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Gratuities, What Are Your Views On This Subject.

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We have been on several cruises and gratuities is the one thing that we positively hate! We have always opted out and left tips for the staff who went the extra mile. No one tips us for doing our jobs and it is used by the cruise lines to top up low pay.

The latest is anytime dining but you can only select this option if you prepay gratuities, why don't they stop calling them gratuities and add them to the price of the cruise? We are not stupid and this marketing strategy does not fool us just upsets us.

Sorry if I appear to rant but we are a normal working family who have to save hard for a cruise every few years to pay the recommended tips would mean having a lower grade cabin or not going on some excursions .

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It should be remembered that cruising is set up for the American market who make up 60% of the total cruisers. This link gives some good statistics. http://www.statisticbrain.com/cruise-ship-industry-statistics/

The American consumer is used to tipping as their labour laws pay a lower minimum wage to people in the service industry than white collar workers so it is accepted that they need the tips to make up their wage.

If you tip people on the ship as individuals they still have to hand this in to be pooled. If you do not give the full amount the only people who suffer are those that have served you and looked after you. If you added them to the cost of the cruise you would in the long run still be paying the same. Personally I just accept it as part of cruising, pay them and enjoy my cruise. Just my opinion.

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Don't let tipping spoil your holiday. We have just returned from a Queen Victoria cruise and the tips were deducted from your account. These were quite high and we cancelled at reception and tipped our cabin steward and waiters accordingly. The waiters and stewards are worse off when deducted from your account as the tips are shared between a lot of crew who are in the back ground. These should be paid a decent wage but the tips you give should reflect the service you get. 

On Queen Mary we did go along with the included tipping and also finished up tipping on top of this.  :wacko:

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When booking a cruise it is easy to find out how much the gratuities are and to include them when you are calculating the cost of the cruise. Any travel agent who is doing their job should make cruisers aware of this so they do not get an unpleasant surprise on board. People who say that they are removing the tips because they don't like the way the cruise lines charge them are not giving a message to the cruise lines, they are punishing the hard working staff. To the poster who stated that the service staff have little to spend their money on and can take a substantial amount home at the end - isn't this the reason why they are prepared to spend months away from their families. They want to provide a better life for them. We met a staff member, a salaried one, so I have no reason to think he was telling a story to get more tips, who had worked ten contracts and said he had to do two more then both his daughters would have completed university. He said that there was no other way that his family could have afforded university education for two children. He had started as a waiter, but worked his way up to Customer Service.

We always leave the tips in place and occasionally give a little extra. If we had bad service, we would attempt to get it sorted out as soon as possible and when we have exceptional service we make sure to comment on it.

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Guest shilly3191

Don't let tipping spoil your holiday. We have just returned from a Queen Victoria cruise and the tips were deducted from your account. These were quite high and we cancelled at reception and tipped our cabin steward and waiters accordingly. The waiters and stewards are worse off when deducted from your account as the tips are shared between a lot of crew who are in the back ground. These should be paid a decent wage but the tips you give should reflect the service you get. 

On Queen Mary we did go along with the included tipping and also finished up tipping on top of this.  :wacko:

If you cancel your tips at reception and gave individually to your cabin steward and waiter they are not personally better off because they have to hand them in and all tips pooled so a pointless objective.

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Actually, P&O's tips are just about the lowest in cruising, but we generally prefer to tip personally rather than have them added automatically. Given that over an average cruise time of 14 days, tips are not going to add more than £150 to a cruise for two, I can't for the life of me understand the reluctance of cruise companies to simply add them to the cruise price. 'Top end' companies like Regent have already done this (including all drinks and excursions too) Why go on a cruise worrying about where you're going to be 'ripped off' next?!

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Having sailed with Fred Olsen, P & O and Cunard, the only line to have added gratuities to the onboard bill was Cunard (I believe that FO and PO have now followed suit), these were removed as soon as possible after boarding. I object to being told who I will reward and how much that will be. Also, not sure how true it is, I was advised that Cunard would take an admin charge from the pre-paid tips prior to sharing them out amongst the crew.

Though we do generally gives tips to those staff that have served us directly, we have never given the equivalent to the suggested level of gratuities - generally far too high.

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We enjoy Princess and have cruised six times with them but really dislike their tipping policy. We always stop it and for this reason;

my understanding from the small print is that your built in gratuity on a Princess ship is  used by Princess to spread across the entire fleet. This is not the case with P& O who state that ALL tips are used to reward the staff and crew on the ship you are sailing on which is why we do not stop the fixed gratuity when sailing with them.

I would rather pay the proper price for a cruise and then tip accordingly after that on the basis of the quality of service etc. we should only be concerned with our own particular cruise and not the entire fleet (at a rate presumably decided by Princess who clearly control who gets rewarded and by what amount, and have also heard it said that they take 15% for admin!)

Spoken to quite a few staff (on Princess ships) and when asked, none of them said they would have to hand any tips in. Because I had stopped our gratuity and they would be aware of this I even offered our cabin stewardess her tips in two envelopes but she declined saying it was not necessary.

Finally, we are all aware of the tipping philosophy in America but I wish as a UK cruiser I could get a cruise for the same price as they seem to be able to. Can't blame the Americans but we pay through the nose compared to them.

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Tipping is always going to be a very contentious issue, that said we do pre-pay when we book and the crew do get all of their money from Celebrity. We have never had a problem and always found the staff friendly, efficient and helpful and no-one passes you in a corridor or deck without speaking. The bit I hate to see is an American slipping a couple of dollar bills with each drink they order, the think they are getting better service but not really. We have prepaid on our next cruise and the way we view it is, that it's part of the cruise invoice. No messing around with envelopes because that is the part I find totally embarrassing. Each to their own way though with dealing with issue

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We have travelled on most of the cruise lines Princess being the line we cruise with mostly. Tipping is a problem as tipping is rewarded for good service as a thank you and should not be added to cruisers accounts. It's a personal thing.

We like to tip cabin staff and personal waiters and anyone else we feel has been particularly helpful. We prefer to do this personally and directly to ensure the money goes where WE want it to go. So we do cancel add-ons to our account. Unfortunately, we have met a FEW cruisers who boast they do not believe in tipping.

After chatting to our cabin staff on occasion, who work extremely hard and are away from home for at least six months, and they tell us how low their wages really are for the long hours they work.

I know some people do get a bit embarrassed about tipping, which is understandable and can work out to be very expensive. Perhaps the cruise lines should look at these low wages and adjust accordingly. Do not tell me cost of cruises will increase if they do because prices have increased over the years and many other small touches have disappeared. For example, free shuttles but that is another topic!

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My wife and I went on a cruise to The Baltics last year.  Although we had been on cruises before, this was the first time that for us that tipping was taken out automatically.  We didn't have a problem with this, but it was noticeable that our waiters seemed disappointed that they weren't getting anything extra from us.  The other people on our table said that they were not intending to give anything extra, although we were aware that some other passengers were definately giving extra.  Surely it should be either one thing or the other - isn't including £3.95 per person per day for tips sufficient?  We would be interested in any thoughts on this.

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When you consider how much other cruise lines say tipping is or should be then what was taken out of your account is relatively small. However, it is more than it used to be. I assume it is P & O.  I think that it should be either one thing or the other but some people make it blatantly obvious that they are giving envelopes, whether this is to make themselves feel good or what I don't know but it could be done more discreetly. It is true, I too have noticed that waiters seem disappointed if they don't get extra but now with plated meals when you want your waiter he is nowhere to be seen, so has less work to do. In my opinion they are no longer able to give exceptional service so unless that changes I think that the allocated amount is fair. The room steward on the other hand may be different. 

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Why not just include gratuities in the price of the cruise. I have no issue with paying the said daily amount but I do have an issue with those who pay nothing at all. If it was included in the price of the cruise people would not keep raising this question.

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Guest shilly3191

Does everyone worry when they go out for a meal at a restaurant at home that everybody is paying the same gratuity and that they should. End of the day a gratuity/tip is paid for good service and therefore there might be somebody in the restaurant not had good service by their waiter so tip accordingly. I have never removed my auto gratuities on P&O and only time ever had reason to consider that was last year on my cruise on Oriana. I went to reception and an anomaly is that we had the worst cabin steward we have ever had but if we removed our gratuities then the waiters suffered and they had both been excellent. P&O agreed that there was no way of stopping gratuities just to the cabin steward because if I had withdrawn them and paid cabin steward nothing but give waiters theirs in cash they would have to hand it over so cabin steward would still get his share from the auto gratuity pool. They suggested leaving the auto tip on and make P&O aware of the problems we had encountered with the cabin steward which we did.

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I doubt that gratuities/tips have anything to do with service, more an unfortunate export from a country that does not implement the minimum wage and prefers to have service staff fawning for their rightful wages. However, there are more than just cruise lines taking advantage of this situation and using it as a marketing tool.

In the south of England the optional service charge (now up to 12.5%)seems to be a standard addition to restaurant bills, and is added usually without comment, despite the minimum wage being in force.

At some point the office of "Fair Trading" will take a look at headline and real costs, but for now the sham continues.

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No one should expect a tip for doing their job. However, sometimes the crew go over and above what is required. We don't remove autograts but have been known to also give extra to our cabin steward and waiters. Even though we. Ay think there pay is low, one waiter I spoke with said his pay has bought them a house in India and paid for his son to go to university. (He added that they would not have been able to do either with a land based job at home.)

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Why do people get so up tight about this subject? There is not a right or wrong answer. I must say, that since gratuities were charged to OBC, the service seems to have slipped and crew do but seem as happy. We live in a world were P&O seem to fe dependent on none European crew which says much in its own right. I pay the requested amount without fuss and prefer OBC as it means I do not have to carry excess cash. All talk about low pay is irrelevant as crew contracts are better than many of those zero hours contracts found in the UK today. If we can afford to cruise then we can afford to tip.

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When P&O introduced signing for drinks rather than paying cash and leaving a tip for the wine waiters they increased the cost of the drinks to "cover the waiters tips" ! There dosen't appear to have been a change of policy so I always assume that the wine / bar waiters have been tipped and only tip the table waiters and cabin steward.

We are using Cunard next year and in the small print it states " A 15% charge is automatically added to your onboard account, which is shared amongst the beverage staff", this is appears to be an addition to the Hotel and Dining charge also automatically added to the shipboard account.

I think I will be blocking both of these when we board.

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I am happy to pay as added to our account, but just come home after 2 weeks on Azura for a family wedding and found that they had added gratuities for our 15 year old grandson which we had removed

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