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Prepaid Gratuities


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4 hours ago, trtog7 said:

You are expected to tip on all cruises unless they are included and then you have paid them ahead of time

I fully agree and that was my point.   I clearly stated that the customs of your country of origin are immaterial to tipping on a cruise line.

 

FWIW, my wife and I employ the 'tip early, tip often, and tip a lot' when we cruise.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/29/2019 at 6:52 PM, CarelessAndConfused said:

Unless I have a lot of OBC, I would always prefer prepaying gratuities as I’d much prefer getting them out of the way.

other thank paying for it upfront, how does one get On Board Credit????

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On 5/10/2021 at 6:09 AM, BetsyInVT said:

other thank paying for it upfront, how does one get On Board Credit????

Howdy neighbor, usually OBC is given as a perk for booking, either from the cruise line during a promotion or from your TA. 

Edited by sparks1093
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15 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

Howdy neighbor, usually OBC is given as a perk for booking, either from the cruise line during a promotion or from your TA. 

thanks fellow Vermonter!   

And how do you get that cool ticker at the bottom???

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6 hours ago, BetsyInVT said:

thanks fellow Vermonter!   

And how do you get that cool ticker at the bottom???

You got it and love the catch phrase! I forgot to add that normally when the cruise line gives us OBC it's in the $25 per person range and quite often is geared toward your cabin category (so the more you spend on the cabin the more OBC you receive). Our upcoming cruise in November is the exception, we looked and booked right when cruises were still being cancelled left and right with no end in sight. The timelines for the vaccines were just being put out and I asked DW if we should book a cruise to Bermuda in the fall since we would have the vaccine by then (our cruise to Bermuda was cancelled due to COVID). We received $500 OBC for a regular balcony cabin. There is still a chance that this cruise might end up being cancelled but as each day passes it looks more promising.

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/8/2021 at 10:50 AM, trtog7 said:

You are expected to tip on all cruises unless they are included and then you have paid them ahead of time

Another perspective to offer. Most countries in the world don’t tip and if they do it is not to the level that we do in the United States. I’ve heard that some countries have even banned/discouraged tipping. So I understand the point of view of the other cruiser. We do not pay a decent wage to servers, bar tenders, etc. in the United States. Tips supplement their income. The U.S. average is about $2.13/hour, certainly not a living wage. Within the last couple of decades, servers get taxed on the perceived tips based on the cost of the meals, at least in the DC area. 

 

 I think “expected” is the key. The gratuities that we can pre-pay are automated but not mandatory. If you read the cruise line websites, there are opportunities to change the amount you pay as long as it’s done before the last day of sailing. I was on an RC transatlantic cruise from England to Ft Lauderdale and I saw a couple of passengers ask to have the gratuities completely removed from their bills. So it can be done if you wish. You can also probably argue the tips automatically added to other bills, such as the spa. It seems churlish.

 

I pre-pay because it’s easier even though I rarely participate in the dining room, etc. In addition I tip my stateroom attendants generously depending on the service. Working on a cruise ship is no joy ride, I’m just glad that someone is willing to do it. 

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6 hours ago, Emelda1967 said:

I pre-pay because it’s easier even though I rarely participate in the dining room, etc. In addition I tip my stateroom attendants generously depending on the service. Working on a cruise ship is no joy ride, I’m just glad that someone is willing to do it. 

you must eat  somewhere onboard 

The tips are for food servers/staff not just in the dining room

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On 6/13/2021 at 4:22 PM, Emelda1967 said:

Another perspective to offer. Most countries in the world don’t tip and if they do it is not to the level that we do in the United States. I’ve heard that some countries have even banned/discouraged tipping. So I understand the point of view of the other cruiser. We do not pay a decent wage to servers, bar tenders, etc. in the United States. Tips supplement their income. The U.S. average is about $2.13/hour, certainly not a living wage. Within the last couple of decades, servers get taxed on the perceived tips based on the cost of the meals, at least in the DC area. 

 

 I think “expected” is the key. The gratuities that we can pre-pay are automated but not mandatory. If you read the cruise line websites, there are opportunities to change the amount you pay as long as it’s done before the last day of sailing. I was on an RC transatlantic cruise from England to Ft Lauderdale and I saw a couple of passengers ask to have the gratuities completely removed from their bills. So it can be done if you wish. You can also probably argue the tips automatically added to other bills, such as the spa. It seems churlish.

 

I pre-pay because it’s easier even though I rarely participate in the dining room, etc. In addition I tip my stateroom attendants generously depending on the service. Working on a cruise ship is no joy ride, I’m just glad that someone is willing to do it. 

I always try to respect the customs of those places that I visit and expect other travelers to do the same, so if someone travels to a tipping culture from a non-tipping culture I would expect them to learn how to tip. And as far as waitstaff in the US you are partly right in that in many states they are made a lower hourly rate than the minimum wage (the amount of course varies by state) but the law does specify that if they do not receive enough tips to bring them up to full minimum wage then their employer is expected to make up the difference (and they receive full minimum wage for any services provided during non-service hours, such as setting up before the restaurant opens up). Working for tips isn't for everyone but the people that work for tips that I know have two main complaints- 1) people that don't tip and 2) lack of full time hours (which interestingly enough is the main complaint of many hourly employees). 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/16/2020 at 5:42 PM, trajan said:

I hate prepaid gratuities. Defeats the whole purpose imho. It’s gone from a tip to a few.
Cruise ship gratuities have become like hotel resort fees; a way to make the upfront price look lower.

I typically opt out right away and tip out of hand. If service is good I end up tipping more than the fee would have been. If it’s truly excellent I’ve tipped directly very generously and then also had the fee put back to my account. If service was poor then I hang on to my money if nobody cared to earn it. But paying it upfront or by default, no thanks.

 

I assume you know that on most cruise lines, if you opt out of the standard gratuities, then any tip you give to staff must be turned in and added to the pool.  If you pay the standard gratuities (prepay or pay at the end) they can keep any personal tip.

 

So you are defeating yourself.

 

And yes, the crew does know who has opted out of paying the gratuity and also who has pre-paid or not.

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Minimum wage is that, MINIMUM.  It is not expected to be a living wage for a single worker family.

 

It is where you start, and as you gain experience and learn and perform, you make more.

 

As for places getting upset about tipping, the only place I have run into where there was no tipping and servers would let you know that would not accept a tip was Denmark.  But then again, a light lunch (salad, starter, beer) was over $60.  

 

As others have said, the money comes from the customer no matter what.  But tipping IS an incentive to good service.

 

I traveled to Budapest in 1994.  Had a nice talk with the hotel GM at a Manager's Breakfast.  We discussed this situation.  And we had noticed the same thing he was saying.  The wait staff and housekeeping learned, smile, be nice, reply to requests and people give you money.

 

The front desk staff did not get tipped, so they would be talking, look at you waiting, and ignore you until THEY were ready to serve you.  Manager stated that he could not break through to them to do their jobs.

 

I was back at that same hotel 2 years later, and not single front desk person was Hungarian.  Too much communist/socialist indoctrination.  About 16 years later, I was back at the same hotel, but front desk staff was now Hungarian.  A new generation with a different approach to work and service.

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  • 10 months later...
On 2/11/2020 at 11:56 AM, red zebra said:

Look guys, I appreciate it is the norm stateside because your big corporations pay crap wages for service staff and you have people over there that still work for tips only so please, sort your own economy and jobs market out before imposing your values on the rest of the world.

I go back to my initial post, when you bump into a military lad or lass, a firefighter, paramedic etc, due you tip them for doing their jobs? No you don't, you expect them to do the job they are trained and paid for, but you go on holiday (for which you have worked and saved hard) and are happy to hand over a disproportionate amount of your money to people doing the job they are paid to do. How does that work?

As for @RocketMan275 if you want to tip folks when you visit Scotland, that's down to you, it is neither expected nor demanded. Over here we do our jobs to the best of our abilities, it's what we are paid for and down to personal pride and simple please and thank yous go much further than a few cents here and there.

The American culture has set a precedence, it is down to you to break it. Lead, don't be sheep.

Just curious; do the waiters/waitresses get paid better in Europe? Do the meals cost more? In US, they are lucky if they live in a state that pays minimum wage. Some states pay them like the cruise ships who are registered in countries without minimum wages; About $2 per hour. Here, firefighters and police are well paid. As a Realtor, I  see this when they can afford to buy a home.

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On 5/30/2022 at 9:38 AM, CoronaCat said:

Just curious; do the waiters/waitresses get paid better in Europe? Do the meals cost more? In US, they are lucky if they live in a state that pays minimum wage. Some states pay them like the cruise ships who are registered in countries without minimum wages; About $2 per hour. Here, firefighters and police are well paid. As a Realtor, I  see this when they can afford to buy a home.

 

I have several relatives that work in Southern Portugal and work in the hospitality industry.  Working in a restaurant is a living wage.   Your not going to live in a palace but at the same time your not living on the street.  

 

Here in British Columbia (a province in Canada) last year the distinction in minimum wage between those who work in restraints/bar with liquor licenses and all other workers was removed.  Until then they were paid less due to tipping.   So minimum wage for a restraint or stocking shelves or working cashier at a grocery store are the same.  Minimum wage in BC is $15.65, with the automatic adjustment to inflation it is will be well above $16 in the new year.  The government stats are that only 6% of the workforce make minimum wage, the other 94% are above it.

 

We have similar practices to the US of tipping.  Practices 3 years ago was to tip around 15% on pre-tax amount.  Over the last few years tip features have been added as an option on the credit card terminal and now tips are usually calculated post tax and establishments are using higher default levels, 

 

I have never worked in a restaurant but friends tell me in Canada is common for the tips to be pooled and split between the staff at the end of the day.  So your not tipping based on the specific of yours server, The whole concept is just weird.

 

Edited by em-sk
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On 2/22/2020 at 4:24 PM, em-sk said:

 

The no tipping model works in Europe and Australia.  In many parts of Asia the wait staff would view leaving them a tip and insulting.  Very different reaction.  Different countries have different customs.  I am not surprised that the restaurants in the US that have tried to charge have failed.  This method of compensation is so embedded in US culture that it is not going to be easy to change.    

 

In some restaurants the wait is expect to share his tip with the back of the house.  That and the problem with hours make it a complex problem.   I expect as the volume of delivery jumps up for many restaurants and the push in many part for a living minimum wage this entire system is going to see a lot of disruption over the coming years. 

As an American who has traveled around Europe through the years, a prix fixe is very appreciated.  I don't have to make any judgment about how much to tip, and I know EXACTLY how much my meal will cost as soon as I read the menu.  I wish it were a practice in the U.S.  I apologize for any stupid remarks made by "Ugly Americans".  The world doesn't exist just between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  I love America, but acknowledge that it doesn't always do everything correctly (electing Trump and these republican "deniers" and closet racists?).  We could learn a lot from Europe, and they could learn a thing or two from us.

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  • 8 months later...

Catching this thread years after its birth...such interesting information here. I especially appreciate the perspectives about living and conditions outside of North America. Indeed, we can learn a thing or two from humans elsewhere and they from us.

Decades ago, on our first cruise on HAL, there was no obligation to tip. The service was so outstanding though, that we just HAD to tip. Because I read up pages and pages on CC before my cruise, I went prepared with envelopes and cash for different staff members. It came up to about the same or a bit more than what was suggested as "appropriate amounts" back then.

These days, we pay the suggested gratuities at the end of our cruise and not months before due to advance booking. We like the freedom of still having our $$$ to do what we wish to whilst waiting for our vacation. 😉

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  • 1 month later...

If you book a European cruise line like MSC or AIDA the gratuities are included in the advertised price. No surprise $500 a week additional cabin expense. If you have a problem. You get a refund. 

 

It is European law to pay humans a minimum wage and LAW to advertise the final price of goods or services. 

 

Booking American cruise lines through European travel agents will frequently include the price of the gratuities, especially in Germany. Top tip for Americans and for people who do not like tipping culture. 

 

 

In general Europeans find it shameful and low class to expect guests to pay for staff wages directly. 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/11/2020 at 1:23 PM, red zebra said:

Curiously the two American guys I work with (California & Wisconsin) disagree with your premise and are glad to be out of it.

No, workers in Scotland would not appreciate your system (i'm one of them remember) it is demeaning and akin to a dancing bear. If chucking someone a couple of extra bills from your over extended wallet makes you feel good, so be it. You keep your system thanks, we are just fine here.

As a former Californian that bartended for 12 years, I thoroughly enjoyed working in a tipping environment and providing the highest quality experiences that I could, knowing that (in all likelihood) the harder and better I worked, the more I would make.

 

As someone who enjoys tipping for a job well done and rewarding those who go above and beyond from my adequately extended wallet, I'll continue to, thank you very much. What a terribly bitter and thin-skinned approach you have.

 

I certainly don't think tipping should be made to be mandatory, as it certainly is being used as a tool to outsource wages, but the lack of understanding that you're going to end up paying for it in one way or another is breathtakingly naive, and it often seems to be the ones who are content to shop in the absolute bargain bin basement of rock bottom prices/big box stores that immediately resort to this type of complaint with the loudest cries about other people's wages, while undoubtedly shopping for the lowest possible price, everything else (including those precious workers you care about so much!) be damned.

 

But please, do go on about us not imposing our values on you while you do exactly the same to us.

Edited by Kninkovich
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