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

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7 minutes ago, HBE4 said:

 

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? 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Yes you are right regarding airfare home etc.

I was told that if crew serve the full term of their contract they must be offered another contract and it is then the crew members decision if they want to return.

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4 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. 

 

Hmmm. Never ever thought it worked like that. So cash is not always king if the auto gratuities are removed. Interesting. I would hate to have to be part of that system. Poor cabin stewards that get a tip, knowing it is not for them if you pull the auto tips. So if the auto tips are paid and we tip anyone, do THEY get to keep it?

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2 hours ago, Tatka said:

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.

 

I'd be okay if the tip is included in the base fare. Mentally, I actually consider it to be part of the fare. I have to receive really bad service in order to not tip or reduce the amount of the tip.

 

Others may disagree.

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Just now, time4u2go said:

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

 

My guess is they just have them sign something stating that room 4567 or table 123 didn't give them a cash tip on the honor system.  Of course there would be pressure from co-workers not to cheat that system.  The cruiseline would know about what % of non-tippers to expect and anybody who reports an unusaly % over time would be subject to scrutiny.  Either they are cheating the system or they aren't providing a satisfactory level of service.  It wouldn't take a good manager long to figure out which it was.  

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


I’m not telling anything about extras. It’s up to individual, but if autogratuities are something that cruise line relies on to pay salary to its workers and we are charged pretty substantial amount for this then there should not be exceptions. As it is explained gratuities should be removed only if service is bad, but ....

If it’s something not really important then there shouldn’t be an autocharge, but voluntary cash tips, and of course if somebody wants to pay it automatically then there should be an option.

I enjoy all 5-6 cruises I have a year, and always leave gratis where they are, but just don’t like that abuse which is overlooked.

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I'd be okay if the tip is included in the base fare. Mentally, I actually consider it to be part of the fare. I have to receive really bad service in order to not tip or reduce the amount of the tip.
 
Others may disagree.


Me too.
From what I see when tips are removed it’s done for reasons that have nothing to do with quality of service.

I think the better way to handle this would be to collect everything line needs to collect, but if service is bad to handle this situation right there and if it’s not resolved maybe issue some type of compensation to cruiser.

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8 hours ago, mayleeman said:

I am far more annoyed about the huge "tip" real estate agents get -- thousands of dollars for just a few hours work -- when a house is sold than any money I have ever paid to a service worker.  

I always make sure my agents earn that "tip"! 

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31 minutes ago, above sea level cruiser said:

Hmmm. Never ever thought it worked like that. So cash is not always king if the auto gratuities are removed. Interesting. I would hate to have to be part of that system. Poor cabin stewards that get a tip, knowing it is not for them if you pull the auto tips. So if the auto tips are paid and we tip anyone, do THEY get to keep it?

based on our discussions with staff over the years, the answer is yes.  I know when we tip at the pool deck to our servers, we totally see them tucking it into their pockets.  And when we give it to our cabin person, he does the same.  As long as you leave the tips on, or have them charged daily (we do both) then anything we give extra in cash, they keep it.

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1 hour ago, HBE4 said:

 

I'd be okay if the tip is included in the base fare. Mentally, I actually consider it to be part of the fare. I have to receive really bad service in order to not tip or reduce the amount of the tip.

 

Others may disagree.

I agree with your thoughts here.  I wish they would call it a "Service Charge" not a Gratuity.  It probably only matters to me, but I think of a gratuity as, I decide to give it out.  A service charge is something that is part of the cost of doing business, like a ticket master fee, and I don't assume I can opt out. 

 

I do wonder if there are sales tax, or other, implications on building the gratuities into the fees.  In US hotels, several years ago, we were required to change Banquet Service Charges to be recorded as a revenue instead of a credit to payroll paid to to banquet servers.  This of course meant we had to collect sales taxes on the charges.  

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I usually hit guest services at the beginning of the cruise when the lines are short and remove the automatic gratuities. I do hit up the stateroom attendant as soon as I see him and give him some upfront cash, same to the bar tender and servers. Just picture Rodney walking around establishing an understanding of desired service. 

image.thumb.png.83a3a03b174961a6fe520b154c47478d.png

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How the system works ( as it was explained to me).

The staff under the tipping system are told they will earn a minimum of $2000 a month.

RCI guarantees to pay them $500 a month. The rest they should earn in tips, so they could earn upwards of $2000 and that is theirs to keep.

However if the tips are short and they only get $1000 in tips making this pay a total of $1500 they go to RCI and ask for a “top up” to make the agreed $2000.

Every time they ask for a top up it counts against them as it means their service has not been good as people haven’t left them the full tips. 
This could jeopardise their chances of getting a new contract.

 

The cruiseline pays for the airfare to the ship, the staff pay for their airfare home. 
 

*sums are for illustrative purposes 

Edited by little britain

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31 minutes ago, little britain said:

How the system works ( as it was explained to me).

The staff under the tipping system are told they will earn a minimum of $2000 a month.

RCI guarantees to pay them $500 a month. The rest they should earn in tips, so they could earn upwards of $2000 and that is theirs to keep.

However if the tips are short and they only get $1000 in tips making this pay a total of $1500 they go to RCI and ask for a “top up” to make the agreed $2000.

Every time they ask for a top up it counts against them as it means their service has not been good as people haven’t left them the full tips. 
This could jeopardise their chances of getting a new contract.

 

The cruiseline pays for the airfare to the ship, the staff pay for their airfare home. 
 

*sums are for illustrative purposes 

The crew only pays for airfare home when they do not fulfill the agreed contract period.

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So I just looked back at my statement and see $202 for prepaid gratuities. I can't believe this relatively small amount of money is such an issue for so many.  My husband and I went to eat lunch today and tipped $5 for a $22 meal. Multiply that times 20 meals and that would be $100. That's for a cheap meal, which may or may not be what you're getting on a cruise, and you also get other service. You guys do what you want, but I think it's a bargain!

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Why is everyone so concerned about how a cruiseline pays their employees?  No one seems to be concerned about how your employer pays YOU.  The gratuities are a "service charge."  It's been like this for decades.  The auto-gratuities on Royal Caribbean began, I believe, with MTD because you didn't have the same waiter each night.  These were pre-paid if you wanted MTD.  Then they decided to go to auto-gratuities as an option.  You would fill out a paper on day one of the cruise if you wanted auto-gratuities or cash.  Then they went to auto for all and the mandatory pre-paid became an option for everyone.  

So gratuities are nothing new.  Just consider it a "service charge."  How the crew gets paid is no one's business.  If you don't want to contribute to the crew's pay, then have it removed.  That's certainly your option. If you like running around handing out cash, go for it.  That's your option.  But to weave conspiracies, etc. as an excuse to not pay gratuities is simply an excuse.  Again, it's not any of YOUR business what the compensation agreement is between Royal Caribbean and their employees, just like it isn't any of MY business what YOUR compensation agreement is between you and your employer.  

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4 hours ago, Elsie26 said:

I think it's a bargain!

 

Me as well.  However there are always others looking for a better bargain, even if it is on the backs of others.

 

2 hours ago, papaflamingo said:

...to weave conspiracies, etc. as an excuse to not pay gratuities is simply an excuse.  

 

Nailed it Papa.

 

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19 hours ago, ladybug.2009 said:

Why?  This doesn't make any sense.  

Why would you think that it makes no sense?

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14 hours ago, karena1 said:

based on our discussions with staff over the years, the answer is yes.  I know when we tip at the pool deck to our servers, we totally see them tucking it into their pockets.  And when we give it to our cabin person, he does the same.  As long as you leave the tips on, or have them charged daily (we do both) then anything we give extra in cash, they keep it.

This is actually not wrong. You see them put it in their pocket as a way of holding on to it, but they do have to pool it.

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15 hours ago, above sea level cruiser said:

Hmmm. Never ever thought it worked like that. So cash is not always king if the auto gratuities are removed. Interesting. I would hate to have to be part of that system. Poor cabin stewards that get a tip, knowing it is not for them if you pull the auto tips. So if the auto tips are paid and we tip anyone, do THEY get to keep it?

This is all conjecture, this may not be how it works at all, it's just a possible scenario that @Rockhoundcame up with. 

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31 minutes ago, MrsKC08 said:

This is actually not wrong. You see them put it in their pocket as a way of holding on to it, but they do have to pool it.

We gave an extra tip to a stateroom attendant on our floor who helped us out when our luggage was misplaced (ours was between shifts), and who basically made us feel very special every time we saw her over 2 weeks. She was more grateful than I ever expected, and told me it would go toward helping pay for her daughter's medical care (pretty sure this was genuine--I saw actual tears). I don't think she would have said that if she had to pool them because it wasn't enough to make her share more than a a quarter if it went into a pool of several hundred attendants and support staff. 

Edited by mayleeman

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47 minutes ago, MrsKC08 said:

This is actually not wrong. You see them put it in their pocket as a way of holding on to it, but they do have to pool it.

 

I'd like to further your comment.  That crew member getting a cash tip will think that they are getting more on top of auto-grats, and most likely give the guest better service.  As it has been stated earlier the only crew member that actually knows that the tips have been removed is the cabin steward. However, with their individual cash tip then being pooled those guests that remove auto-gratuities have just lowered the actual cash amount that they just gave that individual crew member.  Therefore they are most likely/potentially receiving better service while putting out less money.  

Edited by A&L_Ont

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11 minutes ago, mayleeman said:

We gave an extra tip to a stateroom attendant on our floor who helped us out when our luggage was misplaced (ours was between shifts), and who basically made us feel very special every time we saw her over 2 weeks. She was more grateful than I ever expected, and told me it would go toward helping pay for her daughter's medical care (pretty sure this was genuine--I saw actual tears). I don't think she would have said that if she had to pool them because it wasn't enough to make her share more than a a quarter if it went into a pool of several hundred attendants and support staff. 

 

Did you remove auto-tips?  with her daughter needs medical help, she might just pocket the funds and risk whatever the alternative might be.  I think in that situation we all would be consider doing the same thing to care for our child.

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28 minutes ago, A&L_Ont said:

 

I'd like to further your comment.  That crew member getting a cash tip will think that they are getting more on top of auto-grats, and most likely give the guest better service.  As it has been stated earlier the only crew member that actually knows that the tips have been removed is the cabin steward. However, with their individual cash tip then being pooled those guests that remove auto-gratuities have just lowered the actual cash amount that they just gave that individual crew member.  Therefore they are most likely/potentially receiving better service while putting out less money.  

You got that right my friend!

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We always remove this optional fee and tip as we go.  How the cruiseline convinced passengers to donate to their billion dollar company so it can pay its employees is beyond me. 

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31 minutes ago, A&L_Ont said:

Did you remove auto-tips?

 

Heavens, no! Others may do what they please, but I could never justify doing that. Even in a case of bad service,  the better remedy is to inform GR or the Hotel Director, not to punish everyone else.

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1 minute ago, mayleeman said:

 

Heavens, no! Others may do what they please, but I could never justify doing that. Even in a case of bad service,  the better remedy is to inform GR or the Hotel Director, not to punish everyone else.

We would never jeopardize someone’s livelihood by squealing on them just because they are having a bad day or week.  Our pay as you go tipping is adjusted based on service received.  

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