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View Full Version : Tipping - Why not make it part of the basic cruise price?


seema
03-26-2006, 11:51 AM
There are a lot of threads about tipping, including the one described in the link:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=509463&highlight=tipping

We just came back from a Eastern Caribbean cruise yesterday. Most of the people whom we talked to, believed that the "recommended" tipping amounts (for the 4 people - server, assistant server, head server, stateroom host/hostess) was a fairly hefty amount, but most paid the recommended amount (including us).

The tipping fee would seem more palatable, if was included as part of the basic cruise ticket price, rather described as "recommended" - which almost makes one feel that it is mandatatory.


Another issue I could not figure out - why not pay these 4 people a basic salary, like all other crew members, rather than relying on the tips (from the passengers) to constitute the main part of their salary?


Putting the 2 issues together - I would recommend that passengers can then offer a ship wide tip, for all of the services provided, to all of the crew serving the individual passengers - the total tip can then be divided between the different crew members by the cruise line.

Lewisc
03-26-2006, 12:06 PM
A cruise line that did that would be publishing prices that are higher than cruise lines that didn't follow that practice. The "tipped" employees are paid virtually no salary.

I think your idea makes a lot of sense, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.

BethA
03-26-2006, 12:20 PM
Payin a larger salary would certainly greatly increase the amount of the cruise.

I'm not sure I understand the difference between including tips and a recommended amount people feel is mandatory.

I'm not sure I like a ship wide tip. Not everyone uses all the services and not everyone receives the same level of service. I think I would give more to my own personal waiter, etc for good service than i would just throwing an amount in a pot for everyone.
We just set the recommended amount aside before the trip and add if the service warrants.

DCL already has hirer prices so that would add to sticker shock.

Who already includes the tips in the price?

princessmomma
03-26-2006, 01:25 PM
How many guests would one server serve in a night? If I remember correctly, our server had about 4 tables with approx. 27 people. Does that sound about average for a server?

So at the end of the week the server would take in $25.75 x 27 = $695.25 for the early seating. Double that to add the late seating and he would make approximately $1400 a week, multiplied by 4 weeks is $5600 a month.

$5600 gross a month is a lot more than I would make teaching school. Out of curiousity, how is their wage taxed or is it? If so, by whom?

I realize many things need to be factored into a servers wage, some being, they are working 7 days a week for 6 months straight and the fact that they away from their families,...I am sure many others could add to these intangibles.

The reason I am doing some number crunching here is because I was a little upset the day of debarkation. We had given our server his tip the evening before and tipped him exactly the recommended amount. (We didn't have the magic that some guests on the DIS describe, I found he didn't go above and beyond his duties to tip more.) Anyway, the service the next morning at breakfast was terrible, he was rude with the kids :confused3 and cold and sharp toward the adults. :rolleyes2

I really began wondering if the recommended amout was an insult?? It really left a bad taste in my mouth. I really felt terrible we were treated poorly because I too work hard for my money.

OK, flame away. :wave2:

OKW Lover
03-26-2006, 01:37 PM
But if the "tip" was included in the price you wouldn't be able to adjust it to reward good service or penalize poor service. We regularly reduce the amount that goes to the dining room manager because all they've ever done for us was ask how things were going. OTOH, we often tip more for the assistant waiter because they hustle so much.

BethA
03-26-2006, 01:42 PM
I do not believe they are taxed, but I'm sure someone here has more knowledge of that and the number of guests, etc.

As far as being treated rudely the last meal--there is no excuse for that! It makes you feel the whole thing has been a fake and sorry you tipped at all. There should be nothing wrong with the recommended amount for good service--adding to that should be for excellent service.

We had that experience with the head server. We had tipped him more because he was attentive and did move us to the area of a server we requested. We were more than generous---my husband tends to tip too much--the last day he acted as if he had never seen us before.

I'll be anxious to hear the information on number of guests, etc.

Beth

lbgraves
03-26-2006, 01:56 PM
27 people in one wait station is alot. On all three cruises our servers have had 2 tables with 8 places. On the last 2 cruises our table has only had 7 people sitting at it. This left them with 15 people at the early seating. With 2 8 tops that gives them the chance to make up to 412 each seating each week. We know that not everyone tips so if you figure that 75% of the people will tip them, that gives the servers $618 per week. That is still 32K per year if they worked 52 weeks a year...which they don't. Their hours are longer than most people making 32K per year.

I prefer to look at it as the amount that we tip per meal. For our family of 4 tips for the servers total $204. We have the chance to eat 21 meals on the ship, not counting anything inbetween. That works out to a $9.71 tip per meal or $29.14 per day for the 4 of us. At 20% for the tip, that amounts to $145.71 worth of food for the day. Even without snacks we eat that much at the three meals. If we were on vacation anywhere else we would be tipping when we ate. I don't have a problem doing it on the cruise.

lbgraves
03-26-2006, 02:04 PM
But if the "tip" was included in the price you wouldn't be able to adjust it to reward good service or penalize poor service. We regularly reduce the amount that goes to the dining room manager because all they've ever done for us was ask how things were going. OTOH, we often tip more for the assistant waiter because they hustle so much.

The head server's job is more behind the scenes. They handle problems with the meals before your server brings them to you. If things go smoothly, it probably has something to do with the head server. Of course we were spoiled with our first head server. Nadege was just beyond wonderful and along with managing everything going on in the dining room, she found time to talk to the kids each & every night. That was when they had the trading cards & they always looked forward to her bringing them a new one every night. :) The second head server was just dense. Of course, we witnessed several arguments between servers that he had to intervene in. If this was what we saw on the floor, I can't imagine what happened in the kitchen where the guests didn't see. :confused3 Maybe he was just preoccupied with that mess & couldn't relax & interact with the guests more. The third head server was OK. He was friendly enough & did get me copies of all the menus to share on the boards when I requested them.

jdybnsn
03-26-2006, 02:32 PM
I can understand where you are coming from completely - I am British and we are probably just about the worst tippers in the world because it is just not part of our main stream culture. Occasionally, in a restaurant or cafe we might just think of it, if more than due effort has been exercised, but other than that the idea is quite a foreign one to us (quite unlike our european counterparts I must add).

...I don't know whether this is because in Britain, we as customers expect so little service, or because the service we recieve is just so average ....or just a result of employment laws that dictate a minimum wage for everyone. :confused3

I must admit I also struggle to understand why just 4 positions on the Disney ships carry such low wages that tipping is almost obligitaory. It makes no sense out of a total staff of a few hundred.

We certainly did not feel we had a choice but to tip; despite the fact that we saw the head waiter just briefly on only two occasions, and that the children had to pay their 'share' when they attended the restaurant just once and we did not feel our servers or cabin attendent did anything more than their jobs.
Don't get me wrong I'm not against tipping when people have gone out of their way to make you comfortable, get you things you need, and generally make an effort to have some kind of rapport going with you. But tipping for just doing your job, or not even making more than a brief appearance ?

I felt that the tips were just a hidden charge by DCL - its no comfort that other cruise lines do the same.......and they can dress it up how they like., but I would prefer the term 'day light robbery'....and as we say in Britain "it simply just isn't cricket" ! (ie, its very unfair ...if you need a translation !).

Sorry, no offence, but on the whole we just don't get this tipping business - ...oh yes and if in the US you could also INCLUDE your taxes in your prices that would also help ! :guilty:

mommasita
03-26-2006, 02:57 PM
I can understand where you are coming from completely - I am British and we are probably just about the worst tippers in the world because it is just not part of our main stream culture. Occasionally, in a restaurant or cafe we might just think of it, if more than due effort has been exercised, but other than that the idea is quite a foreign one to us (quite unlike our european counterparts I must add).

...I don't know whether this is because in Britain, we as customers expect so little service, or because the service we recieve is just so average ....or just a result of employment laws that dictate a minimum wage for everyone. :confused3

I must admit I also struggle to understand why just 4 positions on the Disney ships carry such low wages that tipping is almost obligitaory. It makes no sense out of a total staff of a few hundred.

We certainly did not feel we had a choice but to tip; despite the fact that we saw the head waiter just briefly on only two occasions, and that the children had to pay their 'share' when they attended the restaurant just once and we did not feel our servers or cabin attendent did anything more than their jobs.
Don't get me wrong I'm not against tipping when people have gone out of their way to make you comfortable, get you things you need, and generally make an effort to have some kind of rapport going with you. But tipping for just doing your job, or not even making more than a brief appearance ?

I felt that the tips were just a hidden charge by DCL - its no comfort that other cruise lines do the same.......and they can dress it up how they like., but I would prefer the term 'day light robbery'....and as we say in Britain "it simply just isn't cricket" ! (ie, its very unfair ...if you need a translation !).

Sorry, no offence, but on the whole we just don't get this tipping business - ...oh yes and if in the US you could also INCLUDE your taxes in your prices that would also help ! :guilty:


I don't want to attack you at all, but tipping is part of the cruising industry...I am not american, but Canadian, and we tip for service, and usually when you do tip, service is impeccable...We also have minumum wage guidlelines as well, and tip over and above that. Maybe that is why so many tourists come to Montreal, for our service and :) ?...

As stated above by a previous poster, when you average out the amount of meals you are served, it most certainly is below average tipping. I do feel sorry for most of the servers, as a lot of them support a family, but I tip because the service is there, regardless of the stature of employee.

Perhaps an all-inclusive vacation is what is in order, if one can not comprehend the tipping?

Maybe I am biased because my Grandmother was a room service waitress her entire life, and was darn good at what she did, and earned a very good living doing it, but when I get great service, I overtip, same goes for poor service....If I could not or would not afford to pay the tip, I would not do it, whatever it may be..

BTW, I definitely would have not let poor service go unnoticed, that is why comment cards are there, and they do get attention..
:rolleyes1

jdybnsn
03-26-2006, 03:05 PM
Sorry Mommosita, but I wasn't really talking about poor service ...just average service ...different kettle of fish entirely.

I don't mind tipping for good service either (even though I am British!) - just don't like this tipping for tippings sake attitude.

No offence taken :wave2: all friendly on here I hope !

seema
03-26-2006, 03:11 PM
I don't want to attack you at all, but tipping is part of the cruising industry...I am not american, but Canadian, and we tip for service, and usually when you do tip, service is impeccable...We also have minumum wage guidlelines as well, and tip over and above that. Maybe that is why so many tourists come to Montreal, for our service and :) ?...

As stated above by a previous poster, when you average out the amount of meals you are served, it most certainly is below average tipping. I do feel sorry for most of the servers, as a lot of them support a family, but I tip because the service is there, regardless of the stature of employee.

Perhaps an all-inclusive vacation is what is in order, if one can not comprehend the tipping?

Maybe I am biased because my Grandmother was a room service waitress her entire life, and was darn good at what she did, and earned a very good living doing it, but when I get great service, I overtip, same goes for poor service....If I could not or would not afford to pay the tip, I would not do it, whatever it may be..

BTW, I definitely would have not let poor service go unnoticed, that is why comment cards are there, and they do get attention..
:rolleyes1

I too am Canadian. However, my questions remain. Why do the 4 people not get a basic salary, like all other crew members. If one wants to top individually, without having a recommmendation as to the amount of tipping on top of that, so be it. If the 4 people, hypothetically were to get a basic salary, and NO tips, they would be like the rest of the crew, who receive the basic salary, and NO tips. Theoretically, the rest of the crew is adequately compensated; why not the 4 people in the same way.

If my option was implemented; It can be mentioned on the DCL web site, that the gratuities are included in the cruise price - and mentioned that other cruise lines do not include this gratuities in the cruise price - but recommend (request?) it during the cruise. Therefore, a prospective purchaser of the cruise ticket, can compare the prices (including tips) of Disney vs the prices (excluding tips) of the other cruise liners.

PS-In terms of the current system, I would suggest that the tipping recommendation be added to the DCL web site, and the FAQ (sticky) section of this forum, on this discussion board. In terms of the latter (second part of the) request, I am asking the moderator of this forum to respond.

princessmomma
03-26-2006, 03:12 PM
We know that not everyone tips so if you figure that 75% of the people will tip them, that gives the servers $618 per week.

Wow, really, only 75% of cruisers tip?

I thought everyone would tip something.

Any idea what percentage would tip the "recommended" amount?

justmestace
03-26-2006, 03:18 PM
Not sure how much of a difference this makes, but we've cruised Princess, Norwegian and Disney....Disney being the only line that has passengers tip based on service at the end of the cruise.

The service on Disney is far better than most, if not all, of the service we received on the other cruise lines. I think that by having the "automatic" tipping added to our accounts, it took away any incentive for our servers and room stewards.

I prefer Disney to keep their tipping policy the way it is.....as I feel that their outstanding service will continue.

gina2000
03-26-2006, 03:24 PM
There are alot of things to consider when you tip on a cruise. Most of the waitstaff does not merely work the two dinner shifts....you'll find them folding napkins in the morning and working around the buffet area helping passengers. Your tip goes towards all of that behind the scenes work they do that you never even think about. They work far longer than a 6 or 8 hour stint in the dining room every evening.

As far as including it in the price, cruise lines would be publishing far higher prices than they currently do. Alot of people wouldn't cruise as a result. The cruise line would rather fill the cabins....they get their profits from filling cabins, not from passenger tips. And their waitstaff takes the chance that you and I will compensate them for a job well done.

I'd rather be in control of tipping. We've had some fabulous waitstaff personnel and some rather obnoxious waitstaff and have adjusted the tip accordingly. We've always tipped above the recommended amount for great service. I wouldn't want to put in all the hours or hard work these people do for all the tea in China. I'll tip them and say, "Thank you for making my trip special", instead.

seema
03-26-2006, 03:27 PM
Not sure how much of a difference this makes, but we've cruised Princess, Norwegian and Disney....Disney being the only line that has passengers tip based on service at the end of the cruise.

The service on Disney is far better than most, if not all, of the service we received on the other cruise lines. I think that by having the "automatic" tipping added to our accounts, it took away any incentive for our servers and room stewards.

I prefer Disney to keep their tipping policy the way it is.....as I feel that their outstanding service will continue.

This good service is offered by all crew members - including the other 1000- crew members who are not tipped - we expect and receive excellent service from them. Why does one need to pay no basic salary to these 4 members, and only expect and receive good service by having the tipping essentially constitute most, if not all, of their salary?

lbgraves
03-26-2006, 04:06 PM
Wow, really, only 75% of cruisers tip?

I thought everyone would tip something.

Any idea what percentage would tip the "recommended" amount?

That is just a guess. I waited tables too many years (making $2.01 per hour on my pay check) and that is about what you would average for tips. Please note that what I am posting in this post are NOT directed towards or against ANYONE who has posted on this thread. :) It is just trying to view the situation from the server's point of view.

Based on what I have read in the past 4 years on the DIS and what I have observed & been told by CMs on 3 7 day cruises...this is what I am using to guess. The percentage may be below 75% however the extra tipping by some cruisers would bring up the total to make up for that.

There are the people who claim that they knew nothing about the tips until the last night when they get the tip envelopes in their room so are "caught off guard" & not prepared to pay them.

There are people who do find out that tips are expected above the price of the cruise on their reservation paperwork & post that they are having to work hard enough to save the money for this cruise there is no way they will be able to put away enough to cover the tips too.

There are people who say that they are paying enough for the cruise to DCL that they simply wont pay anything else.

There are the people who intentionally skip dinner the last night & breakfast the last morning to avoid not having to look their servers in the eye because they don't intend to tip them. ( Please note that NOT everyone who doesn't eat in the dining room does this but it does happen.)

People have posted that they don't intend to use the dining room except for maybe one night so they don't intend to tip the servers or, as in one post last week, the DISer's friends planned to only leave $5 if they ate in the dining room one night.

There are people who do not feel they should have to tip for the kids even though each child is occupying a spot in the server's section whether or not they eat in the dining room or with the club. Those empty chairs are keeping the server from having another potentially tipping adult from being seated in thier section.

lbgraves
03-26-2006, 04:15 PM
PS-In terms of the current system, I would suggest that the tipping recommendation be added to the DCL web site, and the FAQ (sticky) section of this forum, on this discussion board. In terms of the latter (second part of the) request, I am asking the moderator of this forum to respond.

This has been a part of the FAQ thread on this forum since it was revised in February.

What do I need to know about tipping? Tips on...well, Tipping!

One of the first things I read in the booklet that we read when deciding on the cruise was the tipping guidelines. We knew to include that amount in our trip budget. If I hadn't seen it there I would have found out about the tips when I read this board or the Passporter.

Pea-n-Me
03-26-2006, 04:30 PM
I was a little upset the day of debarkation. We had given our server his tip the evening before and tipped him exactly the recommended amount. (We didn't have the magic that some guests on the DIS describe, I found he didn't go above and beyond his duties to tip more.) Anyway, the service the next morning at breakfast was terrible, he was rude with the kids and cold and sharp toward the adults.

I really began wondering if the recommended amout was an insult??
princessmomma, we encountered a similar thing on our recent Eastern cruise also, discussed here (see last line of OP): http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1063710&referrerid=70088 I've never noticed this issue mentioned here before. I wonder if a) we had the same servers or b) this could be a trend? :confused3

JLMEBW
04-02-2006, 08:06 PM
One of my family members recently returned from India and he works in the human outsourcing industry and therefore they need many call center people. He said that the average salary for a call center person in India is 5,000 USD a year and they said they live an amazing life and they love doing it. So if the servers are making 25000-30000 USD a year they are like royalty over there. They might work very hard but they are used to it. Overthere they work 10-12 hour days. In my opinion the cruise industry is great and the tipping idea is amazing it helps them live an amazing life. Most of the time they are very cheerful either because they have to be or they enjoy doing it. They might have to work alot to get the money but it is similar to North America how you have to put in the time to get the money. Us North Americans might think it horrible but I come from a very good family and I think meeting the people and putting the smiles on their face would be worth it no matter how long you have to work :clown:

crzy4magic
04-02-2006, 09:02 PM
Having been on a NCL cruise where the tip is automatically put on your bill and split among the crew - and not having been happy with the service - I gladly take the opportunity to reward excellance. With the exception of our second cruise, where we were not happy with our servers we have always exceeded the recommended amount. Even on the NCL cruise, we found that we could get a table in the section of a server staff we liked ( I personally hate the "Freestyle Cruising" idea) and gave them extra tips on the last night. Knowing how little these folks are paid, I would never stiff them, but would hold back on the extra.

jillane88
04-02-2006, 09:16 PM
Many of the higher end cruise lines like Crystal, SilverSea, and Radisson Seven Seas (which recently was bought out) do not allow tipping. The service is some of the best in the industry and all those lines are 6 star - but you are paying for it. We cruise Radisson in Tahiti and paid more for just DH and I than we are paying for 5 of us on Disney. Still I loved the fact that tipping was already included (so was the alcohol). :)

Echo queen
04-02-2006, 09:58 PM
For starters on my past 4 cruises I have away tip at least the suggested tip evan with run of the mill service.

The first statement made here sounds like a JOB that any EMPLOYER should pay an EMPLOYEE to do. I realize this is part of there job but I don't think it's a part that my tip needs to cover. :rolleyes:

There are alot of things to consider when you tip on a cruise. Most of the waitstaff does not merely work the two dinner shifts....you'll find them folding napkins in the morning and working around the buffet area helping passengers. Your tip goes towards all of that behind the scenes work they do that you never even think about. They work far longer than a 6 or 8 hour stint in the dining room every evening.

As far as including it in the price, cruise lines would be publishing far higher prices than they currently do. Alot of people wouldn't cruise as a result. The cruise line would rather fill the cabins....they get their profits from filling cabins, not from passenger tips. And their waitstaff takes the chance that you and I will compensate them for a job well done.

I'd rather be in control of tipping. We've had some fabulous waitstaff personnel and some rather obnoxious waitstaff and have adjusted the tip accordingly. We've always tipped above the recommended amount for great service. I wouldn't want to put in all the hours or hard work these people do for all the tea in China. I'll tip them and say, "Thank you for making my trip special", instead.

kimszath
04-02-2006, 10:33 PM
My 2 cents worth... and echoing another poster... I'm not so sure making the tips part of the cruise price is a good idea. Maybe it's blackmail in some way, but if my servers give me 110%, because they know that their efforts will make or break their paycheck, then that's GOOD, right? If it's already a sure thing for them, will they necessarily go out of their way to give me that MAGICal service? It'd take many years to sort out the good from the bad. One or two bad servers, and I might take my business elsewhere--I'd bet that's DCL's view. Leave it like it is--I like being in control. (I also get irritated when a restaurant adds on 18% to my check if my party is a certain size... when that happens to me, I don't tip extra--I'm insulted.)
For those who got bad service on the last day, after just tipping the minimum, is it possible to "adjust the tip" with Guest Services??? Just a thought.

Kycha
04-02-2006, 10:38 PM
For starters on my past 4 cruises I have away tip at least the suggested tip evan with run of the mill service.

The first statement made here sounds like a JOB that any EMPLOYER should pay an EMPLOYEE to do. I realize this is part of there job but I don't think it's a part that my tip needs to cover. :rolleyes:
I agree. When I tip the waitstaff at a regular restaurant, I am tipping on the service I have received during my meal. Not on the fact that they folded napkins or filled the salt and pepper shakers earlier in the day.

GritsGirl
04-03-2006, 12:50 AM
deleted :guilty:

eeyoregon
04-03-2006, 01:18 AM
Oh bother...I know I need to tip and I will, but as a single Mom who has exhausted every possible resource to experience our first (and probalby only) DC together, I am getting sick to my stomach thinking about how much it's all going to add up to $$ wise. :guilty:

Because I am new to this, what are the guidelines if we only dine in the dining rooms 3 or 4 nights? Do we tip based on per person in our party, just for those nights that we attended? I can't imagine that we, me and DS 10 and DS 13, will eat in the dining rooms for all 7 nights.

Thank you in advance for any input.

lbgraves
04-03-2006, 08:25 AM
You are expected to tip for the entire cruise. The servers will not have the chance to wait on anyone else if you decide to not go to the dining rooms so will lose that income for the week. It isn't like working on land when the tables are rotated so that the servers all have equal number of guests, so the same opportunity to receive a tip. The tips cover service that you receive everywhere on the ship for breakfast, lunch, & dinner. The system is set up so that you don't have to tip for every meal. By tipping your assigned servers at the end of the week, you are covering tips for all the other meals as well.