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View Full Version : Question for the masses RE: Tipping


mystycalchyk
10-20-2012, 12:54 AM
Ok, I would really like to get some input from you more seasoned cruisers. My husband and I cruised on The Magic for our 10 year anniversary and we basically tripled the 'suggested tip' that time. We just were aghast that those people worked that hard and gave such amazing service for such a little amount. It just didnt feel like it was enough.
Bearing in mind we are NOT rich people (we are cruising again in January for our 15 year anniversary) The reason its been 5 years is because we really have to save and plan massively to afford what, for us, is a really extravagant luxury. We allow ourselves a 'big trip' every 5 years (in between we fill in the gaps with mini trips to the mouse in CA, nearer where we live).
So, with all that being said, I know that the 'suggested tip' is $12 per person per day. For the 2 weeks we are cruising that would be $336. If we were to triple it again we are looking at $1008 in tips.
Since we are trying hard to plan this well I would like to get thoughts on you all if tripling is overkill? Is doubling maybe more the norm?

How do YOU ALL plan tips? I would really like to get your thoughts. I know what the minimum requirement is, but ....well, yeah...their service is so fantastic we know they are worth more. Thoughts please?

Ptwolfman
10-20-2012, 01:01 AM
Just my opinion. I'm not a seasoned cruiser though. From what I have gleaned, I'm looking at tipping an extra 25% if the service is good and up to 50% if it is excellent. Triple is very generous but double would probably be more in line with what I have read to be the norm. Even that seems high to me based on my research but these people really do work hard. HTH

Firemouse145
10-20-2012, 01:07 AM
I agree with you that the suggested amounts seem inexpensive compared to the great service you receive. We increase our tips if the service is outstanding on a case by case bases. Usually our cabin attendant and dinning room servers. Double is very good. What ever you are comfortable with is perfectly fine. Enjoy your cruise! :firefight

sissy_ib
10-20-2012, 01:12 AM
If you are comfortable with tipping three times the suggested then you should. Really, the only wrong answer IMO is to under tip for no reason. I will say even double tipping is not something I am likely to do.

mystycalchyk
10-20-2012, 01:40 AM
Thank you all so much. We just had a bit of a sticker shock at pondering $1000 in tips (not to mention tipping also at Palo and Remy). I was going to try to figure out where to carve out an extra grand between now and then. Shew. Glad to know a little better what other people do.
We have scrimped and saved for 5 years. We dont use credit ever so this is all paid up front in cash. But its totally worth it to go and know that we wont have to come home and pay for the fun AFTER we are home.
*bouncies*
78 days till Nirvana!!!!

aaklang
10-20-2012, 02:14 AM
$1000 in tips sounds like a lot to me, especially if it takes five years to save up for the vacation.

We gave an extra 50% to our server and asst server because we thought they were really excellent, went above and beyond, etc. We weren't overly impressed with our stateroom attendant - he was good/fine, but we have had better - so we just gave him the suggested amount.

Give what you're comfortable with, but don't break the bank if you can't afford it.

mystycalchyk
10-20-2012, 02:34 AM
Thank you :)

disneywonderfun
10-20-2012, 06:15 AM
I think it is a bit of overkill. You have to remember that what you consider a small amount of money (the standard tip) for the services rendered is a substantial amount of money to those that receive it based on the options available otherwise in their home countries (typically). Why do you think most of the service workers on DCL (and virtually all other cruiselines as well) hail from the third world? It simply has to do with the opportunity being a great way for them to earn a substantial amount of money that they would otherwise not be able to in their home countries.

What you are trying to do is apply what you think would be an appropriate tip based on services rendered IF YOU were the one receiving the tip. However, that is not practical. The expectation for excellent service is the recommended tip. That recommended tip is not a minimum, it is for excellent service. So, to triple it is seemingly excessive to me.

With that being said, I am sure it is much appreciated! If you think you should give it, do it!

DWF

NancyIL
10-20-2012, 08:15 AM
Tip whatever amount you want. If you double or triple the suggested amount - I'm sure your room steward and dining room servers will be thrilled!

I tip the suggested amount, and rarely more.

Bonniec
10-20-2012, 08:25 AM
How do YOU ALL plan tips? I would really like to get your thoughts. I know what the minimum requirement is, but ....well, yeah...their service is so fantastic we know they are worth more. Thoughts please?

We are preparing for our first cruise (5 nights) and I have our minimum budget worked out. We have a special account saved up just for the cruise to toss in extra money whenever we can.

I budgeted for double tips. I also budgeted $100 in $1 bills because I know we will use room service a lot. I also over budgeted everything else like shopping, drinks, etc. Anything we have left over we can use for whatever including tips. But at the very least we will have double the amount there for tips if that makes sense.


That being said, I tip everywhere according to the service I get. So if service is okay, I will tip the recommended and we will just have money left over. But if it's fantastic, I will have that extra money budgeted for them.

Melissa S
10-20-2012, 08:47 AM
I agree that it is a bit overkill especially in your financial situation (since you only cruise every 5 years). I know that you may feel bad for them because they work hard, which they do. We have over tipped but not to that extent. Yes the staff works hard but they also live on a cruise ship, are paid fair wages (they may be getting $12 from you but multiply that by how many people they serve), and have meals. If you have the extra money I would suggest donating it to a charity. There are so many people that are homeless and starving. It is your money and you have the right to do anything you want with it. But I really don't think the staff working on the beautiful ships have it that bad.

mammacaryn
10-20-2012, 10:39 AM
You can tip what makes you feel good, but to answer your question.....yes, VERY overkill in my opinion. For extremely good service we might toss an extra 10 or 20 bucks on their TOTAL-not daily amount- tip. That is just us.

I would say though, if you think the service is so fantastic it is worth giving them triple the amount most of them are used to getting, I would make sure you know all their names and write up personal comment cards including their names for each one. Although the extra money is fantastic for them for that week of work, the superb service comments are going to go further for them at their actual place of employment.

kcashner
10-20-2012, 11:44 AM
Triple the tips? Wow, you were generous. My baseline is the suggested tip, but my budget includes significantly more than that. While I don't make that "extra tip" in my mind, it is sort of a slush fund for whatever may occur, and I typically increase the tips some...but not nearly as much as you did.

My "pet peeve"...if you are in a concierge suite, consider doubling the stateroom host tip. That individual is cleaning much more space as well as bathroom and "kitchen" space than a normal cabin, and every mom knows that is where the work is! To tip the same for a concierge suite as for a standard cabin is just wrong IMHO.

Namsupak
10-20-2012, 11:44 AM
Of course tipping is a hot topic. But it is highly variable. We took a WBTA and altogether that is about what we tipped, but keep in mind that was a single two week cruise, and one of our best cruises ever. Another difference for us is that we had a 2 yr old so we factoered that in as well. The thing to consider is the $12 dollars a day is divided among 4 positions. The breakdown is $4 for the server, $3 for the assistant server, $1 for the head server, and $4 for the room steward. For each cruise we have tipped differently depending on where we had the exceptional service. We have definitely had cruises were we doubled and tripled and we have had some were we just left the minimum. But we don't always make an adjustment across the board for the $12 per person per day total.

Additionally in your case you said you have 2 weeks of cruising, I am assuming that this is split over at least 2 cruises so you might find one cruise team fantastic and one just okay.

Remy, Palo, Room steward, and lunch/breakfast tipping are also hot topics too. But we tend to tip these positions according to approximate meal cost.

So for 2 people 2 weeks of cruising you can probably adjust down somewhat, budget 600-700 and then if you don't find that you are going to use it for tipping, save it for something else. We always like to have an overestimated budget so we can have a surplus at the end.

disneywonderfun
10-20-2012, 01:30 PM
Triple the tips? Wow, you were generous. My baseline is the suggested tip, but my budget includes significantly more than that. While I don't make that "extra tip" in my mind, it is sort of a slush fund for whatever may occur, and I typically increase the tips some...but not nearly as much as you did.

My "pet peeve"...if you are in a concierge suite, consider doubling the stateroom host tip. That individual is cleaning much more space as well as bathroom and "kitchen" space than a normal cabin, and every mom knows that is where the work is! To tip the same for a concierge suite as for a standard cabin is just wrong IMHO.

I appreciate your opinions as always!

I do agree that a concierge suite should tip more than the recommended due to the extra effort involved. I think the adjustment depends a bit on what you think the extra effort involved is. Typically we bump up the tip for the cabin steward some percentage based on how exceptional the service is. I also adjust it a bit if we are traveling two or four in a cabin. I am not going to try to explain this or get in an argument with anybody, but I do know when we have four in a cabin, we are easier to manage than when we put two people each in two adjoining cabins. As such, we usually add to the tip more if the steward is managing our party of four split into two cabins than one. In addition, our kids are taught that they have to clean up any messes they made before they are allowed out of the cabin in the morning. So, we generally are not the hurricane devasted cabin crowd that some people have seen on the ships.

So, whether the cabin steward warrants double the tip for a concierge suite entirely depends on what has occurred. I am more along the lines of 50% higher than the recommended tip for a suite for usual service and then higher if there is a really good job performed.

DWF

PS. Knowing around 1/3 of cabins do not tip at all based on surveys of travelers, I am sure the room steward appreciates the recommended tip regardless of the nuances endlessly discussed on this board.

mmouse37
10-20-2012, 01:59 PM
While I totally agree the staff works very hard I think triple is overkill. Remember, they are not indentured servants and they did choose this profession. We always give above the recommended amount but if you need to save for five years in order to afford a vacation then I do think tipping triple is overkill and a burden on you as well.

MJ

Llges
10-20-2012, 03:00 PM
Just curious, do they receive a salary too? Is their only pay the tips?

Namsupak
10-20-2012, 03:13 PM
Just curious, do they receive a salary too? Is their only pay the tips?

From what has been reported the salary for most of the tipped positions is small if anything. It is mostly tip based. However we have also heard on these boards and from talking to staff that Disney covers the transportation to and from the ship to their doorstep.

kcashner
10-20-2012, 03:26 PM
From what has been reported the salary for most of the tipped positions is small if anything. It is mostly tip based. However we have also heard on these boards and from talking to staff that Disney covers the transportation to and from the ship to their doorstep.

This is exactly what we've been told by a couple of CMs that we've known for a long time--they get $50 from DCL...I think every 2 weeks in their check, but not totally clear. They get room and board on the ship, costumes and laundry of those, and tips. Between contracts, they receive transportation home and back to the ship. We had one lovely person who wanted me to understand that this was transportation to his front door, not just to the closest airport. They have to pay for personal laundry, shoes, travel to their hiring site for the initial interview. They can choose to maintain their own cabins to DCL standards or pay to have the cabin cleaned.

As above, they are doing this by choice--whatever their reasons. One told me that he made 8-10 times as much on the ship working 8 months a year than he could at home working 12 months. This allowed his wife to stay home with the kids and allowed him to ultimately buy their home. His smile when he told me that he was "working for myself now" was amazing--he had purchased the home, so now it could all be saved for the family's future. Unfortunately for us, he left DCL before our next cruise.

With the exception of the concierge stateroom host, I think that the "suggested" tips are just that--about the right/expected amount. Yes, I normally increase this some, but DCL has spoken in setting this level.

I wonder if anyone has data about the number of people who don't tip since the institution of the automatic tipping. I'd also seen here and been told by CMs that up to 1/3 of guests didn't tip on the "old" system, and we all realize that it was an issue on the Med European cruises. But now that it takes an action to NOT tip (rather than an action to charge tips), my guess is that there are not a lot of people who take the time and effort to remove the tips. I could be totally wrong about this. Anyone have any recent info from a server???

mystycalchyk
10-20-2012, 03:59 PM
Wow, thank you all so much. I really appreciate your input. I can see now that we way went overboard (no pun intended) on our last cruise. We were just so blown away by the whole experience we were in a gooey blissful Disney daze.
The 2008 cruise on the Magic (for our 10 year) was out first ever cruise experience period. Add to that its a Disney Cruise, well we were just in awe. I literally cried when I got off that ship and have been planning the 2013 trip ever since.
And yeah, I already know that in 2018 we will be going on another mega cruise for our 20 year anniversary. As far as I am concerned this is the only thing I ever want to do :)
I think I can plan a bit better now with your advice. We also made little gift bags for each person too last time, and I am planning that as well for these two cruises. It went along with the tip and was just a small thing really, nothing major...a gift bag with some chocolates, a post card from our home town where we, on the back, wrote out a thank you to that person for making our trip memorable, I think there was a coffee mug from our home town as well as a little travel manicure kit per bag. Nothing massive but just a nice "we thought of you' silly thing.

kcashner
10-20-2012, 06:45 PM
Just remember that the CMs have VERY small quarters and deal with the same luggage issues that we do at the end of their contract. Anything you give them should be consumable or something that they really need/will use.

And the very best "thing" you can give is to mention them by name in your evaluation. Positive mentions equate with time off, preferred schedules, and ultimately promotions/raises. And if that "perk" is an hour off while the ship is in port, that is HUGE to the CM.

I❤MICKEY
10-20-2012, 07:23 PM
My hubby and I went to Kenya for a Safari a few years ago. We tipped as we went. The first few days people were running to help us. We actually saw a bellman shove another to get to us. That night we were talking to another couple at the bar. We were doing the exchange rate between US dollars and Kenyan shilling wrong and were giving crazy generous tips. We still tipped well the rest of the trip - just not that well. ;)

mystycalchyk
10-20-2012, 07:23 PM
Thanks. We are huge about praising awesome CMs. I daresay I am on Main Street at Disneyland filling out comment cards more than most. I know that they receive complaints and deal with grumps so much that I try to be sure to dole out compliments to the ones who always seem to go above and beyond to make magic happen :)
Our gift bags are very compact. Like I said a bag of ghiradelli chocolates a postcard of thanks and maybe something small. We figured everyone can use a small manicure kit. I know *I* am always losing tweezers and clippers :)

tvguy
10-20-2012, 09:54 PM
This is exactly what we've been told by a couple of CMs that we've known for a long time--they get $50 from DCL...I think every 2 weeks in their check, but not totally clear. They get room and board on the ship, costumes and laundry of those, and tips. Between contracts, they receive transportation home and back to the ship. We had one lovely person who wanted me to understand that this was transportation to his front door, not just to the closest airport. They have to pay for personal laundry, shoes, travel to their hiring site for the initial interview. They can choose to maintain their own cabins to DCL standards or pay to have the cabin cleaned.

As above, they are doing this by choice--whatever their reasons. One told me that he made 8-10 times as much on the ship working 8 months a year than he could at home working 12 months. This allowed his wife to stay home with the kids and allowed him to ultimately buy their home. His smile when he told me that he was "working for myself now" was amazing--he had purchased the home, so now it could all be saved for the family's future. Unfortunately for us, he left DCL before our next cruise.

With the exception of the concierge stateroom host, I think that the "suggested" tips are just that--about the right/expected amount. Yes, I normally increase this some, but DCL has spoken in setting this level.

I wonder if anyone has data about the number of people who don't tip since the institution of the automatic tipping. I'd also seen here and been told by CMs that up to 1/3 of guests didn't tip on the "old" system, and we all realize that it was an issue on the Med European cruises. But now that it takes an action to NOT tip (rather than an action to charge tips), my guess is that there are not a lot of people who take the time and effort to remove the tips. I could be totally wrong about this. Anyone have any recent info from a server???

From what I have heard talking to staff on 3 different cruise lines, this about right.
Our waiter on HAL had been with them fro 5 years, planned to work another 2 and retire back home in Indonesia at age 30! He said with tips he was making in a month what he would earn in a year at home. As he pointed out, the normal wait to get a job on a cruise ship is 3 years....and wait worth it because, by their home pay standards, the pay is so good on ships.