SeaLetter Cruise Survey Results Cruise Survey
Tips/Gratuities Survey Results

We asked your opinion on whether or not Tips & Gratuities should be included in the base cruise fare: Did you Approve, Disapprove, Not Sure Yet and Why?

This was another close one!! Of the total responses, 43% APPROVE, 50% DISAPPROVE and 7% are NOT SURE YET. If the closeness of this vote is anything to go by, I guess we will not be seeing the cruise lines changing their policies on tips & gratuities any time soon.

Some of your comments appear below. We regret that we cannot publish all of them, and for the protection of our readers, names are omitted.

If tips are collected by the cruise line in the basic costs, some very good cabin stewards, waiters, and bus boys may be shorted, and some that give poor service may be rewarded. But the current system stinks! We've been on five cruises,... all with Carnival. The cabin stewards, waiters, and bus boys all depend on tips for most of their wages on this line. We've been told by our waiters, and we believe, that a percentage of the passengers stiff them or leave $10.00 for a table of six or eight for the whole week. One waiter told us that you can tell which passengers didn't tip. They are the ones who had every meal in the dining room except breakfast on the last morning. The only problem I see with letting the cruise line collect and dis- tribute the money is that they not pay their employees a fair amount because the jobs are in such demand. Maybe the solution is for the cruise line to guarantee a living wage and let the passenger tip for excellent service.

If you know you have the tip prior to doing anything for it, then why do anything for it?

I want the choice of tipping. Especially if the service is terrific. This helps ensure that the waiters/busboy/cabin steward go that extra distance to make this vacation truely wonderful for me.

Not including them is the one way of empowering staff to provide better that average service. The better they do the more I tip - my guide is "average service get the tip minus 25%" - "above average - the suggested tip" - and "excellent - plus 25%"

I always tip more than the recommended amount, but I suppose that if the tip was included, I could always give money above that in person. I've read of people who hide in their rooms the last night as to avoid giving tips, so this would at least cover the employees!!!

Gratuities are a customer's way of showing their appreciation (or lack thereof) for excellent service. Including gratuities in the basic cost would be assuming: a) each person had the same expectations for customer service b) each person would receive the same level of service Neither of these would be very good assumptions under which to operate a business. Lastly, gratuities/tips have always been optional. Does that mean a customer could "choose" to not have that cost included in their fare? I really think this would be a bad idea. I for one would look to other cruise lines for my vacation before selecting one that included tips in the basic cost.

Not everyone gets the same kind of service, and tips should be up to the customer, not the company providing the service. I wouldn't like it.

Hi i would not want the tips included in the fare because if the service is not up to par the tips will not be.And if the service is great the tips will be great too.Thanks.

Tipping feeds greed and avarice....the reason we all do our chosen jobs. I pay for service, and receive service in return. I have found it beneficial to tip some staff in advance. I always tip the bus boy at the first meal... $5 and say...see the Ice Tea glass...Never empty at any meal...and it never is!

I have only been on one cruise, the Newport Jazz Festival trip on the QE2. I was attracted to Cunard because they advertise "gratuities in- cluded. I was in "Caronia" class and I found the service uniformly excellent. No one presses for tips, but most everyone I observed seemed happy to reward the fine service.

There is something to be said for all-inclusive costs, as it greatly facilitates one's enjoyment and saves time during the vacation, and cruise lines have done wonders in this area (and in the cashless system]. But the basic premise of a gratuity is that it is a gift for services rendered and, while Western society has placed vase expectations on the principle of a gratuity, the choice must remain in the hands of those being served. Although an "all inclusive" gratuity policy would not rule out providing an "extra" tip for unusually fine service, it does rule out withholding the gratuity for unusually poor service, and therefore takes the option out of the hands of the person receiving the service. On a recent RCI cruise, the group cruise policy was to collect gratuities in advance. Once the waiter learned that this had been the case and he would not likely receive more than the "standard," his attitude changed markedly and he became much less solicitous and attentive. This, of course, was poor judgment on his part, since I was prepared to provide an extra gratuity for unusually fine service. Still, it points out that in this instance I could not withhold the already pre-paid gratuity for services that in part fell below expectations. Frankly, I think any system that is run consistently, with clear guidelines to both staff and passengers, would inevitably work. I'm just not sure such a system could be devised and implemented.

On a recent NCL cruise, this issue was addressed by the Cruise Director who stated that a few years back, NCL did incorporate the tips and gratuities into the basic cost of the cruise. He noted it was a failure because the service provided by those individuals recieving the tips was dramatically lowered. Additionally, service received during the cruise should dictate the amount of gratuity paid, not a set rate.

While I like to reward good service, I do not like being put in the position of having to pay for any service. I feel that the recommended tipping policy forces cruisers to tip or else feel that they have taken food out of the mouths of third world children. I want a cruise where I know the crew is paid well in comparison to what they could earn at home. I then want to tip them if they give better then basic service.

I approve of the tips being included in the total cost. Since the cruise lines basically require a certain amount to be given, why not make it easier and include them in the total cost of the trip. This might also cut back on the wait staff from practically begging for good tips.

I also feel that all soft drink beverage service should be included as well.

My husband and I have been on 15 cruises and have always tipped the suggested amount or more, but it's one more thing to deal with. I would much prefer not to have to tip.

My husband and I have been on 15 cruises and have always tipped the suggested amount or more, but it's one more thing to deal with. I would much prefer not to have to tip.

I love this question. The only thing I dislike about cruising is the tipping involved. I do not want to be bothered with remembering names, jobs, titles, etc. involved with the extensive tipping at the end of the cruise. I definitely like the tipping to be added to the fare.

I think it is a wonderful idea. Then there isn't the pressure put on by the staff at the end of the cruise and what you give to people is actually a true "tip". I have never had bad service on a cruise (number 12) on 4/11/98 and hate the sob story at the end.

Years ago I may have approved, but today, the dining 'alternatives' on cruise ships throw a wrench into this question. If, by chance, you were to eat all your meals in the casual dining rooms or at the pizzerias, buffets, or poolside cafes, then tips are not necessary - and to pay for them up front would mean that you were subsidizing someone elses eating habits. On the smaller, more luxurious ships, where there are minimal or no dining alternatives, then including tips in the base price of the cruise would be understandable. However, the majority of us cruisers cruise on the big ships and are being presented more and more dining alternatives daily. Therefore, I oppose.

I feel that it would be fine to include tips in the price of the cruise because too many people do not tip at all.

I believe that including gratuities in the cost of the cruise would both remove what is for some an uncomfortable aspect of the cruise -- deciding how much to reward service staff -- and allow cruisers to more easily budget up front the entire cost of their cruise.

The natural concern over agreeing with the concept is that the level of service will not deteriorate if this were implemented. I believe that the overall enjoyment of a vacation would be enhanced if the gratuities were included. This would alleviate the 'pressure' of assessing crew members monetarily during your last day of the cruise.

I think tipping does insure good service, at least on a cruise. If it is included, I have no control. It also seems that on ships that include tips in the price, it is recommended that you tip additionally.

I like having control of how I reward good or bad service. I rarely stick to the "recommended" schedule of tip amounts on a cruise, preferring to give either more or less, depending on the service I received. I would hate the idea that the staff would have little incentive to give outstanding service, other than their own motivation. Money speaks very loudly in most cases.

How can travel agencies even suggest such an approach! Even though disguised under the banner of "convenience of the passenger" it is a patently specious argument for a plan to support inferior service. Such a proposal obviates any necessity on the part of the cruise staff to ensure superior service when they know that they have already received the minimum amount. Supposing the service received by the passenger is markedly inferior. Then what, can the passenger demand the return of part or all of the prepaid tip? The present system of personally deciding the appropriate amount should be left in the hands of the ultimate decision maker--the passenger. I would personally avoid utilizing the services of any agency adopting such a cavalier policy. Thank you

I heartily approve. It's already done on the Holland America and Windstar ships. You don't have to worry whether you've brought along enough cash and you can always add an extra tip (as we've always done) for exceptional service. It seems to take some of the pressure off the staff when they know they'll be receiving a steady income, rather than have to rely primarily on the client's generosity. The service we received on the "no tipping required" cruises has always been top-notch.

I heartily approve. It's already done on the Holland America and Windstar ships. You don't have to worry whether you've brought along enough cash and you can always add an extra tip (as we've always done) for exceptional service. It seems to take some of the pressure off the staff when they know they'll be receiving a steady income, rather than have to rely primarily on the client's generosity. The service we received on the "no tipping required" cruises has always been top-notch.

I have mixed feelings here...on one hand there would be no surprises at the end of your cruise. If you are on a tight budget an extra $100 can be painful.but if you do include tips, will the service be less than expected because after all the crew is already guarenteed their tips I believe there is a cruise line that discourages tips though. Is their service any better or is there a differance at all. I don't know.

It is my thought that if tips were included, the cabin attendant or main waiter may not provide excellent service. I like the ability to tip accordingly and sometimes that is more than the suggested.

Tips are one of the few ways in which to "reward" good service. If they were included we may find that some of the staff would not make you feel "special" and work harder to make your trip more enjoyable.

To keep this issue in perspective remember that the whole idea of TIPing is: To Insure Prompt service. We tend to TIP the staff members that seem to have an understanding of this principle, by providing good friendly courteous service, very handsomely! I also like to be able to make that determination myself. So in response to the question, I prefer that for the most part, the tipping policies remain as they are today. As a matter of fact, we cruise primarily on Princess who has a "TIP guideline" policy for the cabin and dining room staff that seems to get the passengers the service that they expect. On the other hand the Bar Staff "adds" an automatic 15% TIP to each check and sometimes doesn't deserve 5%, if you know what I mean. I that case I wish that the 15% TIP was maybe there on the check but could be varied downward in the case that they flat don't deserve a good TIP! I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times have we waited 30 minutes or more for the waiter to "wander" back with a cold drink by the pool? I, like most people are not cheap, but rather, know the difference between good service and lousy service. We never demand more than is reasonable, but for those people that deliver more than expected I make it a priority to give generously both in terms of dollars and in terms of written comments to their bosses. We routinely write notes to the Staff Captain about some great staff member that went the extra mile, prior to disembarkation and we also copy the cruise line with comments when we get home.

I disapprove just for the fact that I want to be able to decide what the tip will be based on the service recieved. Good service, good tip, Bad service bad tip. All is not the same from cruise to cruise or person to person.

The only way to influence the service provided to the NEXT cruiser by the waiter/steward/etc is to tip according to performance. If we cede our opportunity to *really* comment on the service, we have lost all voice. Further, if we allow the companies to "roll" the gratuities into the price, we will still have to shell out of pocket for the exceptional service afforded, so why mess with a system we've all become accostomed to?

We just came back from our first cruise, it was a little slice of heaven. We sailed on the Sun Princess to the Western Carabean. I would rather give my own tips. We were so impressed by the service that everyone gave us that we gave 2 1/2 - 4 times the suggested tips. On the other hand, if the service had not been good, I would have lowered the tip. If the tip is automatic than I think that the service may go down.

I would really like gratuities included in the cost of the cruise, however, I keep hearing about lines like Holland America where gratuities are included, but passengers are tipping anyway. If tips are included, then only EXEMPLARY service should warrant something extra. I have to say that it would be nice not having to keep track of tip money separately than spending money.

We like to determine the tipping ourselves. This gives us the opportunity to acknowledge superior service. When tipping is at the traveler's discretion, staff has the incentive to go all out.

The word, "TIP" means "to insure perfection" and I prefer it to remain that way. I will tip generously for great service, I will tip moderately for average service and I want the right to withhold the tip if service is poor. Although the idea of "tip included" is intended to be a convenience, there is no incentive for anyone to provide exemplary service. Yes, you can always tip over and above but you've taken away the perogative to withhold tips if you institute a "tips included" policy.

Having passengers pay tips and gratuities themselves and not including them in the base cost is better because the employee has to deliver the service to receive a commensurate tip. Without control, the passenger would have no recourse when the service from the cabin steward, waiter, or busboy is unacceptable. In reverse, if the service is excellent, the passenger also has the discretion to tip more than standard.

After reading your article on HAL, I'm ready for ALL cruise lines to have a NO tipping policy. I like the part that you can tip at your descretion and especially that tips were not included with every bar bill--a policy I didn't like on RCCL. I think that if HAL can do this, they all can! Love the new "letter".

I would approve if staff refused to accept tips. Holland America have a no tipping policy which is not followed by most people.

It always seems to be the one thing everyone stresses about. It is very uncomfortable handing the envelopes to the dining room staff. They add the tips to your barbill why not add it to the total cost.

Tipping is not only a personnal issue - it is intended to express gratitude for services rendered. If tipping were included into the price of the cruise, there would be no incentive to provide superior service.

I think tipping is a personal thing. I tip according to the service I receive. For instance, on most cruises I never see the Mattrie D' until the last night, tip night. On those cruises he sees no envelope from me. I have had bus boys that were much better than waiters and in those cases I have given the bus boy more than the waiter. We had one waiter on one cruise that flat out told us he was discussed with the cruise line and was quiting in 2 weeks. He gave us that kind of service too. One thing I disapprove of is the waiters "telling" us to mark the surveys excellent or they loose money. What is the point of having the survey.

I think tipping is a personal thing. I always tip atleast the recomended amount, but sometimes more. I guess it might be good to include the recomended amount, the few cruisers who try to stiff the help couldn't get away with it. Then if you wanted to give more you could.

I would prefer to not have to 'worry' about remembering to tip everone is sight. I would much prefer to pay more up front as opposed to tips during and at the end of the cruise. If this is thier job, and you can't get the service elsewhere, the work should be compensated by the company for the work they do and not be dependant upon tips. Tips should only be for EXCEPTIONAL performance. Not required

My husband and I honeymooned in February and chose not to do the formal dining. If tips were included for the head waiters, etc, we would have paid for something we didn't use. I am really enthusiastic about the alternative dining, tip as you go.

I like the way it is currently set up. We know what is "suggested" for good service, and we can then adjust up or down depending on our actual experience. For example, the suggested $3/day for waiters is CHEAP! If one was to go out to breakfast/lunch/dinner for the day (as you do on other vacations) the average tipping would far exceed that price. I believe that the current setup allows for the people going the extra mile to be recognized. If the tipping was rolled into the price it could negatively affect service. On our last cruise, the waiter, assistant waiter, wine steward, and even the head waiter got more than the suggested from us due to their wonderful service. However, our cabin steward, while efficient did not go out of his way like the others and did not get extra.

We feel that tipping/gratuities is a personal choice. Why should a waiter, asst. waiter, room steward, etc., receive an automatic tip for doing a so-so job? Where's the incentive? And, if gratuities ARE included, do the employees on the receiving end get it all, or partially? Down the road, I'm sure that these staff members will, again, expect "a little something extra." On almost all past cruises we've tipped at least 15%-20% over the suggested rate a few at the suggested rate and once, 1/2 the recommended tip (a waiter was REAL bad, but my wife said we had to leave something).
I also would like to see all port charges included in the basic cost of the cruise so the price isn't deceptively low. If possible, airfare should be included, too, so that the cost shown is the ACTUAL cost.
There is a great deal of variance in the quality of service one receives both within the same ship and among the various cruise lines. The risk of indifference is too great to justifiy prepayment.
I want to treat it the same as a restaurant: The level of service I receive will be reflected in the amount of the tip. I think the level of service would decrease if the staff knows the tip will be paid to them regardless their performance. On a criuse to Bermuda last summer, our room stewardess complained that she had to change all the bed spreads in her area and how tired she was. Well I'm sure she was tired but I didn't want to hear about it. Therefore, her tip wasn't what it could have been. The wait staff was wonderful however, and it was reflected in the tip we gave to each. Let me decide how much to give!! On the other hand, how many people stiff these crew?
I think that it's perfectly fine if ships want to incorporate the cost of tips and gratuities in the total cost of the cruise. The main reason why I think it would be fine is simply because there are some people out there who don't find it necessary to give tips...I personally find this appalling. The staff is there to wait on the guest, they do bring us our food, and clean our rooms. If we, as the cruisers, find their service unsatisfactory then we should bring it to the attention of the cruise line. That still doesn't change the fact that the staff rely on our tips as a major part of their income...not tipping them is just as bad as expecting them to do their job and then not paying them. On the other hand, however, my BIG concern about this incorporation of the tips and gratuities into the cost of the cruise is that the staff who is normally tipped will not see the tips built into their salary, as it is built into the cost of our cruise. That is an issue that I would like to see covered before more cruise lines decide to go this route.
The service providers (crew) would not have to keep the service levels up to a high standard.
As long as the staff understand and the cruise director dosen't go into "aren't they wonderful and deserve another tip routine" Holland America has the right idea...still they push it a little.. Like to see porter,everything in price of ticket and including a $100 bar tab to be refunded if not used...that way you could concentrate on the important Casino and shows and tours..why not include tours also..(already do)
It would be nice, but I'm sure the service would not be as good.
I have been on several cruises and I think that this tipping has become a business instead of the true intention that it had. If someone does something extra for you, then you tip, but I feel that it is the cruise lines responsibility to pay these people and not put that extra burden on the passengers. If this was added to the cost in the beginning no one would even think twice about it, and then it would be settled.
never include tips, ever go to the bahamas where in some places the gratuity is included? the service is awful.however i feel very bad when on a cruise and I hear someone say," we don't have to tip the waiter the full amount because we ate breakfast and lunch on deck at the buffet." I think the cr.brochures should clarify this.
We tip the recommended amount when we receive adequate service. We often go over the recommended amount when we receive excellent service this lets the recipient know they're doing what we consider an above average job. If tips were already included in the fare, we'd still want to tip those we felt deserved more. But I think I'd feel a little chintzy handing them small amounts and so might increase that in order for the gesture to convey the intent and then I'd often be tipping more than I do now!
Best to wait until you receive the service, that way you will know how much to tip.
I believe that cruisers should be allowed to tip (or not) at their discretion. You usually find some employees whodeserve much more than the suggested amounts and usually there are some employees who deserve very little. It would be unfair if the cruise line included tips to all employees. After all, my understanding is that "tips" were originally "to insure prompt service". Those that perform well deserve tips those who do not don't.
Two reasons: 1) would the tips actually reach the people for whom they are intended? and would it be in their entirety without "deductions" made by the cruise line for support services and, assuming that the tips did reach the server in it's full amount 2) what would be the motivation for the service help to really go all out to please you like they do now? They are going to get the same "tip" whether they hustle or not. Include the tips and you will be then tipping on top of the "included tips" because you want to personally let your individual servers know how much you appreciate what they have done for you to make your cruise so special. Tips should be given based on service received. Those that snooze, lose, and those that work hard should get what they deserve and not have to pool it with those that do only what is required.
We just completed a cruise on the Horizon. The suggested gratuity was increased from $3.00 to $3.50 per day and a new position added as cabin supervisor also requiring a fee. For 10 days for 2 that meant $70 for cabin, $20 for supervisor, $70 for waiter, $45 for busboy and $10 For headwaiter fot $215. It is the cruise line that should pay the help. As soon as it is a requirement it is no longer a "tip" but an integral part of the trip cost.
The scramble at the end of the cruise to get the "cash" for the envelopes is the biggest issue. Inclusion in the price of the cruise would make it closer to an all inclusive vacation than current. Should staff go above and beyond then additional gratuities should be given but only for exceptional service. I have travelled on HAL and felt that because the industry standard required tipping, that it was also required on HAL as they made no emphatic effort to diepel the need to give. Thanks for the excellent source of information in the SeaLetter as you add to the pleasures of cruising.
I wold approve of tips and gratuities being included in the price of the cruise. I think it would be easier for the passengers. They wouldn't have to try and 'decide' what was the right amount. Also, I think it would be better for those receiving tips because by the end of the cruise passengers are at the end of their cruise resources and probably leave a smaller tip than they would if it were paid - up front.
Feel it benefits both customers and staff.
Might degrade quality of service if they knew the tips would be "automatic".
Why shouldn't it be included, as it is they practically are included since all brochurce and information in the cabins state suggested "gratuities". If the gratuities are included, cruise staff may end up putting a little more into the "customer service" aspect in hopes of getting a "real gratuitiy" not an income supplement.
we love HAL for their no tipping policy. There is no pressure to handout the envelopes the last night. We do tip on HAL and other cruise lines we have been on, but we tip according to the service we recieve. One RCCL cruise had a non-existent cabin steward except for the last night - he got a very small tip. Same for maitre d's who have ignored you all week and only show up the last night at your table. If tipping was included in the price I would worry about the standard of service given and it would take away one's choice to tip more or less depending on the services rendered.
I feel like if it keeps the cruise staff from "hounding" you for tips then yes to including them in the price of the cruise. Then when the service is outstanding you know it is genuine not just to solicite a tip. On the otherhand I would like to have control over the amount of my tip. So there are disadvantages and advantages to both sides. We go on our first cruise January '99 and I have been doing some extensive research on cruises. We will be traveling on HAL where they have a "no tipping required" policy. But from what I understand it is very much expected.
The whole idea of tipping is to show your direct appreciation for good service, and special appreciation for extraordinary service. I agree with the idea of no-tipping as long as the workers are amply compensated, but as we have no way to be sure of this, I have a feeling that many of us may tip IN ADDITION to the already included tips, making the whole thing senseless. Therefore, I believe the tipping guidelines are the most useful way of managing tipping.
I feel that tipping is done according to the service received. That has to be determined after the cruise not before.
It is my understanding, after discussion with the cruise director on the Celebrity Century, that crew members like cabin attendants, waiters and busboys on most cruise ships work for a very low base pay, something like $100 per month. Given that, they are totally dependant upon their tips for a living. I've been on ships, like the Century, where everyone hands out the little white envelopes on the last night of dinner. But, I've also been on ships, like the Leeward, where I've seen many people leave the restaurant on the last night without handing out the envelopes. And not just a few people, but many people. On every ship I've been on so far, the service has ranged from excellent to outstanding. So I don't think it's an issue with bad service. I think it's totally the case of people who have enough money to afford a nice cruise becoming cheap skates, and not paying for the services provided. I think that they are "stiffing" the people who are working hard for those tips. As such, I would like to see the tips for cabin stewards, waiters and busboys included in the base cost of a cruise. Given the attention that major lines pay to the service provided by crew members, I do not believe that service would suffer the least bit.
I agree with this as long as it would be acceptable to tip extra to those who have provided services which go beyond the call of duty. I don't not think that tips should be included for the Head Waiter or M'atria D (sp) since they do not always provide a service to every passenger. The tips for these should be left to the discretion of the passenger.
I also think that non-alcoholic drinks should be included as well. I think that tips for bus drivers and tour guides for the shore excursions should be included too. A friend of mine is boarding the Sun Princess as I write this and has told me about a sundae bar that they have on board that you have to pay extra for. Why not include that in the price?
My decision of not sure yet is based on a number of things. How much does the cruise lines intend on adding to the base fare? I like the idea of having control over the amount I can tip, more if service was good, less if service was not so desirable. If it is added to base fair you are not given this option. But again my decision would be based on how much base fair would be increased.
I just returned from a cruise on the Destiny. Second cruise, first one did not count as it was on The Big Red Boat. We all in all were very happy with the service. I feel that the Stewards, Waiters and Bus Boys do a wonderful job. However, it was a little funny that on TIP night, the head waiter and Maiter D (sp) were seen, but they were not seen a whole lot during the meal, only to call the waiters and bus boys to the singing line (which by the way was fantastic). I feel that the stewards, waiters, bus boys really earn their tip.
I don't think gratuities should be included in price of cruise for one I give accordingly, I have yet to tip the suggested guidelines I usually give more for they are worth it, in some cases, I don't feel that a tip should be given to a head waiter that visited your table once during the whole cruise. While on another cruise the Head Waiter just about lived at our table, we tipped him, he was great. I imaged one would like to reserve gratuities once the cruise is over and give to those crew members who really did a service to them instead of all of them of which some did absolutely nothing for them. Beside, how are we to know if this extra cost is truly passed on to those who actually do the work and deserve it. My vote goes to leave the gratuities up to the passengers to decide what they feel is appropriate.
Tips could be included in the basic cost in a cruise with no reduction in the level of service if it is handled correctly. Just look at the excellent service received at the Sandals resorts in Jamica where the tips are included.
Six of us are going on our cruise on 3-22-98. This will my my 2nd and my wife's 3rd. I remember the last one I was on with Carnival Cruise lines, the tip issue left a bad impression on me. I truely feel that passengers should be relieved of that burden. We will be going on the Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas at the end of March. We plan on leaving the normal tip, however it would be nice if this issue would be eliminated!!
It sounds like a good idea (you would be able to give extra to those who provided extra-special service), but what you would do if you receive poor service? Also, though I don't like to think of it this way, some employees may take advantage of the guaranteed amount and not put out the effort. Maybe if the cruise lines tied the guaranteed amount to the employee's rating each week? Then the obligatory plea for "excellent ratings only, please" on the final night, could really get out of hand!
My wife and I have found that tipping is a great way of showing our appreciation for excellent service. We seek to go beyound what the cruise line suggests, if the persons has done their jobs well. But we also reserve the right to withhold some of the tip. We had an excellent waiter on one ship but his assistant was more interested in the young ladies at a nearby table, than doing his job. We rewarded our waiter with a generous tip, which included some of what should have gone to the assistant.
Tipping should continue to be at the discretion of the passsenger. If someone has done a good job, a tip is certainly in order. Indeed, for people who aare exceptionally helpful, one should tip more than the suggested amount. However, there are times when we run into someone who simply does not deserve a tip. It's our call we know the standard of service which has or has not been delivered. Therefore, the tip and its size should also be our call.
Present system does not reflect good or bad service. Why bother with a fixed rate system. We already pay addons for port taxes, air add on etc. Another add on certainly makes sense.
Gratuities are something earned. I am afraid that some cruise line employees maight become lax if the tip is automatic.
Holland America can do it so why not all other cruise lines. On many cruise lines the Bar Staff receive a part of the cost of each drink served as a commission (the more they push the booze the more they get), so why not pay the other staff a wage which covers the gratuities.
TIPS to insure prompt service. sorry but,it keeps service people working harder to get the 15-25% tip. If you get good service.
gratuities should be based on quality of service...always.
I have always felt that tips have to be earned, not gifted. Having worked as a busboy and waiter, I understand the importance to the worker, but one should not be automatically rewarded for a shabby job. I very much like the Holland America line attitude. If tips were included in the fare, who then controls the lines ability to siphon off parts of the amounts detaied as tips, leaving a smaller percentage for the employee, putting us back at step one, but with higher fares.
Would end the sad speeches at the end of the cruise. On the downside, one would probably have to give something for really good service just to encourage it.
Tipping is a very personal thing and should always be left to the individual person If it were included in the price you would have no idea where your money or to which person it went. If it were included it could go to someone that you had no contact with and someone who gave you excellant service may not get what they deserve. I think it means a lot to the staff member you want to recognize by handing the gratuity to them personaly and with the amount YOU wish it to be.
I like the suggested tip amount, and can feel free to add more if the service warrants.
Like the adage -- 'Tipping is a personal issue', we prefer to keep OUR choices.
Being from the UK I must say that in general we aren't use to tipping. If we went for a land based meal we would tip on a small scale. Tight others may say, but that's just the way it is here, Waiting on staff, get better wages and don't expect big tips. To then go on a cruise and be expected to pay whopping tips does make us feel uncomfortable and embrassed. I much rather pay more for the cruise intially and then give a small tip if we felt the service had been exceptionally good. I mean are we paying thousands of pounds for a holiday were tipping is the only method used to gaurantee good service.
i want the the latitude to tip based upon the service, good service, good tip, bad service, bad tip. i don't like the idea of that being already dertermined for me.
It would be wonderful not to have to worry about bringing along extra cash to pay the tips. I have been on 9 cruises to date and with very few exceptions, the service has certainly been up to the recommended daily tip guide amount.
We have apreciated the guides provided by cruiselines we have enjoyed dduring our years at sea, but we are looking forward to a cruise on the QE2 this year when we will gain experience. We'll be interested in learning of the experiences of others.
I just returned from a cruise on Holland America Veendam. Tipping is not required. There is no pressure to tip. Tip envelopes are not placed in the cabin on the last evening of the cruise. If you want to tip that is your decision. I did tip, but I had to go to the purser's desk to get the envelopes. The other lines(Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity) can learn a lot from HAL. It is a CLASS operation.
We have been on two cruises on two different lines-Celebrity and Holland America. I did not like all of the announcements and talk at the end of the cruise by the cruise director on both lines about tipping. HAL's tipping not required policy is very misleading. All of the staff hovers around on the last night waiting for their tips just like on the Celebrity line. It would be very embarrassing not to tip someone. I think they should drop that policy because to a first time cruiser on HAL one might assume that the tips were included in the fee to go on the cruise. At least Celebrity is upfront about the tips and provides envelopes for you and suggested amounts. I didn't care for all of the talk about tippping at the end of the cruise on either line.
This is a difficult question. The staff depends on tips and we reward excellent service. If tips were added to the cost of the cruise would the cruiselines pass that money on without taking a cut? I doubt it. I also wonder about the service. Would the dining room service be more like what you receive at open seating efficient but not special. This would depend on the individual.
Although most of the time I have excellent cabin stewards and waiters, I have cruised once when I had an extremely INattentive cabin steward and another cruise when I had a very RUDE waiter. If the cruise lines want to include tips and gratuities in the cost of the cruise, then they should simply call it salary and the cost of the cruise would increase accordingly. However, tips and gratuities are at the discretion of the passenger...and when I receive poor service, I do not tip as well as when I receive good service. That's the whole point of tipping, after all. To encourage the server to do their best!
I would like them to be included.I am however only planning my first cruise. All I know is I will tip at least what I have been told is customary and add more if I feel the need based on service. (from what I have heard the service is almost always super) I would just rather have the majority of the trip payed for to begin with.
I like the fact that cruises include all amenities (accomodations, food and (most) entertainment)in one advertised price. This makes it easy to budget for the entire vacation. If the 'one price' included the tips/gratuities, that would be one less external variable.
Give the crew a good wage and do away with the tipping system. On Carnival we spent more than $150.00 on a one hour treatment at the spa, 30 minutes of which was spent quitely relaxing,. as we signed for the treatment the therapist reminded us that it was customary to leave a 15% tip. We have no problem with tipping but it is still vacation pressure having to be constantly reminded of what is expected of the customer. I would rather pay a little more for the cruise.
Cruises are a luxury for us, and we would like to be treated in the most luxurious manner possible. I want my wait staff and cabin staff to work hard to earn my tip. This will undoubtedly give me a better cruise experience, and will also get more money into their hands. Service as well as interpersonal relations with the staff would surely suffer if tips were included. The beverage service staff are given standard tips, but they are motivated to hustle because they need to sell a high volume of drinks each day in order to make good money. Holland America has tried a "no tips required" policy, and that has turned into a fiasco. You are reminded throughout your cruise that although the line does not require tipping, tips are a personal reward from you to the person receiving the tip and that the staff work very hard to earn these tips. Give me good service and let me tip well.
Although I will always give, at the very least, the minimum tip recommended (unless the service from the individual is consistently poor for the entire cruise)I enjoy having the option of increasing the recommended amount based on the service received. Service varies from individual to individual and I like to adjust accordingly. But as I previously said, not below the recommended amount. It would have to be really bad service for us to do that, as I believe the staff work very hard.
A tip is based on "service" and should not be set by the cruise lines. I use the suggestion from the cruise line as a guide, but feel free to do more or less based on the service.
I've only been on 2 cruises, both Carnival. I noticed (and was disturbed by) the staff in the dining room, and our room stewart, seemed to have very hard lives. Many had said they left their families behind and haven't seen them in weeks. They do not earn much money through the cruise company from what I've been told, and depend on our tips. I would be afraid that many people would feel that the tip is taken care of, and wouldn't give it much thought. As long as you recognize those who have gone above and beyond, and tip them a little extra, then it's not a problem.
On one hand I would love to have pre-paid gratuities as long as they were reasonable, but on the other hand I had one cruise where the bus boy was just wonderful and the waiter was so awful so I switched the tips with the larger waiter's tip going to the bus boy! He deserved it. It's the only time I have ever had a really lousy waiter, but if the tips were pre-paid I would not have been able to do that. I am a firm believer in paying for good service. If the crew was going to get the tips regardless of the service they provided, maybe the service would not be so good
My feeling on this matter is that not all the employees on any one ship give the identical service. Some give you outstanding service and others don't do more than they absolutely have to. That is why we should pay tips at the end of the cruise so we can reward those who outdo themsmselves. Example of this would be I gave doube tips to my waiter and assistant waiter because they left nothing to chance. On the other hand my room steward didn't do half the things anyone in my party requested of him including not doing our room up one day so I gave him the smallest tip possible a $1 a day. The rest of his tip went to another room steward who picked up his slack without a complaint and always with a smile.
On my first cruise, I didn't even know who the head waiter was. On my next cruise, one of our party was sick the entire cruise and the headwaiter asked where she was. After being told of her illness, he made it a point to check with us at each meal, call her, and send whatever she needed to the cabin. Needless to say, we tipped him well. I think what you tip and to whom should be at your own discretion. If a person knows that he or she will get a tip no matter what, I don't think there is much incentive to give better service.

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