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superstein61

New Board - New Info on TIPPING from HAL

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Well, what a topic to light up the new board.

 

I rec'd my cruise documents today for my upcoming Zuiderdam cruise and included was a letter from Stein Kruse, Pres and COO addressing tipping. I won't type all of it here but will type certain key sections which put to rest musch of the debate, misinformation, etc spread on the old HAL board.

 

here goes:

 

"Exceptional service also means not making our guests search for crewmembers at the end of the cruise to give them a tip, worry about if they are tipping the right amount or have to carry extra cash with them. Accordingly, for your convenience and to enable our crew to receive the recognition we believe they are entitled to, a gratuity of $10 per guest, per day, will be automatically posted to your shipboard account.

 

Good service starts with crewmembers you may never have the opportunity to meet: the baker who works the night . . . . or the housekeeper who keeps our lounges in meticulous condition. They also benefit from the gratuities included with your bill. To ensure the efforts of these crewmembers are also recognized and to discourage solicitation of guests, dining and cabin stewards are required to turn in any tips they receive directly from those guests who have removed or reduced the gratuities on their onboard bills.

 

Should you wish to adjust the gratuities, you may do so at the Front Office after you have received the preliminary bill on the last full day of your cruise. Please remember that gratuities are the recognized way to show appreciation for good service. All gratuities are paid to the crew and represent an important part of their compensation."

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now, you can break down this letter like this IMO (with some good old sarcasm thrown in for fun):

 

 

 

"Exceptional service also means not making our guests search for crewmembers at the end of the cruise to give them a tip, worry about if they are tipping the right amount or have to carry extra cash with them. Accordingly, for your convenience and to enable our crew to receive the recognition we believe they are entitled to, a gratuity of $10 per guest, per day, will be automatically posted to your shipboard account.

 

 

We determined a service charge of $10 per person per day is the right amount everyone should pay no matter what type of service you receive. but rather than increase our cruise prices, we will tack this on to your bill at the end (kind of like how everyone used to hide port charges, etc). You are foolish if you pay more and cheap if you pay less.

 

 

Good service starts with crewmembers you may never have the opportunity to meet: the baker who works the night . . . . or the housekeeper who keeps our lounges in meticulous condition. They also benefit from the gratuities included with your bill.

 

We don't pay everyone enough - so we are tacking on this service charge and splitting it among everyone as part of their compensation

 

 

To ensure the efforts of these crewmembers are also recognized and to discourage solicitation of guests, dining and cabin stewards are required to turn in any tips they receive directly from those guests who have removed or reduced the gratuities on their onboard bills.

 

Don't try and find a way around our system. We will still make it work as we intended - not as you want it to

 

 

Should you wish to adjust the gratuities, you may do so at the Front Office after you have received the preliminary bill on the last full day of your cruise. Please remember that gratuities are the recognized way to show appreciation for good service. All gratuities are paid to the crew and represent an important part of their compensation."

 

Well, we hate calling this what it is - a service charge - so we will let you remove it, but we will make it painfully difficult for you to do so.

 

Ahhhh - the world of HAL tipping - don't you love it !!!!!!!!!

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Sorry, superstein61, but I don't read it that way.

 

The turning in of extra tips given if auto-tips were modified was my contention from the start. I'm just glad that an official source has spelled it out. Now, if they would just let us know exactly how the $10 is broken out amont the staff, that would really help.

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So it would seem that cabin stewards and dining room attendants must pool the tips left by pax who removed or reduced the automatic gratuities, BUT are allowed to keep extra tips from pax who choose to leave the automatic fee in place??? Fair enough if they know but I don't want any extra I leave for superb service divvied up.

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So it would seem that cabin stewards and dining room attendants must pool the tips left by pax who removed or reduced the automatic gratuities, BUT are allowed to keep extra tips from pax who choose to leave the automatic fee in place??? Fair enough if they know but I don't want any extra I leave for superb service divvied up.

 

Yep - as long as you don't remove the automatic fee, then anything over and above that is not pooled and goes just to the person you give it to.

 

Which is obviously your choice - but HAL in their infinite wisdom believes $10 per person, per day is the RIGHT amount. ie:

 

"To enable our crew to receive the recognition we believe they are entitled to, a gratuity of $10 per guest, per day"

 

So Thats what they should get IMO

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Superstien I found your comments comical... cracked me up..

 

I'm not convinced the extra tips given by people who haven't reduced or cancelled automatic tipping would not be pooled. If the cabin steward is handling X amount of rooms.. do they give him a list stating who didn't pay the suggested amount? I doubt the cabin steward would be his own accountant and say.. well.. I'm keeping this money in my back pocket and turning this money in for the pool.. I feel sorry for the wait staff and cabin attendents. It seems so confusing. But since I have no idea what the ratio was prior of those who skipped tipping, It's possible they will get more than they use to.. I'd really like to hear from those who sailed recently. What's the staff think of the new policy?

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We got that same message in our documents for our cruise on the Maasdam in May.

 

At the disembarkation talk, it was explained that the $10 per person per day was to be pooled among your cabin steward, waiter, his assistent, kitchen help, etc - all the people who work behind the scenes who help to make your cruise an enjoybale one.

 

One day when we were in the Neptune Lounge we noticed that a suite passenger had completed a form to have the gratuities taken off the bill. There were several choices for reasons why they wanted to have this done.

 

We were given big thank you's for the extra money we gave everyone whom we thought desevered more than what HAL was designating to them.

 

Only our concierge just put all her tips and envelopes in a pile. It appeared that she was going to turn them and I guess that tip money would be divided up in one of the pools.

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That letter was also in our documents for our upcoming Maasdam cruise.

 

I am very sure we will be leaving the "automatic tips" on our account and, as always, will extend envelopes to those who do so much to make our cruises so special.

 

That is, of course, Assuming we have the usual wonderful, friendly service we are so accustomed to.

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;)

 

We were fortunate to have excellent service when we were on the Maasdam in May BUT the new policies had just gone into effect.

 

Only time will tell.

 

;)

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Not surprisingly, ;) I shall post comments when we return from Maasdam.

 

I am expecting to love "MY Maasdam" as much as ever and certainly to love the stewards and crews as always.

 

I've lost track how many weeks/months of our lives we have spent aboard that beautiful ship.

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I don't see why you feel this is confusing, iluvcruzin. No, the steward will not be his/her own accountant. They will likely turn in all extra tips given. Their supervisor will cross check the purser's list regarding which pax left auto-tips intact or adjusted, and then either return the tip or pool it as appropriate.

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Regarding tipping: Take for example the Westerdam. The Westerdam is capable of carrying 1848 passengers and has a crew of 800 (taken from HAL web site). IF the ship is full every cruise and IF the ship sails 365 days per year: 1848 times 10 equals $18.480 times 365 (days) equals $6,745.200 which would be the amount of tips collected in a year. This number divided by the crew of 800 (if each shared equally) is $8,432. But look at this. Boarding passengers pay $10 for the first night and the ship sails at, say, 5:00pm. However, the unloading passengers have paid $10 from midnight until they get off. That amounts to $20 per day. I suppose you could look at how many sailings per year to see how many $20 days they have. Just thought this was novel.

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I had someone from HAL on the phone tonight (not for this reason), and I asked the Customer Service Rep if he would like to answer questions about the new Tip policy and he said "Sure". His take is that this "new" policy is something that is still in TEST mode and will need the bugs worked out. The automatic tips are the ones that get distributed among all the staff. The cash tips will not be. The tracking of tips against passenger lists aren't going to be done. So if you provide additional they will be able to keep the funds. He did say he had heard rumors about what was said on the "pooling" but they were told this hasn't been worked out yet.

 

He also made mention (like someone on this or another cruiseboard mentioned) that their people are one of the highest paid in the industry and that they do not expect tips but are greatful for them. The original idea was to make it convienent for passengers to leave a tip and also to provide a suggested amount. All the other things tied to it are experimental. I guess we are the ginnea pigs for this. So.. if the wording is not right on who is entitled to the monies, or how they distribute it etc.. I'm sure customer feedback will help establish the finalized plan.

 

In the mean time.. I'm packing my thank you notes.. and forgeting the who-ha about it and let them autotip.

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We've just returned from the Rotterdam. The tipping was explained to us as follows: the $10 would be divided by $3 to the cabin steward, $3 to the dining room steward, $2 to the assistant dr steward and the rest to the crew "behind the scenes" - kitchen, laundry room, etc. Since this breaks down to our giving less than before to our stewards, we gave them an extra tip on the last day. This they get to keep. Our dining room steward said that he prefers this to the old system, as he makes more money. If you opt out of the system, then the money you tip is pooled. (It doesn't make sense to me to do this!) The stewards are given a list of their pax who are in or opt out of the system, so they know. Like all new ideas, it takes a while to get used to it, but the crew will benefit.

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Bobpatj - On my one non-HAL cruise, the amount was based on full days. How is HAL doing this. Our 7/10 Rotterdam cruise is 17 days which means that there are 16 full days plus the two partial embarkation/debarkation days. So would the amount per person be $160, $170, or $180?

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Jemina......A 17 day cruise is 17 days long.

 

You are able to board in time for lunch on embarkation day, you have dinner on embarkation day and you have breakfast on your disembarkation day. Three meals.....a full 17 days,

 

 

17 days x $10 = $170

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Yes, but I was curious as to the actual way HAL calculates this, not how you or I would figure it.

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I was wondering who would be the one to "light up the new board" with the tipping question. I was not surprised. But the information and the ensuing responses di bring into more specific relief what I think is the only rational approach for me.

 

I lived in Manhattan for a time and was, as many are, frequently called on by the "street people" to offer a buck or a quarter .. or whatever. If they said "I'm hungry - can you spare a dollar?" I would frequently say this: "tell you what, why don't I take you with me to the diner and we can talk while you eat". Sometimes, they would light up and we'd go eat and share a story. Other times, the jig was up and they would walk off. I learned a lot about the folks that way. Other times and in other kinds of situations, I might pull out a buck or a fiver or whatever was handy and just give it to someone who asked. Now - frequently my friends would say: "Why do you do that, they'll just use it buy drugs or booze?" .. to which I would reply: "so what? - I've done what I intended to do. After it leaves my hands it's none of my business."

 

Now, my point is this:

 

After reading so many posts for so long about how the tips are handled, who gets what, should we be paying the bills, etc etc .. ad nauseum, I finally came to realize that the situation is very similar.

 

On the one hand, I don't mind the "gratuity" even though I find the use of the word is much like "suggested donation" - it's a fee so call it a fee and be clear. But if it accomplishes the goal and gives me some idea of what the "standard" is, I'm okay with that. In this case, I want to say to HAL: If you're hungry, let me take you to the diner - what do you really want?"

 

Beyond all of that, though, I realized that if I pay my "fee" and then want to tip extra, then I am free to do so - to whomever I wish at whatever level I wish. And whether it is pooled or kept or torn up into bits and tossed in the sea is, frankly, none of my business.

 

Ultimately, I can only agonize over this nonsense so much. I know and accept (without any rancor) that tipping is part of the cruising experience. I like rewarding the people with whome I interact in a meaningful way. That HAL may make it easier to handle the baseline assumptions is fine with me. That the rest might muddied up is troublesome, but so what. I will give money as I see fit. And if HAL, or the crew, or anyone else does something else with it, so be it. When I've taken the steps to do what I set out to do and my own intention is clear, how much more worry should I rationally invest in the outcome?

 

I'm sure I have given money to charities, churches, the United Way and a bunch of others that have done things after the fact that were not entirely what I would have done.

 

I can't control this situation. I can only do what I feel is correct and appropriate and bless everyone involved on their path. Beyond that, it's frankly none of my business. Forces much greater than me get to sort out everyone else's agenda.

 

Sorry to be so long winded - but I've held in a couple of month's worth of responses to the whole question of HAL Tipping/New Tipping Policies. And I'm done now - so thanks for adbiding with me.

 

Cheers!

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Just so I'm certain I understand...

 

What I'm reading here is that if you DON'T opt out of the "automatic" tip (i.e., you freely ante up your $10 per person per day at the end of the cruise), but STILL want to tip special people a little extra for their attentive service, that they ARE ALLOWED to keep that extra cash themselves. Otherwise, if you DO opt out of the auto-tip thing, any extra monies you give certain individuals must be automtically pooled. Correct? Because I'd read on several posts that any extra monies were REQUIRED to be turned in for pooling, under penalty of crew dismissal. But if that's only if you opt of of the auto-tip, I'll watch for special folks that make my cruise extra-special and be happy to compensate them accordingly and not worry about them getting "shorted".

 

Help me understand?

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Just off the Statendam and did we see a change in service since the tipping policy change. Don't worry about looking up the staff as they won't be around as they use to be. HAL has made so many employee changes that the employees could care less how they do. Please do not think I take this out on employees I do not. It is the company. We have still never been introduced to our dining room staff (that has always been a first night meeting) Sorry to see the change as It is not the same.

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Just so I'm certain I understand...

 

What I'm reading here is that if you DON'T opt out of the "automatic" tip (i.e., you freely ante up your $10 per person per day at the end of the cruise), but STILL want to tip special people a little extra for their attentive service, that they ARE ALLOWED to keep that extra cash themselves. Otherwise, if you DO opt out of the auto-tip thing, any extra monies you give certain individuals must be automtically pooled. Correct? Because I'd read on several posts that any extra monies were REQUIRED to be turned in for pooling, under penalty of crew dismissal. But if that's only if you opt of of the auto-tip, I'll watch for special folks that make my cruise extra-special and be happy to compensate them accordingly and not worry about them getting "shorted".

 

Help me understand?

 

Yes, that the way I read the letter. Really the only thing in the letter HAL doesn't come out and specifically say is if you leave the $10 autotip in place - and tip extra, the crew doesn't have to share that. But by what they do say, they really imply that.

 

But to me - the letter actually makes my decision for me. The $10 per day is what HAL deems appropriate "to enable our crew to receive the recognition we believe they are entitled to". So $10 it is. Nothing less, nothing more for me. I just wish they would add it to the cruise price and do away with the tipping all together

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I love it! You've hit the proverbial nail right on the head. I'm responsible only for what I do. I will join you in doing what I feel is the right thing to do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands and I am no longer accountable.

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Agree 100% with what you said. None of my business. what happens after I have tipped.

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