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DENIE

Tipping in Italy ports of call

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

I will tell you what guides appreciate more than anything else, and that is a positive review. If you enjoy her services, ask her where you can post a review (e.g., Tripadvisor, Facebook, elsewhere) that would do the most good, and follow up on it. Especially if she is the owner of the business, this is priceless -- their business depends so much on past experiences and user satisfaction.

 

Absolutely!  On line reviews are an important part of building their business and by asking which sites to post on you are letting the guide know you not only valued his/her work but want to help others enjoy it as well.  Do ask for a business card so you get the spelling of names right, I've had some doozies over the years that I would never have figured out the spelling on my own.

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7 hours ago, TSUmom said:

Cruisemom I value your opinions on here so I am asking for your thoughts on this.

We will be using and independent guide for a small group tour ( 7 of us).  We will be using her services for 3 days in Rome.  I understand the no tipping in Europe and that she has probably included "gratuities" in her fees as this is her own business. How do you suggest we thank her for her service at the end of the last tour?  Treating her to lunch or dinner after our tour?  She has been so wonderful to work with as far as planning and accommodating us, I can not imagine her not being a fabulous guide.   I guess it is the American in me that has a hard time not tipping and just walking away with a thank you.  

Yes...It's just the 'American" in us that appreciates guides that go way above and beyond and giving an extra tip. Why do so many think this is in such poor taste for us....Just the way our culture is and shouldn't be so looked down upon for it. We certainly don't look down on other's for there's.

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10 minutes ago, Ashland said:

Yes...It's just the 'American" in us that appreciates guides that go way above and beyond and giving an extra tip. Why do so many think this is in such poor taste for us....Just the way our culture is and shouldn't be so looked down upon for it. We certainly don't look down on other's for there's.

 

I really think you are missing the point.  It's not that the American way of doing things is wrong, what's wrong is exporting it to places where it simply isn't done.

 

This is situational, it's right and expected in the States but not elsewhere.

 

Please don't take this so personally, it's not a knock on you or on Americans as a group.

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39 minutes ago, Ashland said:

Yes...It's just the 'American" in us that appreciates guides that go way above and beyond and giving an extra tip. Why do so many think this is in such poor taste for us....Just the way our culture is and shouldn't be so looked down upon for it. We certainly don't look down on other's for there's.

 

27 minutes ago, euro cruiser said:

 

I really think you are missing the point.  It's not that the American way of doing things is wrong, what's wrong is exporting it to places where it simply isn't done.

 

This is situational, it's right and expected in the States but not elsewhere.

 

Please don't take this so personally, it's not a knock on you or on Americans as a group.

What I find funny is when you counterbalance this with the insults thrown at anyone from a non tipping culture who believes they don’t need to tip, or only tip for exceptional service, in America or on a cruise. Funny how much of a one way street it is.

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Thank you all for the additional views and advice...especially Cruisemom42!  We love leaving reviews, especially positive ones...

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4 hours ago, GUT2407 said:

 

What I find funny is when you counterbalance this with the insults thrown at anyone from a non tipping culture who believes they don’t need to tip, or only tip for exceptional service, in America or on a cruise. Funny how much of a one way street it is.

I certainly didn't ever think I threw insults....I seem to have been dodging them from the majority here.

Very few one way streets in life...and if so it's easy to pull over and let someone pass.

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I am not sure what all this one-way street stuff is about.  To us, the tipping situation is quite simple.  We learn (pre-trip) about the tipping culture of the places we are visiting and try to work within that culture.  Imposing our own culture on other societies is what generates the Ugly American moniker.   When in Australia we know not to tip in most places.  If in Italy we will often tip, but at much lower levels then we use in North America.  In some parts of Asia it is actually considered insulting to offer or accept tips.  And yet we have witnessed fellow Americans trying to impose their own tipping norms in those countries.  Why?

 

There is no reason to throw out any insults to any tipping culture.  Part of the fun of International travel is learning about various cultures/mores and working within those norms.

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It is interesting to note that we booked most of our cruise tours on Tours by Locals, and I don't recall anything about "suggested tipping".  Based on advice from my initial question, we will observe the local customs.  On tours we are looking at in Rome (post cruise shore excursion), the options for most operators say something to the effects of "tips not included" in the cost.  Will just probably keep it very modest.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, DENIE said:

Based on advice from my initial question, we will observe the local customs.  On tours we are looking at in Rome (post cruise shore excursion), the options for most operators say something to the effects of "tips not included" in the cost. 

 

Please keep in mind that when you are on a tour conducted in English and/or designed for cruise passengers you're not going to be exposed to local customs.  The folks who put these tours together know how to pander to ingoing assumptions, like the oft-quoted example on these pages of an American owned tour operator who mentions tips on their web page for a company that is made to appear Italian, but is not. 

Edited by euro cruiser

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Posted (edited)
On 6/27/2019 at 12:09 AM, DENIE said:

It is interesting to note that we booked most of our cruise tours on Tours by Locals, and I don't recall anything about "suggested tipping".  Based on advice from my initial question, we will observe the local customs.  On tours we are looking at in Rome (post cruise shore excursion), the options for most operators say something to the effects of "tips not included" in the cost.  Will just probably keep it very modest.

Just fyi, from the Tours by Locals website:  (We have used them before and are using them for several tours on our upcoming Med cruise.)

 

4.  Do my clients need to tip the guide?
Your clients DO NOT need to tip their guide.

Regardless of what is posted on the tour page, your clients should not feel obligated to tip our guide-partners. All of the guides are contractors; therefore, they are responsible for setting an appropriate price that adequately compensates not only themselves, but their partners as well (i.e. drivers).

All of our guide-partners are aware of this policy.

ToursByLocals is committed to changing the relationship between the traveler and the tour provider and we believe that your clients do not need to tip professionals.

Edited by LMADAMS91
additional

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1 minute ago, LMADAMS91 said:

Just fyi, from the Tours by Locals website:

4.  Do my clients need to tip the guide?
Your clients DO NOT need to tip their guide.

Regardless of what is posted on the tour page, your clients should not feel obligated to tip our guide-partners. All of the guides are contractors; therefore, they are responsible for setting an appropriate price that adequately compensates not only themselves, but their partners as well (i.e. drivers).

All of our guide-partners are aware of this policy.

ToursByLocals is committed to changing the relationship between the traveler and the tour provider and we believe that your clients do not need to tip professionals.

LMADAMS91...Yes, we did see that, so plan to abide by that on those particular tours. 

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As an American who in the US normally tips 20% for decent service and more for exceptional service, I learned long ago that in Europe, I should simply round up the tab and not tip beyond that.   That pretty much limits my "tip" to under 5 euros, which should not destroy European cultures of thousands of years.

 

But I have also sometimes treated guides to lunch or snacks, making a polite offer but not pressing (because they often have personal stuff to attend to or simply because they want a break from work -- lunch time is their personal time, and is not work time -- making nice to the tourists is work, and it does not offend me to recognize this!!)

 

It seems pretty simple to me.  Let the local customs prevail!

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22 hours ago, Mike45LC said:

It seems pretty simple to me.  Let the local customs prevail!

 

Mike45LC - Yep!  This has been a very educational thread for me.  Looking forward to our November Mediterranean cruise!

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Important to remember that everyone remains free and able to make their own choices when they travel and we need to try to continue to have an open, understanding conversation if we hope to encourage each other to be receptive to one another's ideas and thoughts, especially when it comes to one's own culture and traditions. 

 

I don't have to agree with someone's point of view or choices but I must always be respectful and kind if or when I decide to make a direct or indirect comment about their choice. Ideal to avoid these comments and stick to the topic in general if possible...sometimes it isn't. And communicating in black and white can often get...misunderstood, especially on a often-debated topic.

 

If only it were as easily settled as right/left side of the road driving. You must comply or it goes horribly wrong, there is no option. Why doesn't the tipping thing fit into the same type of international, geopolitical category when we cross borders and the rules change? I digress....

 

Anyway, let's always aim to stay cordial despite any 🙄 reactions we might feel, better thought and not written.

It is what it is. 😉

 

 

 

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I would assume that the tipping practices we would use on a ship cruising the Med would be the same as when the same ship was cruising the Caribbean?  On our last cruise in the Caribbean, we tipped the Butler and Concierge well, as they are not part of the DSC that most of the other workers are.  We also tipped a few people that provided what we felt was extraordinary service, even though they were part of the DSC or beverage/dining package tip pools (i.e, room steward, bartender, private restaurant hostess).  We are cruising the same exact ship in the Med next year.  Even though it is now cruising in Europe vs the western hemisphere, would you still tip the same on the ship?

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1 hour ago, GA Dave said:

Even though it is now cruising in Europe vs the western hemisphere, would you still tip the same on the ship?

 

The cruise lines are not at all shy about telling you what they expect in terms of tipping, but to answer your question no, they don't change procedures or policies based on where they are sailing.  It's the same crew, same expectations regardless of where you are in the world.

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3 hours ago, euro cruiser said:

 

The cruise lines are not at all shy about telling you what they expect in terms of tipping, but to answer your question no, they don't change procedures or policies based on where they are sailing.  It's the same crew, same expectations regardless of where you are in the world.

Not actually true, no DSC on most lines sailing Australia

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They may not call it out but it's in there, the pricing strategy may be different for cruises sold to Australians sailing locally but the cruise line is not accepting lower margins.  For Western audiences the service charge is broken out in order to market a lower price point, Australian purchasers simply pay a higher fare.

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6 hours ago, euro cruiser said:

They may not call it out but it's in there, the pricing strategy may be different for cruises sold to Australians sailing locally but the cruise line is not accepting lower margins.  For Western audiences the service charge is broken out in order to market a lower price point, Australian purchasers simply pay a higher fare.

Maybe, but there is still no DSC, so the blanket statement it’s the same expectations everywhere is just not right.

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Point taken, but for an American passenger who purchased their fare from the States (the questioner) it is the same.

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There is no question that those of us from North America come from a culture of tipping.  And, our tipping culture/standards are out of line with just about the entire world (outside of North America).  Exporting our culture to Europe or Asia might make us feel good, but it is often resented by the very folks we reward.  In the minds of many folks outside our own society,  our habit of big tips is often resented, seen as patronizing, or just a way of being boastful (i.e. I am an American and rich).  

 

When I was a young man and living in Japan (Air Force) I learned (from good Japanese friends) that the best road was to learn about the local/regional culture and accept it!  Trying to push my own culture on others was part of what they used to call the "Ugly American complex."  or  "This is what we do and it must be right."    Just saying.

 

As to what we do onboard, we go with the flow :).  Cruise ships/lines have spun off their own culture.  In some cases (such as Princess in Australia) the cruise lines had to alter their own culture to fit into national mores.  But that has not happened in Europe (at least with the US based lines) where things continue just like they are in the Caribbean.

 

Hank

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On 8/17/2019 at 6:43 PM, Hlitner said:

When I was a young man and living in Japan (Air Force) I learned (from good Japanese friends) that the best road was to learn about the local/regional culture and accept it!  Trying to push my own culture on others was part of what they used to call the "Ugly American complex."  or  "This is what we do and it must be right."    Just saying.

 

I think this, more than anything, gets to the heart of what the ongoing tipping debate is centered on. It's not about the cruise culture, insofar as the company or what the individual pricing practices are (services included in pricing, broken out, base pricing) because they are in the business of selling cruises more than anything else. It's dollars/euro/pounds/yen/rupee fill in the blank, profit and loss, that the marketing department and executives worry day and night about. Not cultural practices. Do they want you to have an unforgettable experience? Yes. Why? Profit and loss.

 

As Hank, and many of us have posted, it's up to us to determine what kind of experience we will have on our journeys. We decide what to see, where to eat, what to wear, where to do about the money. We also control our own feelings, especially about money but those are among the most difficult to manage!! I think what becomes equally challenging is that we cannot  control or change anyone else's feelings about money. I think this could be, if we think about it, why the tipping question can become so contentious beyond the do you/don't you. Or as cruisemom42 said a few posts back, it goes off the rails.

 

Emotions and money rarely blend well. "I'll tip if I want to!!!" Well, yes of course, and no one is here to say otherwise. I think what ends up going off the rails (aside from personal tiffs, which never happens here 😉 ) people are saying it's just not done, or it's not right, or they don't expect it well: now, not only is one left wondering with an unanswered question of, do I tip or not (and how much/or not) but if they don't tip, is it wrong. And that is connected to a feeling connected to money. Next comes everyone piling on here with our two bits, again, no control over everyone's often strong feelings on this subject, connected to a very sensitive topic, money. 

 

It's things people go to great lengths to avoid talking about with almost everyone except maybe their banker, lawyer, accountant (or their pets). I did two out of three of these jobs - it was NOT easy because people would tell you things they told no one and I didn't really want to know. No, not a lawyer...no offense! 🤣 But here we are, it's just tipping, but it's money and there tend to be feelings directly related to it: happy, stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, angry...anything goes. Tips are money. You see why I ramble. Or not. It's ok.

 

It's why we have TOS - well, spam/ads etc but also, emotions pop in when we least expect it, we're human. Locals are indeed great source - probably THE SOURCE for what to do in-country. Guides, online/books, HERE!, etc are next, good ones always have the run down on the do's/don'ts. Intuition can be good, and then yes, of course, ultimately what makes YOU feel good. Ideally, you honor the culture/people wherever you are but, we all need to live everyday with ourselves. No sense going against something that doesn't feel right, especially on a vacation.  

 

But...things don't change if things don't change. It's OK if that happens verrrrry slow. So also, maybe before you offer advice on tipping, think..."how would I feel if I'm asking the question and read this reply?" (Be honest 😉 ) 

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Posted (edited)

Just verifying - does the "no tipping" policy also apply to hotel maids?  Or hotel concierage?  Is tipping EVER expected - if so, under what circumstances?

 

And a slightly different question -- our prepaid hotel confirmation in Rome mentioned an 8 Euro tax per night that will be collected during our stay as an add-on.  Can this tax be paid by credit card?  Does it count as a VAT tax if planning to apply for a refund? 

Edited by Truluv

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47 minutes ago, Truluv said:

Just verifying - does the "no tipping" policy also apply to hotel maids?  Or hotel concierage?  Is tipping EVER expected - if so, under what circumstances?

 

And a slightly different question -- our prepaid hotel confirmation in Rome mentioned an 8 Euro tax per night that will be collected during our stay as an add-on.  Can this tax be paid by credit card?  Does it count as a VAT tax if planning to apply for a refund? 

Hello, typically you don't tip maids or cleaning staff in Europe.

 

I have never tipped a concierge in Europe, but I have only ever used them to call a taxi for me or asking for information about local attractions. I would class this as being part of their job description. I don't know what would be classed above and beyond or how much to tip.

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1 hour ago, Truluv said:

And a slightly different question -- our prepaid hotel confirmation in Rome mentioned an 8 Euro tax per night that will be collected during our stay as an add-on.  Can this tax be paid by credit card?  Does it count as a VAT tax if planning to apply for a refund? 

 

This is a city tax -- the amount charged varies depending on what level of hotel you are staying in. It's rather like large cities in the US add extra taxes to hotel rooms. It is not considered a VAT tax.

 

As to the credit card question, that seems to vary. When it was first introduced, my first few stays I was told I had to pay that amount separately from my bill in cash. Since then, the hotels I've stayed in (I'm usually in Rome once a year on average) have been happy to add it in to my final bill and let me pay the total with a credit card. 

 

If it's something you're concerned about, a quick email to your hotel would probably get you the specific answer.

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