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Last cruise was short for us.  5 days.  Never ate in MDR or Windjammer or any venue except Chops (only specialty on ship) and room service.  Tipped waiter at chops and room service delivery person.  Gave extra to steward.

 


Should I have removed auto grats?  I did leave the auto grats on, but since I never ate in any venue  except chops and tipped in Chops, I kind of thought about removing them and tipping steward more.  Seems I was tipping people that did not serve me?

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9 hours ago, brillohead said:

 

So, you are also clearing your own dishes in the buffet?  Wiping down the table/chairs?  Snarling at all the waiters so they don't offer to refill your beverage or offer you a dish of ice cream?  

You live in an entirely self-contained bubble in the Windjammer?  Interesting.  I learn all kinds of things here....

Cleaning the dining area is something I consider to be included in my cruise fare, and NO I have never been offered drinks or ice cream in the Windjammer.

Some instances call for a gratuity, a buffet is not one of them; in my opinion.

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11 hours ago, Bradison said:

There seems to be a lot of folks confused as to what the purpose of a "Tip" is.  The acronym was originally To Insure Prompt Service. 

That's actually a myth.  The word "tip" pre-dates the use of acronyms.

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10 hours ago, brillohead said:

 

So, you are also clearing your own dishes in the buffet?  Wiping down the table/chairs?  Snarling at all the waiters so they don't offer to refill your beverage or offer you a dish of ice cream?  

You live in an entirely self-contained bubble in the Windjammer?  Interesting.  I learn all kinds of things here....

 

I learned here on CC that the servers in WJ, Sorrento's, Park Cafe, etc are covered under the shared tipping pool. So that's got them covered, in addition to their base salary. I've seen my MDR waiter work the WJ at breakfast & lunch so I know they have already been rewarded handsomely. (I auto tip and then extra unless they are truly horrible).

 

The big question is: are cash tips that are handed to the MDR staff turned over to the shared tipping pool? I've seen that answered a dozen, often contradictory, different ways. I'm sure you have too.

 

I have to say, while I may disagree with the premise of your argument, I do admire your passion on the subject.  I sincerely mean that.

 

Totally off-topic: Did you ever write the review comparing MSC to Royal. I think that was you if I'm not mistaken.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tulsacoker said:

Had a fellow passenger tell me they always remove the auto gratuities and tip in cash. They said they want the personal acknowledgement and thank you from the staff when they had them money. 

 

Just like it was in the good old days, before auto-grats.  I missed the personal acknowledgement at first too but quickly grew to like the convenience.

 

Nothing wrong with it and Royal is okay with it as well as they provide that option. Not sure why so many others have a issue with it.

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51 minutes ago, time4u2go said:

That's actually a myth.  The word "tip" pre-dates the use of acronyms.

And you can't "insure" tips. If the acronym was correct it would actually be TEPS (to ENSURE prompt service)

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11 minutes ago, HBE4 said:

 

Just like it was in the good old days, before auto-grats.  I missed the personal acknowledgement at first too but quickly grew to like the convenience.

 

Nothing wrong with it and Royal is okay with it as well as they provide that option. Not sure why so many others have a issue with it.

Of course Royal is OK with it. They got you to pick up a large portion of the crew’s salary, and they did not have to raise fares. 

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1 hour ago, Seville2Cabo said:

Last cruise was short for us.  5 days.  Never ate in MDR or Windjammer or any venue except Chops (only specialty on ship) and room service.  Tipped waiter at chops and room service delivery person.  Gave extra to steward.


Should I have removed auto grats?  I did leave the auto grats on, but since I never ate in any venue  except chops and tipped in Chops, I kind of thought about removing them and tipping steward more.  Seems I was tipping people that did not serve me?

 

It's been a long time since I went to Chops and never ordered room service except for free coffee, but isn't the 18% gratuity built into the price?  But since you tipped the waiter and room delivery extra, you are covered. Same with the Room Steward who shares in the auto grats.

 

As for your question, I think it would be okay for you to remove the auto-grats seeing how you already tipped generously. Some will argue that the auto-grats go to the "behind the scenes" personnel - the person washing the linens, polishing the railing, arranging the pool chairs into neat and orderly rows. My only issue with that is: If I people were to stay at some land-based hotel chain - Courtyard by Marriott or Comfort Inn - would those same people be tipping the guy sweeping the lobby, trimming the hedges, arranging the pool chairs or the laundry staff?  Of course not, other than leaving a few dollars for housekeeping staff.

 

It really depends on what YOU feel comfortable with.  Some people can not relax and be pampered by a hard working crew so they feel the need to give extra. Other will say that pampering is built into the cruise fare and no need to pay extra. There is no wrong answer.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, BeachChik said:

And you can't "insure" tips. If the acronym was correct it would actually be TEPS (to ENSURE prompt service)

 

Plus, you would need to give the TIP.S..or TEPS...before the waiter takes your order.

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27 minutes ago, BeachChik said:

And you can't "insure" tips. If the acronym was correct it would actually be TEPS (to ENSURE prompt service)

 

2 minutes ago, HBE4 said:

 

Plus, you would need to give the TIP.S..or TEPS...before the waiter takes your order.

Both are very good points!

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24 minutes ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Of course Royal is OK with it. They got you to pick up a large portion of the crew’s salary, and they did not have to raise fares. 

 

Yeah, I should worded that differently. What I meant to say is:

 

"Nothing wrong with someone removing auto grats and tipping in cash because they want the personal acknowledgement and thank you from the staff when they had them money. Royal is okay with it as well as they provide that option. Not sure why so many others have a issue with it."

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I have read, - 
The crew is suppose to hand in any money received in - 

All the money goes into the tip pool

If you keep the tips on, the crew keeps the extra money.

 

The dining crew also work in the buffet

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15 hours ago, brillohead said:


My point is, if you're going to tip your waiter / assistant waiter at dinner, why would you not also want to tip the servers at your other meals?  That's just mean, IMO.
 

In the past, this is how tips were done. No problem cash tipping or paying the suggested amounts on your onboard account. Tips were broken out as to who got exactly what. For ex waiter, asst waiter, head waiter, room steward. Each got a fixed amount per person per day. Now Royal has changed the description to include possibly any crew member on board. That is not what would commonly be thought of as a 'tip'. And I would not call this skimming, but I do think it allows Royal to apply your dollars however they see fit. Again, not a tip.

 

I don't think anyone should worry what 'other servers' are getting. People in the WJ, at Sorrento's, etc,? not my problem. That is Royal Caribbean's problem. I will say again, I tip the recommended amounts, usually more. Sometimes I auto grat. Sometimes I pay cash. However, statements like yours above,  'that's just mean' not to worry about every server you are coming into contact with, is misguided. 

 

Again I will say: Royal provides suggested gratuities. You are allowed to auto tip, prepay tips, tip cash, or tip nothing. Those are the guidelines, coming from the company. Name calling of any sort, or implying that someone's tipping style is not appropriate, or even wrong, because it does not agree with what you believe should be done, is ridiculous. 

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4 hours ago, HBE4 said:

I learned here on CC that the servers in WJ, Sorrento's, Park Cafe, etc are covered under the shared tipping pool. So that's got them covered, in addition to their base salary.


But if people remove the auto-grats, then those people are not receiving the removed money from the shared tipping pool...  that's my point, if you remove auto-grats, you're taking money away from those people, even if you do tip your MDR waiter at dinner.  

Go ahead and tip the MDR waiter more cash if you want, but keep the auto-grats in place for the shared tipping pool people.

 

 

4 hours ago, HBE4 said:

Totally off-topic: Did you ever write the review comparing MSC to Royal. I think that was you if I'm not mistaken.


It was me, and no, I haven't gotten around to it yet.  I had another cruise right after that, and I didn't get around to it.

 

 

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4 hours ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Of course Royal is OK with it. They got you to pick up a large portion of the crew’s salary, and they did not have to raise fares. 


Nice try, but this has been the way of cruising for decades and decades now.... this wasn't a grand conspiracy that Royal just came up with recently.  

What is different is that Royal (and all the other cruise lines) now just apply the gratuity to your account and distribute the money for you to the employees.  In the past, you had to do the math on the last afternoon of the cruise and divvy up the money into different envelopes and run the gauntlet of employees with their hands out-stretched for their weekly pay.  

Having cruised the old way and the new way, I MUCH prefer the new way -- I don't have to carry several hundred dollars in extra cash, I don't have to make sure I have enough small bills to be able to put the correct totals in each envelope, and I know that a much larger percentage of the hard-working employees are actually receiving the money they should be paid.  A lot more people are leaving the auto-grats in place when in the past they would have just skipped out on the MDR the last night to avoid having to face the servers they were stiffing for the week.



 

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Just now, brillohead said:


Nice try, but this has been the way of cruising for decades and decades now.... this wasn't a grand conspiracy that Royal just came up with recently.  

What is different is that Royal (and all the other cruise lines) now just apply the gratuity to your account and distribute the money for you to the employees.  In the past, you had to do the math on the last afternoon of the cruise and divvy up the money into different envelopes and run the gauntlet of employees with their hands out-stretched for their weekly pay.  

Having cruised the old way and the new way, I MUCH prefer the new way -- I don't have to carry several hundred dollars in extra cash, I don't have to make sure I have enough small bills to be able to put the correct totals in each envelope, and I know that a much larger percentage of the hard-working employees are actually receiving the money they should be paid.  A lot more people are leaving the auto-grats in place when in the past they would have just skipped out on the MDR the last night to avoid having to face the servers they were stiffing for the week.



 

Keep telling yourself that, but the old way and the new way are not at all alike. 
International regulations require the employer (cruise line) to pay a mandated minimum. 
under the old system they (cruise line) paid this minimum, cash gratuities were truly a bonus. 
Under the new system they (cruise line) skim all the money off your account as a “convenenience”,  poll that money, and use it to meet the agreed upon guaranteed minimum. 

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1 hour ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Keep telling yourself that, but the old way and the new way are not at all alike. 
International regulations require the employer (cruise line) to pay a mandated minimum. 


Hopefully @chengkp75 will chime in here.  

My understanding is that even under the old way, tipped workers WERE NOT PAID (as a salary) THE FULL MANDATED MINIMUM WAGE -- the cash tips that were received were reported to the cruise line and those were taken into consideration for meeting the mandated minimum, EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS DONE NOW.  

I'm going to use round numbers here, just because the math is easier. 

Let's say that "back in the day" the mandated minimum was $500/month.  Workers might have been paid a contracted salary of $25/month, and reported their cash tips. 

 

Maybe they averaged $150/week in cash tips, so their total received for the month (again, round numbers, so the month is four weeks for this purpose) would have been their $25 salary plus $600 in tips (150x4=600) for a total of $625 in income for the month.  They get to keep that whole $625 (notwithstanding whatever they have to pay in taxes to their home country down the road).  

But let's say they had a bunch of cheapskates for much of the month, and they only averaged $100/week in cash tips.  Their $25 salary plus their $400 in cash tips would only total $425 for the month, so the cruise line would have to pay them an additional $75 to bring them up to the mandated minimum of $500 for the month.


Now, let's flash forward to current day.  

My understanding is that the 2020 seafarer's minimum monthly wage is at $625.  There are also rules about how many hours that can be worked without paying extra, and I daresay that all the tipped employees are working more than the minimum hours, so I'm going to round this number off to $1000/month with all the overtime built in.  This would be the monthly mandated minimum that is similar to the $500 in the "back in the day" example above.

So, let's say a Royal employee's contract salary is $50/month.  Let's pretend he's a waiter, and he takes care of three 4-top tables in the MDR.  Let's also pretend that the auto-grat portion that goes to him is $3/person/day. With auto-grats in place (and not removed by anyone) he would get $3/person x 12 people x 7 days for a total of $252/week, which would be $1008/month, plus his $50 in monthly salary, for a total of $1058.  If his mandated monthly minimum with his overtime built in is $1000, and he made $1058, he made his minimum.

But let's say he had a bunch of cheapskates who removed their auto-grats, so he only averaged $100/week in tips, so he only earned $400 in tips for the month, plus his $50 salary for a total of $450. Royal would have to pay him an additional $550 in order to bring his wages up to the mandated minimum of $1000.  

If Royal is having to pay out an additional $500/month to every room attendant, waiter, and assistant waiter, where do you think that money is going to come from?  It's not coming from Michael Bayley's pocket or the stockholders' pockets -- they're going to raise the cruise fares to cover the additional expense. 



Looking at it this way, the auto-grats are KEEPING CRUISE FARES LOWER FOR EVERYONE. 

 

If auto-grats are kept in place, crew members can't lie and say they got stiffed by a bunch of passengers, because Royal collected the money and distributed it to them itself.  Royal has a direct record of how much tip money that worker received from auto-grats, and that amount is sufficient to meet the monthly mandated minimum.  

 

As long as the auto-grats are in place, employees wouldn't have to report (or turn in to be pooled and redistributed) any additional cash tips they receive... Royal wouldn't care how much they make, as long as they make the mandated minimum, which they will easily make from the auto-grats.  But if the auto-grats are removed, that cash has to be reported to Royal to be counted against the mandated minimum.... and that leaves things open to dishonesty (which raises everyone's cruise fares in the end).  


I don't understand why people don't understand that nothing has changed in the way crew members are paid.... other than the fact that auto-grats help to ensure that every tipped crew member is making MORE than the monthly minimum, and ALSO help ensure that cruise fares don't increase due to lack of tipping by some passengers or dishonest reporting by some crew members.



 

Edited by brillohead

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3 hours ago, brillohead said:


Hopefully @chengkp75 will chime in here.  


I don't understand why people don't understand that nothing has changed in the way crew members are paid.... other than the fact that auto-grats help to ensure that every tipped crew member is making MORE than the monthly minimum, and ALSO help ensure that cruise fares don't increase due to lack of tipping by some passengers or dishonest reporting by some crew members.



 


This explanation is a great write up on how the contracts work thank you. Now the only issue I have is RC is now taking the auto tips and not telling us how they are distributed. 
 

This allows them to then use the tips to subsidize the contracts of a lot more workers that in the past were just given a contract wage.  
 

It’s unfortunate it’s happened this way but cruise lines get to pad their bottom line more because of auto tipping. 
 

Maybe the luxury cruise lines have it right with a no tipping policy and a higher fair cruise.  At the end of the day it’s a personal preference as to tip with auto gratuities or not.
 

Edited by Sail n Snow

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16 minutes ago, Sail n Snow said:

It’s unfortunate it’s happened this way but cruise lines get to pad their bottom line more because of auto tipping. 


You see it as the company padding their bottom line.  I look at it as keeping the cost of the cruise fare affordable for me.  

Glass half full or half empty?  I don't know about you, but I like cheaper cruises!

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8 hours ago, marci22 said:

In the past, this is how tips were done. No problem cash tipping or paying the suggested amounts on your onboard account. Tips were broken out as to who got exactly what. For ex waiter, asst waiter, head waiter, room steward. Each got a fixed amount per person per day. Now Royal has changed the description to include possibly any crew member on board. That is not what would commonly be thought of as a 'tip'. And I would not call this skimming, but I do think it allows Royal to apply your dollars however they see fit. Again, not a tip.

 

I don't think anyone should worry what 'other servers' are getting. People in the WJ, at Sorrento's, etc,? not my problem. That is Royal Caribbean's problem. I will say again, I tip the recommended amounts, usually more. Sometimes I auto grat. Sometimes I pay cash. However, statements like yours above,  'that's just mean' not to worry about every server you are coming into contact with, is misguided. 

 

Again I will say: Royal provides suggested gratuities. You are allowed to auto tip, prepay tips, tip cash, or tip nothing. Those are the guidelines, coming from the company. Name calling of any sort, or implying that someone's tipping style is not appropriate, or even wrong, because it does not agree with what you believe should be done, is ridiculous. 

Well said!

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Gratuity = a gift of money, over and above payment due for service, as to a waiter or bellhop

 

When we book a cruise we have expectations that our fare covers a clean room, good food, and safe travel to interesting (by our definition) locales.  If the amenities and decor of the ship are above average to outstanding we expect our fare to reflect that variance.

Why are we as paying customers suddenly expected to provide a gratuity to every single person that makes up the service infrastructure on the ship?  Now, the accepted practice of tipping the cabin steward and wait staff to simply live up to the acceptable standard is well established and accepted.  If we encounter friendliness and concern for our satisfaction we encourage such behavior with cash beyond the auto grats (which we have never turned off).  That, imo, complies with the spirit of the gratuity system as it was intended.  Not some, "I feel sorry for people because they work hard."  I am sure there are hardworking people in the bowels of the ship that keep the systems running or the walls painted or the floors clean that never have access to a tip pool.

The above practices and opinions are part of our belief system and I don't feel think they should be hoisted onto anyone else's path.  Anyone on a cruise is spending significant money and it is their right to spend it however they deem fit.  There are cultures that do not participate in the practice of tipping.  Your beliefs on this subject should not be a basis for judgement. 

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45 minutes ago, brillohead said:


You see it as the company padding their bottom line.  I look at it as keeping the cost of the cruise fare affordable for me.  

Glass half full or half empty?  I don't know about you, but I like cheaper cruises!


But does it keep the fare low.  If the cruise company included the 14.50 per day tip into the price of the cruise a 7 night cruise would cost 101.50 more and the cruise line would guarantee that the workers get paid.  
 

If a family of 4 cruise for 7 nights that 406 more.  Now the big difference is the auto tip is a hidden charge you don’t see until the cruise starts (yes if you cruise you should be aware of it but I’m sure some are not). So if an outside balcony cost me 3500 and I auto tip it’s 3906.  If RC included the tip I’d still pay the 3906 but just all up front.  
 

To me it’s a shell game and the cruise companies hedge their bets that a majority won’t take the auto tip off. Also think about the 18% service charge once on the ship if you don’t have a beverage or dinning plan.  Plus those that leave a tip on top of that charge (If I buy a drink I always leave extra but that’s so the bartender recognizes me the next time)

 

Bottom line is the cruise lines aren’t hurting.  They are seeing record profits and part of it has to do with how they’ve structured pay to their workers

Edited by Sail n Snow

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44 minutes ago, Sail n Snow said:

Now the big difference is the auto tip is a hidden charge you don’t see until the cruise starts (yes if you cruise you should be aware of it but I’m sure some are not).


Actually, it's SPELLED OUT on the booking confirmation (not even hidden away in the lengthy terms and conditions, but right there on the invoice).  Even newbies to cruising should know about it well in advance of cruising.

My family's first cruise was back in the early 1980s, way before auto-grats and way before the internet.  We literally didn't find out about tipping until the end of the cruise, when the envelopes and instructions showed up in our stateroom.  I remember my family on the bed, all the bills and coins (yes, coins!) on the bed, doing the math for each and every person.... including the sommelier (nobody in our family even drank wine!) and the headwaiter and maitre d' (both of whom we hadn't seen the entire week, until the last night when they showed up at our table for their envelope of cash).   

 

This was a totally unexpected expense (I blame my parents' travel agent for not explaining it in advance) and one that left us almost completely broke until we got home (ATMs weren't much of a thing yet, nor were Visa/MasterCard something that everyone had five of in their wallets).  

 

 

44 minutes ago, Sail n Snow said:

To me it’s a shell game and the cruise companies hedge their bets that a majority won’t take the auto tip off.


But how do you reconcile that belief with the fact that it's been done this way for DECADES UPON DECADES?  The whole "service workers on cruise ships get paid by tips" thing is a LOT older than the auto-grats-on-your-room-folio issue.   

 

44 minutes ago, Sail n Snow said:

They are seeing record profits and part of it has to do with how they’ve structured pay to their workers

 

This is how they've always paid their workers... why is it all of a sudden that it's a problem????

Edited by brillohead
typo

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4 hours ago, brillohead said:

This is how they've always paid their workers... why is it all of a sudden that it's a problem????


But is it truly the same?  Now the cruise line has a large pool of money and they get to give it out and include more workers than just the wait staff and cabin stewards.  
 

Just like other industries, change can be good.
Obviously the luxury no tip cruise lines figured it out.  

 

I’m not against auto tipping but it would be nice if RC gave me a breakdown of where my “tip” is going.  If they did that however I’m sure folks may look at it and say oh the “bartender” is included so I don’t have to give more to them. 
 

As most have said and I agree with an extra tip is for service that goes above what is expected or sometimes to “grease the skids” to get better service when requesting something special. 

Edited by Sail n Snow

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On 1/23/2020 at 9:21 PM, NavyCruiser said:

 

Yes, I & everyone gets PAID a salary at work, but I don't get TIPS.

Yes, Everyone gets PAID a salary at my company, but only those directly serve the customer get TIPS...

The servers in the MDR's "salary" is their tips.  If you want to cut their pay though no fault of them, then that's certainly your right. Go for it.  But remember, these same waiters work in the Windjammer, Sorrento's, the Park Cafe, Wipe Out cafe, etc.  So make sure you carry lot's of cash around to tip them when they serve you there.  😏

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