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Thoughts on additional tips?


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Up front disclaimer:  this post is NOT about whether to tip or not; it's not even about whether to leave assigned gratuities "as is" or remove and tip separately...

 

I am American, and I tip.  There you have it; plain and simple.  I figure if I can afford to take a cruise, I can reward those who support me in my happiness.  I don't want this post to turn into an argument about that concept.

 

My question for folks who tip extra is how much you give to the various personnel at the end of a cruise.  I will be doing 24 days later this year, and I'm trying to calculate how much to take.  Here are the folks that I typically tip, and I would appreciate your thoughts...

Cabin Stewards (primary and assistant)

Wait staff (I have assigned seating, so primary and assistant)

Wine Sommelier

Maitre de (if I use; nothing if not)

Neptune Lounge staff (I stay in a suite)

Favorite bartender (I usually find a bar that I like and frequent it most often); and do you tip upfront and/or at the end of the cruise?

 

Thanks in advance for your helpful advice. 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, kstrittm said:

I don't want this post to turn into an argument about that concept.

 

I wish you good luck on that 😉
 

19 minutes ago, kstrittm said:

do you tip upfront and/or at the end of the cruise?

 

We tip at the end, unless it is a B2B when one or more of our contacts would be leaving the ship. 

When we are in a Neptune, we leave a group tip at the end of the cruise for the Pinnacle Grill staff, if  we used the PG for breakfasts.

 

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, kstrittm said:

My question for folks who tip extra is how much you give to the various personnel at the end of a cruise.  I will be doing 24 days later this year, and I'm trying to calculate how much to take.  Here are the folks that I typically tip, and I would appreciate your thoughts...

Cabin Stewards (primary and assistant)

Wait staff (I have assigned seating, so primary and assistant)

.........

We did a 24 day with great service, so for the two of us we tipped $200 to each of the above. That is $800 total. We did not have anything extraordinary from the others you mention, so they got no extra.

Edited by retafcruiser
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I think asking someone how much extra they tip is akin to asking them how much they paid for their cabin and flight and then inferring that what most people are doing.  I am guessing that the person who tips his steward $100 to $200 is the person who paid $5000 per person for their cabin and $4000 each for business class air travel to their two week cruise, or $18 to 20K total.  Other passengers typically pay $1000 each for the cabin and $600 for low cost air travel, or 3.2K total.  The person who pays $20K for a cruise doesn't think twice about a $100 tip, while the other person would feel comfortable giving a $15 or $20 tip for the same services.  Just my opinion.

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1 hour ago, USN59-79 said:

I think asking someone how much extra they tip is akin to asking them how much they paid for their cabin and flight and then inferring that what most people are doing. 

 

 

I feel the same way about this.  Everyone has different standards and posting how much each tips is a ready way to start a hot thread where those that tip big call others cheap.  On the other hand, those that figure the HSC covers it and tips a bit extra may feel that they are now cheap.  And, not everyone tips over and above.  Nor is it required or expected.

 

 

 

Quote

 

I am guessing that the person who tips his steward $100 to $200 is the person who paid $5000 per person for their cabin and $4000 each for business class air travel to their two week cruise, or $18 to 20K total.  Other passengers typically pay $1000 each for the cabin and $600 for low cost air travel, or 3.2K total.  The person who pays $20K for a cruise doesn't think twice about a $100 tip, while the other person would feel comfortable giving a $15 or $20 tip for the same services.  Just my opinion.

 

I can’t quite agree with this.  I’ve witnessed the person in a Penthouse come in to the Neptune Lounge (interrupted me with the concierge when I was trying to give her an envelope) and demand that the HSC be removed from his charges.  He said “I’ll take care of my people”.  I saw the look in her eye which she quickly masked (kudos to her).

From what I found out (he bragged later) he didn’t even tip near what the HSC was for that cruise 😞 

My philosophy on tipping on the ship - HSC is already in place for the staff.  Anything you want to give over and above that is very appreciated by the crew.  We do tip - I have no idea if we give good tips or not but we do what we think is fair based on our service on board.  I think that’s the best anyone can do.

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I leave the auto gratuities in place and tip extra for extraordinary service. This usually includes the following:

  • MDR waiter
  • Preferred bartender
  • Room stewards
  • Casino dealers
  • Excursion guides/captains

 

 

I have absolutely no negative opinion of others who choose not to tip (or tip more/less) although I do question the rationale of removing a gratuity you knew about when you booked.

Edited by SumoCitrus
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Thanks for the good replies..

 

One thought, though - a poster above said that people who pay more should tip more.  I'll buy that for the cabin stewards (larger cabin and more to clean).  However, it doesn't sit well with me when it comes to the others.  Regardless of what cabin I am in, that drink is the same (cost, size, time to make, etc.).  So is the meal that is ordered.  Also just my opinion...

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I have mixed emotions on "extra tipping".  First, I was all for HAL starting the HSC to force tipping by those who avoid it and stiff the hard working crew.  However, they let people too easily (IMO) opt out of it so these folks work the system anyway.  HAL needs to require a reason for witholding HSC.

 

Second, now we have started a practice of "extra tipping", over and above the HSC.  I admit to being gulity of this, BUT only for people who put in the extra effort for us.  Doing the required minimum effort does not earn an extra tip IMO - I am sure that most of us will agree on this.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, kstrittm said:

Thanks for the good replies..

 

One thought, though - a poster above said that people who pay more should tip more.  I'll buy that for the cabin stewards (larger cabin and more to clean).  

 

I don’t buy that for the simple reason that those cabins have a larger HSC charged to them than the other cabins.  Tipping is based on service.  If you have good service and are impressed you want to give more (if you are of mind to tip extra).  The size of the room has no bearing on it for me.  It’s the service that counts.  


HSC covers the basic compensation/reward/tip for that cabin.  The additional tip is due for the service no matter if you are in a Neptune or inside cabin.  And no matter if you are at a two top or an 8 top in the dining room.  But that’s just me and I did put myself through University in the service industry and very much relied on tips. 😉 

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I'm going to be sort of a grinch on this. Heard that Celebrity is going to up the gratuities from 14.50 to 15.50 plus they already charge 20% on drinks. I'm sure the other lines will do the same. 14.50 to 15.50 is about 7%. We are retired and live on Social Security and our pensions plus an annuity. We just received a notice from SS and after an increase for Medicare we will be getting a 1.2% increase in our monthly stipend.

We have never lowered the gratuity but I sometimes wonder how these gratuities are being split up. The way the cruise lines are cutting back on just about everything something in the back of my mind tells me that the lines are taking a cut, am probably wrong but who knows for sure.

Cruises are the only thing we really spend money on and we take 3 cruises a year (Caribbean only) always going for the best rate we can find from our favorite lines which are HAL, Princess, MSC and Celebrity.

We do tip a little extra, 20 dollars each to our dinner waiters and the cabin steward. I'm just wondering how many  passengers do tip extra as I never see anyone tip the waiters on the last night of the cruise except for us.

One other question, when the cruise lines include the gratuities, do the waiters and stewards still receive the same amount?

Edited by MISTER 67
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7 minutes ago, MISTER 67 said:

One other question, when the cruise lines include the gratuities, do the waiters and stewards still receive the same amount?

 

Yes they do.  Anything you give them over and above the HSC is theirs to keep.

 

It’s only when you reduce or cut out the HSC that they can’t keep it.

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4 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Yes they do.  Anything you give them over and above the HSC is theirs to keep.

 

It’s only when you reduce or cut out the HSC that they can’t keep it.

I meant to say do they still receive the same amount from the cruise line if their were no free gratuities.

Edited by MISTER 67
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We used to tip our waiters extra on the last night, but we no longer use assigned seating for dinner. As a result, we never see the same waiters twice.

We often order dinner from the MDR to be delivered to our room. In that case we usually tip $5 to the delivery person.  That would be cheap for a waiter, but a delivery person is not a waiter - he makes his delivery and then leaves - not the same as someone who is attending to all your needs. We also always have breakfast in our room and tip $2 to that delivery person.

We give our stewards $40 each at the end of the cruise.

That is not a lot, but we always keep the Auto Tip in place, so they are getting more than the minimum.

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1 hour ago, MISTER 67 said:

One other question, when the cruise lines include the gratuities, do the waiters and stewards still receive the same amount?

 

We had comp'd gratuities via a HAL promotion on our last cruise.  I spoke with someone in the PG (Ass't Manager, I think) to confirm that HAL was in fact paying the HSC on our behalf.  I didn't drill down to find out if HAL was paying a reduced rate since it was a guaranteed payment (unlike when guests can choose to not pay the HSC) and truly none of my business.  Regardless, he assured me that yes, the HSC was being paid by HAL. 

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1 hour ago, MISTER 67 said:

I'm just wondering how many  passengers do tip extra as I never see anyone tip the waiters on the last night of the cruise except for us.

 

We tip our dining stewards and wine streward extra on the last night.  It is unlikely anyone would notice.  We are pretty discreet.

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19 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

 

We tip our dining stewards and wine streward extra on the last night.  It is unlikely anyone would notice.  We are pretty discreet.

That's what we do as well.  It's disconcerting to see how empty the MDR is on the last night....

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1 minute ago, 57redbird said:

That's what we do as well.  It's disconcerting to see how empty the MDR is on the last night....

 

One time, we had table mates from a country that generally doesn't tip.  The woman of the couple worked the wine steward to near-collapse.  And the more she drank, the more demanding she became.   Sure enough, they didn't show up the last night 😞 If anyone, in ANY position, EVER deserved an extra tip, it was that wine steward. 

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1 hour ago, MISTER 67 said:

I meant to say do they still receive the same amount from the cruise line if their were no free gratuities.

 

Now I am confused, but I think I get it.

 

they get the same amount if the HSC is included in your fare or not.  For those that don’t have it included (normally us), then as long as you don’t remove it, they all get the same.

 

Hope this makes sense and I answered the question?

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44 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Now I am confused, but I think I get it.

 

they get the same amount if the HSC is included in your fare or not.  For those that don’t have it included (normally us), then as long as you don’t remove it, they all get the same.

 

Hope this makes sense and I answered the question?

Got it, thanks.

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1 hour ago, cowmilker said:

We typically eat in the Lido on the last  night, but it doesn't have anything to do with tipping.  It's because I try to have most of our stuff packed by then. MDR clothes are packed away. And  we have anytime dining anyway. 

 

We normally eat in the Pinnacle the last night.  We just let our waiters and wine steward know and pass them the envelope on the 2nd lat night.  No biggie.

 

 

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We always tip the cabin steward and assistant, waiter and assistant and the wine steward extra.  It usually averages out to about $20 a week more for each of them but sometimes if we have great service we increase it.  Sometimes we give the cabin stewards part at the beginning.  All depends on circumstances and levels of service but it's always something extra.  We always go on longer cruises.   I know some people tip more and some less but all the people we have traveled with give above and beyond what is included on their daily onboard account.  

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6 hours ago, SJSULIBRARIAN said:

I have always thought cruise lines should not let people opt out of the HSC which is why I like the prepaid gratuities concept in cruise promotions. 

then put it in the cruise base fare, otherwise it is all fancy marketing base price + taxes and port whatever + tips. 

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