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Balloon Man

Star Clippers: honesty or moral blackmail?

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I can book my cruises through a US TA using a friend's address and pay less but would lose the protection I gain from booking in the UK.

 

I don't think that is correct. As soon as you fill out the manifest, you would be requested to pay the difference. You can't board the ship under a false name. You have to identify yourself with an official document.

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You misunderstand. It would be my name but an address in the USA. Many Brits already do this without apparent problem.

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If you say so..... I haven't misunderstood. Like I said. You have to identify yourself with a valid document. At least on Star Clippers.

Edited by muskatnuss

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So what is the saving for booking through the US?

 

 

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Sailor, how does this affect booking from the UK but with an american address? That's alot of stress and money to fly from the UK to the US just for a free flight.....

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My comment was simply in reference to what may be cheaper about US bookings vs UK bookings.

Edited by SailorJM

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This thread has strayed from the original subject. If you want to know the benefits or problems of buying cruises via an address in the USA instead of Europe please start a new thread.

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Ok. Maybe the learning points from this thread are 1.starclippers don't pay their staff and 2. Don't ask can you get cheaper tickets on star clippers so you might be able to tip those staff who don't get paid. There is little enough activity on this star clippers forum... Anyway I am checking out and won't be starting a new thread.

 

 

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if that is true ? I would never cruise with them .They are blackmailing you into giving a better gratuity even if the service was substandard. Passengers are basically paying all the wages for some of the crew.

 

Just a point.

 

The passengers are basically paying all the wages for all of the crew, unless Star Clippers has another source of revenue beyond the cruise fares.

 

The difference is that the staff who are tipped are dependent on the relative generosity of the passenger group.

 

As for the notion that these people are "slaves," involuntary servitude means the thralls have no choice in the matter. Last I heard Star Clippers (and all other cruise lines) don't keep any of their staff in chains and all are free will employes hired without any duress.

 

As for the wages, if a waiter serves, say, 20 people, and each person tips $7.00 per day, that waiter makes $140.00 per day, hardly poverty wages for someone whose room and board are provided to them at no charge, all tax free.

 

I suppose there may be some who tip less but there are probably more that tip more than there are those who tip less.

 

Final proof. Why is there a long queue of people who want to take vacancies as an when they become available at Star Clippers?

 

The "we pay them nothing" statement is a clever pitch to encourage passengers to ratchet up their tipping; a reasonable approach.

Edited by Sow There

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Sounds for me like a storm in a glass of water.

 

Sorry, we have cruised with Star Clippers (as well as with many other cruise companies) several times and have learned, that many of the crew is working for many years onboard the Star Clippers ships. Why sholud they do that, if they are feeling themselves underpaid? If there is really no basic monetary salary (beside food, living, healthcare while onboard), tipping seems to be well at all for these longtime employees.

 

Tips are a regular part of the income throughout the cruise industry, regardless of the cruise line. Tipping recommendations are clearly communicated, right before booking. If not, you should change your travel agent immediately! As an experienced cruiser I know, that tipping guidelines are to be followed, as long service is correct because tipping is the main part of the crew's income. If the service is over the standard (which is mostly, especially on Star Clippers), I'll tip more - in general and/or to specific crew members, as well spending money for the sea chart lottery at the end of the cruise which will go to the crew wellfare fund (and never won so far).

 

All - that means the cruise line, their employees, and even the guests - have agreed to the way of tipping and how this will influence the wages of the employees when booking a cruise or signing an employment contract.

 

So, where's the problem at all?

 

The other fact, that cruise prices will vary due to different markets, is even done by all cruise lines. This is not only a difference between american and european markets, there are differences as well comparing different european markets. I leaned, that Star Clippers place the same offers at least to all countries using the Euro as legal currency, which is not done by many cruise lines. Actually, Star Clippers promotes a fixed 'travel bonus' to european clientel for some not-so-well-sold cruises, which would be sometimes more as the price of a flight ticket out of the US, sometimes less - regarding on flight rates. Will I agitate myself about that? No, because even in this case I know all facts before I book a cruise.

 

I will book a cruise, when ship, cruising date and itinerary are lovely, and if the price which is offered to my specific market will meet what the specific cruise is worth for me. If the price seems too high for me, I will not book. Simple thing.

 

If comparing prices from the US market, don't forget that there are usually no tax and no port fees included. Insurance against the possible bancruptcy of the travel agency you booked with is even not included - and will handled a very different way throughout the european markets, depending of different law. Are you willing to take that in your comparision between the different markets? And which currency rate you will take to compare? What about the much higher initial payments in the US, and the limited rights to rebook your cruise when booked in europe? Instead complaining about having people onbord which may have paid a bit less than you (or sometimes more?), you should enjoy the vacation you have choosen - for the price it was worth to you. :-)

 

Just my five cents.

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Well said, my friend!!! Thank you for your comments and for your birthday greetings!!!

 

your little nutmeg!!!

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The "we pay them nothing" statement is a clever pitch to encourage passengers to ratchet up their tipping; a reasonable approach.

 

The last bit I have a problem with, and I think it was ill judged by those staff members. I have sailed twice with Star Clippers and have on each time paid the recommended tips and a little more, and enough also was spent at the bar with a service charge accruing to those staff members. But, I personally don't like further moral pressure to tip more on top of an expensive ticket and a tip already paid. So you may say a storm in a glass, and I may say this practice would make me rethink this cruise line, and given I have no interest in a floating vegas - cruise lines generally.

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Pavovsky

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Diddn,

 

I do agree with you in respect of what you pay is what you pay. I do not have an issue if someone gets a better deal than me. And I do appreciate there are differences between different markets as well as regulatory regimes. The same rates across the euro zone just make it easier for the company - otherwise they would end up in rough regulatory waters.

 

 

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Diddn offers a convincing sounding argument but shoots himself in the foot when he say: "... that means the cruise line, their employees, and even the guests - have agreed to the way of tipping and how this will influence the wages of the employees WHEN BOOKING A CRUISE or signing an employment contract."

 

Neither I, nor anybody else who has contributed to this thread, seems to have been aware WHEN THEY BOOKED that tipping - which Star Clippers stress is not compulsory - is the sole remuneration for certain staff. I have no idea whether those staff benefit more from this scheme or not - that wasn't part of my question.

 

I suppose you could paraphrase my original question by asking yourself whether it seems right in this day and age that people are employed for no pay? It would be illegal in the UK and other European countries where minimum pay rates are enforced. And it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, which is a shame because we enjoyed Star Clipper and its great crew.

Edited by Balloon Man

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I saw this thread and felt the need to create an account to set the record straight. To be clear, I know from past personal experience as an employee that all staff are (or, in any case, were, when I worked there) paid a salary on the Star Clippers line. Tips are a bonus. Sounds like the officers were trying to guilt you into tipping more.

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. Tips are a bonus. Sounds like the officers were trying to guilt you into tipping more.

 

 

Thanks. That puts my mind at rest. I will reconsider sailing with them again.

 

However, those officers were completely in the wrong as they were damaging the company's reputation.

 

 

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The point you have missed is that he is talking about when he/she worked with the company. Perhaps the poster will come back and advise. It might be different today. Times change.

 

It may be true that: "... those officers were completely in the wrong as they were damaging the company's reputation." But maybe today they were not wrong. Quite frankly when the Cruise Director and the Chief Purser tell me something on which they both agree I tend to believe them.

 

True or not true I don't know. What I do know is that I wouldn't like to be lied to by a cruise company's staff.

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The cruise director and the purser are low level officers as are the sports team - if the captain, the engineer or the hotel manager told me that I would think differently. I suspect they had good intentions but... For me that is preferable than them not been paid. Maybe the company should clarify, but what the former staff member said as well as what others have said would indicate they are paid.

 

 

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The Cruise Director and the Chief Purser are low level officers? And you think the engineer knows better than they do about how the staff serving the customers are paid? And you believe an alleged former employee (who could respond with his background) in whatever department knows better than current staff? And has anybody from the company (and they all monitor Cruise Critic) offered a response?

 

For me your signature says it all: "The beatings will stop when morale improves" or to paraphrase "I'll stop defending when you stop accusing". The difference between our positions is quite simple - I was there, you are postulating.

 

And I'm getting tired of simply reiterating what I was told. So goodbye.

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I had not intended coming back to this thread but the last post was a bit personal. I based my final post on evidence rather than here-say. Knowledgeable past passengers and a former staff member. You were asked to clarify this issue directly with the company but declined.

 

The three most senior officers on the ship are the engineer, the captain (usually 4 stripes) and the hotel manager. They are the management. The engineer not only is responsible for the engines but also air conditioning, waste water, water, kitchen equipment etc. etc. not a post I would dismiss.

 

And, as for the saying, you can look it up but it is something which features widely in the Caribbean....will continue until moral improves, will stop when moral improves.. Strange that you interpreted it somewhat differently. You may also look through the thread, and I defended you... The subject of this thread was either a misunderstanding (by you) or an ill advised but well meaning attempt by some staff to up the tips or maybe correct some below recommended tipping. I surmised it was the latter, yet you interpreted as the former. Goodnight and have a great weekend.

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You are right. It was hear-say. I heard them say-it. You didn't because you were not there. You are suggesting the Cruise Director and the Chief Purser were lying simply to improve tip levels. If true they should be dismissed. But the evidence supports what I have said - you are making presumptions and demeaning the cruise line staff.

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Well, this is very strange. I have just returned from the Star Flyer's Les Voile de Saint Tropez voyage, and nobody suggested that the crew rely on tips alone. We were given the suggested level of tipping and the choice of paying via onboard account or cash in envelopes separately for cabin stewards and waiters.

 

The only thing we were asked not to do was to tip in cash to individuals; the tips go into a pool to be shared out. Both cabin stewards and waiters were remarkably cheerful, and there was certainly no sense that they were worried about the issue.

 

I have been on other ships also with voluntary tipping where the crew did look worried as the voyage came to an end; it's not an enjoyable experience...

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Stumbled across this thread and thought I would provide information from a different line as it was asked earlier if this was common practice amongst cruise lines.

 

There have been numerous threads on the RCI boards about this.

 

It is common knowledge that cabin attendants, waiters and assistant waiters rely heavily on their tips for their income. They are paid appx. $50 either bi weekly or monthly (bit of a dispute over that) which either way is certainly not enough to live on.

 

It is fairly common practice to do this amongst the mainstream cruise lines as it allows the lines to keep published fares lower. Many would like to see the gratuities automatically added in to the cost of the cruise to ensure that the staff were being paid a decent wage and that some did not remove the tips from these hard working individuals.

 

Unless all competing cruise lines were to do this at the same time it would put those that took the bold step of doing this at a competitive pricing disadvantage.

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