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lenquixote66

Tips to the Wait staff

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, erdoran said:

SantaFeFan, totally different final outcome.  My solution shows cruise lines CARING that the crew gets a decent wage because now it’s not going to go below the “base plus DSC” figure because the DSC will always be included—because it’s part of the fare.  And honestly, I think the fact that it’s positioned now as “discretionary” but people get gang-flamed if they DARE question it, or want to tip as they are accustomed to - directly- leads to negativity and takes away from the total cruise experience.

 

It is identified as "discretionary" due to legal accounting rules. It is a result of tax laws and how the cruise lines report actual income. This may be a bit shady on the cruise line's part, bit that is their business, not mine. Since I would have to pay the same amount in higher fare, it makes no difference to me how it is paid. It is the same amount of money paid at the end of the cruise.

 

If you don't want to get "flamed" or feel your total cruise experience has been negatively affected, then quit complaining and gracisoulsy go along with the system. I don't complain or fight it and that hasn't ruined a single cruise I have been on. 

 

Quote

 

 Plus, at least on NCL, it’s known that crew get a “base” salary that is partially funded by DSC - so if no one pays DSC, crew at least get base, funded by NCL.  If some, but not enough, people pay DSC then crew STILL gets base.  Payroll is the employer’s responsibility, at least to whatever the agreed-upon base pay, and DSC/tips/service charges/gratuities really should be ADDED to base-every penny of that should be, not some unknown percentage.  For me and the direct tippers, that’s another big issue.  Why am I contributing to base pay for a tipped position?  My tips should go directly to crew, NOT to NCL to offset their payroll.

 

Maritime law stipulates that all persons working on ships be paid a base salary set by the maritime organization responsible for those decisions (sorry, I do not remember the name of that organization). All cruise lines pay this base salary, as does any ship company. Thus that base fare is guaranteed. The crews know it, and agree to it when signing their contracts. They know the minimum they will make. 

 

However, they are expecting to make much more than that minimum because of the tipping systems in place on many cruise lines, and from the higher minimum salary they receive on lines that do not have a tipping system. Whether from tips by people adhering to the tip system in place, or from a higher salary when no tip system is in place, the crew is expecting a certain amount of income - well above the base salary guarantee.

 

Either way, the passengers are paying their full salary. If the cruise line does not have a tip system, the salary is paid from the higher fare the passenger pays. If there is a tip system in place, the passenger will still pay that part of their salary in the form of the auto tips. The final outcome for passengers is the same in regards to how much the cruise will cost. The financial burden of the passenger is not changed. 

 

An argument for maintaining the tipping system seen on many cruise lines has to do with how the crew is taxed in their own countries on income. It also has to do with how the employment agency the crew finds work through is paid in commissions. Many countries tax salary income but not tip income. In those countries the crew are allowed to keep all of their tip income without taking a portion of that income to pay taxes on it. So in those countries, the crew get to keep more of their income, which obviously benefits them. Employment agencies often get a commission on the base salary but not on tip income. Again, in those cases, the crew keep more of their total income. 

 

In the end, the crew takes home more income with the tip system because in many countries they do not have to take a portion of those tips to pay taxes and commissions. And that is an important benefit for them.

 

Quote

My other issue with DSC is that it comes across as a “sneaky” charge, kinda like a hotel resort fee.  It’s NOT advertised as part of the cruise fare, it doesn’t show up when booking (although I will say “prepay DSC” is an improvement, there was a time that wasn’t visible).  When you book directly by calling a TA it may not be disclosed at all until, at the earliest, final payment-and if it’s a deal-breaker, chances are by that time you’ve made other arrangements - airfare, time off work, etc.  There are a lot of “shoulds” here about how everyone “should know” about the DSC and “should” do research, but not everyone does things that way, so right or wrong, this type of thing does happen.  Since DSC is such a big deal and so important, why not make it visible/disclosed before booking?

 

If the advertised fare INCLUDED DSC, if travel agents were shown those fares on their screens, and it was no longer discretionary, that would solve a LOT of problems, don’t you think?  

 

Any responsible purchaser of an expensive product would do a review of the product costs and conditions before purchase. Anyone who is surprised by additional costs of gratuities has not done adequate research. The information is available, and not kept secret. All a person has to do is be smart about their purchase. If you aren't aware of all additional expenses associated with a cruise, you have only yourself to blame. 

 

Bottom line - it makes zero difference to many of us how their total salary is paid because we understand that they deserve their pay in whatever form it is paid in and we don't try to weasel out of paying it or complain about it. Which what decent people do. 

 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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This is why when I visit the US most of my meals come from a supermarket or as take away. Tipping to me is so confusing😅. I have either under tipped, over tipped and I have no doubt somewhere I missed tips simply out of ignorance😰. If servers have long memories then some will absolutely hate me (most likely the majority😜) and some probably think I'm super generous😕.

 

I do wonder though since the onboard gratuities are shared between all the staff what is the best thing to do if you do have bad service?

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20 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

This is why when I visit the US most of my meals come from a supermarket or as take away. Tipping to me is so confusing😅. I have either under tipped, over tipped and I have no doubt somewhere I missed tips simply out of ignorance😰. If servers have long memories then some will absolutely hate me (most likely the majority😜) and some probably think I'm super generous😕.

 

I do wonder though since the onboard gratuities are shared between all the staff what is the best thing to do if you do have bad service?

either let that person or their supervisor know. 

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If tipping is "confusing", then just pay the "suggested" gratuities and be done with it. The best thing to do if you have bad service is to advise management and explain without exaggeration the details in your evaluation. But remember anyone can have a bad day and you are unaware of the total picture happening behind the scenes. Only once in 80+ cruises has a situation been grievous enough to rise to the level of consulting the hotel director.

 

I really do not comprehend the obsessing on cruise critic over crew compensation. They are working very hard for a living, so just go with the flow and pay the gratuities. You are not the inspector general of cruise employee compensation.

 

 

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We've never increased or decreased the "auto tip", but we have given a few $$$ cash to a few of the wait staff who had done something for us that we thought was above and beyond the "standard".

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Santa Fe Fan, that makes sense I guess...I’m all for minimizing taxes on crew (and everyone else!!). Just took me a while to get my mind around the fact that even though it’s called a “gratuity” it kinda isn’t, it’s more a part of the cruise price.  I’m an advocate of clear and transparent pricing without layers of complexity, and something that is “discretionary” (aka optional) being truly optional.  Not the way the game is played, and you’re right - no matter what it is called, if the amount on my credit card is identical then whatever....

 

And to be clear, not objecting to crew getting decent pay and I’ve always paid DSC and tipped in addition for exceptional service.  Not trying to weasel out or make excuses at all, just going with my set of values, which are evidently archaic and outdated.

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3 hours ago, ilikeanswers said:

This is why when I visit the US most of my meals come from a supermarket or as take away. Tipping to me is so confusing😅. I have either under tipped, over tipped and I have no doubt somewhere I missed tips simply out of ignorance😰. If servers have long memories then some will absolutely hate me (most likely the majority😜) and some probably think I'm super generous😕.

 

I do wonder though since the onboard gratuities are shared between all the staff what is the best thing to do if you do have bad service?

 

Americans are regularly excoriated for not knowing and observing the cultural differences when going to other countries.  Including those cultures on tipping.  Responsible American travelers inform themselves and act accordingly.

It would be nice if people in other countries would be held to the same standard when they are in America and on mass market cruiselines (which each have a completely different tipping cultures).  

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On 8/17/2019 at 1:18 AM, ldubs said:

 

Well, I was exaggerating saying it was a third, but there were lots of empty chairs by folks who wanted to avoid passing out the envelopes.   Others who remember those days can confirm.   

Ahhh I remember these days and you’re not exaggerating. I’d even put the number higher. They were the days before Specialty dining venues and MTD. So the MDR was full every night except the last night. On one cruise DH & I ran into our table mates (who had not shown up for dinner with white envelope) we asked why they were not there. They said because they had put their luggage out so had nothing nice to wear. These were also the days when suggested dress codes were adhered to. 

 

We personally love the pre-paid gratuities. We also often tip waiters, room stewards & bartenders in cash extra when they’ve impress us with exceptional service. I’d love to know if they get to pocket those extra tips or are they required to throw in the kitty. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kidless said:

We personally love the pre-paid gratuities. We also often tip waiters, room stewards & bartenders in cash extra when they’ve impress us with exceptional service. I’d love to know if they get to pocket those extra tips or are they required to throw in the kitty. 

 

According to cruise industry insiders who occasionally post on these boards, the additional cash tips over and above the auto gratuities have to be turned into accounting and are only deposited in full into the recipient's account after passenger accounts have been reconciled. It has to be after the cruise is over because some people wait to remove auto gratuities on the last day for fear of receiving poor service if the staff becomes aware that tips have been removed while the cruise is still ongoing. Only after the passenger accounts have been closed will it be known if the auto gratuities have been removed or not. 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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40 minutes ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

..... are only deposited in full into the recipient's account after passenger accounts have been reconciled. It has to be after the cruise is over because some people wait to remove auto gratuities on the last day for fear of receiving poor service if the staff becomes aware that tips have been removed while the cruise is still ongoing. Only after the passenger accounts have been closed will it be known if the auto gratuities have been removed or not. 

So if we give bartender at the pool bar a $50 he has to turn it over to RCI until they make sure I didn’t remove auto tips? 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm from the UK. I pay the autotips, nothing else.  Why should I pay more?

Edited by wowzz

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7 minutes ago, kidless said:

So if we give bartender at the pool bar a $50 he has to turn it over to RCI until they make sure I didn’t remove auto tips? 

 

 

You tip the pool bartender $50!! They must really love you. But bartenders aren't included in the daily autogratuities.  Their regular tips come from the grats that are included in each drink (or drink package). 

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1 minute ago, wowzz said:

I'm from the UK. I pay the autotips, nothing else.  Why should I pay more?

No one said you had to.

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18 minutes ago, mom says said:

Their regular tips come from the grats that are included in each drink (or drink package). 

How much or what % is that?

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12 minutes ago, mom says said:

You tip the pool bartender $50!! They must really love you. But bartenders aren't included in the daily autogratuities.  Their regular tips come from the grats that are included in each drink (or drink package). 

Just an example. 😆

 

Whether it’s a bartender, our waiter or cabin steward if I hand them an additional tip outside of whatever we prepay or what’s been added to a package I expect it stays in their pocket. I’d be very upset to hear RCI put their grubby hands on it! JMHO

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18 minutes ago, mom says said:

No one said you had to.

Agreed, but all the US posters seem to be trying to outdo themselves by saying how much they tip their waiter, barman, steward etc. For goodness sake - why tip twice? 

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12 minutes ago, wowzz said:

Agreed, but all the US posters seem to be trying to outdo themselves by saying how much they tip their waiter, barman, steward etc. For goodness sake - why tip twice? 

 

In appreciation for exemplary service, in anticipation of preferential treatment, in return for requests beyond what are typically asked by other passengers, to say thanks for going beyond efficient but desultory service.  Everyone gets their food and drink delivered but a quality server can raise a meal beyond the simple consumption of nourishment to a memorable dining experience. 

 

Perhaps your views are culturally influenced.  It is quite well established that UK residents are notoriously poor tippers which is why most restaurants there apply a service charge to meals.   It is also why in the UK even modest gratuities can have a positive effect on service.  

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, kidless said:

Just an example. 😆

 

Whether it’s a bartender, our waiter or cabin steward if I hand them an additional tip outside of whatever we prepay or what’s been added to a package I expect it stays in their pocket. I’d be very upset to hear RCI put their grubby hands on it! JMHO

 

RCI does not get their "grubby hands" on it. They hold it until accounting is done to determine if the tip is extra or in lieu of auto gratuities that were removed. Then it will be distributed either to the person you gave it to or divided among the tip pool as dictated by the employment contracts.

 

And this only applies to the wait and cabin staff, who are part of the tip pool, and not the bartenders, who aren't. If a waiter or cabin steward hides a cash tip given to them, they are cheating their work colleagues and risk being disciplined or fired for breaking the contract they signed. If fired, they have to pay for their own way home, further adding to the financial loss that cheating has created, and will be black balled, making it much more difficult to find future work. It just is not worth taking such a risk for a few dollars.  

 

And why do you even sail on a cruise line that you have such a low regard for that you think they have "grubby hands"? It amazes me that people would do business with a company they have no respect for. 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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1 minute ago, SantaFeFan said:

bartender

I read a CC piece that said that generally speaking bartenders have an auto-gratuity of 15% which I think is plenty.

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12 hours ago, erdoran said:

If the advertised fare INCLUDED DSC, if travel agents were shown those fares on their screens, and it was no longer discretionary, that would solve a LOT of problems, don’t you think?  

Those "LOT of problems" are imaginary.  Just pay the service charge and those problems go away.

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9 hours ago, Shorex said:

I really do not comprehend the obsessing on cruise critic over crew compensation. They are working very hard for a living, so just go with the flow and pay the gratuities. You are not the inspector general of cruise employee compensation.

 

I guess cruisers want to know that when they pay their fare it is going to the right place. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to understand how your money is distributed. Whenever I travel I try to spend in a way that I hope will give the most positive benefit to a community.

 

7 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Americans are regularly excoriated for not knowing and observing the cultural differences when going to other countries.  Including those cultures on tipping.  Responsible American travelers inform themselves and act accordingly.

It would be nice if people in other countries would be held to the same standard when they are in America and on mass market cruiselines (which each have a completely different tipping cultures).  

 

I have researched the hell out of tipping in the US but it seems the rules are just never consistent and even after all my research it seems there are things people forget to mention like my most recent example that you tip at buffets. No where in my research did this ever come up, they always talk about tipping servers but no one serves you at a buffet so I assumed it was tip free and when I was paying the bill I was informed I that I was suppose to tip. If I wasn't told I would not have known (they must have realised I was a foreigner from my accent) so in the end I just find it easier to avoid situations where I have to tip because clearly I just can't seem to get the rules right. It is probably why the Caribbean cruises do the whole auto gratuity thing because I can't imagine I am the only one who is confused about how much to tip to who. It is better someone else handle the distribution of tipping because I would get it all wrong

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18 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

I guess cruisers want to know that when they pay their fare it is going to the right place. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to understand how your money is distributed. Whenever I travel I try to spend in a way that I hope will give the most positive benefit to a community.

 

 

I have researched the hell out of tipping in the US but it seems the rules are just never consistent and even after all my research it seems there are things people forget to mention like my most recent example that you tip at buffets. No where in my research did this ever come up, they always talk about tipping servers but no one serves you at a buffet so I assumed it was tip free and when I was paying the bill I was informed I that I was suppose to tip. If I wasn't told I would not have known (they must have realised I was a foreigner from my accent) so in the end I just find it easier to avoid situations where I have to tip because clearly I just can't seem to get the rules right. It is probably why the Caribbean cruises do the whole auto gratuity thing because I can't imagine I am the only one who is confused about how much to tip to who. It is better someone else handle the distribution of tipping because I would get it all wrong

Hopefully I can reassure you 🙂  Let's separate cruises from land travel, okay?  Over the last not so many years, tipping has gone from 15% to 18% and now 20%.  This is because people in this industry don't make a livable wage.  I won't get into the rationale and arguments around this subject.  But trust me, many servers make $2/hr.

 

As far as cruise tipping goes, I honestly don't know.  But I'm going to stick with the "auto-gratuities."  If someone is really above and beyond then maybe a few dollars more?  I don't know.  But here's my two cents 🙂

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ilikeanswers said:

I guess cruisers want to know that when they pay their fare it is going to the right place. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to understand how your money is distributed. Whenever I travel I try to spend in a way that I hope will give the most positive benefit to a community.

 

Do you also obsess with how the cruise fare you are paying is distributed or how the taxes, fees and port expenses you pay are distributed? I'll bet not. Your comment is just another example of anti-tipping attitudes, with people complaining that they don't like it rather than accepting that things aren't always done the way it is back home. 

 

Quote

I have researched the hell out of tipping in the US but it seems the rules are just never consistent and even after all my research it seems there are things people forget to mention like my most recent example that you tip at buffets.

 

I travel the US regularly and I never have any issues with tipping. It might be because I am used to this system. But it is most likely because it actually isn't as complicated as some people insist on making it. It is pretty standard everywhere I go. Perhaps it is because I am not fighting it at every turn by looking for ways to get out of it, and then complaining about it if I can't. 

 

Quote

No where in my research did this ever come up, they always talk about tipping servers but no one serves you at a buffet so I assumed it was tip free and when I was paying the bill I was informed I that I was suppose to tip. If I wasn't told I would not have known (they must have realised I was a foreigner from my accent) so in the end I just find it easier to avoid situations where I have to tip because clearly I just can't seem to get the rules right. It is probably why the Caribbean cruises do the whole auto gratuity thing because I can't imagine I am the only one who is confused about how much to tip to who. It is better someone else handle the distribution of tipping because I would get it all wrong

 

As for buffets, if someone brings you a beverage or other items, then you are being served by a server. So yes, a tip would be a nice gesture. Someone is actually serving you personally to enhance your meal experience, so a small show of appreciation for their helpfulness is certainly appropriate.

 

If the buffet is entirely self service, with the staff only replenishing the items at the counters and not bringing items to you at your table, then a tip is not needed. The key is whether you are being served at your table by someone or not.

 

It really isn't rocket science. Certainly not nearly as difficult as having to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road when visiting your country. 😉 😁

Edited by sloopsailor

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7 minutes ago, sloopsailor said:

 

Do you also obsess with how the cruise fare you are paying is distributed or how the taxes, fees and port expenses you pay are distributed? I'll bet not. Your comment is just another example of anti-tipping attitudes, with people complaining that they don't like it rather than accepting that things aren't always done the way it is back home.

 

I think you have misunderstood my comment as I was actually refering to the cruise fare. And yes I do wonder where it goes, as I wonder when I pay for a tour where it goes or things like resort taxes or even all the taxes you get with an airfare. I am always wondering where my money is going and personally I think it is good to be informed about what happens to your money, then you can make informed decisions about how you want to spent your money. Transperancy isn't a bad thing.

7 minutes ago, sloopsailor said:

If the buffet is entirely self service, with the staff only replenishing the items at the counters and not bringing items to you at your table, then a tip is not needed. The key is whether you are being served at your table by someone or not.

 

See that is the assumption I was working with. Because no one had brought anything to my table and the whole thing was self service I thought must be no tip but the cashier infomed you indeed tip 20%. So the rules are obviously not consistant. And I know people talk about 20% but when you leave a tip for a hotel cleaner are you suppose to leave 20% of your nightly rate? And why do they say 10% -20% for a taxi? Is 10% for bad and 20% good? or is 10% the standard? When you tip for luggage handling when is it $1 a piece and when is it $2? Or should it be 20% of the cost of a transfer or could I just grab my luggage myself so I have one less mathematical caculation to work out at the airport😂. Tipping must keep American minds sharp having to constantly work out the percentage of everything. My brain is so lazy I need a calculator for everything (thank goodness for the phone😋)

14 minutes ago, sloopsailor said:

It really isn't rocket science. Certainly not nearly as difficult as having to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road in your country. 😉 😁

 

Driving on the other side of the road is easy for me compared to tipping😜. Even in the USVI I had no problems with driving. But then I have tens of thousands of kms of driving experience around the world to give me the confidence compared to tipping which I only freak out at when in USA or Canada (most of my travelling has been around Europe). Maybe if I visit that part of the world more often I will gain the confidence but for now the public shaming that comes from getting it wrong is something that will leave me panicking when it is time to pay.

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Why do servers try to serve you at the buffets?

 

There are tea and coffee machines and all the food is easily viewable and accessible.

 

Someone came along with a tea trolley on edge and asked us if we wanted coffee??????

 

We already had some and the machine was just a few feet from where we were sat.

 

There was no need for a server at breakfast like this. Unless they were serving the disabled or extremely lazy folk.

 

So tipping at breakfast was never gonna happen. NEVER.

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