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Does the crew know we've pre-paid gratuities?

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2 hours ago, ShonicePlus3 said:

I apologize ahead of time... I'm a bit confused.. So if we do the math between what the cruise line actually pays their staff onboard now compared to if they went up to let's say $8/hr for their onboard staff would they gain or lose money? By my math they would lose money hence lower profit margins.. Basic math to me 

The problem is, no country forces cruise lines to pay a min wage. Wishing that they would pay more if customers don't tip won't make it so.

 

Incidentally, both our stateroom attendant and a waiter we talked to extensively about their families said that they have to pay for their own plane fare home when they end a contract. I have also heard otherwise. But a few bucks out of pocket from us certainly can help.  They also usually only get health insurance for themselves, and it only covers while they are on a contract, not the months in between.

 

Even if the salaries and tips add up to what we would consider a decent wage, these aren't U.S. jobs and have few of the protections Americans are used to. 

 

The math works for me. If it works for the workers and helps them out, too, great.

 

If it also works for Royal because they have happier workers partially paid by grateful pax, while increasing profits, that seems a win-win-win. Royal's profits keep them in business, and all these megaships they heavily invest those profits in have kept fares low and availability high.

 

But only the third category, Royal, benefits if lots of passengers skimp on tips or remove them. Good workers will likely leave for better paying lines as the awful working conditions become less worth it, and with their departure service inevitably will suffer.

Edited by mayleeman

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57 minutes ago, MrsKC08 said:

I agree with you wholeheartedly~

 

I would love to see the day when cruiselines WON'T allow passengers to remove gratuities, and personally...with the more and more people who think it's ok to remove them, I can see that happening in the not so distant future!! Just like the deluxe drink packages (people thinking it is ok to share them as well, since the cruiseline is making "so much money anyway". 

 

   I see this too. I will be happy.

 

   What people who remove autogratuities do not understand it will also be more than amounts collected additionally now, because of taxation issues. To see everyone contributing equally I am OK even with this, but just thought I'll put it here.

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On 11/11/2019 at 9:33 AM, parsec0298 said:

The advantage to the cruise lines is that they get to advertise lower cruise fares since the wages are lower.  But since they advertise the fare, there must be a way to only pay that amount.  If gratuities were a mandatory expense over and above the advertised fare the cruise lines would face lawsuits over false advertising claims.

 

What's the disadvantage to us?  We are deceived into thinking the price of the cruise is one thing, when it's really something else.  But as consumers in the US we are more accustomed to this, since it happens every time we dine at a restaurant, get in a taxi cab, etc.

No...no... the original comment was "NO ONE knows how the gratuity system actually works; keeping everyone in the dark and guessing is what the cruiseline depends on."  You don't actually address how "keeping everyone in the dark" about how the "gratuity system actually works" is disadvantageous to passengers and benefits the cruise line.  

You simply address the marketing advantage of gratuities by being able to advertise a lower price for the cruise.  And you even admit that gratuities are optional and can be removed.  So I'm not seen much "in the dark" in your answer.  It's actually completely "in the light."  Very clear actually.

So I have to ask again, exactly WHY does the cruiseline want to "keep everyone in the dark?"  What do you think the purpose or advantage is to them and disadvantage is to us?

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4 hours ago, springfire said:

Gratuities make up most of the compensation for crew in the housekeeping, beverage and food departments.   Royal now even requests we give gratuity to crew members we don't even see.   Royal profits even more when they get passengers to pay more of the crew's salary.    

UNTRUE.  This is total conjecture and not supported by even rudimentary math.

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2 hours ago, MrsKC08 said:

I agree with you wholeheartedly~

 

I would love to see the day when cruiselines WON'T allow passengers to remove gratuities, and personally...with the more and more people who think it's ok to remove them, I can see that happening in the not so distant future!! Just like the deluxe drink packages (people thinking it is ok to share them as well, since the cruiseline is making "so much money anyway". 

Why?  This doesn't make any sense.  

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In 2018 Royal Caribbean (all brands) carried just over 6 million passengers for a total of just under 42 million cruise days.  At $15 grats / day that comes to $630MM.   To this you have to add grats on beverages, specialty dining, etc.  Have no idea how much this comes to but it's a very large number.  

 

In 2018 Royal had 70,000 employees.  This includes call center, hq staff and many others who don't receive tips.  But if all 70,000 did  participate it would come to $9k per employee.

 

Royal's total payroll expense for the year which presumably includes employee benefits came to $925 million or $13k / employee.  Adjusting for the huge sums paid to senior management makes the average salary even lower.

 

This is all really rough, but it implies the average Royal employee makes somewhere  around $13k in salary + $9k in tips for a total of $22k.  

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2 hours ago, A&L_Ont said:

 

 

LOL Dan.  You made me think that those removing tips on day one might should be careful that their sushi isn't just butter fish. 

 

2 hours ago, HBE4 said:

 

No.

 

You'd have to pay me to eat Sushi. And I expect a hefty tip as well. In advance 😋

 

Good stuff.  😂👍🏼

 

Dan

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13 minutes ago, ladybug.2009 said:

Why?  This doesn't make any sense.  

 

  It makes total sense as with this addition and everybody contributing (without removing) cruise lines it will be enough to pay what was planned to be paid. It should be enough as is, but people removing...

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7 minutes ago, Tatka said:

 

  It makes total sense as with this addition and everybody contributing (without removing) cruise lines it will be enough to pay what was planned to be paid. It should be enough as is, but people removing...

If it "makes so much sense", why hasn't the restaurant and hospitality industry changed then??  How come literally every service restaurant we go to has no automatic tipping?

 

Because it doesn't make sense.

It will mean higher costs, and lower service quality, and NO incentive for workers to do anything but average jobs (or worse!)

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4 hours ago, Colorado Babe said:

We just prepay them now and tip those at the end of our cruise who have gone above and beyond.   

Exactly!  That is what we do.  When you take them off, you hurt every person behind the scenes that works to make your vacation the best it can be.  

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8 minutes ago, ladybug.2009 said:

If it "makes so much sense", why hasn't the restaurant and hospitality industry changed then??  How come literally every service restaurant we go to has no automatic tipping?

 

Because it doesn't make sense.

It will mean higher costs, and lower service quality, and NO incentive for workers to do anything but average jobs (or worse!)

 

  States and cruise ships have completely different systems of paying their workers. In fact States are very different from majority of the world, this is why on European cruiselines and cruises from Australia gratuities are already included in fare. Many international cruisers when cruise in North America or on American lines in Europe just remove autogratuities. 

 

  Workers on ships have salary, plus they might get a bonus for good work. Servers in our local restaurants have per hour pay and it is often below minimum, most of their compensation is from gratuities.

 

  Ship workers can very well be motivated by a bonus. Plus people still inclined on giving them additional tips, but majority of what they earned is paid from autogratuities, and to insure line collects them without smart removing 🙂 they will just roll it in our fare instead of collecting them separately.

Edited by Tatka

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I know there is no way to find out this information, but I wonder how many (what %) of a cruise ship passengers opt out of auto-gratuities? My guess would be not to many, based on what people are posting here but it seems to be  causing a lot of angst for some.

 

And, of the people that do opt out, how many:

  • A) end up tipping the same amount of money as the suggested auto-grats,
  • B) Tip less.
  • C) Tip more.
  • D) Do not tip at all. Except when buying a drink where there is no opt-out clause.

Just a WAG, but I've arranged the choices in order as my optimistic mind thinks is the truth.

Edited by HBE4

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3 minutes ago, ladybug.2009 said:

If it "makes so much sense", why hasn't the restaurant and hospitality industry changed then??  How come literally every service restaurant we go to has no automatic tipping?

 

The Bahamas (by law, I believe) has mandated tips in restaurants (we haven't been there since 2016, though, so things might have changed). Interestingly, it is at a rate lower than we usually tip. And yes, many people have compained that service is worse.

 

I talked with several managers and other people. They all said it was enacted because so many people failed to tip  Being close to the US, many workers were experiencing the benefits of a "tipping culture" but others were not. The government, hsving screwed up so many things since 2000, wanted to be seen as enhancing the wealth of its people but at tourists' expense. (They adopted a high VAT, too.)

 

Several servers we talked to said their net tips went down because many people didn't appreciate being forced to tip and would have tipped more.

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7 minutes ago, HBE4 said:

I know there is no way to find out this information, but I wonder how many (what %) of a cruise ship passengers opt out of auto-gratuities? My guess would be not to many, based on what people are posting here but it seems to be  causing a lot of angst for some.

 

And, of the people that do opt out, how many:

  • A) end up tipping the same amount of money as the suggested auto-grats,
  • B) Tip less.
  • C) Tip more.
  • D) Do not tip at all. Except when buying a drink where there is no opt-out clause.

Just a WAG, but I've arranged the choices in order as my optimistic mind thinks is the truth.

 

You mean that if it is not too many it shouldn't cause angst? 🙂

I personally know people from US and from Europe who do removal the first thing when they get on board. They also recommend it to others as a smart way to save money. I highly doubt they pay any substantial amount in cash.  I know they don't.

 

I just think it is unfair to all of us.

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In Germany there was a consumer case against cruise lines so they now must declare FINAL price with all taxes and fees.

Everything is included in cruisefare and from what I heard service is still very good on their ships.

Of course additional cash gratis are not prohibited, but it is rather an exception and not expected.

 

For me personally not much difference as I pay it either way. I liked it all cash in the beginning of my cruising in 2003. However I had conversations with various crewmembers and they told me that this system is good for ones that serve you directly and they can make up to $4K (minus airfare + $50 from the line), general workers not facing us were making measly $450-500.

Edited by Tatka

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43 minutes ago, ladybug.2009 said:

If it "makes so much sense", why hasn't the restaurant and hospitality industry changed then??  How come literally every service restaurant we go to has no automatic tipping?

 

Because it doesn't make sense.

It will mean higher costs, and lower service quality, and NO incentive for workers to do anything but average jobs (or worse!)


Comparing land to sea tips like you want to, is like comparing apples to oranges.
 

On the ship a bad worker can be sent home to the life that they are trying to better. Once they return home they are in a much worse situation.  That is incentive enough for them to be doing a great job.  If a staff member at Denny’s is let go, the can have a job paying the same amount the next day. The incentive for them is no where near the same for a cruise ship worker. 

 

The cruise line should include tips to the cruise fare and be done with it. If a staff member isn’t pulling their weight they will be shipped off no matter what. It most likely happens a few times every week, on every ship, to crew members that are in public spaces and behind the scenes. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, A&L_Ont said:


Comparing land to sea tips like you want to, is like comparing apples to oranges.
 

On the ship a bad worker can be sent home to the life that they are trying to better. Once they return home they are in a much worse situation.  That is incentive enough for them to be doing a great job.  If a staff member at Denny’s is let go, the can have a job paying the same amount the next day. The incentive for them is no where near the same for a cruise ship worker. 

 

Tipping is the same regardless if you are on land or sea. If a waiter gives bad service and is reported they will be sent home as well. How well do you think American waitresses live? They get fired and they go home to an eviction notice or a shut off notice.

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To add another wrinkle to the discussion, here is a nearly direct quote from the MDR waiter on a recent 7-day cruise: "You will be getting a survey once we get pack to port. We hope our service was great and you give us a 10. Just realize that if you don't give us a 10, then both myself and my assistant waiter will be taking a pay-cut.". 

 

I couldn't believe that I heard him actually say that so asked him to repeat. He said the exact same thing again. On pretty much every cruise we get the "please give us a 10" speech but this was the first time to hear the "we take a pay-cut if you don't" part. Based on this, it seems like the amount paid to waitstaff via the credit-card paid gratuities (pre or post) is variable based on survey performance. That then brings up the question of "so where does the money go if it does not go to your waitstaff?". Is it re-pooled and goes to waitstaff that does get a 10? Goes to a larger pool for everyone? RCI keeps it? Just don't know. 

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On 11/11/2019 at 11:37 AM, Host Clarea said:

 

The crewmember does not necessarily have to turn in cash tips in order to have them pooled.  They can be "assessed" tips by the company to accomplish the same effect.  In other words, the company assumes the crewmember was paid their standard tips and deducts that from their paycheck.

What does that mean? Please explain in great detail as this post is very confusing. Can you put it in layman's terms.

 

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2 hours ago, Tatka said:

 

You mean that if it is not too many it shouldn't cause angst? 🙂

I personally know people from US and from Europe who do removal the first thing when they get on board. They also recommend it to others as a smart way to save money. I highly doubt they pay any substantial amount in cash.  I know they don't.

 

I just think it is unfair to all of us.

I totally agree with you.

P&O is an example.

The vast majority of passengers were removing their autogratuities and bragging about it on lots of UK cruise tipping forums.

Several of us regular posters who believe in autogratuities emailed P&O suggesting including tips into the fare so everyone contributed.

I got a phone call from Carnival House from their guest services and suggested making tips included a sales slogan.

P&O did this several months later and sales are excellent.

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19 minutes ago, RockHoundTX said:

To add another wrinkle to the discussion, here is a nearly direct quote from the MDR waiter on a recent 7-day cruise: "You will be getting a survey once we get pack to port. We hope our service was great and you give us a 10. Just realize that if you don't give us a 10, then both myself and my assistant waiter will be taking a pay-cut.". 

 

I couldn't believe that I heard him actually say that so asked him to repeat. He said the exact same thing again. On pretty much every cruise we get the "please give us a 10" speech but this was the first time to hear the "we take a pay-cut if you don't" part.

 

Cruise line employees sign a contract that guarantees a certain salary.  I (key word) believe some are eligible for a bonus based on glowing reviews.  So, by not giving  your waiter a glowing review, he may not get his bonus, which he twisted into a "pay cut".   Some employees may, er, stretch the truth in order to elicit bigger tips. For example, another poster on this thread was told by an employee that they need to pay for their own air fare to and from home (they don't, unless fired or leave early before contract is up) or pay for room and board (they don't).

 

Kind of sketchy, right? 

 

26 minutes ago, RockHoundTX said:

Based on this, it seems like the amount paid to waitstaff via the credit-card paid gratuities (pre or post) is variable based on survey performance. That then brings up the question of "so where does the money go if it does not go to your waitstaff?". Is it re-pooled and goes to waitstaff that does get a 10? Goes to a larger pool for everyone? RCI keeps it? Just don't know.

 

Hence the black hole of tipping.  Some people will receive some amount of money but who and how much is all conjecture. Even if you hand cash to your server/stateroom attendant, he may or may not have to turn it over to the tipping  pool and/or may or may not have the tip deducted from his paycheck.    Who knows?

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, above sea level cruiser said:

What does that mean? Please explain in great detail as this post is very confusing. Can you put it in layman's terms.

 

If I understand correctly, lets use the example of normally there would be $100 in a pool that goes to 10 people (so $10 each). Let's say on the next cruise there is only $90 in that pool since someone did not pay automatic gratuities. It is assumed that the cabin steward/waiter/what-ever of the person removed the automatic gratuities was paid by hand. Thus, the $90 is spread across 9 people (each still getting $10) and the one person is skipped. If that one person that was skipped was given a $20, then he is happy. However if he was given $0, then he somehow has to prove he was given $0 so that the pool is re-allocated (now everyone gets $9).

 

That all being said, my personal belief based on my observations is that there is a list of people that have paid gratuities as of the last day of the cruise. If a person is on that list, then the cabin steward keeps the tip. If the person is not on the list, then the cabin steward is forced to turn in the money and it goes into the shared pool. 

 

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7 minutes ago, RockHoundTX said:

If I understand correctly, lets use the example of normally there would be $100 in a pool that goes to 10 people (so $10 each). Let's say on the next cruise there is only $90 in that pool since someone did not pay automatic gratuities. It is assumed that the cabin steward/waiter/what-ever of the person removed the automatic gratuities was paid by hand. Thus, the $90 is spread across 9 people (each still getting $10) and the one person is skipped. If that one person that was skipped was given a $20, then he is happy. However if he was given $0, then he somehow has to prove he was given $0 so that the pool is re-allocated (now everyone gets $9).

 

That all being said, my personal belief based on my observations is that there is a list of people that have paid gratuities as of the last day of the cruise. If a person is on that list, then the cabin steward keeps the tip. If the person is not on the list, then the cabin steward is forced to turn in the money and it goes into the shared pool. 

 

Interesting.  I can't figure out how someone proves that they were given $0.

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3 hours ago, Tatka said:

 

You mean that if it is not too many it shouldn't cause angst? 🙂

I personally know people from US and from Europe who do removal the first thing when they get on board. They also recommend it to others as a smart way to save money. I highly doubt they pay any substantial amount in cash.  I know they don't.

 

I just think it is unfair to all of us.

 

What's unfair? Some people tip more, some less, just like any other situation ( bar, hotel, doorman, taxi driver, hair stylist, etc). 

 

I don't think the price of my cruise or enjoyment is impacted by what others tip. 

 

Just FYI (in case you did not see my earlier post),  I use auto-gratuities and will sometimes tip extra. I just don't think it's up to me to tell others how to spend their money. 

Edited by HBE4

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