Cruise Newbie / Tipping

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by jeroenalex, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. jeroenalex

    jeroenalex Earning My Ears

    Jan 22, 2004
    This May, I'll go to WDW and I'll also go on a 4 night DCL cruise. It will be my first visit to the resort and also my first cruise. In fact, I've only been to the US once (when I was 16 years old :)), and that was a trip from a week to New York City.

    I've been reading the DISboards for weeks now, and they're a great information source. There's one thing though, that I keep getting suprised about every time: Tipping. It seems like tipping in the US (Or at least at WDW and DCL) is completely different from the way we do it here.

    For example, here in the Netherlands (and many other European countries), if you get great service, you give a good tip; If you get normal service, you give a small tip; and bad service means absolutely no tip (and a complaint if it's really bad). Also, tipping isn't compulsary at all.

    From what I understand from several websites and also from this board, not tipping is considered absolutely not-done. I remember reading a post where a waiter who delivered bad service got a tip 'below average', and the person who gave it felt a little guilty. This sounds so strange to me, why should you give him any tip at all if you're not satisfied about the way he served you?

    Also, I've never before seen things like 'tipping guidelines' on official brochures before, and I've been to quite some different countries. Even in Disneyland Resort Paris it's not usual to leave a tip for your chambermaid, and in the restaurants I think about 40% doesn't tip at all.

    So my question basically is: Why is the 'tipping culture' so different in the US than in Europe? Is the service so much better? Are the standard wages lower, and are the tips considered a part of that wage? And also: How do you know who to tip, and who not? What about Guest Services? Or the bus driver?

    I'm very curious about this, and hopefully I'll get some reactions that will help me become a real 'tipping-expert' :D

  2. The4OfUs

    The4OfUs Happy DVC members since '97!

    Jun 6, 2001
    Well, speaking as a former waitress, and as the current wife of a chef...people in the food service business live off the tips. I used to get $2 something an hour plus tips, so if I didn't get good tips, paying bills was a tough thing to are DEFINITELY part of the wages, they even have to be claimed as income on taxes.

    I'm not sure what the base is now for waitresses, but we still tip 15% at least - and I'd say that 90% of the time, we tip 20% - DH being "in the business" and all, he's very critical and knows what can be excused and what can't be excused, what IS the server's issue, and what isn't...

    Of course, there are many people who ask for tips here who I would never tip...for example, I go to the donut shop, and get a donut and a cup of coffee - there's a tip jar out...I'm sorry, but your actual job is ONLY to pour that coffee and put that donut in the bag for me, Im not going to tip for that. Or when I go for take out at the restaurant, and they hand me the slip to sign, with the tip area left blank - I won't tip because all they are doing is handing me over my food, they aren't "serving" me. Someone who has to take my needs and desires into account, and do a little more than the "base" of "carry food to the table" - THOSE people I tip. Waitrons, bar tenders, housekeepers, baggage folks, doormen..those jobs require them to add a personal touch, to help I tip them.

    I don't think I'm making my point clear, so I'll stop now... :) Base thought - yes, here in the US, tips are part of the wages made by many, and without them they are severely underpaid.
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  4. kajohn

    kajohn DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2001

    I'll try to help a little if I can, I'm sure others will help as well. People in service industries like waiters and waitresses in the US do not make much of a wage, and depend on tipping as most of their salary. It is just a given to those of us in the USA that we will tip 15-20% at any meal we have that has a waiter or waitress. It is just the way it is.

    As for cruise ships, those in the tipping positions: room steward, head waiter, waiter and assistant waiter do not make a salary other than room and board and depend almost entirely on tips for their income. Although many people debate whether this is the way it should be, that doesn't change the fact that it is the way it is, and not tipping would be denying people their wage after working so hard to make you happy all week. that is why there are tipping guidelines. As long as you do your homework (which you are doing) you will know how to tip and just budget for it like most of us in the USA do.

    Enjoy your trip!
  5. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    My understanding, from my travels in Europe and reading about how things are done there is that there is a "service charge" built into the cost of the food or whatever in European countries. Thus, you have already paid the equivalent of a US "tip." A small "extra" tip is appropriate for excellent service, but tipping isn't the expected way to go.

    In the US (and on the Disney ships), servers live off their tips. They are paid a very small stipend, well below minimum wage, and totally depend on tips for their livelihood. The tipping guidelines are provided on the ship because we do not pay for our meals on the cruise. Therefore, we have no idea what to base our tips on. Yes, there are 4 main people on the cruise who are tipped, and you have obviously seen the guidelines provided by the cruise line.

    In an on-shore restaurant, a 15% tip is "standard," more is often given for exceptional service. In a hotel room, $5-10 per night is commonly left for the cleaning staff (left in the room when you check out.)

    So...back to your questions. Yes, the wages are lower and tips are a part of the wage. Who to tip--a server in a sit-down restaurant (not counter service). A cab driver or a bus driver who does more than just drive....baggage handlers (about $2 per bag). No, you do not tip guest services (either at a hotel or on ship). I wouldn't tip a bus driver who only drove the bus, but would if he gave me extra information about the area or handled baggage for me. That tip would be a couple dollars.

    Why is the tip culture different? Or should it be? Well, I don't know. I think the European system is more sensible, but that's not where I live.....
  6. erikthewise

    erikthewise Guest

    Given the culture gap, I'd suggest taking the suggested tips as a requirement and consider them as part of the cruise cost. You can't go wrong by giving exactly what is recommended. (You can always change your mind during the cruise if you experience really good or really poor service.)

    It is true that some cruise employees such as servers and cabin attendants depend almost entirely on tips for their income. For that reason not tipping at all means you are not paying for the service you received and that comes directly out of the pockets of the servers.

    It is also true that some posters on this board seem to regard excessive tipping as a point of pride or even a display of moral superiority. You don't have to agree.

    It is perfectly OK to give reduced tips for substandard service; in fact you'd probably being doing the person a favor by encouraging them to leave a job they are not suited for. But to give no tip at all to people in these positions would be out of place unless their performance was outrageously poor. (Did they bring you your food? Did they make your bed? Then they should get something!) And of course truly exceptional service should receive a larger than suggested tip.

    PS: Welcome to the DIS!!:wave2:
  7. MarkLem

    MarkLem <font color=brown>One mud here too...<br><font col

    Jul 10, 2002
    I waited on tables through college, and I've traveled extensively around the world with business, and tipping rates in the U.S. are much higher than in Europe including Holland. Here in the U.S. tipping for good service is 15-20%. Tipping, though higher, follows the same guidelines: great service, higher tip, good service, normal tip, below good service, below normal tipping rate (alathough great, good, bad service is very subjective!).

    However, on the ship you will find that you will have nothing less than great service (there is that rare possiblity though of below great service) from your wait staff and room attendents. Your documentation will give you the cruise industry averages for tipping. There should be no reason to tip below the tipping guidelines, even if it seems high for you. We got great service, so actually tipped a bit higher than the guidelines.
  8. jeroenalex

    jeroenalex Earning My Ears

    Jan 22, 2004
    Thanks for all your reactions! It makes alot more sense now. I didn't know tips were such a big part of an employee's wage. My girlfriend has worked in quite some restaurants here last year, and she got about EUR 6 an hour (That's about $ 7). Tips were only considered a nice extra, not really a part of her wage.

    Still, I think it would be easier if they'd include the tip in the price of the food/room/etc. This way the employees are guaranteed a good and fair wage, and the guests don't have to think about it either. If you get great service, you could always add a little yourself.

    Anyway, I'll just budget some extra $$$ for the tips. I'll just follow the guidelines and averages, think I can't go wrong that way!
  9. valeriekc

    valeriekc DIS Veteran & DVC member

    May 1, 2000
    One of the things asked about in the post and I think missed here is the fact that A TIP IS EXTRA. My thought is that in order to receive a tip a server should be providing a particularly outstanding job above and beyond the NORMAL duty of bringing food, cleaning rooms handling bags etc...
    I believe the problem with people tipping for poor service is that you have now reinforced that poor service attitude that it is now acceptable to do just the minimum. Then you pile on the low wage guilt factor and then you have lots of horrible servers getting decent tips and thinking "hey I'm really doing a good job".
    I compare it to giving candy to my kids for misbehaving.....if I did that I would have serious monsters on my hands.
    I believe a large segment of the US service industry could use some time in Europe to bring them back to reality. There, they could experience the real cause and effect of the tipping program...that you have to really DO something at a high level to receive EXTRA compensation.
    I would also venture a guess that is a reason many of you folks are here at these boards and love spending your time (and dollars) at Disney is because of the fact that Disney has a worldwide reputation of excellent service.
    Having said all that...I,m a part of the problem and will tip even 10% when I have just endured poor service. Obviously I need to listen to my own advice. Next time you get poor service take a minute and think about what you do? By tipping (whatever amount) or by speaking to the server about it (or management) or by not communicating at all? Are your actions going to help that person realize they have done a bad job? Or have they been rewarded for that bad Job????
    Now as for having tipping included in things, BIG MISTAKE! If you think you have received bad service now? Imagine those people knowing that regardless of how BADLY they do the job they will make the same money??? shudder!!!!
    Just my 10%

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