How much do cast members make?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by debmomof2, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. debmomof2

    debmomof2 Earning My Ears

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    Hi,
    I'm wondering how much the cast members make - specifically our head and assistant servers. I'm asking because I mentioned to our guys that we wrote their names down as cast members who did an excellent job making our cruise special, and they both we VERY excited. Do they get extra $$$ for this?
     
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  3. beachbratt

    beachbratt Mouseketeer

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    I personally do not know how much they make, but on one of are cruises we were talking to are tablemates it was there 24th cruise and they of course have gotten pretty friendly with some of the cast members. They said that they make a good amount in tips that a few of them have paid off there homes and bought a 2nd home for rental income and paid that off and when they were going to leave the ship they would be able to "retire" and if ever needed they would sign another contract and come back to the ship, so I think they must be making a pretty good amount.
     
  4. davisdenyel

    davisdenyel Mouseketeer

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    I do not know how true this is but I heard that they do not have to pay taxes on what they make because of the ships not being owned in the United States. But that is only something I heard so it might not even be true.
     
  5. CarolAnnC

    CarolAnnC <font color=blue>Caught Smuggling Jello Shot Syrin

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    This is not a high paying job, but can be lucrative to folks who come from various countries. You do not see many U.S. citizens as cast members on DCL for this very reason.

    They do have a sum of money deducted from their income for room and board which I understand is quite substantial, relatively speaking. I don't think they are making a fortune, but compared to wages in their native countries, I think they do o.k.
     
  6. acourtwdw

    acourtwdw DIS Veteran

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    One day I did a little guesstimating and in tips alone they make more than I do. Good for them :)
     
  7. HallsofVA

    HallsofVA DIS Veteran

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    I know absolutely nothing about what actually happens, but my assumption is that with a service oriented company like DCL, good service gets rewarded, especially when a guest takes time to specifically call out good service in writing.
     
  8. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala 1937, what a year that was

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    If they're not from the US, depending on where they're from their salaries plus tips can possibly make them a very good living in their home countries (depending on which countries)

    I would say if you want to reward an especially good server or other cast member whose income is traditionally dependent on tips, tip them extra.
     
  9. tjbaggott

    tjbaggott DIS Veteran

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    My friends daughter worked two years ago as a DCL Cast Member. Straight from her, she says: The tipped positions rely on the tips as their main income as they get paid VERY little by DCL (because those are tipped positions). Without the tips, they don't have much of an income at all. She worked as one of the entertainers, as a princess, and this is not a tipped position, so those people get paid a normal amount by DCL. :) Mentioning a cast member's name on the feedback froms in postive way, means those CM's get a good review, and perhaps they might be rewarded in some way, I'm not sure about that last point. I do know that it means a LOT to them!
    Our server last fall, while explaining the feedback form to us, DID mention and her words were "if you think we did a good job, please mention us on the feedback, please help save our lives". I know she didn't mean that literally, but there was a certain amount of seriousness to that statement.
     
  10. Horace Horsecollar

    Horace Horsecollar <font color=blue>DVC members represent a unique ca

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    It's a dirty little secret in the cruise industry. The crew members in tipped positions are essentially not paid by the cruise line. The cruise line pays a token salary (and provides room and board) to Dining Room Servers, Dining Room Assistant Servers, Dining Room Head Servers, and Stateroom Hosts/Hostesses.

    I've seen various numbers in various articles... $50 per month, $80 per month, $50-75 per month, $75-100 per month, and so on.

    Check this article from 2006. It's primarily about Carnival Cruise Line, not DCL. But the basic idea is the same across the mainstream cruise lines.

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jan/01/bz/FP601010311.html

    The article starts off like this:

    Imagine leaving your spouse, children and home for 10 months a year to work for tips aboard a cruise ship.

    That's the choice made by thousands of workers on ships based at Port Canaveral, Fla., and other major ports. To support families and gain hope for the future, they work 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week for 10 months at a stretch — some for salaries as low as $75 per month.

    Passengers are expected to pay directly for the service they receive from these crew members through cash tips (or monetary tips charged to their stateroom accounts). It's called a tip or gratuity, but it's really how these crew members are paid. That's how it works on the mainstream cruise lines, including DCL.

    With tips, the crew members can make far more money than in the developing countries that they come from. They can support their spouses and children better than if they worked at home -- but they don't get to be with those spouses and children.

    I understand that DCL is a more desirable cruise line to work for than some of the others. For example, DCL provides uniforms instead of making the crew members buy them out of their their pay (in other words, out of their tips). It's very hard work, with long hours. In that way, DCL is like the other cruise lines. The tipped crew members on DCL work 12-16-hour days with no days off for many months on end.

    You do not tip directly for service at breakfast, lunch, counter service, snacks, and buffets. Instead, you only tip your 3-member dinner server team (and your Stateroom Host or Hostesses), but you're really paying for the work these crew members do all day.

    The system works! The tipped crew members have an incentive to provide outstanding service, and the cruise lines have a lower cost structure.

    The service tends to be so good that many passengers (probably most passengers) tip above the suggested amounts.
     
  11. debmomof2

    debmomof2 Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for responding, everyone! Our server, Chatchai, said that DCL workers sign a contract for 6 months and then have 2 months off. The work must be grueling - we saw him upstairs at breakfast as well as late at dinner. They deserve every tip they get!
     
  12. Grandma4ever

    Grandma4ever One day closer and still counting!!!

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    I figured that if everyone paid the recomended amount divided by the number of hours worked each day with no real time off they make just a bit over the US Min wage. This is a great wage for some who cannot find work in their homehand or woulkd get paid much less. They work very hard and it angers me when I read posts written by those who do not understand that they are not going to eat in the dinning room so they do not feel they need to tip. With the way the work is divided they would need NOT to eat at all. Even if they eat on deck nine someones server is serving them.

    Back to the topic. I was told that they get about 50 dollars per month and room and board. I also heard they get medical care as well. That is not much considering the hours worked and that they do not get paid for the two months between contracts and they do not get to see theirs kids grow up but for some the trade off is that their kids do not die from lack of food, water or medical care.
     
  13. Tarabra

    Tarabra DIS Veteran

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    We sat with an officer on one of our cruises and he worked in Human Resources. He said that DCL was one of the coveted cruise lines to work for, and that for the salaries in their countries the CM's are pretty much set for life as well as their families.
     
  14. acourtwdw

    acourtwdw DIS Veteran

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    Here is some quick math that I did:
    If a dining server averages ten 4 top tables per 7 day cruise and those folks pay just the suggested tip of $112 per table, the server makes $1120 per cruise.
     
  15. SnowWhite2

    SnowWhite2 DIS Veteran

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    Giving your server team an excellent rating gets them to keep their current position and possible move up. If they do not get very good ratings, they will be bumped down a category (server to asst server). Mentioning their name in a positive scenario will get them to move up the chain sooner.
     
  16. jilljill

    jilljill <font color=blue>Collects Disney men!<br><font col

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    Actually not getting good ratings means they won't be asked back for another contract, much worse than being bumped back a position.

    The biggest compliment is to mention ANY CM by name on the end of cruise survey. You can even hand write a letter and leave it in the comment card box at the end of the cruise. I did that and rec'd notice from DCL that they rec'd my comments and they were appreciated by everyone.
    This can be for any CM onboard, not just the ones in the tipped positions. DCL takes the comments seriously and the CM's get talked to onboard for both positive and negative comments.
     
  17. ldalvarado

    ldalvarado Mouseketeer

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    You do realize that this is true for many tipped-based industries in the US too, right? Waiters often make less than minimum wage as long as the company can prove that the small hourly wage + tips enables the waiter to make (on average) more than minimum wage. Here in Texas, the wage for a waiter can be as little as around $2.50 per hour.

    I don't think it is a "dirty" little secret. Perhaps a lot of people don't realize that many in the service industries who rely on tips really and truly could not survive without tips (and that is why those of us in, or formerly in, the industry are so rabid about the tipping issue), but I don't think there is anything dirty about it.

    I can tell you that when I went from a waiter to a "desk job" it was tough because I was making less money than when I was a server. But the perks and the benefits were better, not to mention the work wasn't nearly as back breaking.
     
  18. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

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    It seems like a lot of guests (40), until I realized this would be 20 guests per seating (early and late).

    Woody
     
  19. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    The only problem with the calculation above is that it assumes a full section (which is 18, not 20), and that everyone tips at least the minimum (which per servers, doesn't happen). The "normal" seating is one 8 top, one 6 top, and one 4 top per serving team; 18 guests per seating. Yes, there are LOTS of variations based on guest requests, etc.

    This info is a few years old, but it came from a trusted CM. Those in serving positions get $50 (not sure if that's per month or per check), room and board, "costumes," and health insurance while on the ship. They can extend the insurance for a very reasonable amount between contracts. In addition, they receive their transportation "all the way home" at the end of a contract as well as to begin the next contract. My server was very impressed that he was literally transported to his front door as it was far more costly than just the airfare to the nearest big city. They have to provide black shoes, off duty clothing, toiletries, personal laundry, and their initial transportation to Florida after hiring. Since the ship is not registered in the US and they are not US citizens, they are not subject to US withholding, wage and tax laws, etc. There is nothing held back for taxes; if their country collects taxes, that is their responsibility. They get a check every 2 weeks for their minimal salary and those tips which were charged. Yes, it can be a lot of money, especially for those who pay no taxes in their home countries, but it's also a lot of work. Many are supporting families back home. One CM told me that they actually collect about 3/4 of what they'd get if everyone tipped the recommended amount. Another said that it's not uncommon to have at least one table per sailing totally stiff them. However, as he pointed out, he was still getting 8 times as much as he could hope to earn at home, and he had no living expenses.

    This applies only to "tipped" positions. People in non-tipped positions are paid an appropriate salary as well as room and board. Benefits are somewhat dependent on position; there is a way that officers can have family sail with them either in their living space or in guest cabins. Non-officers also get benefits of guests sailing at no charge in some situations.

    Positive comments "buy" all sorts of things--4 hours extra shore leave, a "good" schedule on the next cruise (yes, they feel some schedules are better than others), notation in their employment record which influences promotions, etc. The same thing happens when a guest requests a server or assistant; a certain number of requests = extra shore time. I know this because a CM thanked me for requesting him and explained that he got time off while in port because of it! Bad comments (repeatedly) will result in a contract not being renewed.

    There is a HUGE "promote from within" program. We see people who we initially met in low positions (one assistant server, one stateroom host) who are now high ranking officers! Granted, that didn't happen overnight, but it happened. There is an official training program--an assistant server can apply to the program and be trained to be a server. It involves OTJ training, but also a written test, etc. The move to head server is HUGE as it involves a lot of safety and allergy issues. Essentially every CM we've talked to has confirmed that if you want to work hard and do a good job, you can go far in DCL. Many are encouraging their friends to apply now as with the new ships, there is a large hiring/training program in effect.
     
  20. Horace Horsecollar

    Horace Horsecollar <font color=blue>DVC members represent a unique ca

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    Yes, I realize that's the case with tipped positions in the U.S.

    But it's more extreme on cruise ships. The servers work 7 days per week, for months on end, without a day off. Their tips come from their dinner tables, but they also work at breakfasts, lunches, snack bars, and late night buffets (without additional tips).

    I doubt many servers in the U.S. would stand for a base of just $50-100 per month -- especially when it means being away from their family for 6-10 months.
     
  21. joksten2000

    joksten2000 Cruiser For Life

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    they do very well by their home standards. A server we always request and have gotten several times had her home paid for and supported her Mother and Daughter very well. Would I do it, never. A good server can make a lot of money. I sincerely hope the people that stiff the servers are over whelmed with financial woes. I have a relative that thinks a dollar is a decent tip. I always tip at least 20%. I had a nephew that worked in a Mexican eatery and had an family (12) from India come in once a week and always left a $2 tip.
     

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