Tipping servers and room attendant

MomOTwins

The Mommy Fairy
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
On DCL, the amount designated to your servers goes directly, and only, to each individual. That's $4.50 per guest per night to your dining room server, $3.50 to your assistant server, and $1.00 to your head server. They do not share with the kitchen staff.

Each service team (server/assistant server) typically handles a 4 top, a 6 top, and an 8 top at each dinner seating. This can vary a little, depending on whether larger groups want table together.

A head server is in charge of 1/3 of the dining room. I don't know the specific number of guests that will be under that umbrella.
Okay, that means our family of 5 is tipping the main waiter $22.50 a night and the assistant $17.50 a night. That actually sounds about right compared to land tips st dinner, except that they also work breakfast and lunch too. I was thinking of giving $40 extra at the end of the 7 day cruise but that is only around $1 more dollar per person per day so I think I need to step up my tipping estimate.

Relatedly, do folks know if when you add tip to the drinks bill in the MDR is that shared between your main and assistant or does it just go to the assistant since they being the drinks?
 

PrincessShmoo

DIS veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Okay, that means our family of 5 is tipping the main waiter $22.50 a night and the assistant $17.50 a night. That actually sounds about right compared to land tips st dinner, except that they also work breakfast and lunch too. I was thinking of giving $40 extra at the end of the 7 day cruise but that is only around $1 more dollar per person per day so I think I need to step up my tipping estimate.

Relatedly, do folks know if when you add tip to the drinks bill in the MDR is that shared between your main and assistant or does it just go to the assistant since they being the drinks?
Gratuities added to drink bills is pooled to be shared by all beverage servers (bar servers, bar tenders, and, my understanding is the assistant server is also in that pool). Any additional tip you add to the bill goes to whoever you give it to. The main dining room server is not in the beverage servers pool, is what I've been told.
 

Spiffy MacSpiff

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
We leave the auto gratuities via credit card stand, never had occasion to remove them. We add cash to the tip envelopes if we've received what we considered to be above-average service. We're gold and haven't bumped up the tip for only two people. On DCL we bump it up for most, and for a stellar few we've bumped it up a LOT. There's no hard formula, it all depends on how you perceive and/or appreciate the service you've received. But I'd like to add that that many tipped employees -- especially cruise staff -- work ridiculous hours busting their backsides, serving and cleaning up after us with smiles on their faces. I've worked in tipped professions myself and I can confirm firsthand that you're at the mercy of your employers and your customers... so I am never stingy.
 
  • CM Dad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2003
    I honestly don't know how much we tip. The standard tips are charged to our stateroom account, but my wife adds cash to the tip envelopes that we hand out. I'm pretty sure that sure is more generous than I would be :-). Also for holiday cruises, she will give all the standard tipped positions little goodie bags with candy and/or Walmart gift cards for their shopping. I know that on our first cruise I didn't understand why the head server deserved any tip, since we rarely saw him, but later realized that not seeing him meant that he was doing a great job and that he didn't need to deal with issues for us.
     

    Karin1984

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    Curious what break even or make a little bit of money means. As compared to what? How many passengers does a server or asst server have? Do they each get the entire amount charged passengers or do they share with kitchen staff?
    What I mean is that at the end of the month, they have been able to pay for all their expenses, without a problem. And hopefully are able to set some money aside to save up for the future.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    What I mean is that at the end of the month, they have been able to pay for all their expenses, without a problem. And hopefully are able to set some money aside to save up for the future.
    Which, given the average income and expenses where many of them are from, they are able to do. If they were not able to make a living they would not continue renewing their contracts. They are not slaves held against their will.

    Many of them live much more elaborately than neighbors in their native countries. Would it meet Western standards of “a lot”? Probably not. But not every place has the same value of money or average yearly income compared to the West.
     

    roylanc

    theDizneytaffy
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2009
    The wife is booked in to the Coronado springs Salon.
    Never done a salon, is a tip included in the cost or do you tip the staff there?
     
  • Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    The wife is booked in to the Coronado springs Salon.
    Never done a salon, is a tip included in the cost or do you tip the staff there?
    I know an 18% gratuity is included with spa and salon services on the ship. Not a clue about WDW resorts (this is the cruiseline forum) - but tipping at a salon is normal.
     

    roylanc

    theDizneytaffy
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2009
    I know an 18% gratuity is included with spa and salon services on the ship. Not a clue about WDW resorts (this is the cruiseline forum) - but tipping at a salon is normal.
    Ooops did not realise.
    But if it's 18% on board ship I would guess it's the same for WDW. tHANKS.
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    What I mean is that at the end of the month, they have been able to pay for all their expenses, without a problem. And hopefully are able to set some money aside to save up for the future.
    I think some of them are doing very well considering the cost of living in their home countries.

    Which, given the average income and expenses where many of them are from, they are able to do. If they were not able to make a living they would not continue renewing their contracts. They are not slaves held against their will.

    Many of them live much more elaborately than neighbors in their native countries. Would it meet Western standards of “a lot”? Probably not. But not every place has the same value of money or average yearly income compared to the West.
    Absolutely this. That's kind of what I was trying to calculate out based on the number of people they serve, the per day gratuity, and the very generous extra gratuity many Disney cruisers add.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    Why should it matter what the average wage is in their home countries, as several people have pointed out? Most of the service I have gotten on DCL far exceeds service I have received from American housekeeping and waitstaff who earn much more on fewer hours. I think people should be paid what they earn and merit, and using the accident of where they were born to say they should be grateful for earning less and working for harder than people who by luck are born in wealthier countries doesn’t really hold water in my view.
     
  • KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    Why should it matter what the average wage is in their home countries, as several people have pointed out? Most of the service I have gotten on DCL far exceeds service I have received from American housekeeping and waitstaff who earn much more on fewer hours. I think people should be paid what they earn and merit, and using the accident of where they were born to say they should be grateful for earning less and working for harder than people who by luck are born in wealthier countries doesn’t really hold water in my view.
    I don't think anyone was saying that at all. When you add in that all of their living expenses are covered, they probably make more than the housekeeper at your local Holiday Inn. No doubt they work hard and deserve what they make.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    I don't think anyone was saying that at all. When you add in that all of their living expenses are covered, they probably make more than the housekeeper at your local Holiday Inn. No doubt they work hard and deserve what they make.
    Well what are the people who keep bringing up home countries saying then? It also is not true they have no living expenses. Many have families they are supporting so they still do have the expense of paying for a home and food and all the other costs that go with it.
     

    cdoc29

    Cruising with the Crazies
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2010
    We always tip extra. We just leave the auto-gratuities on the ship board account (usually we pre-pay them) and tip our room steward, waiter and assistant waiter extra in cash (if the head waiter has done something special during the cruise we give him extra too though usually this isn't the case). That way they get the best of both worlds and if there is some unseen split behind the scenes we don't know about with the auto gratuities our guys who provided us outstanding service get to keep the extra we give them in cash and no one is the wiser. Usually for our family of 4 we give an extra $100 to the room steward and waiter, and $50 to the assistant waiter as my kids are messy. Also speaking of kids, we usually bring a bunch of the latest magazines and a couple of bags of hard candy for the CM's in the kids club as a thank you since they cannot accept tips.
     

    diznymom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2011
    Tips vs Salaries: (Every country is different. The Bahamas also have payroll taxes).

    When an employer pays a salary, the employer (Cruise Ship) has to pay payroll taxes on that salary. The employee also pays payroll taxes on the salary.

    When an employee gets tips and no salary, only the employee pays taxes on the tips he receives. The employer (Cruise Ship) pays no payroll taxes on the tips.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    I don't think anyone was saying that at all. When you add in that all of their living expenses are covered, they probably make more than the housekeeper at your local Holiday Inn. No doubt they work hard and deserve what they make.
    Exactly this!
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    Well what are the people who keep bringing up home countries saying then? It also is not true they have no living expenses. Many have families they are supporting so they still do have the expense of paying for a home and food and all the other costs that go with it.
    I brought it up because someone else said that hopefully they are able to pay their expenses from what they make. And while it may be challenging in the countries in which those of us lucky enough to be able to cruise and vacation live, for many of the crew they are able to live much more elaborately compared to their neighbors and others in their countries because the ship pay is so much more than they could make at home.

    NOT saying they do not deserve it at all! But the amount needed for “making a decent living” is dependent on where you are from.
     

    mab2012

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2012
    The standard auto-gratuities ARE the guideline. Publishing a second "guideline" for additional tipping would just be confusing. Essentially this would be saying "we recommend a tip of X, but we also recommend a tip of (X + Y)". So which is it? X? Or (X + Y)?

    There is a subset of non-tippers who firmly believe that they are helping by not tipping. I have encountered these people who insist that not tipping will make the cruise lines pay better wages. If a critical mass of travelers take the same action, maybe. However, just one person choosing not to tip isn't going to hurt anyone but the people who took care of you during your stay.

    My opinion is that yes, the salary for service should be included in the cruise fare, but until it is, I am choosing to vacation in this way and it is my responsibility to play by the rules that are in place. As for extra, it really varies from cruise to cruise.
    I have never reduced the standard gratuities on a cruise, and I likely never will. Even in the event of outright bad service, I probably wouldn't resort to reducing gratuities. Instead I would issue a complaint, either through Guest Services or the comment card or both, so that the employee's manager can take appropriate action. Most likely I myself do not have adequate data to determine "appropriate action", which is just one of several reasons I dislike the general practice of tipping. I would also prefer the standard gratuities to be included in the cruise fare, but in the meantime, I think of it as a non-optional service charge.

    Having said that, I do think there's some validity to the idea that tipping, or at least over-tipping, just perpetuates the problem. For the same reason, I very rarely tip extra. However much I would prefer otherwise, I get that people are dependent on tips for their income, and I have no intention of denying them a fair wage. So I follow the guidelines (on cruises or otherwise). But I can and do choose not to further encourage the whole regrettable mess by over-tipping out of what, for me, would be a misplaced sense of obligation or generosity.

    I can't control what anybody else does with their money, and I understand that many people disagree with me. And that's fine. We all get to make our own choices.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    I brought it up because someone else said that hopefully they are able to pay their expenses from what they make. And while it may be challenging in the countries in which those of us lucky enough to be able to cruise and vacation live, for many of the crew they are able to live much more elaborately compared to their neighbors and others in their countries because the ship pay is so much more than they could make at home.

    NOT saying they do not deserve it at all! But the amount needed for “making a decent living” is dependent on where you are from.
    I actually knew a girl (I grew in a foreign country) whose dad worked on a cruise line and sent home money and she was by no means living "elaborately." My point is that the bar should not be so low that we are okay with such hardworking and terrific people barely scraping by just because they are residents of a country that has even more abject poverty.
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    Tips vs Salaries: (Every country is different. The Bahamas also have payroll taxes).

    When an employer pays a salary, the employer (Cruise Ship) has to pay payroll taxes on that salary. The employee also pays payroll taxes on the salary.

    When an employee gets tips and no salary, only the employee pays taxes on the tips he receives. The employer (Cruise Ship) pays no payroll taxes on the tips.
    That's for how it works in the US, right? Would it be the same for crew onboard a non-US flagged ship?
     

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