they are getting; obviously their corresponding support staff will and should get some but I find it hard to believe the whole $120 from my service charge were allocated to the staff- NCL is too greedy for that.

 

That's why I'm happy to tip bar staff who might bring me a drink or who I get repeat serving from- I think NCL is likely screwing some of them over the way they are becoming greedy with their customers.-On the other hand they are doing a nice job of growing the business. 

From looking at their 10k (while watching football Go Eagles!) average revenue per passenger seems to be around $2,100 with 70% revenue coming from fares-.

 

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It seems really strange to assume OP is a lying plant to cause an argument lol. His story completely checks out with everything I've ever heard.
Just curious - do none of you ever talk to the staff ON your trip? I don't know if it's because I'm around the age that a lot of them are and come off that I'm pretty clearly not a plant or going to turn anyone in for anything so they're not worried about talking shop with me or what, but most are more than willing to chat about behind the scenes stuff IF you don't spring it on them after ignoring them completely. If you've built a rapport etc.  Every single person that I've ever asked, bar staff, room stewards, and dining staff have unequivocably told me that they would prefer you to use cash and remove your DSC - IF you are a reasonable tipper. Which is why I started doing so. When I asked a guest relations guy (that I had unfortunately had to deal with more than on any other trip so we were on a more familiar basis than I would normally be with guest services) if it was in any way a problem for staff to remove it because I wanted to do what was best blah blah whatever, he walked around outright saying they'd prefer cash but made it VERY clear it was NO PROBLEM AT ALL to remove it and, among other things, "if I were you I'd just keep doing what you're doing" i.e. generously tipping cash. Again - OPs story checks out with everything I've ever heard. 
PLEASE NOTE I'm not saying just doing cash or just doing DSC either one are the right way to go. Not trying to get into that debate. Just sharing MY experience from what I've seen and heard. I've refrained from ever commenting about this, but this seems insane to me that it INEVITABLY devolves into this.

Edited by Jesyth
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On 11/1/2019 at 9:33 AM, Ennzo said:

DSC always ends up in the staff's hands, NCL doesnt pay us salary you do, DSC is our salary, how it works is everything gets pulled and distributed evenly among hotel workers(galley,housekeeping, restaurant, bar etc).

Hmmm... everything I've read suggests bar staff don't participate in DSC.

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22 minutes ago, Jesyth said:

Every single person that I've ever asked, bar staff, room stewards, and dining staff have unequivocably told me that they would prefer you to use cash and remove your DSC - IF you are a reasonable tipper. 

Hopefully, you gave them a very big cash tip, because that is what they were looking for based on their comment.  I am a resonable tipper and I leave the DSC in place, because I don't want to penalize those that I don't see eye to eye not giving them an opportunity to earn more than the minimum and if someone I see eye to eye goes above and beyond for me, I'll tip them some cash as a thank you. 

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19 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

Hopefully, you gave them a very big cash tip, because that is what they were looking for based on their comment.  I am a resonable tipper and I leave the DSC in place, because I don't want to penalize those that I don't see eye to eye not giving them an opportunity to earn more than the minimum and if someone I see eye to eye goes above and beyond for me, I'll tip them some cash as a thank you. 

Many of us don’t want to reward people we don’t see eye to eye, as we feel it’s the cruise lines responsibility.  We tip as we go and always had great service. 

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1 hour ago, Sam Ting said:

Many of us don’t want to reward people we don’t see eye to eye, as we feel it’s the cruise lines responsibility.  We tip as we go and always had great service. 

Don't really care what you do.  As  responsibile tipper, I just voiced what I do and I don't want to stiff those I don't see who make sure my cruises are awesome.

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On 11/4/2019 at 4:34 PM, Jesyth said:

Every single person that I've ever asked, bar staff, room stewards, and dining staff have unequivocably told me that they would prefer you to use cash and remove your DSC 

Annnnd it's a now a tipping thread LOL.  What I don't understand is why you would even bring up the topic of the DSC with employees during your cruises.  If you have any doubts that they are not being fairly compensated, you can simply remedy that by leaving good cash tips.  By asking them about the DSC and whether it's better to remove it implies that you can't afford to do both (pay the DSC and give cash tips.)  My advice on that front is to just wait a little longer to book if you are on a budget until you actually have enough money to cover all your vacation expenses.

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On 10/31/2019 at 1:56 PM, Ennzo said:

Hello everyone

I have been working for NCL as a part of Bar Staff for 5 years, I will try to answer all of your questions to the best of my knowledge, it doesnt have to be related to bar operations only.

 

When I take the time to fill out hero cards on exceptional services do you reward from it?

Is NCL a good company to work for?

When & where do you eat? Are you ever offered steak & seafood?

I appreciate everything anybody does for me while on a cruise including the person in the buffet flipping the omelettes.

Just want to say Thank -You for your services. Your all hero's working away from your families to earn a dollar.

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When you want information you go straight to the horses mouth for the best results, in my experience. Additionally more than one person has brought it up TO ME - along with talking about their people's families, work experiences, and lives and general. But that's the thing - I was there, you weren't; I know what was said and in what context, you don't. If you don't want to believe me, that's entirely your choice. Not about "being able to afford it", but sure. If I just left the full DSC it would be less than what I wound up spending. There is so much cognitive dissonance here that it truly doesn't matter what anyone else says. What I do, keep amend or remove, varies - as I'm open to all options. Clearly some people aren't. Everybody keep doing whatever they're doing 🙂 not my business, should have left it alone.

I was genuinely disappointed that there is the assumption that OP is a fake liar. But that's also not my business. I'm officially out of this conversation. I wasn't actually the person to hijack the thread, but I'm unhijacking, so I apologise to anyone offended. I thoroughly regret trying to point out something with people who've already made up their minds, even to support someone I felt was being unfairly scrutinized - it's always an absolute a waste of time. Going back to be "don't comment about DSC, ever", policy.  ✌️

Edited by Jesyth
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I do think the OP is a fake, he has purposely thrown a grenade and walked away, it’s obvious the first question would be DSC, he set the account up one day used it the next and now we haven’t heard a thing, he’s either on another cruise as a guest or working, with full knowledge every CC member knows now that they only get paid DSC as wages (fake) and bring loads of cash. 
 

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1 hour ago, Jesyth said:

When you want information you go straight to the horses mouth for the best results, in my experience. Additionally more than one person has brought it up TO ME - along with talking about their people's families, work experiences, and lives and general. But that's the thing - I was there, you weren't; I know what was said and in what context, you don't. If you don't want to believe me, that's entirely your choice. Not about "being able to afford it", but sure. If I just left the full DSC it would be less than what I wound up spending. There is so much cognitive dissonance here that it truly doesn't matter what anyone else says. What I do, keep amend or remove, varies - as I'm open to all options. Clearly some people aren't. Everybody keep doing whatever they're doing 🙂 not my business, should have left it alone.

I was genuinely disappointed that there is the assumption that OP is a fake liar. But that's also not my business. I'm officially out of this conversation. I wasn't actually the person to hijack the thread, but I'm unhijacking, so I apologise to anyone offended. I thoroughly regret trying to point out something with people who've already made up their minds, even to support someone I felt was being unfairly scrutinized - it's always an absolute a waste of time. Going back to be "don't comment about DSC, ever", policy.  ✌️

I guess some of us have been told things that weren't exactly true, like the time a server's assistant talked about her children and how hard it was to care for them.  We came to find out, she was single with no children and was just trolling for tips.  I believe the same goes for those that say don't pay the DSC, because it is more beneficial to them, because they get a share of the DSC plus larger tips from people like you that they told to not pay the DSC and tip cash.  I believe you probably tipped them well, while stiffing the rest included in the DSC, which the OP said was paid to the crew, but if that is what you can live with, that is your business.

 

There is an ex-NCL officer on this site and he has told everyone over and over again how the DSC works and and I would rather believe him since he is knowledgable, not a crew member who might have figured out a way to get more money for themselves versus being a team member and sharing the wealth with his team.

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6 hours ago, NLH Arizona said:

I guess some of us have been told things that weren't exactly true, like the time a server's assistant talked about her children and how hard it was to care for them.  We came to find out, she was single with no children and was just trolling for tips.  I believe the same goes for those that say don't pay the DSC, because it is more beneficial to them, because they get a share of the DSC plus larger tips from people like you that they told to not pay the DSC and tip cash.  I believe you probably tipped them well, while stiffing the rest included in the DSC, which the OP said was paid to the crew, but if that is what you can live with, that is your business.

 

There is an ex-NCL officer on this site and he has told everyone over and over again how the DSC works and and I would rather believe him since he is knowledgable, not a crew member who might have figured out a way to get more money for themselves versus being a team member and sharing the wealth with his team.

Referencing the ex-NCL officer, he said crew members get a minimum wage totally independent of how much DSC is paid.  If DSC goes above a certain (unknown) figure their pay increases to reflect this - probably not dollar for dollar, but something.  I had asked that question of OP, “isn’t there a minimum wage paid regardless?” But that wasn’t answered.

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5 minutes ago, erdoran said:

Referencing the ex-NCL officer, he said crew members get a minimum wage totally independent of how much DSC is paid.  If DSC goes above a certain (unknown) figure their pay increases to reflect this - probably not dollar for dollar, but something.  I had asked that question of OP, “isn’t there a minimum wage paid regardless?” But that wasn’t answered.

Yes, their guaranteed wage is $614, as I understand based on posts and if all DSC is left in place, these crew could earn about $1500-1800 per month. If DSC is reduced, then the crew will lose money, and the cruise lines only have to make up for lost DSC earnings if the crew's compensation drops below the minimum of $614.

 

As far as if is it dollar for dollar, no one on here knows; many can speculate, but no one has ever posted any proof either way.

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13 minutes ago, NLH Arizona said:

Yes, their guaranteed wage is $614, as I understand based on posts and if all DSC is left in place, these crew could earn about $1500-1800 per month. If DSC is reduced, then the crew will lose money, and the cruise lines only have to make up for lost DSC earnings if the crew's compensation drops below the minimum of $614.

 

As far as if is it dollar for dollar, no one on here knows; many can speculate, but no one has ever posted any proof either way.

 

Very true, I've asked officers at an "ask question" gathering a few ago an the officer refused to answer my questions with regards to the financial well being of the crew.

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32 minutes ago, FranknBeans said:

 

Very true, I've asked officers at an "ask question" gathering a few ago an the officer refused to answer my questions with regards to the financial well being of the crew.

Why would they answer those kinds of questions?  Does your employer or former employer answer questions about their employees' financial private information?

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My employer told all employees how our salary levels were computed, based on indexing across similar job positions in 10 equivalent companies.  The $ amount of course wasn’t made public, but the method was.

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3 hours ago, erdoran said:

My employer told all employees how our salary levels were computed, based on indexing across similar job positions in 10 equivalent companies.  The $ amount of course wasn’t made public, but the method was.

Told employees, not customers.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/2/2019 at 6:36 AM, Greenpea2 said:

Drinks in the Haven are not free. 

Ok, I’m on the boat now, and I see what happens... when you walk up to the haven bar to order a drink, the bar staff does not even bother to ask me for my key card, they just make/give me my drink. Perhaps they are not complimentary,  but it’s hard to tell. 😂 

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1 minute ago, hensed said:

Ok, I’m on the boat now, and I see what happens... when you walk up to the haven bar to order a drink, the bar staff does not even bother to ask me for my key card, they just make/give me my drink. Perhaps they are not complimentary,  but it’s hard to tell. 😂 

Nice! Enjoy!

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Drinks are NOT free in Haven.  If they were, then NCL’s advertising would say so, and you wouldn’t be offered the free booze perk and charged the $20/day/pax service charge.  I’m surprised they aren’t running your card, they usually but probably not always, ran our cards in our Haven stays.  

 

Prove it to yourself, order something above the $15 threshold and see how fast they ask for your card 😆

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On 11/1/2019 at 3:22 AM, Ennzo said:

Cash tips are ours to keep it goes directly to our pockets, some bars/bartenders split tips but that depends on idividuals.

Interesting information. I have friends who are bar tenders on another line, and they have to pool all the tips, even cash ones at the end of the cruise, with those that work their same shift at that same bar.

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11 hours ago, MrsKC08 said:

Interesting information. I have friends who are bar tenders on another line, and they have to pool all the tips, even cash ones at the end of the cruise, with those that work their same shift at that same bar.

 

Some lines specify how the daily charges are distributed (Disney, for example, does this). A pooled tip environment would normally mean that any cash tips are added into the pool, and then divided up.

 

NCL doesn't do that, so we don't know how the 20% automatic gratuity on beverages or the beverage package is distributed. Or, how cash tips are handled. It could be that because it's not a true tip pool, they don't disclose exactly how the DSC and 20% beverage grats are distributed to employees. Thinking as an employee, I wouldn't want to turn in my cash tips if I wasn't sure my share was coming back to me. So making people pool their cash tips would be difficult to enforce.

 

But, based on the wording in the NCL FAQ on cash tips, and what crew have told me, I believe it's reasonable to say they get to keep their cash tips on NCL.

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