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Service charge/autogratuity/tipping...its all the same thing, or is it?

Ally

Deckhand
Royal Caribbean have stirred the hornets nest once again over the issue of tipping on ships.

The Brits have effectively been labelled as bad tippers...when in all probability its down to a difference in culture, ie...we don't tip for the sake of it, we tend to tip as/when it is deserved.

Anyway...Jane Archer has done a piece in her blog about the subject...

Has Royal signalled the beginning of the end for tipping? (Cruise Lines)


What are your views on this issue?
 
L

lancashire lass

Guest
I believe if cruise lines are going to keep increasing gratuities and making them either mandatory { for some cruisers} or using Auto gratuities then they should call them service charges.
I have cruised and met many people from the UK and I do not recall that they are better or worse tippers than Americans.
A tip is for services that warrant recognition and should never be expected because then it is not a tip :)
 

G.M.T.

Deckhand
In the EU, when booking a flight, the website / operator has to show a final end price (including services and taxes), I wonder why the same doe not apply to cruise lines.

I think Aida has the best solution, the cruise price includes all tips / service charges / gratuities etc. if you want to tip for above and beyond the call of duty then you can.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
If someone is cruising on a ship where the currency and customs are based on the US's, then it doesn't matter whether you don't tip in your own country. You're not in your own country. You wouldn't not tip a NY taxi driver if you value your life. :) Tipping is a way of life in the US. It's expected.

There are a number of financial reasons why tipping is not included in your cruise fare, at least on US cruise lines. One is that it would change the revenue reporting and thus the cruise line's valuation, profits and stock price. Second, most, if not all, crew are hired through agencies to which a percentage is taken from each crew member's pay each time their paid. If tips aren't included in the cruise fare, it's not part of their salary and thus they get to keep 100% of what is tipped or allotted from the tipping pool. If tips are included, they pay a percentage of the tips to the hiring agency so it's a financial loss to crew members. Do you really want them to lose more of their pay?

Princess Australia now includes tips in their fares. The result is that fares are now a lot higher than if they weren't and you'd left the auto-tip on. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
 

BOOPSAHOY

Deckhand
If tips aren't included in the cruise fare, it's not part of their salary and thus they get to keep 100% of what is tipped or allotted from the tipping pool. If tips are included, they pay a percentage of the tips to the hiring agency so it's a financial loss to crew members. Do you really want them to lose more of their pay?

I didnt know this! I always wondered why they didnt just include it in the cost of the cruise since in my mind I always include it. I do prefer the autogratuiy to tipping each and ever person seperately. I also think on a line like NCL its necessary s you dont ahve the same servers every meal.
 

cruiser60

Deckhand
Well seeing as I have paid for my next cruise in Australian Dollars I will not be thought to be a piker, if when we board I withdraw on the auto tipping and just tip those who serve us as we see fit.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
Well seeing as I have paid for my next cruise in Australian Dollars I will not be thought to be a piker, if when we board I withdraw on the auto tipping and just tip those who serve us as we see fit.
Just so you know, if you remove the auto-tip, anything you tip individually must be handed over to go to the tipping pool so they don't get to keep it. :( I personally think it's a pain to carry money around so I can tip in the buffet, the grill and other areas where I might not see the person again.
 

PEB

Captain
Staff member
For the cruise lines that allow tipping or have automatic tipping the crew that does get tips that tip is the major part of their pay. They are paid a very small cruise line pay. The trouble with the auto tipping is that it is all thrown into a pool and spread amongst the crew that is included in the auto tipping. This can promote laziness on some crew members part. It is true that if you remove the auto tipping from your account anything you decide to tip directly is put back into the tipping pool. If you do keep the auto tipping and then decide to tip extra to a particular employee they do get to keep the extra tip over the auto tipping. In other words if you get exceptional service and want to tip extra keep the auto tipping and then tip extra.

The auto tipping can hurt exceptional service and help the not so deserving servers.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
The auto tipping can hurt exceptional service and help the not so deserving servers.
That's probably true. However, having cruised before any auto-tip and "any time" dining, it was sad to see so many tables empty in the dining room the last night or people getting up and walking out while their waitstaff wasn't around. I'm sure it was the same for cabin stewards. :(
 

PEB

Captain
Staff member
Pam anytime dining does show a need for auto tipping, because on the last night there will be many empty tables, however when I started cruising long before auto tipping and anytime dining, I would see many seats and tables empty on the last night of any cruise. Some people will never tip or tip very low regardless of the cruise.​
I know for a fact that many first time cruisers were not aware that there would be tipping when they boarded the ship. They are under the impression that everything was included. For those that booked through a TA this is the TA's mistake for not informing them of that fact. For those that book online or directly through the cruise line they need to read more of the information provided or ask the cruise line agent more questions.​
Whenever someone ask me what a cruise is like I make sure I advise them that there are costs to figure into their budget that they may not be thinking of and tipping is one of those added costs.​
 

Michael Eadon

Deckhand
When I first discovered Auto Tipping I was against it as I have always tipped at the end of the trip to those I think deserve it , we hardly tip in Australia, but after reading a lot and considering that the next cruise is US orientated, I have changed my mind and voted to include Auto Tipping, but I do not want to see any empty envelopes in my cabin at the end of the voyage.
 

BOOPSAHOY

Deckhand
When I first discovered Auto Tipping I was against it as I have always tipped at the end of the trip to those I think deserve it , we hardly tip in Australia, but after reading a lot and considering that the next cruise is US orientated, I have changed my mind and voted to include Auto Tipping, but I do not want to see any empty envelopes in my cabin at the end of the voyage.
If you druise NCL there are no envelopes for tipping in the cabnin. Even with Autogratuity we sometimes give the steward a little extra the last day if he took very good care of us. If you have a suite on NCL the tip for the butler and concierge arent included in the autogratuity so you do have to tip them (if you are happy with their service of course)
 

PEB

Captain
Staff member
If the cruise line you are on has auto-tipping you should not be seeing any tip envelopes in your cabin. If you wish to tip extra you can get tip envelopes from the pursers desk. If you do not want the auto-tip on your account you can go to the pursers desk and have it removed and tip as you please. If you are not happy with service you can have the auto-tip lowered or adjusted.

If you pay the auto-tip and you want to tip extra to someone specific you give them the extra tip directly and they can keep it. If you remove the auto-tip and tip directly that person is supposed to put the tip you gave them into the tipping pool and it will be split up with others. Not that they will always put the tip handed to them in the pot. All the employees who are supposed to get part of the auto-tip do know who did not participate in auto-tipping.

I do wish they would just add the tip in the price of the cruise.
 
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