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GypsyCouple

Prepaid Gratuities but Feeling Weird About It...

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Hi Everyone,

we are currently enjoying a fabulous trip onboard the Solstice. It has been a dream vacation. As it comes to a close, I’m becoming concerned about tipping the amazing staff members that have contributed to our trip. We have 3 rooms for our family of 5 and my husband and I are in a suite. I paid for prepaid gratuities. This is our first cruise and I assumed that by prepaying the gratuities, I wouldn’t even have to think about it onboard. However, now that the cruise is ending, I’m feeling weird about it. I want to make sure that our butler, concierge and room steward are tipped appropriately for their fantastic service. Are they aware that we’ve prepaid the gratuities? Is it generally expected that we will tip cash in addition to the prepaid gratuities? If so, how much additional is customary?

 

I will need to hit up an ATM at our last port if this is necessary. I guess I just want to make sure the concierge, butler and room steward know that we appreciated their outstanding service and I don’t want them to be disappointed if we don’t tip them additional simply because we thought the prepaid gratuity would cover everything. Hoping you more experienced cruisers have some insight.

Thank you!

Heather 

 

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Extra tips are always appreciated for outstanding service. No one can really tell you what to do, let your conscience be your guide.

Also, be certain to mention the names of people you want to recognize on the Guest Questionnaire, it is really, really important!. 

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Posted (edited)

Yes they are aware.

extra gratuities are not expected but are always appreciated

the concierge is NOT included in the prepaid gratuities

 

also appreciated are special mention of those who have gone over and above.....leave a note at Guest Relations and they can receive bonus pay and extra time off.....those commments also are taken into consideration when it times for them to be considered for new positions

Edited by Alakegirl

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They will know that your tips are prepaid.  Tipping extra is a personal decision, if you feel the service was above and beyond then I say do it.  There is an ATM on the ship. You can also get a form from guest relations or the Michael's Club Concierge and designate additional tip amounts to the butler and cabin attendants.  It will go on your sea pass card. I'm not sure about the concierge, that might require cash.

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37 minutes ago, GypsyCouple said:

...I want to make sure that our butler, concierge and room steward are tipped appropriately for their fantastic service. Are they aware that we’ve prepaid the gratuities?...

 

Oh they are aware. 

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Posted (edited)

We usually  cruise in AQ class. We always tip extra and I  think most guests add or give  a little extra cash to cabin attendants, waiterstaff,  special bartenders & sommeliers.

 

You can get the list of what the daily grat is for  each of those included in the pre paid grats, Add whatever you think is appropriate.

 

 

There are many tipping threads,..some do not believe in tips or extra tips but most give something more . You may get some varied opinions here!

 

These folks work hard to please, but  If anyone has been sub par you can skip them...pre paid sufficient,

 

As mentioned above, Positive Comment cards by name do result in them receivingpg telehone calls, extra time off and  possible promotions!

Edited by hcat

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We give our cabin attendant, our waiter (we usually have the same waiter, even though in select dining), our MDR wine steward an extra $20 each....and $10 extra to the assistant waiter....all in cash.  On our last cruise, we also gave $20 to the wonderful lady at select dining who always managed to find a window table for us.  (note: I don't know or care if they pool it or keep it which is a question that always seems to come up on CC).   

 

I have no idea what others give....but at least it's a starting point for the OP.

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go with your gut many people always have tall tales about tipping

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We like having the prepaid gratuities because there's always going to be someone we forget about. If there's someone who really went above and beyond we will give them extra, and we hand them cash rather than putting it in the little form at the end.

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25 minutes ago, ghstudio said:

We give our cabin attendant, our waiter (we usually have the same waiter, even though in select dining), our MDR wine steward an extra $20 each....and $10 extra to the assistant waiter....all in cash.  On our last cruise, we also gave $20 to the wonderful lady at select dining who always managed to find a window table for us.  (note: I don't know or care if they pool it or keep it which is a question that always seems to come up on CC).   

 

I have no idea what others give....but at least it's a starting point for the OP.

Sounds about right...in BLU we also give to the maitre d and host/ hostess. Just a bit extra to say thank you!

 

We will try Select with set  a time twice in each of the  in 4 mdrs next  on EDGE, so a bit unsure what we'll do  for that!

 

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Good numbers ghstudio and hcat. It’s always tough for new cruisers to make these calls when we say ‘yes, do this’ and they don’t have a feel for specifics. 

 

To give the OP a feel of numbers, I read an article about tipping at hotels. You don’t pay gratuities there and they recommended $2-$5/day. The prepaid gratuity for your room steward and assistant is $3.59/day. So giving ~$2-3/day additional is a good number - but it such a very subjective and individual decision. Many don’t add any extra, no matter the level/quality of service and that’s fine. But since the OP felt they got extra service, I think the $20 is a nice starting point to consider. 

 

On one of our family/group Thanksgiving cruises that we had our kids and a grandchild with us. One woman who felt she was the ‘organizer’ of the group (yep, she coordinated the extra people), went to the Front Office and had them remove the gratuity charges for our 10mo old grandchild. She said, telling me after the fact, that it wasn’t ‘right’ that we paid tips for a baby. I was more than upset. She did this without asking and my personal opinon was, we owed a larger gratuity to the staff who cared for their room and dining.......I’m sure many of you fully know how messy toddlers/babies can be with all the extra cleaning up - picture a pile of cracker crumbs under her booster seat at the dining table, them bringing her food early and and all the extra ‘stuff’ (yug) in the room trash requiring more cleaning trips to the SR.  

 

So: 1 - I explained to the woman that she was Not to interfere with my account, 2 - I added the gratuity back, 3 - added cash to their room steward envelope. As I did as we do normally for our own SR. I’m a messy guy too!!

 

When the support teams go further, I recognize it, but that is my choice and decision. 

 

Den

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Just so the OP knows, Celebrity no longer has an assistant cabin attendant. There is only one attendant assigned to the cabin.

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We give $20 to the cabin attendant and butler after a few days, and about the same or a little more at the end.  More for exceptional service or when we've required something out of the ordinary.  We tip a few dollars to bartenders most evenings when we've had great service.   The sommelier in Luminae was outstanding on a cruise and we gave her $40 at the end. 

By far I agree that doing comment cards during the cruise and at the end is the best thing.  Make sure to give the complete name and spend a little time being detailed about the service and why you're recognizing them.   I have even written comments for other room stewards when I pass them day after day in the hall and they are always smiling and friendly.  I get their name and put location they work and write it all down.    On our last cruise I filled out a card on day 8 of a 15 day cruise.  The very next day the Luminae sommelier came to us and said she had gotten an extra shift off during the day because of my comments.  My butler was given some phone calls home and our room steward the same.  Those also go into their files for future promotion considerations.  It really means a lot to take the time to do this.  

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We tip the Retreat/Michaels Club Concierge if they have assisted us with issues or extras.  One cruise we never went to Michaels Club except to drop off carryon luggage on embarkation so we didn’t we didn’t tip any of the staff at Michaels/Retreat.

Other cruises  we have frequented the Retreat Lounge daily and have tipped the bartender and who made our drinks and the attendant who brought us pastries & canapés etc.  

i would say that 90% of the time we tip the cabin attendant extra, again depending upon what we have asked of them it has ranged from $25-75.

We tip the Sommelier in Luminae and give Luminae MaitreD a tip for the staff for the excellent service we always received.  Depending upon the length of the cruise, how much we have used the Butler and whether they were proactive or reactive. Our last cruise we had 2 RSs for 3 of us and combined we tipped the Butler $225.  

 

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Posted (edited)

Here's a link to a current  thread  about suite tipping

 

 

Edited by hcat

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As to feeling weird because the gratuity was pre-paid, it’s not really any different in the end than having it show up on your daily Sea pass account.  The total will be the same.

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3 hours ago, Denny01 said:

......I’m sure many of you fully know how messy toddlers/babies can be with all the extra cleaning up - picture a pile of cracker crumbs under her booster seat at the dining table, them bringing her food early and and all the extra ‘stuff’ (yug) in the room trash requiring more cleaning trips to the SR.  1 hour ago

 

So: 1 - I explained to the woman that she was Not to interfere with my account, 2 - I added the gratuity back, 3 - added cash to their room steward envelope. As I did as we do normally for our own SR. I’m a messy guy too!!

 

When the support teams go further, I recognize it, but that is my choice and decision. 

 

Den

Good for you, Den! And I totally agree -- having recently taken my almost-3-year-old DGD on a 'family cruise', on RC. My DS and family were across the hall from us, and we both had the same room steward. Although my DH and I tend to be very neat people, and require very little looking-after, we knew that the steward had gone 'above & beyond' for our DGD. Needless to say, he was well compensated for his efforts!

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GypsyCouple, I had the same experience on Solstice last March.  I “felt weird” about it, and in the end I decided I had to give extra to my suite Steward, the wait staff in Luminae and to Anna, the best concierge ever.   It was all token amounts, $25 or so, but I bought a pack of thank you cards (and a special card to Anna) and wrote out personal thanks.  And above all, fill out those comment cards, naming names.... PUT IT IN WRITING TO THE BOSSES!,  this goes way further than you know (as others have mentioned, it is true)

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Nymich said:

go with your gut many people always have tall tales about tipping

 

The OP and many others have no idea what others tip which is why the question keeps coming up...and telling them to go with their gut is not really helpful....it just sounds nice...politically and socially correct, I guess.  Not sure why everyone seems to avoid mentioning the amount of tips they give....they use phrases like "we tipped him well". What does that mean?

 

How much do you tip (in dollars) over the standard gratuities?  

Edited by ghstudio

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When we cruise, we give our cabin steward an extra $25 for a 7 day excursion.  We also give our wait staff in Tuscan Grill and Murano's $20.

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We usually leave a tip of about $20 for our cabin steward around the 2nd day of the cruise, and then a bit more at the middle and end.  We have always received superior service.  Likewise, we leave some extra dollars along the way for our favorite bartenders (Martini Bar and Rendezvous Lounge in particular).  An extra $10 or $20 is really appreciated.  It means very little to us, and makes a lot of difference to them.  They really want to please the passengers, and we love the great service in exchange!  Also - if they are not super busy, ask them something about themselves or where they are from.  We enjoy getting to know them as well!

 

Of course, we ALWAYS get their name and make specific reference on the comment cards, as well as our Cruise Critic reviews.  I will have to remember to fill out comment cards DURING the cruise and hope they get some benefits during our trip.

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There are some passengers who even try to tip officers, apparently unaware that those are management positions who do not get tipped.

 

We were chatting with one about it, and she told us when that happens, what they  do is thank the person politely and accept the tip to avoid pointing out the gaffe and hurting someone's feelings. 

But they do not keep such tips themselves, and instead just put them into the general tip fund.

                       

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Don't see the point of tipping...TWICE!   Pre paying the gratuities guarantees excellent service which is expected or so it should be.  IMO, additional tipping is counter productive.  But that's just me

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Great advice on here, thanks to everyone who has posted.

We pre pay gratuities, but always want to give extras for those who have made the holiday that extra bit special.

Fill in as many cards as we can on P&O so will make sure we do on Celebrity.

Great info that we can say 'thank you' mid cruise and that it means so much.

 

:-)

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3 hours ago, mac66 said:

Don't see the point of tipping...TWICE!   Pre paying the gratuities guarantees excellent service which is expected or so it should be.  IMO, additional tipping is counter productive.  But that's just me

 

If you think it's counterproductive, you don't understand the concept of tipping.  It's not meant to get you better service....do you tip in a restaurant before you order?   It's recognition of the job done or, at times, for the extra effort.

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