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Paying tips at outset to enable anytime dining?


Traderboy
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5 hours ago, Traderboy said:

Thanks for these comments.

I think my original posting may have been misunderstood.

We are from the UK and this week we booked a new cruise for February 2022.

We normally like anytime dining but we were amazed to be told that,, in order to book it, we needed to pay the tips NOW not when the final payment is due.

As I said before this policy seems to be designed by Celebrity to bribe its customers and create extra cash flow.

Of course we are aware of their relatively  new system of booking wither no perks, 2 perks or all perks.

We are also aware that the crew do need to be paid properly and that extra tips should be given if you feel it is  appropriate.

Surely the honest thing for Celebrity to do is to make the crew tips part of the fare they charge ALL customers.

There are many cruise lines that have moved in this direction.

 

I would interested to know what others think.  

I know you can’t tell us which travel agency you used but they are definitely either misinformed or trying to meet their sales targets by getting you to pay upfront. This is definitely not required. We’ve given up using U.K. agencies for our cruises. We know all of the pitfalls of currency exchange rates etc but find the benefits of using a well respected and reliable US agency far outweigh the negatives. 

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I think you have to take it on the chin with the pre-paid gratuities. It is part of the business. I always tip the cabin guy/girl, waiter and assistant waiter, wine waiter if they give good service, and possibly the bar tender at our favourite bar. May consider tipping them in advance for good service in future.

 

I booked a cruise a few weeks ago and did not have tips as a perk. However the charge went onto my final bill. I only paid the deposit.

 

Marella Tui Cruises and Saga cruises which are aimed at Brits have tips inclusive. Fred Olsen cruises are similar to Celebrity I believe. 

 

In the UK fortunately we do not have a massive tipping culture. I only tip in restaurants & taxis. Used to tip the hairdresser but my wife is cutting it with Covid. When in New Zealand we never tip!

 

I use an off-piste ski guide in France. He says that only foreigners tip in restaurants in France. The French do not. I do not now! Strangely we tip him at the end of a week although you could say it was worth it as we are alive.

 

I always book directly with Celebrity as they always give me 10% military discount. TAs in the UK cannot. Personally in current times I would not give TAs any of my money as they are more likely to go bust than Celebrity. I saw a cruise & tour I fancied (non Celebrity) and was considering it until I saw the reviews of the TA which were horrendous with reimbursements and communication post March. Likewise I would only book direct with an airline.

 

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Perhaps this is one of those cases where the travel agent has put together a group and is including the OP in the group, with its associated booking requirements.  I speculate this based on the OP saying that a direct booking would be higher priced than going through the travel agent.  

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On 10/23/2020 at 5:46 PM, 39august said:

I thought prepaying gratuities in order to have anytime dining was a thing of the past; no longer required. 

 

Agree, that went out a couple of years ago, wonder if that is one of the web sites not being updated.   When I read the post I immediately went to see the date it was written as this is so old. I remember a few years ago when they went from 3 types of dress codes  to two, it took about five years for the UK web site to catch up. 

Edited by dkjretired
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Maybe you are right , Westlake girl. I think it may well be a group booking.

Are there likely to be any other special booking conditions?

 

We have booked several times through this same TA and never had any problems.

 

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Group bookings on a large scale are more common in the USA than here. Your best bet is to ask your agent why you are having to pre pay gratuities if this is a problem. 
There are different conditions on each side of the pond when booking a cruise.

 

Liz

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On 10/24/2020 at 7:50 AM, hawkesbaynz said:

In the UK fortunately we do not have a massive tipping culture. I only tip in restaurants & taxis. Used to tip the hairdresser but my wife is cutting it with Covid.

I suggest you double or triple the tip for your hairdresser.  At least!  I tipped my wife $20 for the Covid haircut she gave me.  And I cleaned up all the hair from the bathroom floor as well!

 

No appointment necessary!

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Because we don't have this pre-pay requirement in the States, I thought the OP was asking about bribing the maitre d' on the first night to ensure prompt seating at Anytime Dining. 

 

I have not had any problems with Anytime Dining on Celebrity because we are Aqua, but on Princess, when we were unable to get our preferred Second Seating and had to live with Anytime, there have been some long waits to get seated.  I solved this problem by slipping the maitre d' a small token of my appreciation on the first night, and thereafter, we were seated pretty promptly.  So it literally was bribery!  I come from Vegas, where bribing the maitre d' is a time honored tradition!!

 

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3 hours ago, Mike45LC said:

So it literally was bribery!  I come from Vegas, where bribing the maitre d' is a time honored tradition!!

LOL---Nothing wrong with thanking the Maitre'd  xx days ahead of time for the excellent service he gave you.

The higher the amount , the better the return on your '' Investment ".

Edited by Pinboy
spelling mistake
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On 10/24/2020 at 3:38 AM, Traderboy said:

You're quite right, Emmas Gran.

 

Having free gratuities as a 'perk' is in itself undermining the idea of gratuities in my view.

 

Come clean, Celebrity, and don't offer fares which do not have gratuities included.

 

 

On 10/24/2020 at 2:29 AM, Traderboy said:

Thanks Jojo and Barbette

I think you may be right that it is my Travel Agent who is trying to grab my money.

I will pursue them.

 

I did consider booking direct with Celebrity but found out that the overall cost of the entire trip would be much higher.

I was on a February 2020 cruise from Singapore to Dubai which turned into a very fortunate Dubai to Dubai cruise.

Most of our passengers had horrendous difficulty in getting refunds for their altered flights, particularly if they booked them with Celebrity. I thought that the consensus view was that your money was best protected by booking through a TA.

 

Do others agree with this?

 

 

Traderboy - you seem truly angry at Celebrity.  Would it be better if you cruised with another cruiseline?

As to airfare refunds, until the pandemic airlines refunded all cancelled flights - even non refundable fares.  That changed when the airlines went to empty almost overnight.  The airlines almost universally issued credits for 100% of $$ for non refundable fares and fully refunded others.

As a retired TA, if you are put into a group booking the fare is usually less - but ANY change from the group terms incurrs a charge.  This does sometimes cause misunderstandings.

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Traderboy - you seem truly angry at Celebrity.  Would it be better if you cruised with another cruiseline?
 

Not at all angry. I was delighted by my first Celebrity cruise in February.

We have cruised with lots of other cruise lines.

some of them have stopped charging gratuities and just include it on the fares.

This really is the honest proposition.

They really shouldn’t include gratuities ‘as a perk’ imo

Edited by Traderboy
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On 10/24/2020 at 8:18 AM, Traderboy said:

We normally like anytime dining but we were amazed to be told that,, in order to book it, we needed to pay the tips NOW not when the final payment is due.


That would be unorthodox... 
Even when paying the grats in advance is chosen or required, it doesn´t mean that you have to pay them before final payment.
They just become part of the cruise price instead of being charged on board.

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1 hour ago, Traderboy said:

 

Traderboy - you seem truly angry at Celebrity.  Would it be better if you cruised with another cruiseline?
 

Not at all angry. I was delighted by my first Celebrity cruise in February.

We have cruised with lots of other cruise lines.

some of them have stopped charging gratuities and just include it on the fares.

This really is the honest proposition.

They really shouldn’t include gratuities ‘as a perk’ imo

 

Would love to see tips absorbed into the price but I would guarantee that in a few years, people would be tipping again.   Several years ago one of the lines tried it, might be Holland not sure,  and they wound up going back to the old system.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Such great news that ‘Always included’ now means that tips, wifi and classic drinks are no longer chargeable.

This is the honest way to sell luxury cruises.

Well done Celebrity.

 

Princess still charges you £35 per person per day and this used to be a very good offer.

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2 hours ago, Traderboy said:

Such great news that ‘Always included’ now means that tips, wifi and classic drinks are no longer chargeable.

This is the honest way to sell luxury cruises.

Well done Celebrity.

 

Princess still charges you £35 per person per day and this used to be a very good offer.

You are being charged, just upfront bundled into the cost of the cruise!

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On 10/24/2020 at 1:09 PM, sandancer said:

I know you can’t tell us which travel agency you used but they are definitely either misinformed or trying to meet their sales targets by getting you to pay upfront. This is definitely not required. We’ve given up using U.K. agencies for our cruises. We know all of the pitfalls of currency exchange rates etc but find the benefits of using a well respected and reliable US agency far outweigh the negatives. 

We booked direct in the UK and had the Gratuities and drinks included. Interestingly, the X office is only a few miles from home. We didn't get as much OBC as we did for our cancelled 2020 Alaska cruise, but what the heck. It's only the kids inheritance 🤣

 

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